At least 194

I don’t like guns. I’ve never fired one and I don’t care if I ever do.

I can appreciate the hand and eye coordination in shooting a target because some days I can barely thread a needle when wearing my readers.

I get the issues around hunting to provide food for families (Hunting is violent, but I don’t think Contained Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are any more humane than killing an animal with a single shot.)

What I don’t get is why AT LEAST 194 children have died in our country since Newtown. One hundred ninety-four. 10 x 19 +4.  AT LEAST that many.

We don’t keep good data on gun deaths and children, so 194 is on the conservative side. Why don’t we have uniform reporting on children who die because they are shot? Who doesn’t want us to know how many children are dying because of guns in the country we say is the greatest in the world?

A year ago today we were stunned into silence as a nation while we waited for the students and teachers to emerge from Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Yesterday we waited for the body count at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado.

Shame on us for waiting to learn the body count at another school shooting.

Shame on us.

It took 10 years to get the Brady Bill passed after Jim Brady and Ronald Reagan were shot. 10 years.

Using the conservative data we have, are we willing, as Americans, to let 1,940 more children die while the NRA, the members of Congress that they own, chest-thumping state’s rights legislators, and gun waving citizens, prevent background checks and bans on assault weapons?

I am asking my fellow rural Americans who own guns and think enough children have died just since Newtown to do something about it.

The next time you buy bullets for hunting, put 194 individual bullets on the counter.

194 bullets

Ask the people standing there with you if they think 194 children shot and killed since Newtown is enough. Ask them why we need to be able to buy assault weapons and rigorous background checks aren’t the law. If they say “because of the Second Amendment,” ask them about the last time their home was invaded by an entire Army division. Owning an assault weapon is over-kill. No pun intended.

If you think speaking up for gun control isn’t “your thing,” ask any one of the 194 families who won’t open birthday presents with their daughter, son, sister, or brother, in 2014, why speaking up shouldn’t be “your thing.”

They can give you one reason why you should.

The NRA must stop using our children as pawns

Being the President’s child in the White House can’t be easy. Now the NRA is dragging the Obama’s daughters into the politics of gun control by producing a web video criticizing the President as “elitist” because his daughters have security details at school.

Clearly the NRA is so desperate now that it  resorted to using the President’s own children in its campaign to arm our society to the teeth with assault weapons and magazines.

Disgusting.

The NRA is losing the grip it has had on Americans for too long. We don’t need assault rifles and we don’t need high-capacity ammo magazines. Finally citizens are saying it.

connecticut-state-police-lead-children-from-the-sandy-hook-elementary-school-after-shooting-dec-14-that-left-27-deadWhat we do need are laws and procedures which will help reduce the all-to-easy access to guns.

And we have to couple that with increasing the access to mental health services so that people who need care can get it before they reach a crisis. Our mental health care delivery system is not set up to help patients and families until they reach the breaking point.

Congress and state legislatures have the power to make it harder to get a gun. New York did it last night and Governor Andrew Cuomo said after signing the legislation, “We put rules in place that actually protect innocent people in society. That is what the State of New York is doing today. It says common sense can win and good people can win. And you can actually get government to work and get good things to happen. You can overpower the extremists with intelligence and with reason and  common sense.”

If Congress and state leaders won’t act, the President has Executive Authorities to make changes in gun ownership that Americans are calling for. He should use them.

Last night Lawrence O’Donnell reported on The Last Word that the NRA edited its video and took the Obama girls out of it during his broadcast. The NRA’s video begins at 2:00.