The blame game or who can we blame for mass shootings?

I have been in a nonsensical “discussion” on a Facebook posting of a local TV station about the mass shooting in Indianapolis. In a ridiculous series of comments, which I must conclude come out of ignorance or political adherence to the destructive and dangerous views of the corporate gun lobby and Fox news, President Biden was blamed for the mass shooting. Yes. You read that right. Oh, and also the Democrats.

Here are a few of the comments to which I replied copied from the Facebook page:

  • ” I would like to know…let’s say in the last ten years…how many of these mass shooters were on Doctor prescribed medication?
  • “It’s almost daily now… 🤦🏼‍♂️And all they want to do is take away our guns so we can’t defend ourselves from these crazy people. Think about that…”
  • ” Funny how there’s always mass shootings when Democrats are in office…. weird….”
  • ” Let me guess its the guns fault not the person using it.”
  • “To many f’n nutjobs running around. Primary reason that I have my CCW. I hope it never happens, but I just might be the guy in line behind one of these nutjobs and you can rest assured that I will take him out long before he starts shooting!!!”
  • ” Funny how every single time the dems push for more gun control, there ends up being a bunch of shootings to support their agenda.”
  • ” You can’t carry at fedex while you’re working. Gun free zone gun control failed.yet again. Sad for all the families.”
  • “Why is it sense Biden and the democrats took the office,, were getting alot more shootings,,mmmm”

mmmm. You get the idea.

Why not blame everything but the American gun culture and the millions of guns that can be accessed by private citizens? Why not blame the Republican lapdogs for the corporate gun lobby for their refusal to act to save lives in the face of a national public health epidemic? Why not blame the NRA whose leaders have stood in the way of any kind of gun safety reform legislation that might actually allow most of us to be free from daily gun violence? Why not blame the outrageous lies and myths perpetrated by the corporate gun lobby over the last few decades such as ” the guys with the guns make the rules” or “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun” or guns will be taken away from law abiding gun owners and not criminals if we pass a national background check bill to require background checks on all gun sales?

I have responded to this stuff for so long it is not necessary to do it again. It’s exhausting to tell the truth in the face of lies. The thing is, most Americans want stronger gun laws. Most Americans don’t carry guns around. Most Americans don’t even own guns. Most Americans understand who is to blame.

According to the article quoted above, this shooting could have potentially been prevented if we had Extreme Risk Protection Orders in place in all 50 states and by requiring background checks on all sales. The shooter had his gun removed by law enforcement a year ago at the request of his mother. So where and how did he get this gun? We don’t know yet. From the article cited above:

There have been reports in various news sources that the shooter used an AR15 style rifle for the shooting. Another person reported that an employee went to his car in the parking lot and got a gun out but the shooter shot that person. If true, so much for having a gun to prevent mass shootings and protect oneself.

Long before the shooting, Hole had been known to law enforcement. Last spring, after his mother reported her fears that he would attempt “suicide by cop,” he was questioned by authorities, and the police temporarily detained him for mental health reasons, FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan said.

With Hole’s shotgun seized and not returned, it was unclear how he had obtained the rifle used Thursday night.

And then there is this satire, which sometimes is the only way to make a point in a ridiculous discussion blaming everything but the proliferation of guns in America, from The Onion:

“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said Nebraska resident Andrew Clark, echoing sentiments expressed by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

Let’s just look at the real problem. This Washington Post article writer gets to the facts and the truth about our American national tragedy played out on an all too regular basis:

Earlier this month, Biden announced limited measures to tackle gun violence that included a crackdown on self-assembled “ghost guns.” But more stringent measures face an uphill battle in a divided Congress, where Republican lawmakers have long opposed any new gun limits.

Nearly 20,000 Americans died last year as a result of gun violence, not including suicide – 25% higher than in 2019, and more than in any other year in at least two decades, according to figures compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is those decades that many of the gun violence prevention organizations and individuals have been working hard to stop and prevent the gun violence that we now see elevated to numbers not seen since many of us began this work. In 1992 when my sister was murdered, the number of gun deaths were in the 40,000 plus range. Then the numbers came down during the late 1990s. In 1993 the Brady law was enacted requiring a background check system to be established called the National Instant Check System. Under that system, in place since then, over 3 million people have been prohibited from buying guns at federally licensed gun dealers. But the law left a big gap allowing for the private sales of guns with no background check required. 1 in 5 gun sales go without a background check. What if we allowed 1 in 5 people to drive without a driver’s license or training or 1 in 5 doctors to treat patients without getting their medical degree and the training required? What if allowed 1 in 5 passengers to board planes without going through the TSA checkpoints? Or what if allowed just anyone to teach our kids?

So what next? President Biden understands common sense. He understands that gun violence in America. From the article quoted above:

“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence,” he said. “It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation. We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives.”

Later on Friday, Biden said U.S. firearms deaths are a “national embarrassment” and called on Congress to ban military-style “assault” firearms.

“This has to end. It’s a national embarrassment,” Biden said at a White House press conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

It is more than an embarrassment. it is a tragedy unfolding before our eyes every day. The Gun Violence Archive keeps track of shootings of all kinds. This is what has happened so far in 2021- there have been 148 mass shootings so far and including all forms of gun violence, 12, 515 American souls have died of gunshot injuries. When we study methods of death in our country, if that many people had died so far to this date, we would be demanding that something be done. We have been. But nothing is happening.

Ignoring these deaths, these victims, these numbers, this terrible tragedy is just not sustainable. Blaming everything but the truth does nothing of course. That’s the point. If we do nothing, the bodies will pile up. It could be your loved one or friend next. So many are dying that it’s inevitable that all of us will be directly affected by gun violence. For sure all of us suffer from the PTSD and exhaustion of stories about gun deaths in the news.

On the 14th anniversary of the shooting of 32 at Virginia Tech, we now also have an anniversary of the 8 shot in Indianapolis. On April 20th, we will remember the 12 victims of one of the nation’s first mass school shootings- Columbine. We are all to blame that we have done virtually nothing to protect our kids and our citizens from suffering from shootings.

We are all to blame.

In memory and honor with action:

Matthew R. Alexander, 32; Samaria Blackwell, 19; Amarjeet Johal, 66; Jaswinder Kaur, 64; Jaswinder Singh, 68; Amarjit Sekhon, 48; Karli Smith, 19; and John Weisert, 74.

Guns kill babies

babyThere’s a lot to cry about these days. I know I have shed a few tears over the dead bodies piling up on American soil- dead from gunshot injuries. I can feel the grief and pain of their families as they try to cope with the sudden and violent death of a loved one. I’ve been there. I’ve cried my own tears over my sister’s gun death.

As you would expect, the controversy over abortion and a woman’s right to choose have been much in the news after a man shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Some are blaming the victims or Planned Parenthood itself for the shooting. Some are saying that if only people inside had been armed, this would not have happened.

Ludicrous.

They must have conveniently forgotten that one of the victims was an armed officer.

None other than Presidential candidate Donald Trump opined at a rally that these shootings would not have happened if the people inside had been armed.

Ludicrous.

But back to babies, I recently read this article. There are hardly words for this “accidental” shooting:

Police say Saturday afternoon, three adults, along with Nathaniel Hitt, were in the living room of the apartment: Bartle, Selena Hitt, and another man described by police as a family friend who was visiting.

The accidental shooting happened after Bartle, who is not Nathaniel’s father, cleaned his 12-gauge shotgun in the living room, loaded the weapon and installed an accessory grip on the shotgun, police said. Bartle, allegedly had the shotgun on his lap with the muzzle pointed in the direction of the child, then attempted to stand while still holding the gun, police said. The shotgun fired, and a round of ammunition struck the child in the upper body area, police said.

“The whole thing that gets me…is why would he reload it (the shotgun) in the house,” Muntz said.

“Why wouldn’t my daughter say something?”

There are no answers for this heinous lapse of judgement and irresponsibility with guns. The thing is, the gun lobby can say what they want about “law abiding” gun owners being responsible. But in order to sell more guns, they encourage just about anyone to purchase them with no idea how to really use them or be responsible with them. Thus, these are the news headlines over and over and over again.

Insanity.

Can we talk about how to be responsible for the lives of actual babies after they are born? Did you know that one toddler a week is dying from gunshot injuries? Why is this not as shocking as those who scream about abortion killing fetuses who are not yet born?

For example, as this writer points out, certain models of baby cribs have been banned because a few children have died as a result of their design. We don’t want products that kill babies. Banning them is a good idea. And so this writer wonders why we don’t ban guns. Perish the thought!!! Us gun banners can’t utter that word because…rights.

But let’s look at what this writer has to say:

We know this intuitively, since we’ve had to add numerous amendments to make up for their failures, lack, or just plain ignorance. But if we can add, we can also take away, by interpreting the Second Amendment differently or passing a new amendment that would effectively repeal it. We should never do so lightly, of course—taking away rights can be, and often is, a risky enterprise. But the purpose of a right should be individual and collective flourishing. A right, in other words, has as its goal the individual and common good, even if we don’t like to use such weighty moral terminology nowadays.

It’s not clear to me that gun ownership accomplishes that purpose. It seems more the case that it works against the good of all, in the havoc and murder it wreaks but also in the fear that in promotes. At the very least, we should have a discussion about the relationship of guns to the common good, instead of appealing like a fundamentalist to “rights” every time something happens that questions their value.

(…) A crib or, perhaps, a car, may kill under certain circumstances, but that’s not what a crib or a car is for. When death does result from their use, we assume that they have, in some way, been misused. At the very least, they have failed to fulfill their intended purpose, intentionally or not. Not so with a gun. The whole point of a gun is to injure or kill. Guns can certainly be used in other ways and for other reasons, such as sport, but these are secondary to its primary function. When a gun is used to injure or kill, it’s being used as intended. It’s the gun that’s at issue, because of the type of object that it is.

This person is speaking my language and speaks for the majority of us when he says this:

No “responsible” gun owner ever thinks he’ll ever misuse his gun—until he does something stupid, gets angry in the wrong place at the wrong time, leaves it unattended with children around, or simply snaps. Perhaps that doesn’t happen most of the time, but it happens frequently enough to raise questions, even though we usually don’t.

First of all, guns are the only product not regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Thanks corporate gun lobby.

Secondly, did I ever think my mild mannered and sort of quirky brother-in-law would “snap” and kill my sister during a contentious divorce? No. I am betting he didn’t think he would either. He might even have surprised himself but then tried to make up reasons why he just had to shoot her.

He had access to guns.

That’s what happens folks. Just because it has not happened to you doesn’t mean it won’t.

And speaking of irresponsible gun owners, you really need to check out this Christmas card from Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore showing her family armed and ready for the holidays. Nothing says Christmas joy like a 5 year old bearing a Walther P22. I can only hope that that 5 year old will be responsible with his gun in the new year.

Even scarier is that Ms. Fiore is running for Congress and has published an assault weapon calendar to make sure voters understand her adherence to the corporate gun lobby. She is exactly who we don’t want to elect to Congress. If there is any common sense for Nevada voters, they will soundly reject her.

Where is common sense? Totally lacking for many gun owners and therein lies our love affair with guns as I wrote about yesterday. But we aren’t having it. For the first time since 1920, the New York times published an editorial about the failure of our Congress to stand up to the NRA and the corporate gun lobby. It is a powerful testament to what the majority of Americans are now feeling. It is a moral outrage at the least.

Thank you New York Times. We are not helpless to stop this insidious epidemic that is killing our children and families. The Onion got to the root of the problem in their satire about helpless America not being able to do anything about our gun violence problem:

There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep these individuals from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.” At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past six and a half years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

We are not helpless. We can pass a law requiring Brady background checks on all gun sales. We can stop terrorists from being able to legally buy guns. But we don’t.

Babies don’t have to die from gunshot injuries. Toddlers shouldn’t have access to guns. Terrorists shouldn’t have access to guns. Domestic abusers, felons, those who are dangerously mentally ill shouldn’t have access to guns.

We are better than this.