It's hard to say, and we all are suffering for and with the multiple victims of Newtown, but the brutal slayings of those wonderful little kids are just the tip of the iceberg. How respond to atrocities like Sandy Hook and the ongoing daily slayings in our society? (1) We must deal with mental health issues more quickly and efficiently, (2) get reasonable gun control functioning in our society and (3) de-glamorize and confront the culture of violence.
Guns in the home (47% of Americans legally own a gun. How many illegal firearms are out there is anyone's guess) is a bad idea and a worse practice. The gun in your house has a better chance of killing someone you love than it has of hurting an intruder. 10,000 people a year are killed by guns. Suicide by guns are are almost double that: 18,735 in 2009.
The 2nd amendment gives one the right to bear a musket. Just as no one has a right to own a tank, a bazooka or an atomic bomb, no one should have the right to weapons of mass slaying. Let the hunters have their shotguns. There's no need for a AK-47 or Tech 9 anywhere in the USA.
Back in 1994 the U.S. Catholic Bishops put out a prophetic document, Confronting a Culture of Violence (1994) . That prescient and cogently argued booklet noted:
"Between 1979 and 1991, nearly 50,000 American
children and teenagers were killed by guns, matching the number of Americans
who died in battle in Vietnam. It is now estimated 13 American children die
every day from guns. Gunshots cause one out of four deaths among American
teenagers" (USCCB 1994)
"Our entertainment media too often exaggerate
and even celebrate violence. Children see 8,000 murders and 100,000 other acts
of violence on television before they leave elementary school." (USCCB 1994)
The children of the 1990s are today's adults. We reap what we sow.
Guns and Violence in USA: 47,856 killed by firearms from 2006-2010. Almost 10,000 a year.
Homicides (average annually):
than 50: Japan
than 150: Germany, Italy, France, etc.
than 200: Canada
than 10,000: USA Source: IANSA
(International Action Network on Small Arms of the United Nations)
U.S. lifetime medical costs for
gunshot injuries total an estimated $2.3 billion
U.S. taxpayers pay for almost half
($1.1 billion or 49%) of lifetime medical costs for gunshot injuries.
ABC News reports there are 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers in the U.S., including 51,438 retail gun stores. There are 36,569 grocery stores and 14,098 McDonald's restaurants. (Do we really need three times more gun shops than Mickey D's?)
TIME Magazine reports ( http://business.time.com/2012/12/18/americas-gun-economy-by-the-numbers/#ixzz2HgN8ODw3 )
- 47% Percentage
of Americans have a gun
- $6 billion
Estimated revenue generated by the gun and ammunition industry in the U.S.
- 310 million Estimated
number of firearms in the U.S., 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and
86 million shotguns
- 17-to-1 Ratio of
gun-rights lobbyist spending to gun control lobbyist spending in 2011. Gun rights groups spent $4,212,996; gun
control groups spent $240,000.
- $14 million
Amount of money the National Rifle Association spent during the 2012 election
in an attempt to defeat President Obama, according to The New York Times
CDC Center for Disease Control Reports: Firearm suicides. Number of deaths: 18,735
The New England Journal of Medicine reports: [NEJM (2008)
whether to own a gun entails balancing potential benefits and risks. One of the
risks for which the empirical evidence is strongest,1
and the risk whose death toll is greatest, is that of completed suicide.
the most recent year for which mortality data are available, suicide was the
second-leading cause of death among Americans 40 years of age or younger. Among
Americans of all ages, more than half of all suicides are gun suicides. In 2005, an average of 46 Americans per day
committed suicide with a firearm, accounting for 53% of all completed
suicides. Gun suicide during this period accounted for 40% more deaths than gun
the availability of firearms increase the risk of suicide in the United States?
First, many suicidal acts — one third to four fifths of all suicide attempts,
according to studies — are impulsive.
Among people who made near-lethal suicide attempts, for example, 24% took less
than 5 minutes between the decision to kill themselves and the actual attempt,
and 70% took less than 1 hour.2
many suicidal crises are self-limiting. Such crises are often caused by an
immediate stressor, such as the breakup of a romantic relationship, the loss of
a job, or a run-in with police. As the acute phase of the crisis passes, so
does the urge to attempt suicide. The temporary nature and fleeting sway of
many suicidal crises is evident in the fact that more than 90% of people who
survive a suicide attempt, including attempts that were expected to be lethal
(such as shooting oneself in the head or jumping in front of a train), do not
go on to die by suicide. Indeed, recognizing the self-limiting nature of
suicidal crises, penal and psychiatric institutions restrict access to lethal
means for persons identified as potentially suicidal.
Third, guns are common in the United States (more than one
third of U.S. households contain a firearm) and are lethal. A suicide attempt
with a firearm rarely affords a second chance. Attempts involving drugs or cutting, which account for more
than 90% of all suicidal acts, prove fatal far less often.
The empirical evidence linking suicide risk in the United
States to the presence of firearms in the home is compelling.3
There are at least a dozen U.S. case–control studies in the peer-reviewed
literature, all of which have found that a gun in the home is associated with
an increased risk of suicide. The increase in risk is large, typically 2 to 10
times that in homes without guns, depending on the sample population (e.g.,
adolescents vs. older adults) and on the way in which the firearms were stored.
The association between guns in the home and the risk of suicide is due
entirely to a large increase in the risk of suicide by firearm that is not
counterbalanced by a reduced risk of nonfirearm suicide. Moreover, the
increased risk of suicide is not explained by increased psychopathologic
characteristics, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts among members of
additional findings from the case–control studies are worth noting. The higher
risk of suicide in homes with firearms applies not only to the gun owner but
also to the gun owner's spouse and children. The presence of a gun in the home,
no matter how the gun is stored, is a risk factor for completed suicide. And
there is a hierarchy of suicide risk consistent with a dose–response
relationship. How household guns are stored matters especially for young people
— for example, one study found that adolescent suicide was four times as likely
in homes with a loaded, unlocked firearm as in homes where guns were stored
unloaded and locked.
Labels: catholic bishops, culture of violence, gun violence, justice, love, mental illness, Newtoen, NRA, peace, sandy hook