Sunday, June 15, 2014

162.6 - Guns: another school shooting

Guns: another school shooting

Another week, another school shooting. This one took place in Troutdale, Oregon, a town in the Columbia River basin east of Portland. A teenager armed with a rifle went into Reynolds High School and opened fire. He killed one student and wounded a teacher before going into a bathroom and killing himself.

It was just the latest in an ever-lengthening string of shootings at schools across the country. It was, in fact, the 74th school shooting since Adam Lanza shot down students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Just to be clear, not every one of these incidents involved deaths or injuries. But they did involve guns being fired - not just carried, but fired - in schools or on school grounds.

Despite the fact that the gun homicide death has declined substantially in the past two decades,  about 11,000 Americans are still murdered every year by guns. About 19,000 more commit suicide with a gun. That's a much higher rate than anywhere else in the developed world.

Why? What can we do about it? If the shills for the gun industry at the Nutzoid Rabbit-brains of America (NRA) continue to have their way, the answers to those questions will be "who knows?" For years, the Centers for Disease Control, whose mandate is to research causes and prevention of threats to public health, which gun violence surely is, has been pushed away from doing research that is "advocacy for gun control" - and any research that would show a connection between guns and gun violence, which any research on the topic would, would be considered "advocacy for gun control."

K-12 in red; college/universities in purple
The very idea of research is anathema to the Congressional lobby for Murder, Inc. A proposal to renew funding for CDC research on gun violence is "funding propaganda for [Obama's] gun-grabbing initiatives" according to one bought-off Congressman, echoing the NRA's having called the idea an "unethical" "abuse of taxpayer funds for anti-gun political propaganda." Which tells me, tells everyone with two synapses to rub together, that they don't want the research done because they know what it will say. They know they are in the wrong, they know that their drive for profit and perks is causing thousands of deaths a year, and they don't care.

And what do we as a nation do about it? On the whole, nothing at all.

We as a people have for the most part given up - there is so much blood, so much grief, that we have gone through denial, anger, and bargaining and are now deep in depression just a step short of the final stage of acceptance. In fact, the satirical online newspaper The Onion summed it up nicely. In the wake of the Isla Vista shootings three weeks ago, The Onion headlined its coverage with
No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.
Quoting the article:
“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” said North Carolina resident Samuel Wipper, 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?" Mr. Wipper said.
As is too often the case, it's the comedians and the satirists, not the media, who say what needs to be said.

Still, as I said two weeks ago, not everyone has given up. I mentioned a couple of examples then, to which can be added a new effort by members of the California state legislature to expand the ability of families and relatives of those showing violent tendencies to obtain intervention to prevent that person from owning guns.

As an aside, raised by that idea of an intervention, I have to tell you, one of the things that most drives me nuts in this whole thing is the argument that we can't have gun control because it would impede on the rights of "law-abiding citizens." So let me remind you: Until he opened fire that night in that theater in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes was a law-abiding citizen: every bit of the armory of weapons he had, he got legally. Until the moment he fired the first shot at Virginia Tech, Seung-Hui Cho was a law-abiding citizen. Until he killed his mother before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary, Adam Lanza was a law-abiding citizen. I expect we'll learn that the shooter at Troutdale was, until the moment the first body hit the floor, a law-abiding citizen. So don't even try that argument on me.

One last thing for now: It develops that it's for the drooling gun nuts who apparently think NRA President Wayne La PepeLePew is too soft, to go too far. An outfit of wackos called Open Carry Texas has been going around into stores and restaurants wearing their manhood slung over their shoulder instead of in their pants. The result has been that Starbucks, Wendy’s, Applebees, Jack in the Box, Chipolte, Chili's, and most recently Sonic have all announced policies of saying "Please keep you damn guns out."

In a video, after being refused service at a Sonic, one of the over-compensating crowd griped that "nobody likes us." To which I could only say "good." And I hope for more of the same.

Sources cited in links:,36131/

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