In the first nine months of this year, guns have ended 11,686 * lives in America, more than 1,000 each month. That’s about 3,000 more than the entire student body of Princeton University. We still have three more months to go in 2017.
Dead. These 11,000-plus people no longer walk this earth. Those who loved them grieve, their own lives changed forever.
Americans aimed their guns at someone else and shot them at least 46,695 times in the first nine months of this year, killing or injuring 545 children in the process. More than 23,000 Americans have been shot since 2017 began. Our country has endured 275 mass shootings this year. So far.
In virtually all of these cases, someone shot someone else intentionally. Meant to do it. But America also has noted more than 1,500 cases of unintentional shootings. Oops.
The nation’s attention was drawn to Steve Scalise, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Louisiana, who was shot while enjoying baseball practice with fellow Republicans. He was not killed, but his injuries are quite serious, requiring surgery and long and painful rehabilitation. He is learning to walk again. His colleagues in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, welcomed him warmly last week when he returned to work.
Will Rep. Scalise’s experience prompt Congress to enact sane gun control laws? Will yesterday’s horrifying attack in Las Vegas? From 32 stories up, a man trained his powerful assault weapon on a crowd below, ending the lives of 59 of them and injuring more than 500 of them.
But so many of these members of Congress owe their jobs to the generous gifts of the advocates of gun rights, principally the National Rifle Association, whose extreme views and political power carry more weight than the lost lives of thousands of innocent Americans. What is wrong with this picture? What are we going to do about it?
I have survived these eight decades of life without ever once feeling the need to own a gun to protect myself and my family. I would rather be vulnerable than be armed with a weapon that could end the life of another person.
Guns do enable cowards to kill other people. Cowardly officials whom we elect think that’s just fine.
*Figures provided by Gun Violence Archive.