On Tuesday, not one but two shootings occurred at high schools in this nation. One shooting happened at a high school in North Carolina, where a 17-year-old student was shot and injured by a fellow student outside the school early in the morning. The other shooting occurred in Kentucky, where a 17-year-old student was shot by a suspect that fled the scene. The student sustained injuries that were not life-threatening. Both schools were locked down after the shootings and classes were canceled.
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun control advocacy group, released the following statement after the shootings:
“My heart goes out to those affected by these shootings in North Carolina and Kentucky. Last year we started counting shootings in American schools. The list hit 36 in 2013 and so far it stands at 50 in 2014. We should all be asking our leaders to do everything they can to prevent the next tragedy – the NRA’s solution to arm teachers and students isn’t an answer.”
These two shootings represent the 85th and 86th school shootings since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in late 2012. That particular killing led to the deaths of 20 small children. Many thought that the horrific event would lead to legitimate, common-sense gun control laws being passed in this country. However, due to the hold the NRA and the gun and ammo industry has on Congress, no real legislation was passed. Not even expanded background checks, which upwards of 90% of Americans supported at the time.
Therefore, based on the attitudes of those residing on Capitol Hill, and the gun nuts that cling to their 2nd Amendment ‘rights’ as if the only thing that matters in this country is how many AR-15s they can tote around, it appears that we just have to get used to reading and hearing about easily avoidable tragedies on a regular basis. Because, lord knows what might happen to our freedoms if we ever think about trying to restrict access to firearms across the good ol’ U. S. of A.
You know, it isn’t like the FBI has determined that active shooter incidents (shootings that occur where individuals attempt to kill multiple people in populated areas) are on the rise in the United States. Between 2000 and 2013, 160 such incidents occurred, leading to 486 fatalities. Of course, ask a freedom-loving ammosexual, and he’ll tell you that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Sure, we’ve had 86 school shootings in less than two years. However, if you ask an open carry advocate, they’ll remind you that not all of those shootings have led to fatalities, Heck, some of it can just be attributed to kids letting off a little steam.
No matter how you try to slice it, this country’s extremely lax gun laws are leading to more incidents like the ones that occurred Tuesday. At some point, we have to determine just what kind of country we want to live in — one that lives and dies by the gun, or one where people feel safe to send their kids to school or go see a movie. It seems like we are catering to a dwindling group of people in this country who are setting our country’s safety policies. The fact is that the actual rate of gun ownership is decreasing in this country. 50% of households owned firearms in the 1970s. By 2012, that rate had fallen to 34%.
Of course, if a person owns one gun, that person likely owns multiple guns. While the rate of gun ownership has decreased over the decades, the number of guns has increased. It is estimated that there are over 300 million guns in this country, roughly one for every person. However, if only a third of the households in this country actually own guns, it stands to reason that a large percentage of gun owners out there have mini armories at their disposal.
It is due to these gun fetishists that the NRA has a stranglehold on Congress. While gun owners are clearly in the minority in this country, they are extremely passionate about the one issue they hold dear. Therefore, they will show up to vote en masse. The NRA will make sure to mobilize this base to threaten any legislator that might dare to pass any type of gun control laws. At the same time, the NRA needs to keep this vocal minority happy as it represents the main customer base of the NRA’s benefactors — the gun and ammo industry. Non-existent gun laws make it easier for the phony tough and wannabe soldiers to buy as much hardware as they can afford.
Image courtesy of Moms Demand Action