Handgun vantage point
There are about 8 kids killed by guns each day in the US. They don’t make headlines unless they are killed in groups like they were today. After what ever feelings of grief and anger recede, the normal response is to think about what can be done.
Many reasonable sounding suggestions are foolish. Some people are calling for more security in school, while it turns out that schools are some of the safest places for kids, increasing security means ignoring reality and wasting money. And group school (k-12) killings were at a 2 decade low last year at 33. If we are concerned about children’s’ safety, we should have them at school all day long. There is an important form of “news illusion” happening here, where we believe that lots of coverage of a tragic event means that it is something that is trending upwards, it is not.
Conservatives will dismiss calls for stronger gun control claiming that the problem is god has been removed from schools. While i find this logic weak, these “change nothing” arguments will likely prevail. It is unlikely any new gun control legislation will pass, despite Obama’s tearful pledge for “meaningful action.” American’s are split on gun control both supporting the NRA and greater gun control. The NRA has stopped any meaningful gun legislation from passing in the US for 18 years.
There are about 33 people killed each day by guns in the US, about 12,000 per year. [This excludes many more suicide deaths with handguns, which are a very different problem – thanks Michael and Susan for pointing out this mistake.] This number and problem however does not get a lot of press. Many believe that this is because almost half of the victims are black while blacks are 13% of the overall population.
Mass killings are more “newsworthy” because they happen fairly irregularly. With “only” 32 mass killing incidents in the US since 1999 it works out to less than 3 per year. Put another way it is less than one crazy person acting out in this terrible lethal way per 100 million US Americans each year.
While these are awful events, without becoming a police state, there are no short term fixes to this problem in the US. Many are suggesting increased mental health benefits, but this is another needle in the haystack approach. Expanding mental health care options would likely have many positive affects and should certainly be considered for those reasons, but using this to try to stop these rare group killings is virtually doomed to failure.
I did find this collection of gun statistics from the Washington Post useful and interesting.
I also have to confess this post is disappointing to me. i dont like pushing a “we cant fix this” attitude. i would love it if readers had some clever ideas that they had seen or developed that i could advance – which are culturally consistent with where the US actually is today.