Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for December 14th from 16:54 to 16:58:
- 39 Murders by Gun Annually in Britain; 9,000 in US | Informed Comment – Number of Murders, United States, 2009: 15,241
Number of Murders by Firearms, US, 2009: 9,146
Number of Murders, Britain, 2008*: 648
(Since Britain’s population is 1/5 that of US, this is equivalent to 3,240 US murders)
Number of Murders by[pdf] firearms, Britain, 2008* 39
(equivalent to 195 US murders)
- Questions I ask myself about Connecticut School Shooting | Informed Comment – I ask myself, “Why?”
Why do US cable news networks intensively cover these mass shootings, making it the only story for a day or two and prying into every detail of them, when they aren’t interested in preventing them from happening again through banning semi-automatic weapons? Is it just, like, a natural disaster to them?
- Newtown shootings: if not now, when is the time to talk about gun control? | Gary Younge | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk – This Friday, 28 people are currently reported shot dead, including 20 children. Their families must be given space to mourn, and that space should be respected.
But it does not honour the dead to insist that there must be no room in that space for rational thought and critical appraisal. Indeed, such situations demand both. For one can only account for so many "isolated" incidents before it becomes necessary to start dealing with a pattern.
It is simply not plausible to understand events in Connecticut this Friday without having a conversation about guns in a country where more than 84 people a day are killed with guns, and more than twice that number are injured with them.
- Congress mum on “guns” in wake of shooting – Salon.com – In the wake of the tragic shooting today in Connecticut, the debate on Twitter and cable news has immediately turned not to gun control per se, but to whether it’s even possible to have a debate on gun regulations in a political environment where merely bringing up the issue opens one up to charges of “politicizing” a tragedy.
Case in point: A search of the 489 members of Congress on Twitter reveals just four members who even mentioned the word “gun.” Virtually every lawmaker has put a statement on Twitter expressing their condolences, but only a tiny handful of Democratic House members have dared address the public policy question of how to prevent another tragedy like this:
- The Slaughter of Schoolchildren – NYTimes.com – It is a sad reflection of the human capacity for violence that Wikipedia has a sub-category, under “rampage killers,” for “rampage killers: school massacres.” David Brooks’ July column on rampage killings and a related piece by the psychiatrist David Archer in Psychology Today, provide valuable data and insights on such killings, if little comfort on a very dark day.
- Political Animal – Facts Behind the Tragedies – Remember: This is an elementary school. One report suggested the shootings began in the kindergarten section of the school. Aside from the ineffable tragedy of such young lives lost, you have to figure the traumatization of the survivors will be extraordinary.
I doubt this time we’ll hear many claims that the victims should have themselves been packing guns.
- Robert Walker: What? Discuss Gun Laws? – Yes, Americans must grieve for the victims and their families. Having counseled and dozens of grief-stricken victims and their families during the seven years that I worked on this issue, I know all too well the enormous anguish that they are going through, and I cannot begin to conceive the terrible sense of loss that they must feel. But observing a never-ending political silence about new gun laws will do nothing to diminish their sorrow; it will only ensure that others will suffer a similar fate.
Yes, I fault our political leaders for their lack of courage on this issue, but politicians will not do or say anything about the weakness of America's gun laws until the American people demand it. If your heart go out to the victims of this shooting, it's also time to raise your voice.
- Death in Connecticut – NYTimes.com – Mr. Obama said today that “we have been through this too many times” and “that “we are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
When will that day come? It did not come after the 1999 Columbine shooting, or the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, or the murders in Aurora.
The more that we hear about gun control and nothing happens, the less we can believe it will ever come. Certainly, it will not unless Mr. Obama and Congressional leaders show the courage to make it happen.
- After Newtown, This Has to Be the Time for Gun Control – The Daily Beast – We as a society are hostage to the thugs of the NRA—which actually stands for the National Rampage Association.
Republicans who claim to defend the “right to life” profit politically by defending the moral wrong of a wholesale arsenal of death inflicted on the already living. The religious right that has allied itself with the gun lobby defies Christ’s warning that those who harm the children would be better off thrown into the sea with a millstone around their necks. Shouldn’t the protection of life begin not with a fertilized egg, but with human beings who are truly and fully alive?