Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Sounds of Agony

Guns in America: Is it Now Time to Talk
On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7, at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., about 65 miles northeast of New York City.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The day after the shootings, officials said that Mr. Lanza forced his way into the school, apparently defeating an intercom system that was meant to keep people out.
The killing spree had begun earlier at the house where Mr. Lanza had lived with his mother, Nancy Lanza, who was a gun enthusiast. There, he shot her in the face, making her his first victim. One of her guns was apparently used to take her life, authorities said. Then, leaving her dead after taking three guns that belonged to her, he climbed into her car for the short drive to the school. Two of the guns were semiautomatic pistols; the other was a semiautomatic rifle.
Once Mr. Lanza had forced his way in, wearing combat gear, the massacre unfolded with chilling speed, as he opened fire in one classroom and then another. The above item ran from the NYTimes.com website which was another sad reminder of the tragedy that took place last week. It was another senseless and violent use of a semi-automatic weapon that resulted in death. Is this another case that will become an afterthought or will the nation finally be prepared to talk about what is to be done if anything. In the meantime, as the nation mourns, gun sales continue to soar as we now know the following:
Most estimates range between 39% and 50% of US households having at least one gun (that's about 43-55 million households). The estimates for the number of privately owned guns range from 190 million to 300 million. Removed those that skew the stats for their own purposes the best estimates are about 45% or 52 million of American households owning 260 million guns).

Some recent estimates:
  • A 2011 Gallup poll estimates that 47 percent of US households own a gun.
  • A 2007 Small Arms Survey estimates there are 88.7 guns per 100 Americans (#1 in the world for guns per capita)
  • A 2010 estimate from the NRA states "Privately owned firearms in the U.S.: Approaching 300 million, including nearly 100 million handguns. The number of firearms rises over 4 million annually." (source: wiki.answers.com )

So as we await the President's arrival, the town to bury its dead and those with outcries that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," we as a nation will again agonize and ponder how many more incidents such as this will it take to move the electorate to action. Even though this mass shooting has shaken the nation at its core, daily in cities such as Chicago, LA, ATL and even in Little Rock, the use of guns in violent acts continues causes mayhem and carnage. Therefore as the killing goes on...is it one more...two more...five more or will we accept this as the norm for our lives and communities. The debate rages on...


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