How Many Is Too Many? How Many Times Must We Ask?

2006: 11 killed in Lancaster, PA (three legally-purchased guns used)
2007: 33 killed at Virginia Tech (two legally-purchased guns used)
2008: 6 killed in Dekalb, IL (four legally-purchased guns used)
2009: 14 killed in Binghamton, NY (two legally-purchased guns used)
2010: 9 killed in Manchester, CT (two legally-purchased guns used)
2011: 5 killed in Carson City, NV (legally-purchased gun(s) used)
2012: 6 killed in Minneapolis, MN (one legally-purchased gun used)
2012: 12 killed in Aurora, CO (four legally-purchased guns used)

2012: 27 killed, including 20 children between the ages of 5 and 10 (three legally-purchased guns used)

This, obviously, is only a partial picture of gun violence in our country. It includes only nine of the many tragedies and focuses on mass or spree shootings. It does not include the day-to-day violence faced by many in cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, which lose more than their fair share of children each year. But, these horrific events throw a spotlight on the problem of gun violence in the U.S.: our failures writ large; the flaws of our gun control laws and mental health service magnified. Why, however, are we as a society not learning from these horrors? Why are the blinders of the gun lobby and those who would cut medical and mental health services for those who need them still on? Does the 2nd Amendment, as it is written, still apply in this day and age, with the right to own automatic weapons that, quite frankly, serve no purpose outside of the military far outweighing the right of American children to grow up without being touched by gun violence? If they are able to grow up at all.

How many more senseless — needless — deaths will we, as one of the most violent countries in the world, have to endure before we all come to our senses, and can bring our politicians to theirs? When will the rights of a few to their automatic weapons, and to the politicians’ to large sums of money from the powerful gun lobby, not outweigh the rest of ours, especially the youngest among us?

For the full map of mass gun tragedies, see Mother Jones’ eye-opening piece here.

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