It’s the Christmas season. And, oh yes, the Chanukah season and the approach of the new year. Here in my neck of the woods, we are expecting a major winter ice/snow/rain storm event on Christmas day which will interfere with the holiday celebrations tomorrow.
But nothing interferes more with the holidays than the shooting of a loved one. I write often about how shootings don’t take a holiday. They happen every day in our beloved country. Easter, Halloween, Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Years, Christmas, whatever. 90 a day die from gunshot injuries.
In Faribault, Minnesota a family is grieving the loss of two loved ones after a murder/suicide occurred a few days before the holiday. It was another domestic shooting. The shooter took guns and ammunition from his son’s home and gunned down his ex-wife at her place of work and then shot and killed himself. He was an ex police officer:
The shootings took place less than a week after Barbara Larson served her former husband with a harassment restraining order, Pederson said. The couple divorced in 2014.
Richard Larson retired from the city’s police department in 2008 after serving Faribault for about 25 years, Pederson said. He was a captain when he retired.
Another police officer’s gun was used by his 2 year old child to kill himself “accidentally”. The Cleveland family will be mourning the senseless and avoidable loss of their precious child all over irresponsible storage of a gun the child should never have accessed:
The boy is the son of a 54-year-old Cleveland police officer, Jose “Tony” Pedro, who was hired in 1993. Cleveland police said the gun was the officer’s service weapon.
Aren’t these the “good guys” with guns? I’m just asking.
Where is common sense?
Guns are a risk to those who choose to own them. With rights come responsibilities. What is it that we don’t get about that in America?
But I digress because I wanted to write about a shooting closer to my home. In Cloquet, Minnesota:
A victim, who police said was in his 30s, was found inside a residence with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to a Duluth hospital, where he was pronounced dead.(…) “I don’t believe it was a random act,” Ferrell said a few hours after the shooting. “I’m sure they are aware of each other. I just don’t know what the circumstances are or what led up to the shooting.”
Most shootings happen between people who know each other. Guns for self defense are often used against someone known to the shooter. The myth of the gun lobby’s mantra that more guns make us safer is just that. A myth. A deadly myth as it turns out.
More guns are clearly not making us safer. An armed society is clearly not a polite society.
And more families are mourning the senseless loss of a loved one at a holiday time that is supposed to be merry and happy. Not for many.
I’m sure I don’t have to remind my readers that the holidays can be sad and depressing for many. And gun suicides account for the majority of gun deaths in America:
Despite an alarming uptick in homicides in some urban areas in the last few years, violent death rates are significantly lower than they were in the 1990s. There is one notable exception to this trend. Suicide rates for men and women have steadily increased for the past 15 years.
The statistics are bleak. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. From ages 10 to 34, it is the second leading cause. Last year, at least 40,000 people in the U.S. died by suicide. From 1999 to 2014, the suicide rate for men and women jumped 24 percent.
Guns make it all so easy.
Also I shouldn’t have to remind my readers that toddlers have killed more people than terrorists in America:
According to the Washington Post, our nation’s nurseries are housing more than just unbearable levels of cuteness: Twenty-three people have been shot by toddlers in the U.S. since the start of 2016 — exactly 23 more than have been shot by Muslim terrorists over the same period.
So please tell me again how it is that a gun in the home for self defense will make the owners safer from strangers, home invaders, terrorists or zombies? I don’t buy it.
The Gun Violence Archive is keeping track of gun deaths and injuries in America in case you don’t believe the numbers. 356 children under 11 have been killed or injured by guns in 2016 so far. 11 in the last week alone have been killed.
Surely we are better than this and if so, we need to work much harder to change these statistics. For the statistics are real children with real families. They are not just statistics.
If there is a gun in the home for hunting or sport, the onus is on the owner to lock it up away from the hands of toddlers, people who are experiencing domestic problems, people experiencing severe mental difficulties, suicidal teens or adults, or thieves.
In America, our cavalier attitude about guns and gun rights is leading us to deadly outcomes.
There are too many empty chairs around holiday tables every year. The one belonging to my sister has been empty for 24 years now. But we remember her fondly for her hosting amazing Christmas gatherings full of fun and holiday chaos.
Tis the season to be jolly. Hopefully you will all have a jolly holiday no matter what you celebrate.
And may the grinch not spoil things for your family.
Merry Christmas ( and yes, I am a liberal and Donald Trump didn’t just allow me to say that to my friends). Happy Chanukah. Happy Kwanzaa and everything else.
Stay safe and warm out there wherever you are.