To the editor: Who of us hasn’t thought about gun violence after the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso over the Aug. 3 weekend? CBS news was reporting a total of 250 mass shootings in 2019.
The definition of a mass shooting is an incident with four or more people being killed or injured. An online Wikipedia article lists every mass shooting this year with the date, location, number killed, number injured and description of what happened. After reading this list, my guess is less than 10 of these shootings are the high profile cases that make the national news where a random gunman pulls out an assault rifle and starts shooting.
The list shows that most of these mass shootings are more mundane and can happen anywhere. I found about 34 cases of mass shootings at parties, 25 cases of arguments ending in mass shootings, 20 or so mass shootings at bars, seven at parks and playgrounds, 10 related to suicide plus numerous cases related to drive by shootings or home invasions, and even mass shootings at weddings, funerals, baby showers and “vigils.”
The Wikipedia total was roughly 1,200 people injured or killed in mass shootings as of Aug. 2019.
But mass shootings are only the tip of the iceberg. 113,000 people per year are shot by the 400 million guns owned by civilians. Harvard School of Public Health data shows that easier access to guns results in more shootings. And the fact is that our politicians are making it easier for anyone to buy a gun and take it anywhere.
Texas has new laws allowing anyone with a permit to take a gun into church or onto school property if locked in a car. (I find it interesting that these politicians don’t allow guns where they work and have guards and metal detectors to keep them safe).
The No. 1 goal of any politician is to get re-elected, and the majority of people who vote don’t want any restrictions on guns. So unless more people care, nothing is going to change. For now keep up the “thoughts and prayers,” assume anyone you meet could be carrying a gun and could use it if you say or do the wrong thing. Treat people accordingly and odds are you will be safe.
Unless you or someone you love is one of the unlucky 113,000.