Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gun Violence at Schools and Campuses; It Needs to Stop

As you may be aware, there are two competing initiatives going to the Legislature (and, in fact, going before a committee tomorrow). One is SI 591 - Protect our gun rights and the other is SI 594 gun sales background check.  Both are about background checks - one for and one against.  

You might want to consider contacting your own legislator on this issue.  

Look, do I think background checks for guns will prevent all gun violence?  Nope but it's a start (and, at this point, we need to start doing something). 

I think the bigger question - for our purposes of talking about gun violence in schools - is whether parents who own guns will have the common sense to secure them from their children.

 That seems to be quite a problem and for the life of me, I don't know why.  Guns and kids - of any age - do not go together.  (Hunting is different if it part of your family's culture and still, the weapon should be secured when not in use for hunting.)  It does NOT matter that the adult involved had no bad intent - it's just common sense.  

Do not for one minute think "it won't happen at my child's school."  We live in a country where almost any kind of gun violence is possible in any location.  I wish that were not so but the evidence is in our face almost every single day.

From Bill Moyers:

Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, 2014 is off to a deadly start: in the first 14 school days of the year, there have been at least seven school shootings. For sake of comparison, there were 28 school shootings in all of 2013, according to gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action.

Let's take a quick check of some of the school gun violence since Jan 1 of this year:

-  a gunshot injuring a student at Widener University near Philadelphia
-  a death of a Purdue University teaching assistant,
-  a shooting death at   South Carolina State University
- shooting at a New Mexico middle school with two students badly hurt
- lockdowns because of threats from North Carolina Central University to Yale.  

From the Christian Science Monitor:
But while the near daily drumbeat of school shooting news unnerved lots of Americans, the fact that at least some of shootings didn’t seem random underscored a sense of ambivalence, what ABC News’ Colleen Curry called “gun violence fatigue.”

What happened in gun-free zones when they were first established is the same thing that’s happening today: crime escalated,” says Jerry Henry, the director of Georgia Carry, a pro-gun group working to make it legal to carry guns for self-defense on campuses.

For its part, the Bureau of Justice Statistics has reported that gun free zones are generally safe for young people, with deaths occurring in those places never exceeding two percent of total youth homicides in the US every year.

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