Twenty innocent children and 27 dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
It was a similar massacre that occurred at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA in 1989 (six children killed and 30 children wounded) that finally led to the 1994 Federal Ban on Assault Weapons, which Congress and President Bush let expire in 2004.
Every day eight kids under 20-years-old die from gun violence in America. That's 56 kids a week, 340 kids a month and over 3,000 kids every year. In fact you could fill Fenway Park three times over with the 110,000 children killed by guns in the U.S. over the past 30 years!
When are we going to stop this calamity with innocent children being massacred every day? When are we going to protect our children who have no one to protect them by us? Children deserve much better and adults are to blame.
We can't continue to blame yet another horrific and all too common mass shooting of innocent children on mental illness, video games, violent films, evil in our society and every other excuse except the continued insane public policy of allowing unrestricted access to military style assault weapons with high capacity ammunition clips and easily concealed handguns.
Gun violence in America is out of control. Every day 150 Americans are shot and 83 (including eight children) are killed by firearms. Every year an average of 30,000 Americans die from firearms. Since former Congresswomen Gabby Giffords and others were shot in Tucson, AZ (Jan. 2011) there have been over 65 mass shootings in America -- three every month. Since 1970 over 1.4 million Americans have been killed with firearms -- more than all U.S. service men and women killed in all foreign wars combined.
Federal Gun Policy allows unrestricted access to all firearms including military style weapons, high capacity ammunition clips and easily concealed handguns without criminal background checks or detection in 33 states and at over 5,000 gun shows annually. The gun lobby and Congress have made law enforcement the enemy of gun rights. Police are restricted from regulating gun shows and all "private" gun dealers who legally sell 40-50 percent of guns each year without a background check, proof of ID or detection. Even federally licensed gun dealers who are the only gun dealers required to run background checks are legally allowed to "set up shop" anywhere including from their homes, car trunks and backpacks. Gun manufacturers are also uniquely protected by Congress and are exempt from any regulation including manufacturing, safety, and marketing standards. And they have been given absolute immunity from law suits. As a result gun manufactures legally sell plastic guns to evade metal detectors, guns "resistant to fingerprints" or "capable of penetrating 48 layers of soft-body armor" and even capable of "taking down an aircraft." Further, Congress has said even people on suspected terrorist watch lists should be able to legally buy guns at gun stores and as long as people with mental illness haven't been "legally committed" to a mental institution, they too are free to purchase assault weapons and concealed handguns.
Is it any wonder there's a gun violence epidemic in America?
It's time to wake up and smell the gun fire. We don't feel safe because we aren't safe. We're the gun violence capital of the "civilized" world and our children are senselessly dying at the rate of a classroom every three days. We have put our children at great risk while we've stood by as our president, Congress and state legislators have been bought off or intimated into submission by the special interest gun lobby and unregulated gun industry.
WE are to blame for the 20 innocent children killed this week in Newtown, CT. Just like the 36 shot and 13 killed at Columbine High School, the 52 shot and 32 killed at Virginia Tech, the 13 shot and six killed in Tucson, the 71 shot and 12 killed in Aurora Colorado, and the 150 more Americans shot and 83 killed, including the eight more children today and every day. This is not ok and not someone else's problem. This is no longer "just an inner city problem" that primarily rich white people and politicians in the suburbs can ignore. It was always just a matter of time before the senseless gun violence would spread to "nice communities" like Newtown or Columbine, or Aurora or any town USA.
Gun violence occurs because guns are virtually unregulated in America and the gun industry profits from ever more gun violence. More guns result in more gun violence. More gun violence results in more fear and increased gun sales. Increased gun sales result in higher gun industry profits and more gun lobby contributions to elected officials who continue to allow unrestricted access to deadly firearms without detection. This is not rational public policy and we reap what we sow. WE still live in a democratic society and WE can change this horrific epidemic of preventable gun violence.
The time is NOW -- Call President Obama and members of Congress.
Tell them to take action to protect our children NOW. If not now when?