Monday, June 24, 2013

Guns, America, and Stupidity

In the latest issue of Sports Illustrated, there was an article about Frank Hall, the football assistant that limited a school shooting to 3 dead and three others injured. I became teary-eyed reading about what he did and the difficulties that he had after that day. I also was teary-eyed because of my selfishness. I had forgotten all about Chadron, Ohio. How do you forget a news story about a teenager killing three people in school?  The sad thing is that I am not alone. I would bet that 99% of Americans forgot that fateful day. Why? Because our civilization doesn't care.

This is the ending of the 10 pages devoted to this story by Gary Smith:

Two months after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, Rob Cox - the cofounder of a nonprofit formed in Newtown to help it heal - was leafing through a dozen boxes containing thousands of cards and letters that had poured in from around the world. He came upon one from Chadron, offering encouragement and details of what had happened there, and he was mortified.

He went around Newtown, asking neighbors and friends, but their responses were all exactly what his had been. Chadron? No trace in their memories of that town or school. No trace of a shooting there just 9 1/2 months before their own. No memory of a football coach saving his school from a slaughter far worse than it might have been.

Which meant the clock was already ticking in the land of amnesia. How long before Newtown, too, was gone?

In 2014, Newtown will have been forgotten my most of us. You say that isn't possible. But it is. Columbine doesn't have the same horrific visions as it did just 5 years ago. How about Oikos University? Do you remember that shooting? Did you even hear about it? I know that I didn't. I am sure that you didn't know that there have been 74 school shootings since January 1, 2000.  147 people have died in those shootings.

If you listen to the NRA, the way to lessen those numbers is to allow everybody to have weapons in schools. Never mind that the amount of deaths attributable to shootings in the United States during that same time period is approximately 375,000. The number of shootings during that time is estimated at over 2 Million. And according to our U.S. Congressman, Kevin Cramer in the House from North Dakota, the reason that we have school shootings is legalized abortion. Well, I think that his solution to the problem is just as bad as the NRA's.

The reason that I bring this all up? It is amazing that both Democrats and Republicans cannot come to some agreement to try and prevent the five shootings at school that happen on average each and every year since 2000. We have seen that Washington will not listen to the public. Some sort of gun control is needed. And don't tell me about the 2nd Amendment. The thought that all weapons should be available to anybody didn't come into the consciousness of the American Court system until a court in Georgia back in the 1830's said that the 2nd Amendment meant that a person could own any weapon that they wanted. Seems like that isn't a Founding Father declaration there.

It is time for the adults of both side of the political spectrum to come together and come to some sort of agreement on firearms. Let's see why a person needs a semi-automatic weapon besides in a theater of war. Let's agree that shotguns, pistols, and rifles are needed by people and should not be regulated. But there needs to be a conversation that is rational where the NRA, Kevin Cramer, and the No Weapon Coalition are not invited. Maybe, just maybe a civil discussion and following the public opinion on firearms will cause a small ratcheting down of the partisan rhetoric in American politcs.

Monday, June 10, 2013

If You Thought That The Iraq War Was A Waste Of American Lives

According to the website, there has been 32,021 American combat troops wounded or killed in Iraq since we invaded. Unofficially there has been over 100,000 Americans injured or killed in Iraq since we invaded. And there have been about 1.5 Million Iraqis that have died since we invaded. So let's put the number of people killed since we invaded Iraq at 1.6 Million people. A horrifying statistic.

What if I tell you that the 1.6 Million people dead in a decade because of war was a small number? Would you believe me? Would you believe me that over the past 10 years, that there was something that killed approximately 5.5 Million Americans? While not on the scale of the Black Plague (Bubonic) that wiped out 25 Million Europeans in 5 years, it is still a devastating number. And what if I told you that the cause of these deaths of Americans are making corporations profits and in some cases multimillions of dollars?  Would you be outraged?  Have you guessed what the cause of these deaths are?