Although no official qualifier for the definition of a mass shooting exists that I know of, the most widely accepted number of casualties that justifies adding the word “mass” in front of a shooting is four. This number was chosen to match the definition of “mass murder” coined by the FBI. To clarify, four or more people must be shot and wounded by guns in American for a shooting to be referred to as a mass shooting. Using these numbers, it’s been calculated that 1,516 mass shootings have taken place in the last 1,735 days. That’s almost one per day (0.87 to be exact).
When Should We Talk About Guns In America?
I’ve been told, as I’ve seen a slew of others be told, that it is “too soon” to politicize the shooting in Las Vegas, and that we should focus on mourning together as a country. When is the proper time to discuss what should be done to cut down on or completely prevent these shootings? When another one happens? I have to express my outrage over gun control long enough after this shooting but before the next one, because then it will be too soon for the next one. So where is that perfect moment when it’s acceptable for my frustration over this country’s inaction?
I am mourning. I am mourning over a country that serves up a promise of freedom as the main course along with a healthy side of fear. No substitutions allowed. I am mourning that my stepdaughter has to be taught what to do in an active shooter situation in between reading and recess. I mourn that in the same week this tragedy occurred, Congress is gearing up to vote on a bill to end 80-year-old restrictions on gun silencers. Can you imagine how many more people this man would have killed if he had been able to silence his guns?
It’s too soon to ‘politicize’ this mass shooting, but it’s not too soon for every media outlet to scrutinize hotel security in light of the news that the shooter was able to file so many guns into his hotel room.
Our gun homicide rate is higher than the next 10 countries COMBINED. Yes, combined. It’s time to stop worrying about building walls against Muslims and making it harder and harder for people to get health insurance and focus on a problem that is unique to our country because of the people who live in our country and the weapons they have easy access to.
I read this poem this morning by Adrienne Rich, and I think it speaks beautifully to what’s happening in this country right now, and why I am so many others are concerned all the time, whether it’s too soon or not.
The Uncle Speaks in the Drawing Room
I have seen the mob of late
Standing sullen in the square,
Gazing with a sullen stare
At window, balcony and gate.
Some have talked in bitter tones,
Some have held and fingered stones.
These are follies that subside.
Let us consider, none the less,
Certain frailties of glass
Which, it cannot be denied,
Lead in times like these to fear
For crystal vase and chandelier.
Not that the missiles will be cast;
None as yet dare lift an arm.
But the scene recalls a storm
When our grandsire stood aghast
To see his antique ruby bowl
Shivered in a thunder-roll.
Let us only bear in mind
How these treasures handed down
From a calmer age passed on
Are in the keeping of our kind.
We stand between the dead glass-blowers
And murmurings of missile throwers.
Do you have strong feelings about gun control? Sound off in the Comments, but please be respectful!
Also, feel free to share with anyone you’d like to start this conversation with.