Don’t Shoot!

Go early; stay late at the Colorado State Fair Grounds. Nine to four Saturday and Sunday, October 3 & 4.

Go early; stay late at the Colorado State Fair Grounds. Nine to four Saturday and Sunday, October 3 & 4.

A 'selfie' posted by Chris Harper Mercer on MySpace. Chris and his rifle (which in addition to his three pistols - not pictured) killed 13 and wounded 20 community college students.

A ‘selfie’ posted by Chris Harper Mercer on MySpace. Chris and his rifle (which in addition to his three pistols – not pictured) killed 9 and wounded 7 community college students.

Gun shows happen as do concealed-carry permit classes. And life goes on.

But increasingly, mass shootings happen and life comes to a screeching halt.

Referencing the September 11 issue of THE WEEK (the week that a former Roanoke TV reporter filmed the first selfie murder) I took a second look at statistics gleaned from three different articles. The numbers are chilling. Quoting statistics given by Adam Lankford,  University of Alabama criminal justice professor “while the U.S. accounts for just 5 percent of the global population, is has 31 percent of all public mass shootings in which at least four people are killed.”

Gee… I didn’t know that it took four people to constitute a ‘mass.’ What about three killings?

I don’t know how Adam Landford can keep his statistics current. Maybe he has grad students doing the paperwork. Certainly Mercer’s campus bloodbath has added to the total.

Gun violence  has become so pervasive that I’m beginning to see guns when there are no guns at all. Yesterday, on my return home from Pueblo, I checked my side mirror; I checked my rearview mirror; and assured that it was safe to change lanes, I did so.

Ominous

Ominous

Yikees! I narrowly missed being rear-ended by a car that appeared out of thin air. The other driver (that would be the careless driver) must have been speeding… he must have changed lanes in the interval between my looking in the rearview mirror and the side mirror. OK. So maybe I was careless too.

For me, my thoughts following the near collision were less about possible injuries or probable car repairs than about the other driver’s anger. He missed me, but he was not amused. He followed me to the next stop light – shouting, laying on the horn, and making rude gestures.

Those I could ignore, but one of my over-riding thought was WHAT IF HE HAS A GUN! What if he follows me home?

Silly, I know, but my point is that given the culture and the number of guns, anything can lead to bloodshed. It is no wonder that our sensitivity is heightened and out of proportion. What does this full-to-the-brim sense of vulnerability lead to? Gun Shows for sure. Maybe I need a gun… maybe I need another gun.

It is concerning to me (but in keeping with thoughts triggered by my near car collision) that according to a 2015 Gallup Poll, only 47 percent favor more stringent gun control today. These numbers are down from 58 percent in 2012.

With an escalating fear factor nipping at our heels, we’re on our way to the “Dark Side.”

Dark Days

Heading home – late afternoon, October first.

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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6 Responses to Don’t Shoot!

  1. Brent Bruser says:

    Sad that we are so primitive in this matter.

  2. timeout2 says:

    What an accurate word choice: “primitive.” I just get this sinking feeling that he who has the biggest gun, wins.

  3. Doris,

    I am not a hard core believer of any statistic, but even one event of this magnitude is one too many. I support the second amendment, but I also would support a national watch-list to be used for weapon sales made at gun shows and fairs, as well as, over-the counter sales.

    The shooter in this case attended school at the Switzer Center, in Torrance, California, which specialists in teaching students with special needs and behavioral issues. He also enlisted in the army, but he was discharged after about a month of basic training. I am not sure this background would have flashed a red light on a national watch-list or if it would be considered an invasion of privacy; at least it may have been a signal for some one to check further before legally selling him guns.

    Note that nine people were killed, not thirteen, not that a smaller number lessens the tragedy to any degree.

    Sincerely,
    Lou

    • timeout2 says:

      Dear Lou, Thank you for calling my attention to my mistaken numbers. Yes, nine deaths – not 13. And only seven were wounded. I have corrected my errors. I don’t know about a national watch-list. With mental illness so pervasive, keeping watch would employ so many people that unemployment would be a thing of the past. And what about rage? Is rage a mental health issue? Not really. Anger management and conflict resolution classes would be a step in the right direction. And then there is the glorification of gun culture – I can’t see us fixing that. Certainly we need better background checks. New York State has a rigorous system of checks; nationally, we should follow Governor Cuomo’s lead by requiring background checks for private sales and registering assault weapons. And how about limiting not only the number of rounds but also the number of guns? Probably not in the United States. To bed to bed. Sleep well and thanks for reading.

  4. 2000detours says:

    Are those 2015 stats true? We have to change those numbers. I’m a gun owner but I’ve had it. There is no excuse for the insane number of guns we have in this country and our society’s glorification of the gun culture. Either add drugs to the water supply to sedate the violently angry or control their weapon of choice.

    • timeout2 says:

      It seems to me that more and more people are angry – steaming hot and ready to vent. I’m not so sure about your suggestion to add drugs to the water supply, but teaching debate and anger management skills should be added to every high school curriculum. As for guns, maybe issuing water pistols would help release some tension.

      As for statistics, I recommend your checking out http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/02/us/oregon-shooting-terrorism-gun-violence/. The site graphs the Center for Disease Control and Prevention numbers between 2001 and 2013 for deaths by terrorism vs. gun fatalities by homicide, accident, and suicide. Terrorism deaths (inflated by 9/11) number 3,380; whereas, gun fatalities for that same period total 406,496. Shocking numbers. Thanks for reading.

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