Gun Control Controversy: Looking at the Numbers Since Newtown

As of June 11, 2014 reported by Katy Hall and Jan Diehm of HuffPost:
“Clarification: Everytown used the following methodology: Incidents were classified as school shootings when a firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds, as documented in publicly reported news accounts. This includes assaults, homicides, suicides, and accidental shootings. Incidents in which guns were brought into schools but not fired there, or were fired off school grounds after having been possessed in schools, were not included. This list includes incidents meeting the above criteria that were brought to our attention after our School Shootings Analysis was issued on February 10, 2014. Incidents were identified through media reports, so this is likely an undercount of the true total.”

According to the article, All 74 School Shootings Since Newtown, In One Depressing Map, at least 74 school shooting have occurred during the 18 months since Newtown as tallied by Everytown for Gun Safety, a group fighting to pass gun control laws. The longest gap between shootings occurred during summer breaks from mid June to mid August with the most recent being at the beginning of June at a high school in Portland, Oregon where the gunman a student were reported dead. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012, President Obama pushed for gun reform calling for stricter background checks that garnered great public support, but failed in the senate last year and Congress since has no plans to pass any gun legislation.

Besides the many school shooting in the news it seems every day, there have also been several domestic disputes and random shootings that have occurred as well begging the question: Why is no one doing anything to keep us safe? HuffPost reporter Kim Bellware reported on the 16th of June with the headline, Man Kills His Ex-Wife And Her Boyfriend At High School Reunion, about an Illinois man who shot and killed his ex-wife and her new boyfriend in front of a 100 witness while she was at her high school reunion. Another tragic shooting occurred at a Phoenix church fatally wounding and killing a clergyman. Associated Press reports that on June 11 a homeless ex-convict with a history of violence and drug abuse allegedly killed a clergyman with a handgun retrieved by another priest after he was hit with an iron rod.

Where has all the hope gone?

History seems doomed to repeat itself as is evident in the news everyday with stories of suicide bombers, protests, and government failing to do right by its people. Reading these stories everyday makes a person wonder if hope has ever existed due to history’s lack of viable reasons to say otherwise. Every war and protest seems to follow the same patterns of behaviors and missteps taken by those in authority who believe they are doing right by their people without consulting their people. Even as a kid we are all told when we get older we will understand but as an adult I understand less now than I did as a child. What purpose does war serve and violence for that matter? Reading through the new and deciding what to write today was a challenge as I grow tired of the hopeless and sad stories I read about North Korea, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and so many more. Today, I look to history to guide me and the music to inspire me.

One of my favorite songs, “Where have all the flowers gone?” by Pete Seeger came to mind while reading the news today. One particular line struck me over and over…when will they ever learn? That is a question I am afraid will never be answered as humanity is already on the path to calamity as tensions rise around the world and through violence more has been accomplished than through peace or so it seems. Even looking at everyday occurrences, it doesn’t take much to see that the world has headed down a dark path not just with war and protests on a large scale, but look at everyday life with children killing children, the increase in suicides, violence against women, and the threat to a happy life for all. How as humans do we process and accept such a bleak reality?…by looking at the past of course.

When will the pattern of behavior change or when did it become okay to threaten violence in order to get the point across? It seems largely ignored when something good comes out of something so horrible because the story is not in the good but in a bad. Do we reinforce bad behavior as good? Maybe. How do we as a society end the cycle that history has found so hard to break? Do we unilaterally lay down arms or do we find peace through strength? I think I have more questions now than I did as a child.

Peace anthems seem to be a thing of the past but to me will ring true as long as people walk the earth and long after the song writers dies. It is there message to the world. I read something interesting on YouTube about Pete Seeger from a user called Thespadecaller:

On July 26, 1956, the House of Representatives voted 373 to 9 to cite Pete Seeger and seven others (including playwright Arthur Miller) for contempt, as they failed to cooperate with House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in their attempts to investigate alleged subversives and communists. Pete Seeger testified before the HUAC in 1955.
In one of Pete’s darkest moments, when his personal freedom, his career, and his safety were in jeopardy, a flash of inspiration ignited this song. The song was stirred by a passage from Mikhail Sholokhov’s novel “And Quie Flows the Don”. Around the world the song traveled and in 1962 at a UNICEF concert in Germany, Marlene Dietrich, Academy Award-nominated German-born American actress, first performed the song in French, as “Qui peut dire ou vont les fleurs?” Shortly after she sang it in German. The song’s impact in Germany just after WWII was shattering. It’s universal message, “let there be peace in the world” did not get lost in its translation. To the contrary, the combination of the language, the setting, and the great lyrics has had a profound effect on people all around the world. May it have the same effect today and bring renewed awareness to all that hear it.

Headlines full of accusations, disapproval, propaganda, violence, fear seem to outweigh human rights, human survival, and hope. Why does it take human tragedy to inspire a small change and why can’t we look to the past to inspire us to be a better version of the past? Pete Seeger a single man sparked a change in his time and his government saw him as a threat…a single man not a million. The song with a melancholy melody and repetitious lyrics lends to the haunting reality of the words that history continues to repeat itself, but with everyday that passes I hope that people begin to understand how to change not only themselves but the world.

Iraq War Missing

 

 

Gun Show Shootings: At Least 5 Hurt In Accidental Incidents In Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina

Gun Show Shootings: At Least 5 Hurt In Accidental Incidents In Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina.

This cannot be good for the NRA or for pro-second amendment people right now. But I do have to ask the question: What is going on with all these shooting? Maybe gun manufactures and private interest groups like the NRA really need to re-examine gun control and more importantly safety. Gun shows in North Caroline, Indiana and Ohio left 5 people injured Saturday coincidentally that same day thousands of gun advocates peacefully gathers at U.S. state capitals to rally against stricter gun laws. At the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, NC, three people were injured when a 12 gauge shotgun discharged while the owner was unzipping the case. The two day gun show shut down, but was scheduled to reopen on Sunday. In Indianapolis, Indiana, a 54 year old man accidentally shot himself while leaving a gun show at the state fairgrounds where loaded personal weapons are not allowed inside the show. In Ohio, a gun dealer in Medina bought a semi-automatic handgun on Saturday and accidentally shot his friend when showing him the gun which had the magazine removed but one round was left in the chamber. The gun rallies held around the country coincide with the President’s federal gun control proposal unveiled last Wednesday in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.

 

 

Obama weighs 19 executive actions on gun control ahead of Wednesday announcement | Fox News

Obama weighs 19 executive actions on gun control ahead of Wednesday announcement | Fox News.

President Obama is considering 19 different gun control measures that he could take without congressional approval that address gun violence. The plan will be unveiled on Wednesday amid claims that he is overstepping his role as president says republicans. The House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that a significant part of the plan included congressional action but some of the measure can be done by executive order. The measures include aggressively enforcing existing gun laws, amping up national gun research, tougher penalties for gun trafficking offenses, making gun crime data more available and taking action against falsifying gun sale background checks. The president is still urging congress to pursue other avenues such as renewing assault weapons ban and pressing limits on high capacity magazines and stricter policies for background checks on gun sales.

While the White asks for more gun control measures after the Connecticut school massacre, the NRA has asked for increase in school security and closer look at entertainment and video games.  At the national level, advocacy groups and the NRA wants the Justice Department to crack down on falsifying background checks as only a small number are actually prosecuted. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says some 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks, such as at gun shows and by private sellers over the Internet or through classified ads.

It is sad to see our leaders still can’t agree on what to do in this situation. Gun violence happens everyday and the longer they take to fix the problem the more people die. To me it is all about looking the best and not what is best for the majority of the country no matter what party they belong to. The article and the representatives from the various groups have all admitted to the faults in the system but no clear strategy to solve the problem. I personally like what New York state has created which would be most restrictive gun law in the nation if signed by the governor. The measure called for tougher assault weapons ban, restriction on ammunition and gun sales,  address the unsafe storage of guns and create a more powerful tool to report mentally ill people who plan to use a gun illegally.

James Holmes Hearing: Police Initially Thought Aurora Shooting Suspect Was Officer

 

James Holmes Hearing: Police Initially Thought Aurora Shooting Suspect Was Officer.

Remember this guy? Investigators say Holmes tossed two gas canisters and then opened fire during the midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20 last year, killing 12 people and wounding dozens. The problem in many of these cases is this guy if goes to trial would be a waste of time with the recent shooting and the fact he has already been tried in the court of public opinion as guilty. The information gained from this case should go toward improving security of these places and the way we go about identifying these type of people. The same debate that keeps coming up is gun control and mental illness which were present in every shooting, so why not address these two things.

Obama Learns About Sandy Hook Shooting (PHOTO)

obama sandy hook

As the children of Sandy Hook Elementary return to school and some sense of normalcy, the president still remembers that day as the worst day of his presidency. The photo above was release by White House photographer Pete Souza’s which shows Obama being briefed on the shooting by his chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. December 14 for the president marks the worst day of his presidency but for all of it marks the worse day for America.

Journalists’ Addresses Posted In Revenge For Newspaper’s Google Map Of Gun Permit Owners | TechCrunch

Journalists’ Addresses Posted In Revenge For Newspaper’s Google Map Of Gun Permit Owners | TechCrunch.

Wow I know everyone is still raw after the numerous shooting sprees across the country especial the Newtown massacre but this may be taking it too far. Reportedly after a reporter published addresses of known gun permit holders in New York, one of these owners published where the report and staff lived and posted a Google map of it. What happened to privacy people? I will say it again there is a larger issue besides guns going on here guns are not the only thing to blame. Now various groups are debating whether gun permit holders should be required to tell their neighbors like a sexual predator would that they live in the neighborhood. WE ARE FOCUSING ON THE WRONG THING!