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Saturday, December 14, 2013


That's the headline of the December 14, 2013 Denver Post. "Again" in a font size larger than the masthead, with the subheading: "Student gunman dead after targeting teacher: girl, 15, critical." The full story is here.

It happens I was driving south on University, just north of Arapahoe High School yesterday just exactly as this was happening. I was passed by a mobile command unit, and saw all the red lights congregating a few blocks ahead of me, so turned around and avoided it. I didn't find out what had happened until later.

The shooter, an 18 year old student, is said to have posted on Facebook, "the Republican Party: Health Care: Let 'em die. Climate change: Let 'em die. Gun violence: Let 'em die. Women's Rights: Let 'em die. More War: Let 'em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?"

(Addition: the shooter was apparently seeking a specific teacher, "whom students described as a librarian at the school.")

Suzanne sent me this link to a Bill Moyer's site: "Guns in America after Newtown." It includes the following facts:
  • Number of people killed by guns, including homicide, suicide and accidental death since Newton (that have been reported by the media): 11,437
  • Estimated real number of people killed by guns, including homicide, suicide and accidental death since Newtown (using most recent CDC estimates for yearly data): 33,173
  • Total gun deaths in 2010 (the latest year for which there are CDC records): 31,672
  • Number of those who were children or teens: 2,694
  • Number of school shootings since Newtown: 27
  • Number of guns in the US: 310,000,000
  • Number of guns per person: About one gun for every American
  • Countries with more guns per person: None
  • Runner up: Yemen, with about 11 guns for every 20 Yemenis
  • Total spent by the NRA (2011): $231,071,589
  • Total spent by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the largest gun control organization (2011):$2,844,489
  • Number of licensed firearms dealers in the US: 134,997
  • Number of grocery stores in the US: 37,053
So here's an idea. How about every gun shop and gun owner in America is required to have gun insurance? Kind of like how you have to have automobile insurance -- and note that you only have to pay if you own or sell a gun. The purpose? To cover all of those costs associated with the burials of children who shoot each other, medical treatment for collateral victims, and maybe even some of the public costs associated with emergency response. Since gun owners clearly believe more guns are the answer to every question, and since surely they wouldn't want the rest of us to pay for the consequences of that surplus of weapons, I'm confident that the NRA would stand beyond this. Heck, they'd probably sell you the insurance. I don't know if insurance is more profitable than selling the gun in the first place, but it never hurts to diversify the revenue stream. Guns are the gift that just keeps on giving.

Finally, here's another link, from the Public Library Quarterly, Volume 32, Issue 4, 2013, "Can I Bring My Gun? A Fifty-State Survey of Firearm Laws Impacting Policies Prohibiting Handguns in Public Libraries." It happens that the Castle Rock town council will soon be considering whether to approve open carry in all government buildings, like contentious planning meetings and the like. It's so good to know that our elected leaders are keeping their ear to the ground, and looking out for us.


Rick Ashton said...

Jamie, One of the few matters on which the state of Illinois is not hopelessly incompetent is in the attempt to have sensible gun regulation. Under court order, the state a few months ago finally passed a concealed carry law (the last state in the U.S. to have one). The legislation specifically identifies several locations, including public libraries, where concealed carry is prohibited. The library does not have to adopt a policy or do anything else except put a State Police-prescribed decal at the entrance, the familiar red circle and slash superimposed over an image of a pistol. At the opposite extreme, I've been watching with dismay as a group of gun-rights advocates and a group of gun-regulation advocates in my home village of Oak Park have attempted to enter into some kind of reasoned dialog. They could not find enough common ground to agree on a few broad, general statements to publish in the local weekly paper. They finally decided that the fact that their meetings did not end in shouting matches was some kind of an achievement. --Rick Ashton

Jamie said...

Thanks, Rick. I think a reasoned dialog should be possible - rather than the race to see who can be first to accuse the others of being Nazis. I'd like to see a little more dialog around two ideas: first, how can we reduce the NUMBER of guns in this country, since the oversupply really seems to be the problem. Second, could we talk about this militia idea some more? People with home weapons do NOT constitute a militia.