Just Another Day In America
On Sunday, November 5, Devin Patrick Kelley, age 26, walked into First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs Texas and opened fire. He shot people ranging in ages from 5 to 72 years old, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
A full half of those shot were children, including a toddler who was just 18 months old. The killer, motivated by a domestic dispute, shot a baby point-blank, according to an eyewitness.
The horrifying massacre in Texas was only the last in what is becoming a long line of mass shootings in the United States. What in the world is going on? How has this sort of thing become so prevalent in our society?
Why isn’t anyone doing anything to stop this insanity?
As you will learn in this series, there are some pretty concrete answers to a few of those questions. One of the problems is that the NRA, politicians, and special interest groups are working very hard to keep the truth from coming out.
That said, there is still a lot what we don’t know, thanks to the NRA stifling research at every turn. Researchers have been hard at work, and some surprising truths uncovered, no matter how much money the NRA throws out, trying to stifle the truth.
People wrote – and still write – books trying to solve this problem, which is why we’re here. The information exists already but is completely contradictory and scattered. In this article and series, we’ll weed through the rhetoric, discuss real-world statistics, and compare them to what experts learned so far – concisely.
The actual description of “mass shooting” is still up for some debate. The Washington Post even called the definition “sticky.” There is no standard definition of the term. In fact, the government has never even recognized “mass shooting” as a stand-alone category.
Before 2013, the FBI considered an occurrence a “mass murder” if four or more people died. Starting in 2013, however, Congress defined “mass killings” as three or more dead in a single incident, regardless of weapon used. Some researchers add injuries in the count; others do not.
Starting in November 2017, the FBI defines a mass shooting as an incident involving “four or more people shot at once.” Currently, most publications use the following definition: Four or more people killed in a single incident that did not involve gang violence or family members.
The most important takeaway here is this: one must use extreme caution when reading these statistics, as the variables involved vary widely. In this series, we will carefully explain the statistics.
Reddit And Guns Are Cool
Surprisingly, one of the most referenced resources for information on mass shooting incidents is a subreddit on Reddit ironically called Guns Are Cool. It is an up to date crowdsourced subreddit cited by everyone from the Washington Post to the BBC.
Guns are Cool uses the definition of four or more people killed or injured in a single incident. The reason behind this is not to inflate the numbers. On the contrary, there were shootings at a movie theater in Louisiana where there were only two deaths, but numerous injuries. After that, they realized they needed to broaden the terms.
For this series, the author will use the standard definition of four or more people killed by gunfire, excluding gang violence and family members.
Thoughts And Prayers Mean Nothing To The Dead Or Their Families
Including suicide, more Americans have died from gun violence since 1970 (1.4 million) that every single war in American history was going back to the Revolutionary War.
Every time it happens, the same canned responses come from different camps. Nearly to a man, everyone wants to give thoughts and prayers, as if those help at all.
Some politicians try to talk about gun control. Others try to talk about how evil gun control advocates are. Others still try to say that following a tragedy like this, it is a cheap political ploy to talk about it at all.
Of course, depending on the color of the perpetrator’s skin you will hear it called a terrorist attack, or you will hear that the gunman was a nutjob. Or, as Trump put it in the case of the Las Vegas shooting:
“[The killers’s] wires were crossed pretty badly in his brain.”
The NRA donated around $21 million to President Trump’s campaign when he was running for president, which is the highest amount of money the NRA has spent electing any president thus far. The NRA reportedly said that Hillary Clinton needed:
“…To be defeated at all costs.”
It Has To End Somewhere
Not a single one of those responses discuss the REAL problems surrounding gun violence and mass shootings in this country, however. The NRA has a stranglehold on legislation and Congress, as well as funding for studies into mass shootings and gun violence. Combine that with the inordinate amount of guns privately owned in this country, and you end up with exactly what we now have on our hands, a society in which it feels dangerous every time you leave your house.
When was the last time you felt truly safe in a crowded area?
The vicious cycle of violence, prayers, and the same pointless arguments over and over again are getting us nowhere. It is past time that Americans start putting real lives ahead of politics, talking points, and disgusting amounts of money filtering into politicians pockets from the NRA and other special interest groups.
Starting with the Second Amendment, there are some pretty shocking and disturbing things discovered while researching for this piece. The Amendment itself is a muddy topic that is up for constant debate. Add to that billions of dollars, politicians with agendas, and the NRA trying to arm every man woman and child in the country, and you get exactly what we now face, a disaster of epic proportions.
Americans Are At The Mercy Of A Government Owned By The NRA
Americans are at the mercy of a government that is owned part and parcel by the NRA and other special interest groups who profit from as many guns on the streets as possible. There is even a section later on that details exactly how corporations are literally writing the bills that get filtered into the states, like the stand your ground law that got Trayvon Martin killed in Florida.
Laws like these were written by corporations to inflate their bottom line while people are massacred in the street or while they attend a concert or go to church. They were then delivered directly to the states by none other than your own elected representatives, passing them off as their own brilliant ideas. More on that later in the series, however.
This series is going to detail what the experts have been able to piece together, including such information as:
- The history of mass shootings;
- What the early research shows as the REAL reasons the shootings continue to happen;
- How the United States stacks up against other countries;
- myths versus the facts surrounding mass shootings and their causes, and
- Other popular theories like the horribly inaccurate “good guy with a gun” theory.
In the next part, we’ll discuss the history of the Second Amendment and the history of the NRA. Shockingly, the NRA used to be a top proponent of gun control and safe handling of firearms.
Where did it all go wrong? What happened that the NRA turned into an organization that seems determined to keep America as violent as possible? Why don’t they want any research into mass shootings?
Starting in part 2, we will start to put the pieces together and answer those very questions.
Feature Image via YouTube.