116,414 people injured by non-fatal gunshot injuries
(It should also be noted that mass shootings, as horrific and tragic as they are, only account for a small percentage of the firearm related homicides each year)
In addition to those numbers, Everytown For Gun Safety finds that an average of 7 kids and teens (up to 19 years of age) are killed each day, intimate partner violence leads to the monthly death of 50 women (average figure), Black men are 13 times more likely than non-Hispanic white men to be killed by gun violence, and the gun homicide rate in the United States is 25 times greater than world’s most “high income” countries (by the World Bank).
Be it injuries sustained via firearms, mass shootings, or suicide, it is clear as day that the United States has a massive problem with gun violence. A problem that needs to be seriously addressed by political officials at all levels of the government, gun control advocates, and non-governmental organizations dedicated to reforming our country’s gun laws with the goal of reducing gun violence. Unfortunately, there exists tremendous opposition to such a sensible goal: the National Rifle Association. Founded in 1871 in the wake of the Civil War, the NRA originally had one goal: improving the marksmanship skills of northerners. The founders of the group felt that southern soldiers had superior marksmanship skills, contributing to the length of the war. It is hard to believe this, but for several consecutive decades (beginning in the 1920s), the NRA was a strong advocate for gun control laws:
You know how the NRA and other gundamentalists love to trot out their reality challenged assertion “only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun”? NRA president Wayne LaPierre or NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch are almost guaranteed to be right out there in front of cameras on those blue moon occasions when a gunman stops another gunman. They even love to get out there when an incident of gun violence happens so that– like vultures–they can take advantage of a tragedy to push people to buy more guns. I have an extraordinarily difficult time believing that LaPierre and Loesch are ignorant of the fact that more guns equals more (not less) crime. That evidence has been out there for some time, but of course, to make that knowledge widespread would likely impact the sales of firearms. And the NRA doesn’t want that. Another thing the NRA doesn’t want is for the little bubble they live in to burst when reality strikes. Like it did today, when a gunman shot and killed multiple people at a Waffle House in Nashville, TN, only to be disarmed by an UNarmed man. They were likely just as unhappy to hear that as they were to hear that the good guy–James Shaw, Jr–is Black (among the many boogeymen the NRA use as part of their fear mongering tactics are African-Americans).
Normally when I write one of these entries, I highlight multiples cases of reckless, haphazard, and outright dangerous examples of people wielding firearms. From playing with guns while intoxicated to people being irresponsible in their handling of guns in a public setting to instances of recklessness such as leaving a loaded gun in reach of a child, there are innumerable cases that demonstrate the lack of responsibility on the part of many people in this country. People who probably think of themselves as “responsible gun owners”.
Untrained or poorly trained civilians are not the only ones who demonstrate insufficient care in the handling of firearms though. There are times when law enforcement officials themselves–people who go through ongoing, rigorous training in the handling of firearms–demonstrate their lack of care. One particularly egregious example of this happened yesterday: a reserve police officer who is also a teacher at Seaside High School in California, recklessly handled a gun, resulting in a student being injured…
In everyday conversation, I’ve almost completely stopped using intelligence referencing ableist slurs. I think I’ve slipped up once or twice here or there, but overall it’s one of those things where I catch myself before I (as an example) refer to someone as stu*id. It’s important to me to not use such language for two reasons:
To characterize someone as stu*id, idiot*c, or r*tarded based on their behavior or something they’ve said is to attribute the words or deeds to a lack of intelligence. Pretty much no one is capable of making snap assessments of the intelligence of others, so right there is reason enough to stop using these slurs as they impugn the intellect of their target. Moreover, using such language is inaccurate. For example, there’s a YouTube vlogger who records himself eating some of the hottest peppers out there. During a super slow period one day last week, I had a guest show me one of the videos. Some people look at the dude and think “He’s fucking stu*id for eating those peppers”. I posit that it has little, if anything to do with his intelligence. In fact, it looks to me like he’s a dude who knows that there is an audience for outlandish, outrageous, and even potentially dangerous behavior. I suspect he’s doing it for the hits and/or the attention (no idea if he makes money off his videos, but if he does, that fits with my theory). What he’s not doing is eating these ridiculously hot peppers bc he lacks intelligence. “Foolish”, “Outlandish”, “Bizarre”, “Potentially Hazardous”…these are all words that better (and more precisely) describe the actions of hot pepper eating YouTube guy.
Splash damage is a real thing and its worth avoiding the use of language that causes it. In the context of ableist language, splash damage is caused to unintended parties through the use of ableist slurs. As mentioned in #1, to call POTUS45 an idi*t bc he wants to build a border wall is imprecise (ignorant, laughable, or absurd are terms that more accurately describe him), and of course we can’t assess his intelligence based on his support for that inane wall. But using an ableist slur to describe him is metaphorically throwing a wide net. To call him an idi*t is draws an implicit connection between his idea (the wall) and the speakers’ assessment of his intelligence. Basically, it’s saying “you came up with this horribly racist idea bc you’re not smart”. Chitler is not the only one affected by the slur bc there are people who have lower than average intelligence as a result of cognitive impairments or deficiencies. These are people who are already treated horribly by society and face stigma and discrimination bc of their cognitive disabilities. We shouldn’t compound that by implicitly claiming that harmful or bigoted ideas are the result of cognitive impairment.
Like I said, for the most part, I’ve eliminated such words from my everyday use. There are times, however, when I read something that is just so mind-boggling that
out of sheer reflex, certain terms spring to mind (although that’s where they stay). Maine gubernatorial hopeful Shawn Moody recently uttered some words that had me reflexively grasping for some of those old, abandoned slurs. He thinks teachers should use fire extinguishers to stop school shooters (yes, you read that right):
The last thing I remember reading about before I went to sleep Sunday night (early Monday, technically) was the headline of a USA Today article about police officers responding to reports of an active shooter in Las Vegas. I hoped then that the shooter would either kill himself (in the United States, mass shooters are invariablymen) or be killed before wounding anyone. I awoke Monday morning to find that the shooter–Stephen Paddock–had killed over 50 people and injured more than 400 (before killing himself) in the greatest mass shooting in modern United States history. Throughout the course of my workday, I was able to keep an eye on the news (we had it on one tv and it was slow for a while) and saw the number of casualties rise to 59 dead and 527 injured. Country music artist Jason Aldean had just taken the stage for day 3 of the Route 91 music festival when the shooting began. An estimated 22,000 concertgoers were in the crowd when the shooting began, which maximized the number of people Paddock could kill.
As with the 272 previous mass shootings this year, there are many questions about the killer and his motives. In the days, weeks, and months ahead, authorities will likely uncover some answers (though not all, since Paddock killed himself). For many people, one of the most important questions–“Why did this happen?”–has an easy answer. One that is apparent even before the dust has settled. It will surprise few people to learn that once again, mental illness is blamed for gun violence.
On a regular basis, individuals across the U.S. demonstrate that they are not responsible
gun owners. Oh, they may have passed a background check (or not, bc there are flaws in the federal background check requirement) and obtained a license and/or a permit, but have they demonstrated-prior to owning a gun-that they aren’t an aggressive individual with a hair-trigger temper? Have they shown knowledge of how to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence? Do they know how to properly clean a gun or that firearms and alcohol are a bad mix? Do they know how to correctly store a gun (especially in a home with children)? Sadly, a great many people don’t (or if they do, they disregard this knowledge). And those that don’t should never be allowed to own firearms bc they are irresponsible. Here are five examples of irresponsible gun owners: Continue reading “Irresponsible Gun Owners of America 2.6.17”→
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, which means millions of people will carve turkeys and hams, eat mac n cheese and yams, moan and groan that they ate too much while going back for seconds (or thirds–don’t judge me), and spend entirely too long washing dishes (I think we used damn near every pot and pan in the kitchen).
Unfortunately, while many of us are filling our bellies with lavish Thanksgiving Day dinners, some people will never get to celebrate this holiday again, thanks to a horrific incident of gun violence at the Juice Bowl:
The United States is saturated with guns. We have a population of more than 300 million and there are nearly enough guns in this country for every child, woman, and man. Thankfully out of that 300 million, only a minority own guns (source). Unfortunately, among
that minority exists a number of people who are irresponsible gun owners. Whether its improperly cleaning a gun, carrying a gun into a bar, shooting someone’s pet out of anger, shooting a spouse because they don’t perform housework, or shooting someone because your religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of clamato juice, many gun owners demonstrate a lack of responsible handling of firearms. Here are five recent examples:
Five days after a misogynistic, anti-choice terrorist shot and killed 3 people and injured 9 more at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, another mass shooting happened today. In San Bernardino, California. At Inland Regional Center-a center that serves more than 30,000 people with developmental disabilities (as well as their families)-three heavily armed terrorists shot and killed 14 people and injured 18. According to authorities, the gunmen looked to be on a mission. They came to the center during a banquet on a mission to commit an act of domestic terrorism-one of the deadliest we’ve had in the United States since the Newtown school massacre in 2012 (yes, we have that here in the United States and it’s a significantly greater threat to the citizens of this country than Islamic extremists).
And it has been less than a week. Sigh.
After the initial shooting, the attackers fled, beginning a manhunt that lasted several hours and ending in a firefight with the police. Two of the three suspects were shot and killed. The third suspect is in custody. All of them had assault rifles and handguns and wore ‘assault-style’ clothes. It is too early to know the motives of the terrorists, but I suspect we’ll find out in the days and weeks ahead.
One thing I do know is that incidents like this Just. Keep. Happening. and as of this writing, we’ve had 355 mass shootings this year and it’s only day #336. On average, we’ve had more than one mass shooting per day this year.
The United States is saturated with guns. We have a population of more than 300 million and there are nearly enough guns in this country for every child, woman, and man. Thankfully out of that 300 million, only a minority own guns (source). Unfortunately, among that minority exists a number of people who are irresponsible gun owners. Whether its improperly cleaning a gun, carrying a gun into a bar, shooting someone’s pet out of anger, shooting a spouse because they don’t perform housework, or shooting someone because your religious beliefs prohibit the consumption of clamato juice, many gun owners demonstrate a lack of responsible handling of firearms. Here are five recent examples: