I've been trying to not weigh in on this one. But I don't think I can write about anything else until I get this off my chest...
Although it's been more than a week since we first learned of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I can't seem to get through a single day without thinking about what happened, why it happened, and of course the debate over gun control that is sure to monopolize a lot of lawmakers' time next year.
Reading about the victims and the victims' families has nearly brought me to tears so many times over the past week.
And reading the opinion pieces about gun control and the lack of mental health support in this country has been beyond frustrating.
If you're a regular reader of these pages, you know my thoughts on the Second Amendment and the responsibility of Americans to defend that Amendment.
But with this tragedy still so fresh in our minds, I don't want to spend the next few minutes writing a diatribe about the Second Amendment. And I don't think I need to. You know where I stand.
Instead, what I want to talk about is the bigger picture that few in the mainstream media have been willing to address...
It's an issue I believe is at the heart of America's gun violence problem.
The Bigger Picture
In 2011 there were 8,583 gun-related murders in the United States. More than 8,000 are expected for 2012.
And that doesn't include those gun-related homicides that don't get included in year-end totals. There are likely thousands more that go unreported every year — some of which are intentionally omitted by unethical government employees looking to cook the books in an effort to create the illusion of a “safer” city or state.
Of course, even one gun-related murder — really any kind of murder, for that matter — is a tragedy.
But what's most frustrating is the way we deal with this gun-related violence reality as a nation.
There is no doubt that we live in a violent society. But it seems like we only pay attention after we witness a mass shooting. These are horrible events that absolutely highlight a problem we have as a nation and as a society.
However, there's a bigger picture here that few are willing to address.
And this bigger picture is the source for nearly all of the gun-related violence in this country.
In 2012 there have been sixteen mass shootings, leaving 88 people dead.
88 sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, cousins, co-workers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents stolen from the ones they loved and who loved them.
These mass shootings have been defined as multi-victim shootings where those killed were chosen indiscriminately, and have taken place in movie theaters, spas, courthouses, churches, elementary schools, and at sporting events.
So it's not even remotely unexpected that with each mass shooting tragedy, many folks will question the availability of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
But here's something that we, as a nation, should be questioning...
If 88 innocent lives have been taken because of mass shootings, that means more than 8,000 other people were killed as a result of gun violence — but in different, non-mass shooting situations.
Let me explain...
Guns Aren't Illiterate, Unemployed, and Strung Out
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know where the majority of these gun-related deaths occur. Most are not in our suburban schools, movie theaters, and high-rise office suites...
No, most are in the streets of our most violent cities and in areas where there are specific commonalities, no matter where you go in this country.
What are those commonalities?
The districts and neighborhoods where most of the nation's murders happen are plagued by broken homes, third- and fourth-generation welfare families, high unemployment, low literacy rates, rampant drug abuse, and limited opportunities for kids to spend their time constructively.
These are the ingredients for a violent society. Yet it's this part of society that most of us never see or hear about.
All we see are the numbers at the end of the year...
Here's a list of some of the nation's most violent cities:
|City||Total Homicides (2011)|
In these ten cities alone, 2,276 Americans were tragically killed last year.
These aren't just numbers, my friend... These are real people with real families. And their lives are no less important than the lives of those lost in mass shootings that the mainstream media rushes to cover — and that gun control advocates use to further their goal of restricting gun rights of responsible gun owners.
But rest assured, the majority of those 2,276 people that have been the victims of gun violence in our most dangerous cities were not murdered by those carrying legally-obtained firearms.
Now, I don't know how this is going to play out in Washington next year, but I do know there are a lot of folks who have now decided that nearly 10,000 gun-related deaths in the United States is not something we can brush aside any longer.
And I agree.
My hope, however, is that we are honest about what the real problem is and how we can fix it.
I hope we are honest about where most of these gun-related homicides are happening — and more important, why they continue to happen — and how we can help create environments where continued gun-related violence cannot continue to breed.
And my hope is we can do so without infringing upon the rights of responsible gun owners.
As far as whether or not assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should be available for legal gun owners, well, let me know what you think.
After all, here at Wealth Daily, we consider our readers — YOU — a part of our community. And your voice is just as important as the one that puts these thoughts in front of you every week.
Live honorably, live free...
for Freedom Watch
P.S. Worth noting: Detroit has a 9.3% jobless rate and a 47% illiteracy rate. Homicides this year have exceeded 2011 numbers, and the number of rapes, robberies, and assaults are 5x the national average. There is a much stronger correlation between violent crime and societal shortcomings than there is between violent crime and the ability for responsible, law-abiding gun owners to legally purchase firearms.