There are so many great organizations working to change this trajectory of endless and increasing gun violence in America. The current situation seems bleak at times, but we must not give up hope because the situation is changing and it will get better! For those that want to learn more and do their own research I thought it would be helpful to post some resources for further study and also brief synopsis of recent history.
First, lets focus on some of the bad news
After the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, and the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, in 2012 a mass shooting occurred at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, a Denver suburb, killing 12 people—the youngest a 6-year-old girl—and injuring at least 70 others.
The Aurora shooting took place shortly after the start of a crowded midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, which opened across the United States that day. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado since the 1999 Columbine shooting.
Less than 6 months later On December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza killed his mother and then killed 20 first graders and six school employees before turning a gun on himself.
The Sandy Hook shooting was, at the time, the second-deadliest mass shooting in the United States after the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech, in which a gunman killed 32 students and teachers before committing suicide.
As a result of guns flooding into the streets and the arming of citizens with excessive amounts of guns, ammunition, magazines, ghost guns, assault weapons, everything has escalated and the police force has become more militarized in response to our heavily-armed citizenry. This is more the case in states with lax gun laws, but also in bordering states because of the “iron pipeline” with guns being transported across state lines. Perhaps it’s getting to the point where we’ll need metal detectors at all state borders like going through an airport check-in line! But where do we draw the line? This isn’t a well-regulated militia, but a disorganized, unregulated flooding of guns into the general populace with lack of training, background checks or even basic knowledge of safe gun storage. How can we regulate cars, children’s toys, lead paint, and all of the other dangers that humans face and yet make it easier for a teenager to buy an assault rifle than buy a can of beer? Gun Violence is now the number one cause of death for children and teens in America!
Gun violence is now the number one cause of death for children and teens in America!
The only answer seems to be that the gun lobby (NRA, gun manufacturers like Smith & Wesson, and Daniel Defense, want it this way because they are making $9 billion annually thanks to their fear-mongering and misinformation, lies and propaganda scaring people into thinking that guns make them tougher, cooler, stronger, safer, and dare I say manlier? On top of this, easy access to guns makes this a recipe for disaster.
All humans are walking masses of emotion and ego. If we were all smart and logical like the Vulcans on Star Trek, having all of these guns in the general populace might be okay, but we are irrational and our frontal cortex and reasoning centers shut down when we perceive a threat. It doesn’t matter if the threat is real or not, if our brains perceive something as a threat, our rational reasoning centers shut down, road rage incidents being a perfect example of this.
The mass shooting at The Topps Supermarket in Buffalo, NY and Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and then July 4th in Highland Park, IL have been added to the endless list of mass shootings. As of July 5th, 2022, there have been 309 mass shootings in America! There is now a Gun Violence Archive database that can show all of the shootings by the day!
The Gun Violence Archive explains that “Mass Shootings are, for the most part an American phenomenon. While they are generally grouped together as one type of incident they are several with the foundation definition being that they have a minimum of four victims shot, either injured or killed, not including any shooter who may also have been killed or injured in the incident.“
As of my writing this post, the deadliest mass shooting in US history occurred on Oct. 1, 2017 in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort towards the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Paddock murdered 58 people and injured over 500, killing himself before a SWAT team entered his hotel room.
What kind of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is this? We can’t be free to go to the movies, a music concert, supermarket, walk down the street, ride the subway, go to school or basically do anything in public without worry about the increasing chance of being shot — or even while sitting at home near a window! So many mass shootings in America it has become difficult to even keep track of them!
Mass shootings are horrendous as they are tend to get all of the media attention, but they are only part of the story. So many other tragic statistics show that more guns don’t make us safer. I learned that 6 out of 10 gun deaths are attributed to suicide and the chance of a gun owner shooting themselves, a friend or family member are far greater than the gun actually being used for self defense purposes from an attack or intruder.
Not only this, but in terms of the monetary drain to our economy, Everytown’s new research on the economic cost of gun violence is shocking.
In an average year, gun violence in America kills 40,000 people, wounds twice as many, and has an economic consequence of $557 billion to the United States, of which much is paid by the US Taxpayer! Right now, federal, state, and local governments are spending a combined average of nearly $35 million each day to deal with the aftermath of gun violence across the country.
Meanwhile, gun manufacturers rake in around $9 billion every year and face virtually no consequences for their role in enabling violence.
As awful and bleak as this all seems, I still have hope that we can “turn the tide” on the gun violence epidemic.
And now for some of the good news
Everytown and Moms Demand Action and other gun sense organizations, like Sandy Hook Promise, The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, The Brady Campaign, along with smaller local and national gun violence prevention and gun sense law promoting organizations have been making a big difference!
Finally this year, in spite of the recent Supreme Court rulings, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Steve Dettelbach as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. As ATF Director, Steve Dettelbach will play a crucial role in making our communities safer by enforcing our gun laws, taking on white supremacists, and going after rogue gun dealers who are flooding our streets with illegal guns.
Also in 2022, The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed in the house and senate and will be the first major federal gun safety legislation to become law in nearly 26 years. Included in this act, state Red Flag Laws now allow for ERPO or Extreme Risk Protection Orders to be obtained for people that are at increased risk of perpetrating gun violence and so many other sensible measures can be taken that all people can agree on, whether they are gun owners or non-gun owners.
These victories are watershed moments for the gun safety movement and further proof that when we elect the right people, we can make progress to pass sensible gun laws and overcome the gridlock in Congress over this life-or-death issue.
As an individual, we can’t often do as much as we’d like to make a difference, but collectively, we can “move mountains.”
Organizations and resources for learning more about the gun sense movement and how you can get involved in helping
The Everytown Victory Fund is working to elect candidates who will hold them accountable. We need more leaders who are going to fight for the stronger gun laws we need to save lives. And if candidates put the gun industry’s interests ahead of public safety, then we’re going to defeat them at the ballot box.
The midterm elections are in just 100 days (as of July 31) —and we need to be ready now. Your purchase of my song, The New Normal will help elect candidates who will fight for gun safety. This can make all the difference in competitive races up and down the ballot.
A full version of The New Normal with spoken word along with a radio edit version was produced and recorded as a fundraiser for the Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund to help elect candidates for office that aren’t beholden to the NRA’s “guns everywhere” agenda and don’t take money from the NRA and the gun manufacturers’ lobby.