Category Archives: tragedy

The Madness of Guns

Where else but in the United States are people so passionate about guns?

It doesn’t matter how much death and destruction they have caused, the lunacy to acquire and possess firearms continues. And much as I love it, nowhere is this more apparent than in the (yes, sometimes silly) South where I live.

I heard this unbelievable but sadly true story on NPR the other day about a church in Kentucky that had found a novel way to draw crowds – they held, get this, a gun raffle!  I know gun mania is bad but this is insane! Don’t believe me? Check this out –

Kentucky Southern Baptists Draw Crowds With Gun Giveaways

According to NPR, the raffle for 25 guns drew so many people that a long line of people wrapped itself around the building.  The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s communication director, described this initiative as “outreach to rednecks“.

 I. Kid. You. Not. 

Kentucky is undoubtedly proud of it’s standing in the list of deadliest gun states (as in, the worst record of gun fatalities). It ranks #11, and even better, it ranks #5 for the states with the most permissive gun laws.  These two might be related, you think?

I can just imagine the mighty religious Kentucky every-man citizen saying to his redneck buddy, “And, we’re damn proud of this honor, no two ways about it!”

Go ahead, check out this gruesome list –  see where your state ranks.

512px-Houston_Gun_Show_at_the_George_R._Brown_Convention_Center

Did I say crazy? Sure, that’s just my humble opinion.  But here are some scary stats

  • As of 2009, the United States had a population of 307 million people.
  • Based on production data from firearm manufacturers, there were roughly 300 million firearms owned by civilians in the United States as of 2010. Of these, about 100 million are handguns.
  • People between the ages of 15 and 24 are most likely to be targeted by gun violence as opposed to other forms of violence.
  • From 1976 to 2005, 77 percent of homicide victims ages 15-17 died from gun-related injuries. This age group was most at risk for gun violence during this time period. Can anyone actually claim that these kids deserved it??!
  • Teens and young adults are more likely than persons of other ages to be murdered with a gun. Most violent gun crime, especially homicide, occurs in cities and urban communities.

Sick and scared yet?

Gun violence in schools from recent years has led to concerted efforts to change the laws and we can only hope that they meet with deserved success.

But the flip side of this progress is how hard the people in favor of “gun rights” are working for just the opposite outcome…all you have to do is mention the second amendment to get these folks up in arms, pun intended.

Want to know how all this  plays out in the political arena? Just check this out. No surprises here! These are the total political contributions from 1990 to 2010 to federal political candidates for the respective causes to control guns. Or not.

Gun Control and Rights

The sheer magnitude of contributions for gun rights is remarkable and herein lies the key problem. Sadly, we’re looking at a very long road ahead to change this country.  

Unfortunately, I can also state with an enormously high degree of confidence that the deep South, Kentucky included, will not be leading this charge in any way. Whatsoever.  😦

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Photo credits:

Gun show: By http://flickr.com/photos/glasgows/ (http://flickr.com/photos/glasgows/432945997/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Boston!

This week witnessed the terrible bombing at a sporting event – the revered Boston Marathon of all things! We witnessed it over and over and over on TV.

America once again felt the rare carnage, one that unfortunately some countries in other parts of the world take as their normal.

Americans reacted with shock and grief as innocent people lost lives and limbs. It was a major tragedy, anyway you looked at it.

But here’s something that I and so many people saw clearly in this tragedy.

After the first bomb exploded, what would you expect the reaction of the rest of the people who were around there would be? To run for cover, of course. That would be the normal reaction.

Here’s what I saw instead.

Rather than everyone running for cover at the sight and sound of that horrific explosion, some people there started running towards the explosions, both after the first and second bomb went off.

They ran towards it to help the wounded and the dying. To me, that was an amazing, heroic act of selflessness and  – so moving to see.

May the resilience and the compassion of the people of this great city help it heal!

See this video, Heroes Emerge at Boston Marathon Explosion Site.

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“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” 

― Fred Rogers

 

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