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America’s gun obsession claims more victims…

2017 October 4

The pain in my soul is unbearable…

The Las Vegas gunman brought 23 guns into the Mandalay Bay Hotel. At least one of the rifles shown in news photos was reported to be an AR-15, the  modernized American version of the Russian AK47 rapid-fire assault rifle, famed for its reliability and used by many military and recreational shooters today.

Kalashnikov-2mThe firearm was the invention of Mikhail Kalashnikov who, through most of his life, argued that he had developed the weapon to protect his country, and couldn’t be blamed if it was used for other purposes.

Before his death, though, Kalashnikov wrote to the head of the Russian Orthodox Church that “If my assault rifle took people’s lives, it means that I, Mikhail Kalashnikov, son of a farmer and Orthodox Christian, am responsible for people’s deaths. The pain in my soul is unbearable.”

But corporations don’t feel pain, and I doubt if any of the executives or shareholders of America’s gun manufacturers would acknowledge any degree of responsibility for yesterday’s events – or for any of the mass shootings that have made headlines in recent years. For years they have argued that “guns don’t kill people, Lapierepeople kill people.” True enough, but our unregulated and unrestrained firearms industry – bolstered and protected by the lobbyists of the National Rifle Association (Well-paid Executive VP Wayne Lapiere at right) – helps them to do it a hell of a lot faster and more efficiently.

Charting America’s gun crisis

The Guardian has documented a devastating picture of gun violence in the United States, using a simple graphic chart that works backward from Sunday’s massacre in Las Vegas.

According to the publication, “The attack at a country music festival in Las Vegas that left at least 58 people dead is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history – but there were six other mass shootings in America this past week alone.” The article is headlined: “1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days.” That’s a little under five years, so we’re talking about roughly 350 mass killing each year.

“Nvegaso other developed nation comes close to the rate of gun violence in America. Americans own an estimated 265 million guns, more than one gun for every adult. And they are more likely than anywhere else in the so-called developed world to use them to kill or injure their family, friends, and other fellow citizens. Data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive reveals a shocking human toll: there is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter – every nine out of ten days on average.”

Looking just at the one week leading up to the Vegas shootings:

  • On the same day as Las Vegas, three people were killed in Lawrence, Kansas, and two wounded;
  • On the day before Las Vegas, one person was killed and three wounded in Memphis, Tennessee;
  •  Two days before that, one person was killed and three wounded in New Orleans;
  •  Two days before that, two were killed and two wounded in Baltimore, as well as one killed and three wounded in Philadelphia, and four more in Memphis;
  •  Two days before that, one killed and eight wounded in Antioch, Tennessee, as well as one killed and three wounded in Mays Landing, New Jersey, four wounded in Baltimore, and another four wounded in Syracuse, New York.
  • And, skipping over ten more incidents in less that two weeks, way back on September 10th, nine were killed and three wounded in Mays Landing, New Jersey, four wounded in Baltimore, and four wounded in Syracuse, New York.

I’d suggest that everybody reading this go to the Guardian site and scroll slowly through the list. It makes an impact that just hearing the numbers may not. Also check out Tom McCarthy’s Guardian piece on this issue.


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