"A word in earnest is as good as a speech"
~Charles Dickens: Bleak House

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just sadness .......

In my last blog I wrote about the grief a parent feels when their child moves away. But the reality is that is nothing compared to the grief parents and husbands and wives and friends were feeling on Friday morning when the news that their loved ones who had just gone to the movies were never coming home.

I do not understand it. I do not understand what would make a person want to hurt so many people .... people he had never even met.

It is sad when something like this happens, not only for the victims and their families but because of our memory. For the next month or so this is all people will talk about. And then they will stop. And then the trial of the gunman will start and it will be all people will talk about. And then they will stop. And then there will be debate and conversations about gun laws and it will be all people will talk about .... but by this point they will forget why they are talking about it. And then they will stop. And then the next tragedy will occur .... new faces and stories will be plastered on the news and the Internet and it will be all people will talk about. And then they will stop.

Since July 2011, over 146 people were shot and killed in random shootings like the one that happened at the Colorado movie theatre. People were shot and killed at a birthday party at a roller rink, a casino, a county fair, a basketball game, a town soccer game, IHOP, a psychiatric hospital, a religious vocational school .... just ordinary people going about their day when gunfire changed their world forever.

And it will happen again. John McCain actually said that there is no proof that gun control laws diminish gun violence. However, I was reading a blog earlier and found this quote interesting:

So I did a little research of my own and found a very interesting web page, gunpolicy.org: 
In England;
  • The right to have a gun is not a guarantee and if you want a license to carry a gun you have to prove you have a legitimate reason to have a gun (hunting counts).
  • In the United Kingdom, civilians are not allowed to possess semi automatic and automatic firearms, handguns and armour piercing ammunition.
  • In 2009 England had 724 homicides (1.2 for every 100,00 people), 18 of which were gun related.
  • The market cost of an AK-47 is $1,500.00 in England. 
In Australia;
  • Civilians are not allowed to possess automatic and semi-automatic firearms, self-loading and pump action shotguns, handguns with a calibre in excess of .38in with only narrow exemptions, semi-automatic handguns with a barrel length less than 120mm, and revolvers with a barrel length less than 100mm.
  • In Australia, the right to have a gun is not a guarantee and if you want a license to carry a gun you have to prove you have a legitimate reason to have a gun (hunting counts - but personal protection does not).
  • In 2009 Australia had 262 homicides (1.2 per every 100,000 people), 30 of those were gun related.
  • The market cost of an AK-47 is $600.00 in Australia.
In the United States;
  • The right to own a gun is guaranteed by law (I am not going to say it is guaranteed by the second amendment since I don't believe that it is).
  • Although it is a federal law that all people purchasing a gun must go through some kind of background check, and most states required a permit to carry a concealed weapon,  Gun permit laws vary by state in the US, here is some general information I came up with: 33 states, including Colorado, do not require a license to purchase a firearm.
  • In the United States, civilians are not allowed to possess machine-guns, sawed-off shotguns and rifles, silencers, and armour-piercing ammunition without appropriate registration.
  • In 2009 the United States had 15,241  homicides (4.96 per every 100,000 people), 9,146 of those were gun related.
  • Market Cost of an AK-47 in the US is $500.00.

It appears to me that the countries with tough gun laws have less gun violence. While I did not go through every country on the list - the ones I did look at seem to support this theory. Take that John McCain!

President Obama's words after his visit with the victims and families of the Colorado shooting described true grief & real sadness and his words were comforting. It is unfortunate that the other 134 American families that lost loved ones in mass shootings since July 2011 did not get such words of comfort and hope. This blog is for them.


  1. Leann,
    You encapsulate the situation I believe precisely and, as always, eloquently. Whatever the laws and beliefs ion your country and whatever the statistical differences between the US and other nations there is for me another issue.
    I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would or indeed should have the desire or right to own a gun - no matter how easy or hard it is to meet the required criteria.
    Guns have only on function to maim or kill. Owners will give all sorts of reasons for their possession - hunting, protection, pleasure but in the end they want something to kill with.
    Whether the owner is a misguided young man in Colorado or indeed even our own 90 year old Duke of Edinburgh who likes nothing better that to kill grouse and deer on his estates the end result is the same - it is killing. I am unclear how this can be justified - the wilful taking of life. I thought only the Gods (if there be such things) might have this right.
    Mature people in any nation leave behind the desire to wilfully maim and kill when as a three year or four year old they learn that it is unacceptable to pull the legs off a spider or mistreat a pet. Unfortunately, it seems that wannabe cowboys in your country and aristocratic dukes on this side of the pond represent a cross section of people who still have the emotional and maturational age of less than three and wish to justify their emotionally challenged actions by dressing them up in feeble excuses like "self defence" or the "protection of the countryside".
    Soldiers might require guns (although I could enter a dialogue about that!)but the civilian population - whoever they might be do not - and the mere fact that someone completes the required forms to apply for a gun licence should in itself be sufficient reason for refusing that licence - an emotionally and intellectually mature adult would not apply in the first place!

  2. I could not agree more! The one exception I would add would be people that actually hunt their own food. But really, how many people do you know who do that. I was reading several online "debates" about this issue today and I was struck by how many people said if there were more guns in that theatre fewer people would have died. It is mind boggling to me that even after a tragedy such as this people think that more guns are the answer. I can't even imagine what the death toll would have been if everyone started shooting in that smoke filled theatre ... I should say I don't want to imagine.

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