03
Dec
15

It’s a Gunderful Life

gunderful

The holiday season upon us and people just can’t seem to quit shooting guns. My last post was back during one of the Republican debates and I had to walk away from that campaign nonsense a while once the news leaked out about France.

Paris was struck with another bloody attack on innocent citizens. Then it was one American soil mass shooting after another. The world seems mad and statistics show big numbers as far as killings go. I wanted to see what research showed about this recent trend. Was it just me or did actual data support an increase in killings?

A great resource on previous years was USA Today who studied statistics on killings between 2006 and 2011. They researched FBI and local Law Enforcement reports to gather numbers in an attempt to better understand why this is happening. According to their finds, between 2006 and 2011, 172 mass shootings took place; ‘mass shooting’ being defined as 4 or more people. USA Today acknowledged that a lot of mismanaged paperwork or unreported incidents from local authorities to federal agents added to those numbers, but couldn’t be accurately counted so, that means during those years perhaps you could add on a few shootings. Still, that’s a period of five years. Currently, for this year alone, I’ve seen numbers on mass shootings range from around three hundred to over nine hundred, depending on what slant of the news you plug into. Either end of that numerical spectrum is fucking nuts. Three hundred or nine hundred…..too many people are getting wasted for no good reason. We all stand with sad hearts during a time when spirits are supposed to be jolly, when we smile at one another and feel cherished to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, but what we get are people shooting guns and killing people. One group wants to blame those alien to them, another group blames those who refuse to allow diversity into our country. The numbers USA Today pulled up showed less strong political or ethnic/diverse ideology behind attacks. Their numbers showed the majority of deaths during that 2006-2011 period to be made from family members or from people with emotional/financial issues.

The different cases I scanned over seemed childish at heart-stupid shit like fighting over a remote control or feeling unaccepted. 57% of victims knew their killer (even if they weren’t the main target). Almost a quarter of mass killers take their own life. They did not include numbers of race related issues, drug dealings and hidden numbers of deaths related to law enforcement. Now in 2015, my recent observations see a surge-an increase- in accounts involving political, religious or conspiratorial reasons. These seem to correlate (or respond) with stories posted on the web or broadcast on through news stations. One case: Carly Fiorina came out early to slam the purported abortion baby parts footage druing one of the debates. The footage was ousted as fake. Not long after that, this guy goes after a clinic….

Now I do believe there are threats trying to conquer us; the Boston Marathon bombing proved that. The Twin Towers proved that. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols proved that. I sit and question if the saturation of sensationalized yellow journalism and shock reporting are contributing to the directional surge of idealistic/political/religious killers? Perhaps I should have some scotch and debate this with myself. In the meantime we’re way above average on mass killings…here and abroad…and still people cry to hold onto their guns.

Just a few decades ago schools actually taught shooting rifles on campus. My kids attended a Quaker Church in the early 200’s that taught rifle at their summer camp. Our country had it’s “shoot’em up” periods; like the Wild West era, or gangland Chicago during Prohibition, but they eventually laid law to stop the gunplay. Citizens had home guns for hundreds of years but for the most part only hard cases and really bad times got someone to draw… We lived in neighborhoods where guns were all around us but we didn’t have this amount of deaths. Something seems to have turned us. Does the frustration of Modern Day have us balled up with too much stress? Are too many people worked to the point of desperation? Are those scary news stories that seem to come and go at a rapid pace give us cause to bleed out the eyes in search of a pistol? Take hold of yourselves, people!

We all have our opinions on what the majority of these cases are caused from but we shouldn’t leave it to the slant of our emotions, geared by news reports and internet rhetoric. I won’t say that I know the answer one, which is why I think we all should insist someone show us hard data and let us evaluate what we see. Just put big fucking bar graphs with the numbers, link the sources and let us see what’s causing all the pain. No one wants to live in a world where George Bailey would have actually been better off not being born but all I can foresee on the horizon are more shootings. If they’ve been collecting data since 2006 that gives people almost ten years worth of research numbers…let that be a New Years Resolution for our world leaders, our local politicians and ourselves.

 

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