Crime - Gun Violence

  • President Barack Obama, speaking on the tragedy of Mass Shootings over 6 years in America, as he delivered his 15th statement on gun violence.  "The reporting is routine.  My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it.  We've become numb to this."  

    November 2009, Ford Hood, Texas.  "There has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army Base in Texas.  It is difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas.  It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on American soil."

    January 2011, Tucson, Arizona.  "This is a tragedy for Arizona, and a tragedy for our entire country."

    July 2012, Aurora, Colorado.  "Such violence, such evil, is senseless; and if there is anything that can be taken away from this tragedy is the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited, and it is precious."

    June 2015, Charleston, S.C.  "I have had to make statements like this too many times.  Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.  At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of violence does to happen in other advanced countries.  It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency." 

    August 2012, Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
      "We mourn those who were senselessly murdered and injured in their place of worship.  While we may never understand what motivates such hatred, such violence, the perpetrators of such despicable actions must know that your twisted thinking is no match for the compassion and the goodness and the strength of our united American family." 

    December 2012, Newtown, Connecticut. 
    "We have endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. Each time I learn the news, I react not as a President, but as anybody else would, as a parent, and that was especially true today.  I know there is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.  The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old." 

    September 2013, Washington, D.C.  "We are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation's Capitol."

    April 2014, Fort Hood, Texas.  "Any shooting is troubling.  Obviously, ths opens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood 5 years ago.  We are heartbroken that something like this might have happened again."

    June 2015, Charleston, S.C.  " I have had to make statements like this - too many times.  Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this - too many times.  At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.  It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency." 

    October 2015, Roseburg, Oregon. 
    "There has been another mass shooting in America.  This time in a community college in Oregon.  That means there are more American families, moms, dads, children, whose lives have been changed forever....As I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough.  It is not enough.  It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel, and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.  But we are not the only country on earth that has people with mental illness who want to do harm to other people.  We are the only advanced country on earth that sees these mass shootings every few months. 

    Somehow, this has become routine.  The reporting is routine.  My response here at this podium ends up being routine.  The conversation in the aftermath of it - we have become numb to this.  It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.  And, what has become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation." 

    (President Barack Obama, addressing the nation from the White House after at least 10 people were killed by a 26-year old gunman at Umpqua Community College in Oregon; CNN News and The Associated Press, October 1, 2015; "Over 6 years, as he has had to address numerous mass shootings, President Obama's statements have grown angrier and more beleaguered," by Caitlin Prentke, June 26, 2015)
  • Regarding "Gun Control," consider a statement from Virtual State of the Union.  The Virtual President talks about why politicians want to talk about gun control rather than crime control, and delivers the factual evidence and historical truths that make the case for the Second Amendment self-evident.  Published on February 21, 2013   For the latest from The Virtual President go to
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_T-F_zfoDqI

  • "Any time we have a horrific incident like a mass shooting, these things can have a tendency to become politicized.  One of the things that I would do to reduce - we are not going to be able to eliminate these things entirely - but to reduce the likelihood of this mass carnage is to get rid of these gun-free zones.  These gun-free zones - in theaters, churches, college campuses, elementary schools - are chosen by the perpetrator for a reason.  He knows that nobody is going to be able to interrupt him until mass carnage occurs. 

    

We ought to give people the individual freedom,
    the individual right, to under certain circumstances, like a concealed carry license, to go armed in these venues in case something like this happens, for their own protection and to have a chance.  Look at Chicago, Illinois.  Look at Washington, D.C., the Federal district.  If gun control really worked, those would be two of the safest areas in the United States; but, in fact, they are two of the most violent."   (Sheriff David Clarke, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Voices Against Violence, CBS Evening News, October 2, 2015) 

Statistics
  • "There is a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America."  (President Barack Obama, CNN, October 1, 2015)

  • In 2015, at least 278 children under the age of 18 in the U.S. picked up a firearm and unintentionally shot themselves, or someone else.  ("Once upon a Gun," reported by the gun control group Every Town U.S.A., CBS This Morning, March 25, 2016) 

  • 350 U.S. citizens were killed overseas, as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013.  (U.S. State Department, CNN, October 2, 2015)  

    3,030 people were killed in domestic acts of terrorism inside the U.S. between 2001 and 2013.  This brings the total to 3,380.

    For every American killed by terrorism, in the U.S. and around he world, more than 1,000 died from firearms inside the U.S. during the most recent decade for which comparative data is available.  The gun fatalities cover all manners of death including homicide, accident and suicide.  (Centers for Disease control and Prevention, U.S. State Department, Julia Jones and Eve Bower, CNN, October 2, 2015) 

  • Over 13 years, 406,496 people died by firearms on U.S. soil from 2001 to 2013, using numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  (2013 is the most recent year CDC data for deaths by firearms is available.) This data covered all manners of death, including homicide, accident and suicide.

    350 U.S. citizens were killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013.  (U.S. State Department, CNN, October 2, 2015)  
    3,030 people were killed in domestic acts of terrorism inside the U.S. between 2001 and 2013.  This brings the total to 3,380.

    For every American killed by terrorism in the U.S. and around he world, more than 1,000 died from firearms inside the U.S. during the most recent decade for which comparative data is available.  The gun fatalities cover all manners of death including homicide, accident and suicide.  (Centers for Disease control and Prevention, U.S. State Department, Julia Jones and Eve Bower, CNN, October 2, 2015) 

  • In 2011, the total firearm murders was 8,583.  During that same time, the total murders committed by all rifles, including assault weapons or semi-automatic rifles, was 323, or 3% of all murders.  Hammers and clubs killed half as many as rifles; and hands and feet murder twice as many; and knives kill 5 times more Americans than all rifles combined.  Preventable medical errors kill about 98,000 people per year, or more than 12 times as many people as are murdered in the U.S. each year.  That is more than 300 times the number killed by all rifles, not just the so-called assault rifles. Ironically, no one talks about limits on hammers or knives or knives or doctors or hospitals....because the good we perceive from hammers and knives and doctors far outweigh their perceived harm; and yet, studies show that firearms prevent anywhere from 800,000 to over 2 million violent crimes every year.  The lowest estimate means that 100 times more violent crimes were prevented with firearms than the total murders committed with firearms, or 100 times as many.

    The Second Amendment to the Constitution
    is there to protect the American people, giving them the right to keep and bear arms to defend themselves.  What we really want to ban is violence, murder and insanity, which are built into the human condition, and likely always will be.   

    When other governments disarmed their people, 12 million unarmed men, women and children were unable to resist being murdered by their own national, socialist government in Germany; and perhaps 50 million unarmed men, women and children were murdered by their own Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; and 50 million Chinese were murdered by their own government under Mao, who also disarmed his people; and in Cuba and in Vietnam, and in the killing fields of Cambodia.  Every one of these 100 million men, women and children, who were murdered after being disarmed by their own governments, were real and precious and irreplaceable.  (FBI statistics report, Virtual President of the United States, "Guns," Virtual State of the Union 2013, February 21, 2013,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_T-F_zfoDqI
    )
What You Can Do
  • Help stop gun tragedies before they happen.  If you know someone who has been proven to pose an extreme risk of harming themselves or others, contact law enforcement.  A judge may be able to issue an extreme risk protection order to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are a threat to themselves or others.  This order allows families and law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily suspend an individual's access to firearms, if they are a danger to themselves or to others.  (Initiative 1491, passed by voters November 2016) 

  • "Ninety percent of school shooters have well-documented suicidal issues, and 30% of shooters actually say that suicide is their motive.  So, if we screen, meaning ask a few questions, we may be able to find people and get the help they need before things like this happen.  



    The questions about suicidal thoughts are quite simple.  You start with
    
"Have you wished you were dead?'
'
    "Do you wish you could go to sleep and not wake up?"
    '
'Have you actually had thoughts of killing yourself?"



    If (the answer) is 'No,' then you move on; however, if that is 'Yes,' then it is tiered, so we can, in a very feasible way, figure out who is really at risk and who really needs help.  



    Imagine that an employee of a gun store, or when somebody goes to get a gun license, all of these places, they could be trained to ask these questions, and maybe somebody who is suffering in silence will be identified before it is too late."  (Dr. Kelly Posner, founder of the Suicide Center at Columbia University, New York, Voices Against Violence, CBS Evening News, October 2, 2015)