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Friday, July 24, 2015

Guns and Killings in America: Have We Reached a Tipping Point?


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With the shooting yesterday in yet another theater where 2 people died, along with the shooter, the following statistics are finally, finally coming out:

--In the last week, there were 5 "mass shootings" here in America. A mass shooting is defined as 4 or more people being killed.

--A mass shooting occurs, on average, approximately once per 2 week period, every month, every year in America now, according to FBI statistics.

--Since 2006, there have been more than 200 mass killings in the United States.

--The FBI counted 172 cases of mass killings between 2006 and 2011.

--30,000 Americans die every year in America to gun violence.

--People are far more likely to be killed by someone they know than by random assassins. Public massacres like Newtown, Massachussetts account for 1 in 6 mass killings. Breakups, estrangements and family arguments make up the majority of cases, though unrelated victims may be caught in the crossfire.

--The majority of mass killings are family related.

--Approximately 57% of victims knew their killier, even if they weren't the main target. 1 in 4 victims were close family members -- children, siblings, spouses, etc.

--77% of mass killings involve a gun.

--Nearly 3 out of 4 of the guns used in mass killings were handguns. 72.9% of the weapons used were handguns.

--A killer wielding a multiple-magazine assault rifle is the exception. More typically, the closest available weapon is used.

--Many mass killers do not face prosecution. About a quarter commit suicide after the crime, and others are killed by police. Still more are deemed incompetent due to mental illness. When cases do go to trial, they can often take years because of the death penalty or other complications.

--Often, a mass killing involves a failed safety net. Ineffective protective orders, gaps in the mental health system, immigration bureaucracy and other lapses have been implicated in many cases. 

So the question becomes, once again, have we finally reached our "tipping point", America? Are we finally ready to address the shootings, the killings, the huge numbers of guns and weapons that are in our society and available to and for people who may well be mentally unstable and/or who have or may have a criminal history?

How many people will we allow to be killed until we act?

Are we there? Are we there yet?


Deadly July: Five mass killings in 10 days


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