Gun Violence Continues, And Continues, And…

The carnage from gun violence has made headlines over the past few days from Wisconsin to California to the streets of Chicago.  The weak-minded resort to their usual “thoughts and prayers” chant after the news reports of gun violence.   It was gut-wrenching to hear of a six-year-old being the victim of an assault weapon in the hands of a ‘regular American citizen who had the legal right to buy it’.

But the trite words are nauseating in the face of the facts.

The saying ‘thoughts and prayers’ has been co-opted by the gun lobby to keep the church from taking action so they can increase their profits,” Ms. Hollas, who was installed in her new role by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) earlier this month, said in a recent interview. “While all that we do as Christians should be rooted in worship and prayer, it should not stay there. It is like breathing — worship and prayer is the in-breath, and action is the out-breath.

Not for the first time do I argue for the facts and science to be again allowed as a basis for the nation when constructing gun laws.  The NRA has barred the collection of needed data about gun violence by buying and controlling too many members of congress.

The numbers of gun violence statistics are staggering.  136,000 Americans are harmed or killed annually by gun violence.   Roughly 40,000 of that total are in coffins each year in this nation due to the NRA arm-twisting the legislative process.

Worse, the death side of those numbers are growing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in an upward trend that began in 2015. While mass shootings in places like Parkland, Florida dominate headlines, people being shot and killed singly or by twos or threes, make up the bulk of the victims.

Lets be most clear.  Guns are a clear and present danger.  We have about 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the nation.  More than enough to put one in the hands of every man, woman and child.  That means we have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world.

And more angry people who showcase their volatility day by day.

Where I am heading here is the only logical conclusion that can be reached.  Gun violence must be viewed as a public health problem.   The impact it has on emergency services and medical facilitates is very real.  But to prevent more gun deaths means we need to have data on the tens of thousands who die each year from these weapons.  To make well designed gun control laws means we need to have the science behind the slaughters. Yet unlike other pressing health threats, Americans have few ideas about the most effective prevention strategies because there has been almost no large-scale research on the issue.

Congress must roll back the NRA-inspired restrictions on the data collection of gun violence.