Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Mass Shootings in the United States: Will They Ever End?

with 16 comments

Folks, I’ve written many blogs on the subject of mass shootings. Most of them have been in or around schools, including the latest tragedy at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. And every single time, I’ve asked this question: Why?

And inside, I’ve gotten more and more angry along with more and more frustrated. There is a mass-shooting incident seemingly every month, or at most, every two months. Many innocents are killed, we invariably find out that the shooter was mentally deranged or had a grudge against someone that made him lash out…and nothing gets done.

When will these mass shootings end?

Every single time, after a mass-casualty event, we hear the same things from the same politicians. Most of them demand that gun rights be respected, a singularly odd reaction unless you realize how much indebtedness these politicians have to the National Rifle Association. Some of them say the solution is more guns; that if there were more armed people at these schools, or at the theater, or at the church in Charleston, that would’ve actually prevented these mass killings.

It’s hard to believe that some people think the only answer to a mass-casualty event is to make sure that people carry guns in schools, churches, and movie theatres. But that’s where we are in the United States of America in 2015.

Isn’t that abhorrent? Isn’t that something we should not have to say? Isn’t that something we should rise up and change?

Maybe the problem is that most people in the U.S. think that change is impossible. We have gridlock in Washington, DC, we have gridlock in most state legislatures (unless they’re run by one party, in which case we have one agenda being stuffed down the other party’s throat), and we have nothing getting done of any substance whatsoever.

Instead, we have the U.S. Congress trying to symbolically repeal Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) over fifty times, when they know it won’t do any good. They do this because they want to inflame their base of support, and get more donations. And keep themselves enriched, so they can continue to do nothing in Congress — because it’s that nothing that keeps them in office.

You see, changing the narrative takes work. Takes people who are willing to stand up and be counted. Takes people who are willing to take a stand and perhaps get voted out, because they know they’re doing the right thing.

We have a paucity of those types of people in Washington, DC. right now.

Change is possible, you know. In Australia, people took to the streets to demand an answer after the Port Arthur massacre back in 1996. And they got new gun laws, which have decreased the amount of shootings since that time. Significantly, according to CNN.

Last night, President Barack Obama said that these mass-casualty shootings have become “routine.” He said that we have to have change; that sending “thoughts and prayers” are not enough; that the United States has to demand that the Congress take action.

I’ve never been a fan of the President, not since the 2008 Democratic National Committee meeting where Hillary Clinton voters were told Obama would be the nominee and to sit down and shut up. But I agree with him on this issue. It’s wrong that we can’t even get universal background checks — something most policemen believe would be useful — much less try to identify people with serious mental illnesses who have guns, like James Holmes.

Mind, I believe very strongly that someone who is treating his or her mental illness is no more of a threat than anyone else. If Holmes had gone to get treatment, it’s possible he would’ve owned guns and done nothing objectionable at all.

But a James Holmes who has refused to get treatment and has legally obtained guns is a problem.

Now, can the U.S. catch everyone? Of course not. But we can at least catch some.

Saying we can’t catch everyone, so we shouldn’t try to catch anyone, is not a good answer!

I am beyond frustrated at these repeated mass-casualty shootings. As an American citizen, I demand action. We have to try to get this under control, and whatever we have to do, we need to get it done.

No one wants to take away the gun rights of hunters, or a person’s right to self-defense, but my goodness. When the only solution offered by the NRA is for everyone in the U.S. to have a gun, that’s when you know we live in Bizzaro World.

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm

16 Responses

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  1. 100 people shot in Chicago during the last 2 weekends. Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws nation. Obama says nothing!!

    Thomas Monaghan

    October 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

  2. Yep, Bizzaro World where “No Gun Zones” are believed to protect people. [Sarcastic Grin]

    Sorry Barb, but too many “gun control laws” do little to do with preventing the vast majority of deaths caused by guns.

    As Tom said, Chicago had strong “gun control laws” but the gangs don’t care about such laws and get the guns anyway.

    As terrible as the “mass shootings” are they are the exception to deaths caused by guns.

    If you are going to be killed by somebody with a gun, you’re more likely to be killed in the “wrong neighborhoods” of Chicago than by being killed by a nutcase who somehow got a hold of a gun.

    Of course, what’s your solution to nutcases “getting a gun”?

    Does everybody who wants to purchase a gun need to be examined by “mental health professionals”?

    Since there have been cases where the nutcase used a gun that he stole from somebody else, do you want every person in the US to be examined by “mental health professionals” to see if he *might* go nuts?

    Do you trust the government and/or the mental health professionals that much?

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    October 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    • Paul, I know Chicago is a mess. I’m not sure what can be done there. I know they’ve tried many things. (edited to add: I originally said “they’d tried everything.” That’s not true, obviously…that was hyperbole on my part.)

      I’m mostly frustrated with the “advice” that people start carrying guns in a church, or in a movie theatre, or in a school.

      I have no problems with police officers or military personnel or those who are well-trained in gun safety carrying guns, even into those places. But it’s frustrating when the only so-called solution is to have more guns. I don’t believe that. There has to be another answer, even if I don’t know what it is.

      Barb Caffrey

      October 2, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    • BTW, Paul, I live in a city where we’ve had multiple fatalities a number of times this year. Milwaukee has had more shootings this year — including young kids just sitting on their grandfather’s lap and other innocents — than any time in the last ten years.

      We even had some idiot kill a driver who’d accidentally hit a two-year-old child who’d run into the street, and then killed his own nephew as well after they both went to the child and tried to save the kid’s life. (I blogged about that a while back.)

      The world is a dangerous place. I don’t have any answers. But when we’ve had more people dying by gun violence than by terroristic acts, something needs to change!

      No, I don’t trust the government very much. We have checks and balances, sure, but we mostly see gridlock from politicians — or we see one side railroading the other side, regardless of whatever it is. There is only rarely a consensus, and even there, what we get is something that usually doesn’t do any good — a symbolic fig-leaf, at best.

      You live in Illinois, so you know what’s going on there. I live here in SE Wisconsin, and I know what’s going on here.

      We don’t have the resources for every person with a serious, untreated mental illness to get treated, no. But in the case of James Holmes, he was under a doctor’s care for some time. He did try to get help. The system failed him there. We know that, because it’s come up in court…the person treating him was not able to do as much as she wanted, was not able to get him to comply with what she felt he needed to do, and because of the stress Holmes was under due to being in an intensive Master’s program, he snapped.

      I don’t know if that could’ve been prevented. I do know we were closer to preventing that tragedy than we apparently were to preventing any other high-profile killing in the US in the past several years.

      All I want out of the US government right now is for there to be sensible rhetoric. Not “we need every American to be armed,” because that’s never going to happen — that’s an empty statement that politicians use to hide behind when they have no answers and don’t even want to find any.

      But you and I are not in disagreement, Paul. My frustration does not lie with you. It lies with the systemic failures we have in this country, to the point we have gunmen seemingly flipping out every day for little to no reasons, and killing multiple innocents because they think that’ll get them attention or notoriety.

      I’m not afraid to say I don’t know what the answers are, but I wish our politicians could be honest with us. (Starting with Rahm Emanuel down in Chicago. There’s a real problem down there, no lie.)

      Barb Caffrey

      October 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      • The problem is Barb, that too much of the Rhetoric from the other side is “More Gun Control Laws” which like the “Gun Free Zones” is meaningless in preventing such nutcases.

        At least with “more people should be armed”, you are less likely to have situations where there’s only the gunman and helpless victims.

        Perfect solution?

        Nope, but I don’t believe in perfect solutions.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        October 2, 2015 at 3:28 pm

      • The problem is, we’ll never have a fully armed society. Even if we did, people like me — remember, I have carpal tunnel syndrome, and some days my hands refuse to work well — would have distress.

        What we have now is a systematic failure at all levels. I don’t know how to fix it. But we have to try to fix it, somehow, because we cannot have these awful tragedies every month or two. No other civilized country in the world has this happening, not even places that are constant battlegrounds like Syria or Afghanistan. This is just wrong, and it has to be fixed somehow.

        I just wish I knew how to do it tomorrow, so we’d never have to worry about this any more. (But then, we’re in this imperfect world for a reason, and maybe it’s to understand we can’t fix everything. I don’t know. I just know we can’t refuse to do anything at all, as the Congress has done in DC for years.)

        Barb Caffrey

        October 2, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      • Well Barb, I am curious about where you’re getting the figures about “every one or two months”. There’s a lot of “dis-information” about “mass-shootings” with one group including gang fights in “mass-shootings”.

        So I’m not sure that these “lone nutcase mass-shootings” are as “common” as the gun-control groups want Americans to believe and as “common” as the News Media seems to want Americans to believe.

        I understand your reasons to not want to be armed.

        I consider your reasons to be quite reasonable.

        However, IMO there’s plenty of nonsense out there about guns.

        We had some “teachers” in the Utah College System who seem to be paranoid about regular students practicing open-carry.

        They seemed to believe that anybody carrying a firearm would open fire at a moment’s notice.

        You talked about the “common feature” in these lone gunmen mass shooting but missed the major “common feature” about those shooting.

        These “lone gunmen” have always attacked people in “Gun Free Zones” where they could depend on having plenty of “helpless victims”.

        Sadly, the reasonable gun owners have too often “respected” the “Gun Free Zones”.

        In this recent shooting, one former army man tried to take down the gunman even though he was unarmed.

        He took six or seven shots before he went down and is expected to recover.

        Just imagine if he had been armed?

        This nutcase was asking people questions before he shot them.

        Anybody who had been armed could have taken this nutcase down.

        Any “answer” to this problem that includes “reasonable gun control laws” is meaningless.

        We need to find better ways to find the nutcases before the shooting starts but the Politicians and others don’t seem to want to do that.

        Why? In many cases, it seems that they want “helpless victims”.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        October 2, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      • Did you see, Paul, that the soldier who’s currently competing on “Dancing with the Stars” is from Roseburg, and said he’d have been taking a class at this community college if not for DWTS?

        I agree with you about needing to “find the nutcases.” (What I called the mentally deranged sorts who’ve become disconnected from reality.) That, ultimately, is the best way to get things done.

        All I know, Paul, is that I’m frustrated. We’ve had shootings here in SE Wisconsin nearly every single night; they might not be mass-casualty event, but when a seven-year-old kid gets killed on her grandfather’s lap, or a good Samaritan gets killed after stopping to try to help a two-year-old, it’s obvious that there are too many guns.

        The case of that two-year-old is particularly awful because the guy was a felon. I have no idea where he got his gun. (He ended up shooting himself when he was about to be captured. He was a coward to the end.) Felons should not be able to legally get guns. (It still happens, Paul, where felons _legally_ obtain a gun, even though I’m not sure in this case that was what happened.)

        In Milwaukee, we had a shooting up at the Sikh Temple a couple of years ago. People were praying and going about their business, then they were dead.

        And while you’re right that it’s not as bad as the media makes it out, it’s still horrible. We should not accept the state of mental health care in this country. And we should be trying hard to keep guns out of the hands of felons, while keeping guns out of the hands of people with serious mental illnesses that are untreated and uncontrolled.

        Barb Caffrey

        October 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      • It’s more of an impression than an actual figure. I can get you the stats for how many people die every day in Milwaukee, though, if you want that — those aren’t mass-casualty events, but my goodness, some of them are absolutely tragic and most are utterly unnecessary.

        Again, this hits close to home for me due to the Sikh Temple shooting in Milwaukee a few years ago.

        Barb Caffrey

        October 2, 2015 at 5:27 pm

  3. Comment for Comments.

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    October 2, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    • WordPress is acting up a little today, Paul. 🙂 You’re a known quantity here. Your post should’ve posted immediately. (I welcome diversity. I think everyone should. Otherwise, our opinions never get tested and we’re just in an echo chamber.)

      Barb Caffrey

      October 2, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      • In this case, I was changing my WordPress account to a new one (with a different email address). [Smile]

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        October 2, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      • Ah. 🙂 Well, that’s a good thing, then. 😀

        I just didn’t want you thinking I’d block you ’cause you don’t agree with me 100%. Personally, I don’t care if people agree with me, especially at the 100% level…life would be boring if we agreed 100% of the time. 😀

        Barb Caffrey

        October 2, 2015 at 4:04 pm

  4. No they haven’t tried everything in Chicago. They don’t punish people who use guns to rob as hard as they could, The police haven’t done what New York did a number of years ago under Rudy Guliana.

    Thomas Monaghan

    October 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    • I know people are very unhappy in Chicago, Tom. Sentence lengths are a problem…why someone who smokes a joint as a “habitual offender” is locked up longer than someone who commits a crime with a gun is beyond me.

      Barb Caffrey

      October 2, 2015 at 4:56 pm

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