Yep, yesterday here in Oregon there was another person trying to solve his issues by killing strangers with a gun. According to the Washington Post that means the U.S. has now seen more people killed or injured by gunfire in mass shootings than we have seen days this year (274 days, and 294 people wounded or killed in a mass shooting). We haven’t seen a two-week stretch this entire year without someone opening fire on a group of people.
These are ridiculous and embarrassing statistics.
Even worse, I’m starting to lose count of how many shootings there have been because these things are just getting so frequent. In Oregon alone, there’s been three high school shootings, a shooting at the mall only a few miles from my house, and now yesterday’s attack.
I should be going on about my new shop that is opening in a few weeks, but I’m just a little bit too angry and too disappointed to not vent a bit about what’s going on.
President Obama states that we’re getting numb to this sort of thing. I wouldn’t say numb, but we’re no longer surprised. After all, when these things are happening so frequently, it’s more of a surprise when a day goes by without a shooting.
And we don’t do anything about it…or we do the wrong things.
Schools in my neighborhood that used to have open play areas now have big ugly fences around them and locking gates. I guess this is going to keep someone from walking into the play area, but chain link isn’t going to stop a barrage of bullets form an automatic weapon. And I can’t imagine what being penned in like that is doing to the psyche of the kiddies that are meant to go outside for fun. It’s like saying, “Go play, but a gunman might kill you while you’re out there.”
It’s a sad world in the U.S. now.
I shouldn’t have to go out to dinner or a movie and wonder if some disgruntled worker is going come in with guns a’blazing. I shouldn’t have to worry about my husband (who works in a public library) getting shot by someone who is pissed at the IRS and decides to take that anger out on the nearest government agency at hand. My husband shouldn’t have to tell me if I go to the mall how to angle my body if I start hearing gunfire.
But this is now the reality of living in the Good Ol’ USA.
Recently there was a video of an elderly man outside his synagogue. He couldn’t tie his tie and asked the police officer on guard duty to tie it for him. This was meant to show that not all cops are bad, but all I could think is “Why the fuck do we now need cops guarding the doors of places of worship?!”
I am not proud of my country. In fact, my country is becoming so dangerous, I believe I should qualify for refugee status (if anyone is willing to sponsor me, please let me know!).
Sure the US isn’t the most violent country in the world. We’ve lost that “honor” to places like Mexico and Swaziland and other countries with a butt load of internal strife. But of the “first world” countries (you know, the countries where we’re meant to be civilized) the U.S. does top the charts for the most gun deaths per capita. (See below for an eye-opening chart that demonstrates where America ranks.)
We are also tops on the list for the number of guns owned.
Yeah, I’m going there.
We need stricter gun laws if we are ever to stop mass shootings. We need stricter gun laws if we want the kiddies to play in open areas, not in metal enclosures.
We need stricter gun laws.
Every time this happens, people say changes need to be made, but their efforts are blocked by the gun nuts at the NRA. The world wonders why we continue to let this happen. “We” don’t continue to let this happen. Our government who is bought and sold by lobbyists like the NRA don’t have the backbone to make the changes that need to be made happen.
And don’t even start on about your second amendment rights.
Our forefathers had no concept of gun that could fire more than a musket ball or two at a time, that could be quickly and easily loaded or that could fire reliably, let alone a weapon that could fire hundreds of rounds in a few seconds or a handgun that just needs a new clip popped in to reload.
If everyone who owns guns wants to keep the gun laws as they are, then every one of you needs to turn in your guns and have them replaced by muskets. Then you’ll be living up to what those folks had in mind when they wrote the second amendment. Believe me, no one’s going on a shooting spree with a flintlock musket. Or if they do, the intended victims will have plenty of time after the first shot is fired to get a move on.
And don’t go on about needing guns to keep yourself safe from someone with a gun. Those three Americans on the French train proved that line a bunch a bullshit when they took down a would be gunman without anything but their own bodies.
Yes, mass shootings happen elsewhere. Yes, countries with strict gun laws still have people being murdered. But these occurrences aren’t anywhere near as often as in the U.S. Hell, they aren’t even as near as often as in Oregon alone!
And yes, most mass shootings are committed by people with mental health issues and America’s lack of affordable and accessible health care is an issue that also needs addressed (yet another change that is blocked by lobbyists). But given that we know the people with violent brain farts aren’t getting the help they need, shouldn’t we do what we can to keep the guns out of their hands?
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCILS.