America is fatigued. One mass shooting a week- or at least that gets media attention. First Charleston. Then Chattanooga and now Lafayette, Louisiana. 3 are dead ( the gunman shot himself) and 9 injured in yet another theater shooting. The dust hasn’t settled yet on the trial of the other theater mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado yet and we are having flashbacks of the 12 killed and 70 injured in that shooting.
From the above linked article:
They described the shooter as a 58-year-old “lone white male” with a criminal history but did not immediately disclose his name. Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said the gunman was by himself and started the rampage by shooting the two people sitting in front of him.
At least one theatergoer described the attack, saying an older man stood up about 20 minutes into the 7:10 p.m. showing of the movie “Trainwreck” at the Grand 16 theater in Lafayette and began shooting.
Sound familiar? A lone white male. Someone with a criminal history who had a gun.
Louisiana has the highest rate of gun deaths in the country:
An analysis of the data published Wednesday (June 18) by the Violence Policy Center found high rates gun deaths in Louisiana and other states correlates with weak gun protection laws and high gun ownership. The VPC, which bills itself as a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury, also found states with stronger gun control laws and less gun ownership had lower rates of gun deaths. (…) In an unusual move for Louisiana, the state Legislature and Jindal have agreed to enact one new gun restriction. Domestic abusers under a legal protective order will be prevented from owning a gun for 10 years under a new law that will go into effect Aug. 1.
This happened in 2014.
Guns matter. Laws matter.
Gun free zones? Much is talked about recently because of the Chattanooga shooting at 2 military establishments that were “gun free” zones. And yet, according to new reports, one of the military members shot back at the shooter:
At a news conference here, the F.B.I. confirmed that at least one service member shot at the attacker, but did not say whether he had managed to wound the gunman, Mohammod Abdulazeez, who was killed minutes later in a shootout with the Chattanooga police.
“A service member from inside the facility observed him and opened fire on him, firing several rounds at him,” said Edward W. Reinhold, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s Knoxville office. Two guns belonging to service members were recovered from the scene, he said, and “at least one of those weapons had been discharged.”
So much for the argument that the Chattanooga military facilities were gun free zones. But armed citizens have taken it upon themselves to “protect” these “gun free zones”. It hasn’t gone well so far. An Ohio “good guy” with a gun “accidentally shot off his AR-15 while “guarding” a military facility there. So much for more guns making us safer. From the article:
A police report said 28-year-old Christopher Reed was holding the rifle outside the recruiting station near the River Valley Mall in Lancaster, about 40 miles southeast of Columbus, at about noon when someone asked to look at the weapon. While Reed was clearing the ammunition from the rifle, he accidentally fired a shot into the pavement.
Reed was given a summons to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm within the city limits. A call to a number listed for him in the police report rang unanswered.
The military is treating these armed folks as potential danger. I wonder why?
So far the gun extremists are yelling that the Louisiana theater was a “gun free zone”. Not sure about that. If theaters have policies not allowing guns, they do so for a reason. Allowing people with guns inside a dark and crowded theater is just not a good idea. Small children and families go to movies. Why the need for a gun? Could someone really have stopped this shooter once he took everyone by surprise when he stood up and started firing? What does the average person do when hearing a gunshot and observing a shooter? Run to get away. That’s the natural and usual response. Firing back in a crowded dark theater with people running around? Ludicrous. But in addition, this Florida concealed carry permit holder shot an innocent young father over texting and popcorn at a movie theater. Tragic. The “good guy” with a gun didn’t do so well in this case, did he?
So yes, let’s allow those “good guys” with guns in our theaters. Clearly those folks will stop shooters and protect themselves and others.
Meanwhile, the shootings that don’t make national news?
Michigan boy shoots and kills brother.
10 year old Louisiana boy shot and killed himself with gun he accessed at home.
14 year old Kansas teen shoots and injures another teen.
A weird California case resulted in law enforcement finding 1200 guns stashed in a dead man’s home.
In Georgia a man killed his wife, her 2 children and himself.
Where do the guns come from? Why do kids and teens have such easy access to guns? Why do domestic disputes too often end in death by firearm? Why does anyone “need” 1200 guns?
There are many more where these came from. But I’m tired of this. Aren’t you? Shouldn’t we be addressing our nation’s serious epidemic of shootings by talking about strengthening our laws? Shouldn’t we be changing the conversation about the role of guns and gun violence in a country at war with itself? More than 80 Americans a day are dying from gunshot injuries including homicide, suicide and accidents. This is a uniquely American tragedy. It’s a gun culture brought to us by the corporate gun lobby and their bought and paid for politicians.
We’re tired of the daily news about shootings. We are fatigued and battle weary with the media coverage and breaking news. That doesn’t mean we are worn down however. What it means is that we need to wake up and do something. We need to demand change.
This shooting left 2 more families grieving for a loved one shot in a senseless act of violence not seen in any other democratized country not at war. It left the injured with life long memories and maybe life long disabilities. It left those in the theater traumatized by the idea that they could have been one of the victims. It has left us all with a feeling of dread.
We don’t need more guns in more places as a “solution” to our problem of too many shootings. We need to keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have them in the first place and consider the actual problem that too many guns in too many places is posing for the public health and safety of Americans. We are not helpless to solve the problem. Only our elected leaders are in that position. And they are in the position to change things as well. The rest of us need to be pro-active in changing the conversation and demanding change.
We are better than this.
Where is common sense?
A father , Peter Read, who lost his daughter in the Virginia Tech shooting has written a great blog about “gun free zones”. From the blog post:
Now it’s routine for gun lobby commentators and politicians to blame mass shootings on the existence of so-called “gun-free zones.” This is a red herring, pushed by the gun lobby to advance a “guns everywhere” agenda, which insults the dead and mocks the living by reducing tragedy to a mere trope.
It’s past time to lay this fallacy to rest.
In our case, Virginia Tech had routine police presence in and around campus, which the gunman even accounted for in his planning. It’s pointless to debate what hypothetically could have happened if a student or teacher carried a concealed firearm in Norris Hall that day, because nobody will ever know. But such a debate misses the main point: Mary, and everyone else, would have been far safer if the shooter had been unable to obtain a gun in the first place.
In Chattanooga, everyone at the recruiting center, the first attack scene, survived despite a hail of rapid long gun fire, because the combat veterans present followed their active shooter training and helped others to shelter and to evacuate the building. In their case, effective training and quick thinking, not the presence of a gun, made the difference. Only time will tell what exactly happened at the second scene, but official accounts so far indicate our service members’ brave actions and teamwork probably saved lives.
So-called “gun-free zones” do not make people more vulnerable to gun violence. The fact is, 86% of mass shootings – which the FBI defines as four or more murders – occur elsewhere, such as at home, in the streets, or in workplaces, according to research byEverytown for Gun Safety. Many of these shootings relate to domestic violence, and more than half the victims of mass shootings are women. Many of these mass shootings never grab national headlines. You may not know this, but a mass shooting that killed two adults and two teenagers, and left an eight-year-old boy fighting for his life, happened just this month in a private home in Holly Hill, South Carolina.
So-called “gun-free zones” are not the problem, and victim-blaming is not a solution. Dangerous people’s continued access to guns is the problem, largely due to the gun lobby’s extreme agenda which harms everyone, including law-abiding gun owners, military members, and law enforcement. So let’s work on the real problem, together.
The solution is to strengthen our common-sense gun violence prevention laws, like legislation pending in Congress right now to ensure background checks occur on all gun sales. It won’t prevent every tragedy – nothing will – but it would go a long way toward making Americans safer.
One thought on “Once a week….shootings”
Just like you, I too am tired of the awful, never-ending list of shooting tragedies we endure in this country. So let’s discuss ideas, as you say, on “addressing our nation’s serious epidemic of shootings” through legal measures, but perhaps also through better safety education, law enforcement initiatives, etc. I know the followers of this blog have ideas on how reducing gun violence may be accomplished.
Obviously, universal background checks come to mind. Maybe we can start with examining the concept of background checks – i.e., catalyze a discussion, here & now, about their potential and limitations.
Does anyone have any comments/suggestions?
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