SAVED FROM SHAQTIN’ By Arthur George-Special to BASN JaVale McGee is reclaiming...
Connecticut Shooting has the world in tears and debating guns
“Evil visited this community today…” Connecticut Gov.Dan Mallory.
There are approximately 9,000 homicide gun deaths in the United States every year.
Plus, according to Mother Jones magazine, which has been tracking and mapping every shooting spree in the last three decades, have shockingly discovered that there have been 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, which in most cases; the killers had obtained their weapons legally.
Matter of fact, in this country in 33 states, you can legally purchase a firearm without undergoing a background check.
Despite all of this, the recent massacre that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, on Friday, in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 children dead, along with six adults, which included the school’s heroic principal and psychologist, both who lunged at the alleged lone gun, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who used a semi-automatic Bushmaster assault-rifle to kill them and himself, when he first came into the school along with four other teachers, who protected their students, has left the whole world in tears.
According to Connecticut’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Wayne Carver, the crime scene was the worst he had ever witnessed.
Police reports concluded that Lanza, who was armed with a high-powered rifle, two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, shot up two classrooms — kindergarten and first grade — before taking his own life as police arrived at the scene.
Lanza’s victims, who were shot multiple times, incoluded 12 girls, eight boys, and six adult women.
Presidential pain; presidential promises
While we all try to make sense of this horrific crime, at a interfaith vigil for the victims held on Sunday night, President Obama promised to curb gun violence in the United States, even though he failed to address the issue of gun control during his recent presidential campaign against Senator Mitt Romney.
“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”Obama said.
“Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg, before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.” he continued.
In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens—from law enforcement to mental health professionals, to parents and educators—in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
NFL pays tribute
While the President promised change, the NFL, after dealing with the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher just a week ago, honored the memories of those who lost their lives in the Sandy Hook shooting with periods of silence, prayer and reflection. (Read my previous article Jevon Belcher: Death, Domestic Violence and Sports on BASN)
The Baltimore Ravens even decided the fly their flags at half-staff at M&T Bank Stadium during their game against the Denver Broncos, while the New England Patriots performed a beautiful ceremony, in which they send up 26 flares of light, one at a time, into the darkness of the sky, in honor of the souls lost in the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. during their Sunday night game against the San Francisco 49ers at Gillette Stadium.
Other teams throughout the league also recognized the tragedy by wearing helmet decals or black ribbons.
In Atlanta, the New York Giants’ players wore decals with the acronym “SHES” on the backs of their helmets, which stood for Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The New York Giants star wide receiver Victor Cruz, however added a personal touch on his cleats after learning that he was 6-year-old Newtown, Conn., shooting victim Jack Pinto’s favorite player, by writing “Jack Pinto, My Hero” on them.
Cruz, according to the New York Post, even traveled to Connecticut to visit the Pinto family, who buried their son in his favorite #80 Victor Cruz jersey.
After meeting with the Pinto family for more than three hours, Cruz tweeted out “Looking at life through a different lens.”
From another angle
Truthfully, all of us are looking at the world differently now.
We, however, can look at this story from several different angles.
Oddly, it sparks questions about the reality of evil, the existence or the non-existence of God, the problems associated with the mental health industry, gun control laws, school safety, the Second Amendment, arming school administrators, and talks about the end of the world.
The death of children, however, is hard to phantom, a hard thing to grasps, and a hard thing to accept. Unfortunately, it is a part of the harsh reality, in which, most of us, sometimes try to hide in the deepest corners of our psyche, despite the large number of abortions performed daily in America as well as the number of child abuse cases.
And while we mourn the death of these 20 innocents souls murdered in Sandy Hook Elementary, let’s not forget about the millions of children who lost their lives in wars conducted overseas and aboard, especially those that have died due to the recent US drones attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
This is the God awful truth, regardless of whether we try to deny it or not.
So, while President Obama shed a tear of compassion for the children of Connecticut, he also must shed tears for all the families, who lost love ones due to US Imperialism and aggression.
Sadly, as a nation, the US sometimes is very selfish, in that matter. As a result, sometimes, we overlook this because, the national news fail to cover certain stories, highlight certain horrors, and popularize certain pains, whether it’s Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis.Therefore, while psychiatrist and psychologist try to offer mental health assistance for children, who kill, bully, and harm others, they should also provide services for America, as a nation, who have historically murdered, massacred and bullied their may throughout the world from its very conception. (Read my previous article Thanksgiving Touchdowns: From Columbus, Cowboys and Redskins)
Legendary filmmaker Michael Moore, who won an Academy Award for his 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine, addressed this issue at a New York City event on Friday night right after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to just say a few words about what happened today, because I’ve been concerned about this issue for a long time. Yes, we need more gun control. Yes, we need free mental health services in this country. But I really believe that even if we had better gun control laws and better mental health, that we would still be the sort of sick and twisted, violent people that we’ve been for hundreds of years, that it’s something that’s just in our craw, just in our DNA. And to get that out of our DNA is going to take a lot more than passing a bill in Albany or D.C. That’s not going to do it.
And, you know, other countries, I mean, they have their crazy people, and they have people that—there have been shootings and killings in Norway, in France and in Germany. But there haven’t been 61 mass killings like there have been in this country just since Columbine. Sixty-one mass shootings in this country. I like to say that I sort of agree with the NRA when they say, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” except I would just modify that a bit and say, “Guns don’t kill people, Americans kill people,” because that’s what we do. We invade countries. We send drones in to kill civilians.
We’ve got five wars going on right now where our soldiers are killing people—I mean, five that we know of. We are on the short list of illustrious countries who have the death penalty. We believe it’s OK to kill you when you’ve committed a crime.
And then we have all the other forms of violence in this country that we don’t really call violence, but they are acts of violence. When you—when you make sure that 50 million people don’t have health insurance in your country and that, according to the congressional study that was done, 44,000 people a year die in America for the simple reason that they don’t have health insurance, that’s a form of murder. That murder is being committed by the insurance companies. When you evict millions of peoples—millions of people from their homes, that’s an act of violence. That’s called a home invasion.
All the wrong people are in prison in this country. I can’t believe we’re just standing blocks away from the biggest criminal operation that this country has ever seen, right down that street, and not one of them has gone to prison for what they’ve done. When you have eliminated so many millions of jobs, when you’ve ruined communities like mine, Flint, Michigan, you have killed people, because—because having seen firsthand the effects of these corporate decisions—the alcoholism, the drug abuse, divorce, suicide, all the social problems that go along with this act of violence—but we don’t call it violence, and no one’s ever arrested for it—I think it’s a real shame. And frankly, as an American, this is not how I want to be remembered.
Even though, we hate to make this tragedy a political issue, Moore spoke truth to power.
The evidence, in fact, is overwhelming.
Because the rate at which people have killed other people by guns in the US is 19.5 times higher than similar high-income countries in the world.
Not surprisingly, in the last 30 years since 1982, America has mourned at least 61 mass murders.
Plus, this latest incident of violence, unfortunately, will add to the public paranoia, who fear that there is no place sacred or safe anymore, whether it’s in school, church, the mall, a movie theater, their jobs, restaurants, hair salons, the subway, their homes, their neighborhoods or a military base.
As a result, their probably will be more guns purchased after this tragedy and more gun violence awaiting us around the corner as copycat killers will try to use the incident to sprew more death and destruction.
With that said, just recently there have already been several additional threats and shooting since the massacre. They include: an Indiana man equipped with a 47-gun arsenal, who was arrested on Sunday for allegedly threatened to kill children at a local elementary school, an Oklahoma high school student, who allegedly planned a school-shooting massacre, and a gunman arrested after reportedly firing 50 shots in a mall parking lot in Newport Beach, California,
Incidents like these prove that we have become our own worst enemies.
And homegrown terrorism, in fact, poses the greatest threat to the security of this country.
Below is a timeline of mass shootings in the US since the Columbine High massacre:
Timeline of Terror
December 11, 2012
. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts killed 2 people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. His motive is unknown.
· September 27, 2012
. Five were shot to death by 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger at Accent Signage Systems in Minneapolis, MN. Three others were wounded. Engeldinger went on a rampage after losing his job, ultimately killing himself.
· August 5, 2012
. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page opened fire in a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Four others were injured, and Page killed himself.
· July 20, 2012
. During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58. Holmes was arrested outside the theater.
· May 29, 2012
. Ian Stawicki opened fire on Cafe Racer Espresso in Seattle, WA, killing 5 and himself after a citywide manhunt.
· April 6, 2012
. Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, shot 5 black men in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in racially motivated shooting spree. Three died.
· April 2, 2012
. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA. The shooting was the sixth-deadliest school massacre in the US and the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
· February 27, 2012
. Three students were killed by Thomas “TJ” Lane, another student, in a rampage at Chardon High School in Chardon, OH. Three others were injured.
· October 14, 2011
. Eight people died in a shooting at Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, CA. The gunman, 41-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai, killed six women and two men dead, while just one woman survived. It was Orange County’s deadliest mass killing.
· September 6, 2011
. Eduardo Sencion, 32, entered an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, NV and shot 12 people. Five died, including three National Guard members.
· July 7, 2011
. Seven people were shot to death when Rodrick Dantzler went on a rampage in Grand Rapids, MI. He killed his ex-girlfriend, her sister, and her sister’s 10-year-old daughter, his ex-wife and their daughter before going on a rampage on the street.
· January 8, 2011
. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head when 22-year-old Jared Loughner opened fire on an event she was holding at a Safeway market in Tucson, AZ. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Giffords’ staffers, and a 9-year-old girl. 19 total were shot. Loughner has been sentenced to seven life terms plus 140 years, without parole.
· August 3, 2010
. Omar S. Thornton, 34, gunned down Hartford Beer Distributor in Manchester, CT after getting caught stealing beer. Nine were killed, including Thornton, and two were injured.
· November 5, 2009
. Forty-three people were shot by Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan at the Fort Hood army base in Texas. Hasan reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire, killing 13 and wounding 29 others.
· April 3, 2009
. Jiverly Wong, 41, opened fire at an immigration center in Binghamton, New York before committing suicide. He killed 13 people and wounded 4.
· March 29, 2009
. Eight people died in a shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, NC. The gunman, 45-year-old Robert Stewart, was targeting his estranged wife who worked at the home and survived. Stewart was sentenced to life in prison.
· February 14, 2008
. Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, killing 6 and wounding 21. The gunman shot and killed himself before police arrived. It was the fifth-deadliest university shooting in US history.
· February 7, 2008
. Six people died and two were injured in a shooting spree at the City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri. The gunman, Charles Lee Thornton, opened fire during a public meeting after being denied construction contracts he believed he deserved. Thornton was killed by police.
· December 5, 2007
. A 19-year-old boy, Robert Hawkins, shot up a department store in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE. Hawkins killed 9 people and wounded 4 before killing himself. The semi-automatic rifle he used was stolen from his stepfather’s house.
· April 16, 2007
. Virginia Tech became the site of the deadliest school shooting in US history when a student, Seung-Hui Choi, gunned down 56 people. Thirty-two people died in the massacre.
· February 12, 2007
. In Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall, 5 people were shot to death and 4 others were wounded by 18-year-old gunman Sulejman Talović. One of the victims was a 16-year-old boy.
· October 2, 2006
. An Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA was gunned down by 32-year-old Charles Carl Roberts, Roberts separated the boys from the girls, binding and shooting the girls. 5 young girls died, while 6 were injured. Roberts committed suicide afterward.
· March 25, 2006
. Seven died and 2 were injured by 28-year-old Kyle Aaron Huff in a shooting spree through Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA. The massacre was the worst killing in Seattle since 1983.
· March 21, 2005
. Teenager Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend before opening fire on Red Lake Senior High School, killing 9 people on campus and injuring 5. Weise killed himself.
· March 12, 2005
. A Living Church of God meeting was gunned down by 44-year-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann at a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, WI. Ratzmann was thought to have had religious motivations, and killed himself after executing the pastor, the pastor’s 16-year-old son, and 7 others. Four were wounded.
· July 8, 2003
. Doug Williams, a Lockheed Martin employee, shot up his plant in Meridian, MS in a racially-motivated rampage. He shot 14 people, most of them African American, and killed 7 before killing himself.
· December 26, 2000.
Edgewater Technology employee Michael “Mucko” McDermott shot and killed seven of his coworkers at the office in Wakefield, MA. McDermott claimed he had “traveled back in time and killed Hitler and the last 6 Nazis.” He was sentenced to 7 consecutive life sentences.
· September 15, 1999
. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire on a Christian rock concert and teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. He killed 7 people and wounded 7 others, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook committed suicide.