. . . Thursday September 9, 2004

Murder by Numbness

Why do you think we ignore murder in this country?

Tens of thousands get murdered each year in the U.S. Nearly 30,000 people get killed by firearms. In some American neighborhoods, the threat of gun-related violence is less of a sociological study and more of a personal and ever-present concern.

Yet, it’s never really a story like terrorism or Iraq or Laci Peterson or Janet Jackson’s exposure. Grab a calculator and add up the number of people who have been gunned down in this country since John Kerry was in Vietnam or George W. Bush was or wasn’t in Alabama. Or better yet, since we began operations in Iraq.

Think about this too. People on both sides of the aisle brag about their prowess to protect the American people. Yet they are (as a group, although we know which folks are the worst) ultimately unwilling to renew the Assault Weapons Ban. This even though the law is already incredibly tame and offensively loopholed.

This even though most Americans support the ban. Even though most gun owners support the ban. Even though Americans sit through debates between police chiefs or crime victims on one side and NRA nutjobs on the other.

Seriously. The NRA reps are out there arguing that the law should be dropped because there are plenty of other guns (the very ones they protect) out on the street that are just as powerful as those that fall under the expiring ban. They talk about the number of auto-accident related deaths. They try to question the numbers or to suggest that the 27,000 people shot to death in the last year don’t represent a major problem. They are terrible. And that’s some of their logic. That’s the logic which makes policy in this country. That’s the logic which drives two candidates to have as many gun-toting photo-ops as they can (in between speeches about security and values).

As a culture, we should be sick to our stomachs with shame.

Concentration is important!