Out of all the mass shootings, if you were callously sit down and rank them (I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing this, no), Sandy Hook might be the worst. A loss of life is a loss of life wherever it happens, yes. But when the life lost might not yet understand what death is? And when it all comes after one of the most basic of parental moves, i.e. dropping your kid off at school about two weeks before Christmas? That’s bad. That’s really bad. I mostly try to keep this blog focused on a couple of core topics, but I couldn’t resist writing about Adam Lanza once and Peter Lanza (his father) one other time. I also wrote this about Newtown and gun control.
Today is three years since Newtown, and essentially, nothing has happened — about a week and a half ago, there was another shooting in San Bernardino, CA. About a month ago, Paris was terrorized. These are different concepts and different countries and involve different ideologies, sure — but it turns out that when it comes to kids, things might actually be getting worse.
Since the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School three years ago, at least 554 American children under the age of 12 have died from gunshots, both intentional and accidental, NBC News reported.
That figure, based on news reports and other publicly available information, is likely significantly lower than the true number of child gun deaths, as suicides often are not covered by news media and other gun deaths sometimes go unreported. Even so, it works out to a rate of just under one death of a child by firearm every two days in this country.
It’s been 1,095 days since the Sandy Hook shooting, and 554 American children under 12 have died — and in reality, that number is probably higher because of how gun reporting works.
We have legitimate problems with guns in America — if New Orleans were a country, for example, it would be the second-worst in the world for gun violence.
We don’t do things for a variety of reasons, the No. 1 reason being “money” (that’s fairly obvious, right?). The No. 2 problem, to me at least, is the preponderance of this ‘thoughts and prayers’ culture. Many of us have ways to ‘speak to the world,’ be that social media or a blog or something. We all want to feel like we’re responding appropriately in a situation like Paris, so we change our Facebook profile picture or post some thing about thoughts and prayers or do something along those lines. We think that matters. In reality, it doesn’t — although it feels like the only thing we can really do in that moment, right? I get it.
In reality, all of this comes back to empathy. That leads to social reciprocity and that makes us human. When that erodes, bad things happen. Gun sales and gun control are an aspect of that, yes — but the overall quilt of frayed connections is much more dangerous.