The only person who should be “ashamed” is the recent letter writer (6/30/14) trying to promote the latest illogic bandied about by pro-gun extremists saying that the statistic 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook is inflated. He’s obviously one of those supporting their latest campaign,”It’s not a school shooting when someone goes and shoots a specific person on campus. It’s a shooting that happens to take place at school.” Sure.
Of course that tally threatens the pro-gun extremists, as does the number of women killed by guns during domestic violence. And we all know about gun nuts fighting back. Some news organizations have followed this flawed reasoning and reported that only 15 of these rampages should be called school shootings. Not included are guns accidentally firing in school hallways, suicides by students after threats to other students, and other deeply traumatizing incidents. But as headline-grabbing as school shootings are, the under-reported daily target and toll of gun violence is women. More American women have been murdered by their intimate partners using guns since 2001 (6,410) than U.S. troops have been killed in combat (5,315) in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Center for American Progress reports.
And despite the letter writer’s convoluted final assertion, I am really not trying to take his guns away. In Laura Cutilletto, attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence own words, “Several states last year closed the private sale loophole. That is the biggest priority of our movement.”
But I’m still left wondering how many school shooting incidents are acceptable. But hey, they’re only numbers, right? Except they are not. They are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, friends, neighbors. I’ve always supported sensible gun limits largely as a result of my upbringing. My dad a career military officer and Korea and Vietnam vet, said we never had guns in our house because they were most likely to be used on someone in the house. That stat is one that hasn’t changed. But I became actively supportive of the gun control movement when my brother, a staunch GOP conservative and NRA member held at gunpoint with his own shotgun, was murdered by an ex-felon with an unreported stolen gun. And despite that, I am only arguing for reasonable limits, as there are on most of our rights. You can’t yell “bomb” in the airport or sacrifice a sheep in your front yard, despite the First Amendment.
The pro-gun extremists have had several successes recently, getting a bill passed in Indiana allowing people to keep guns in their cars on school grounds. And in Georgia, my birth state, business owners and churches are grappling with the new “Safe Carry Protection Act,” that allows guns in bars (firearms and alcohol always a good mix), houses of worship, unrestricted areas of airports, schools and colleges, that went into effect this week. Obviously statistics mean nothing to Georgia legislators, multiple studies found states with the laxest gun laws have the most gun-related violence, including murder. Thank goodness some states have some sense New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado have now join California and Rhode Island in requiring a background check for all gun sales. Three of those states now also require gun owners to report lost and stolen weapons. And four states that previously banned military assault-style weapons have tightened those laws. And as far as I can see, the pro-gun extremist crazies toting their weapons into the toy aisles in Target and Chipotles are doing far more for the gun control than quibbling over the body count in the school yards.
I know that this letter will have no effect on the recent letter writer and his ilk. But I will keep supporting organizations that support reasonable Second Amendment limits and recent legislation proposed in California to restrict gun sales to the mentally ill. Such a bill would have prevented the recent Santa Barbara shooting, also not technically a “school” shooting since it took place off campus even though the shooter and the victims were students. And I will try to identify flawed pro-gun extremist reasoning and “lies, damned lies and statistics,” when and where I find them.