Steady Acts Of Violence

When they are becoming both increasingly more common and increasingly more severe, can we really call them random anymore? Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward.

Here are just 15 examples from 2007-2011:

  • April 2007 – Student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 15 others at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, before shooting himself, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the United States after 2000.
  • August 2007 – Three Delaware State University students were shot and killed in “execution style” by a 28-year-old and two 15-year-old boys. A fourth student was shot and stabbed.
  • December 2007 – A 20-year-old man killed nine people and injured five others in a shopping center in Omaha, Nebraska.
  • December 2007 – A woman and her boyfriend shot dead six members of her family on Christmas Eve in Carnation, Washington.
  • February 2008 – A shooter who is still at large tied up and shot six women at a suburban clothing store in Chicago, leaving five of them dead and the remaining one injured.
  • February 2008 – A man opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, killing five students and wounding 16 others before laying down his weapon and surrendering.
  • September 2008 – A mentally ill man who was released from jail one month earlier shot eight people in Alger, Washington, leaving six of them dead and the rest two wounded.
  • December 2008 – A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit opened fire at a family Christmas party in Covina, California, then set fire on the house and killed himself. Police later found nine people dead in the debris of the house.
  • March 2009 – A 28-year-old laid-off worker opened fire while driving a car through several towns in Alabama, killing 10 people.
  • March 2009 – A heavily armed gunman shot dead eight people, many of them elderly and sick people, in a private-owned nursing home in North Carolina.
  • March 2009 – Six people were shot dead in a high-grade apartment building in Santa Clara, California.
  • April 2009 – A man shot dead 13 people at a civic center in Binghamton, New York.
  • July 2009 – Six people, including one student, were shot in a drive-by shooting at a community rally on the campus of Texas Southern University, Houston.
  • November 2009 – U.S. army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.
  • February 2010 – A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, killing three colleagues and wounding three others.
  • January 2011 – A gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people including a 9-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.

It’s quite a few more than you thought, huh? Sadly, it’s only a brief list too. There were numerous others sandwiched in there as well. There have already been 16 cases of mass shootings in 2012 alone. Random you say? That’s an average of 1 every 3 weeks.

  • February 22, 2012—Five people were killed in at a Korean health spa in Norcross, Georgia, when a man got into an argument and opened fire inside the facility.
  • February 26, 2012—Multiple gunmen began firing into a nightclub crown in Jackson, Tennessee, killing one person and injuring 20 others.
  • February 27, 2012—Three students at Chardon High School in rural Ohio were killed when a classmate opened fire.
  • March 8, 2012—Two people were killed and seven wounded at a psychiatric hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when a gunman entered the hospital with two semiautomatic handguns and began firing.
  • March 31, 2012—A gunman opened fire on a crowd of mourners at a North Miami, Florida, funeral home, killing two people and injuring 12 others.
  • April 2, 2012—A 43-year-old former student at Oikos University in Oakland, California, walked into his former school and killed seven people, “execution-style.” Three people were wounded.
  • April 6, 2012—Two men went on a deadly shooting spree in Tulsa, Oklahoma, shooting black men at random in an apparently racially motivated attack. Three men died and two were wounded.
  • May 29, 2012—A man in Seattle, Washington, opened fire in a coffee shop and killed five people and then himself.
  • July 9, 2012—At a soccer tournament in Wilmington, Delaware, three people were killed, including a 16-year-old player and the event organizer, when multiple gunmen began firing shots, apparently targeting the organizer.
  • July 20, 2012—James Holmes enters a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises and opens fire with a semi-automatic weapon; twelve people are killed and fifty-eight are wounded.
  • August 5, 2012—A white supremacist and former Army veteran shot six people to death inside a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin, before killing himself.
  • August 14, 2012—Three people were killed at Texas A&M University when a 35-year-old man went on a shooting rampage; one of the dead was a police officer.
  • September 27, 2012—A 36-year-old man who had just been laid off from Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, Minnesota, entered his former workplace and shot five people to death, and wounded three others before killing himself.
  • October 21, 2012—45-year-old Radcliffe Frankin Haughton shot three women to death, including his wife, Zina Haughton, and injured four others at a spa in Brookfield, Wisconsin, before killing himself.
  • December 11, 2012—A 22-year-old began shooting at random at a mall near Portland, Oregon, killing two people and then himself.
  • December 14, 2012—A man murders a reported 27 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, including 20 children, before killing himself.

Social media was ablaze yesterday with gun control debates, so I decided to do a little research. What I discovered were some very revealing facts and statistics.

  • The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population and 50 percent of the guns.
  • In Japan, citizens can’t buy handguns and their murder rate is ¼ of the U.S.
  • Eleven of the 20 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.
  • 40,000 Americans die each year from gunfire. (110 people every day)
  • 40-45% of households own a gun.
  • In homes with guns, a member of the household is almost three times as likely to be the victim of a homicide compared to gun-free homes.
  • Handguns account for two-thirds of firearm crime and more than 80% of all firearm homicide.
  • Since 1962, more than one million Americans have died in firearm homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings. Handguns were used in more than 650,000 of these fatal shootings.
  • Each year, nearly 1 million violent crimes are committed with handguns.
  • On the average, if someone gets shot and killed, four out of five times it will be with a handgun.
  • The Brady Campaign’s list of mass shootings in America just since 2005 is 62 pages long.
  • By conservative estimates, gunshot injuries cost about $4 billion a year in medical expenses.

Self-defense seems to be a common argument, so I looked up some self-defense facts and statistics as well. Surprisingly, women especially, didn’t fare very well in this regard.

  • For every time a gun in the home is used in a self-defense homicide, a gun will be used in 37 suicides.
  • For every time a civilian uses a handgun to kill in self-defense, 43 people lose their lives in handgun homicides alone.
  • For every time a woman used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 101 women were murdered with a handgun.
  • For every time a woman used a handgun to kill an intimate acquaintance in self-defense, 83 women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance with a handgun.
  • For every time a woman used a handgun to kill a stranger in self-defense, 302 women were murdered with a handgun.
  • Among handgun homicides, only 2.3 percent are classified as justifiable homicides by civilians.

The Second Amendment also seems to be the crutch many gun advocates lean on, so I discovered a few facts on that as well.

  • No gun control law has ever been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on Second Amendment grounds. Such laws include federal bans on machine guns and semi-automatic assault weapons, as well as local community bans on the sale and possession of handguns.
  • Every federal Court of Appeals that has considered the meaning of the Second Amendment has held that it protects the right of states to maintain a militia, not an individual right to own a gun.
  • In 1976 the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals noted “the erroneous supposition that the Second Amendment is concerned with the rights of individuals rather than those of the states.”
  • In 1981 the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals stated that “possession of a handgun by individuals is not part of the right to keep and bear arms.”

No_gunMeanwhile, The Harvard Injury Control Research Center assessed the literature on guns and homicide and found that there’s substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders, and economist Richard Florida did studies that found States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths. How much more proof and how many more innocent people have to die before we realize something has to be done about it? On the same day that 20 children and 7 adults lost their lives to gunfire at an elementary school in Connecticut, a man made a similar attack on central China primary school. However, he wasn’t armed with a gun… he was weilding a knife. The result? 22 children and one adult injured. The key word here? Injured. Injured, not killed… and he was only able to reach those numbers because he was attacking children. Surely had he been attacking adults, the count would’ve been much smaller before he was brought down. In the overwhelming majority of the cases listed above, the killers obtained their weapons legally. True, we can’t prevent warped and sick minds from being warped and sick minds… however, we can certainly stop arming them for their killing rampages. NRA supporters will fight the thought of this to the bone, but need I remind NRA supporters that the R stands for rifle, not handguns or semi-automatic mass-killing assault weapons. There are numerous laws across the country that place a limit on the length of knives, so why can’t there be a limit on the length of a gun? Clearly guns do more damage. It may not stop all the killings, but it would certainly cut down on them enormously if we took away a killer’s ability to conceal his weapons. Hunters would still be able to own rifles and shotguns, and people would still be able to “protect” their homes, regardless of how much more likely they are to kill themselves or a loved one with their “protective” killing device. Many argue that if you placed these types of bans on handguns it would take them out of law abiding citizen’s hands and keep them in the crimininals hands… so in turn, they would also need to severely stiffen the minimum penalties for those caught with such weapons. The risk would outweigh the reward. You can look at numerous high-profile cases where celebrities like Ja Rule and Plaxico Burress were caught with guns and served pesky little jail sentences that barely had an effect on their lives whatsoever. Plaxico Burress served a whopping 20 months and he was right back on the field playing football again. Something tells me that if these guys knew that just being caught with a handgun alone, whether they’ve discharged it or not, would net them a minimum of oh… let’s say… 10-15 years in jail, they’d think a lot harder about actually carrying or possessing one. You can go into nearly any inner city, and the amount of handguns being possessed by adults and minors is staggering. Removing handguns and assault weapons may or may not cut down on violent crimes, but it will certainly cut down on violent deaths. I’m pretty sure if you asked most people, they’d rather get robbed of whatever money and valuables they have on them at any given moment than to have themselves or their children shot to death.

~Jamie Capria