Shooting rampages and terrorism are two horrible realities we live with today. Terrorism strikes a deep fear within us and makes us question if we are safe in our own country even though our powerful military forces and police are protecting us. Mass shootings also fill us with fear and cause us to doubt our safety in our own neighborhoods. That is where we gather every day with family and friends, go for a run or get a bite to eat at the restaurant down the street. Let’s work to ensure that neither terrorism nor shooting rampages are a threat to us.
Next you’ll see five important issues you should think through thoroughly when it comes to taking your stance on gun control. According to a recent Gallup poll only 23 percent of woman in the US reported they are gun owners. We should take advantage of the power we have as voters and the power we have as a group to control the things we can control. Don’t sit back and watch things happen. Do something!
Woman should know the numbers.
Are we any more safe since we learned some very difficult lessons from the Newtown school shooting rampage on Dec. 14, 2012? Have we made any changes or put any new initiatives into action?
Independent studies speculate there have been between 2,873 and 3,481 additional gun-related deaths since the Sandy Hook massacre. The numbers reported by different groups can vary, yet it is evident that people are being killed by guns every day.
It takes many government and law enforcement agencies and scientific researchers months, if not years, to compile and validate the statistics.
By combining social networking and its own resources, Slate, an online daily magazine, is partnering with the Twitter feed @GunDeaths to provide the interactive feature, “Gun Deaths in America Since Newtown.” Slate admits these numbers aren’t official. “Nevertheless, we at Slate want to assemble the data as best we can.” they state on their “About this Project” web page. Slate writes that many statistics we see are “based on the number of gun injuries and deaths recorded by the CDC in 2008 and 2009, the most recent years for which confirmed statistics are available. It seems shocking that when guns are in the headlines every day, there’s no one attempting to create a real-time chronicle of the deaths attributable to guns in the United States.”
Another source tracking gun-related deaths in 2013 is Periscopic, based in Portland, Oregon. Also using crowdsourcing techniques, Periscopic estimates the 2013 gun-related death toll at 2,873.
Terrorist attacks, shooting rampages. It’s too much to tackle.
Can shooting rampages like those in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO and Tuscon, AZ be compared to terrorist attacks like the recent Boston Marathon bombing and recent attempted terrorist attacks (see Global Terrorism Database) in the US? I won’t attempt to compare the two. Unfortunately, we must put as much effort and as many resources into preventing mass shootings and gun violence as we put into preventing terrorist attacks. Our personal safety and the safety of our family and friends are at risk in both situations. Terrorists and mass murderers attack us when we least expect it and where we feel safest. If you’re an avid runner, your should be able to train for and run in a marathon without worrying if a bomb will go off at the finish line. When a blockbuster movie is released, we should be able to gather with friends and go to the theatre to watch our favorite characters on the big screen. Someone walking into the theatre with a gun, spraying bullets around the auditorium, should not be a risk we have to take to see a movie.
Working together, we can have a great impact on reducing mass shootings and gun-related deaths. Using the power of the vote and the power of outspoken grassroots groups, it is possible to make sweeping changes in the US.
The ability of individual citizens greatly reducing the chance of terrorist attacks in America is a reasonable goal. If each of us stay aware of our immediate surroundings and pay attention to suspicious circumstances, we can work with existing private security personnel, law enforcement officials and government agencies to ensure our safety.
According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s website securetransit.org/prevent-terrorism, “Our national security is a shared responsibility and we each need to do our part to extend the reach of law enforcement and security personnel. Part of that is maintaining an open flow of communication between you and the [local authorities].”
People in the UK and Europe, unfortunately, have had to take precautions against terrorism in their daily lives for many years. A visit to England or Paris will open your eyes to people at the train and metro stations watching what people put into trash containers and openly noticing oddly-dressed people. Here is a link to the London Metropolitan Police webpage that urges citizens to help prevent terrorism.
American’s are already busy, but anti-terrorism precautions have to become part of our lives. We’ve made it through the changes in airport security with the TSA since 9/11 in 2001. We should continue to make adjustments that keep us all save, even when there isn’t a police officer or guard near us.
According to a 2011 report released by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) “From 1991-2000, the United States averaged 41.3 terrorist attacks per year. After 2001, the average number of U.S. attacks decreased to 16 per year from 2002-2010.”
The effectiveness of gun control laws
Between the years 2009 and 2012, nearly 100 state laws were passed in the US making it easier to obtain, carry and conceal firearms, according to Mother Jones magazine. Mother Jones incorporated their own statistics of mass shootings for 2011 and 2012 with the statistics of researcher Pete Blair, an expert on criminal justice at Texas State University, for mass shootings in 2009 and 2010.
The results showed that “an unprecedented spike in these shootings came during the same four-year period the relaxed gun control laws were passed,” reports writer Mark Follman.
Pete Blair, who also advises law enforcement officials and has conducted extensive research on gun rampages in workplaces, schools, and other public locations, has a book coming out in July, 2013. Blair’s book confirms that public shooting rampages have spiked over the last few years. In addition his book states that many of the attackers were heavily armed and that none of the shootings was stopped by an ordinary citizen using a gun.
The number of gun-related shootings may go up when gun control laws are relaxed, but how effective can gun control laws really be? Many people on both sides of the debate agree that owning an automatic weapon is just too dangerous. In a January 28 interview on the CNN Piers Morgan show, Newt Gingrich stated “I think .50-caliber machine guns would be bizarre. I’m happy to say that those rules seem to work fairly well.”
Which rules are those that Gingrich agrees “work fairly well?” Jay Bookman, a writer and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, points out that after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Congress passed a law regulating ownership of automatic weapons. Unless it was manufactured and registered with the government before 1986, it became illegal to own an automatic weapon. Now, anyone wanting to own a pre-1986 automatic weapon has to go through a complete FBI background check, including having their fingerprints added to the system. If the buyer refuses to go through this background check, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and local law enforcement will not allow the buyer to acquire the firearm.
“As the word ‘registry’ implies, the federal government knows who owns every one of these weapons. Except among the hard-core militia types, it is an uncontroversial and accepted form of regulation,” Jay Bookman writes.
The right number of guns to own
It is estimated that 88% of Americans own firearms, not including the police or military. That means there are about 270,000,000 firearms out there (that we know of) according to GunPolicy.org. If you’re curious, the same source estimates the military possesses 3,054,553 firearms, and that law enforcement officials have 1,150,000. Can that be correct?
We have over 300,000,000 weapons, firearms in this country. That’s almost as big as the population, former New Jersey governor James Florio told NJTV reporter Michael Aron.
Data from a variety of sources including the Congressional Research Service, NRA and others confirm the 300 million figure. There’s nearly one gun for every person in the United States. The Truth-O-Meter on a website affiliated with NJTV says “We rate his claim True.”
Women and gun-related deaths
If you are a woman, it is important that you think about and decide whether you are comfortable living with a gun in your home. Don’t put off making that decision. If you are comfortable living around hand guns, rifles and shotguns, the most commonly found firearms in American homes, be sure that you are trained to load and unload the weapon and know how to fire it correctly.
If you are not comfortable around guns and live with a partner, male or female, be certain to ask if he or she owns a firearm. The same applies to women who live with friends and roommates. It will be too late to make up your mind if the gun comes out and you haven’t prepared yourself. It is your right to live without a gun in your home and you have the choice to leave if a gun is present, or ask the other person to leave. Not letting you know that there is a gun in the house is not only dishonest, it is a way of controlling and holding power over you. That means your partner is making the decision for you that there will be a gun in your home.
A report from 1997, published by James E. Bailey, examined violent gun-related deaths of women while they were at home.
Researchers discovered that when one or more guns was kept in the home, the risk of a woman being murdered increased by more than three times. The risk of suicide among women increased even more, nearly five times.
A study released in the year 2000, the FBI Supplementary Homicide Report, showed that half of the female homicide victims murdered that year were killed with a firearm in cases where the weapon could be identified. If you live with a man you may find it interesting that more than five times as many women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance than by a stranger in 2000. When the victim was female, a man was responsible 95% of the time.