23 January 2013

1,260,703

In the last 42 years -- since MLK, Jr. and Robert Kennedy both died by gunfire -- 1,260,703 Americans have suffered the same fate.  That figure is more than the total number of casualties our country has sustained in every single war we have fought since our founding Revolution.  659,000 Americans have died in combat over the last 240 years.  Twice as many have died in one-fifth the time on our streets, in our homes and businesses, at our malls and theaters, and even in our classrooms.*

1,260,703 lives.

1,260,703 souls.

1,260,703 stories.

There is so much rhetoric flying around these days about gun policy and gun rights and gun violence and gun owners.  And all the while, there are 1,260,703 holes in the fabric of our society that no one can mend.  

Sure, some of those unmended holes were occupied by "bad guys."  Some of those victims were drug dealers, gang bangers, criminals, and losers.  Does that really make it OK?  Are we ready to abandon our inner cities completely?

1,260,703 gun deaths.  This is equivalent to three Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedies happening every single day for the last 42 years.

Remember what your day was like on December 14, 2012.  Remember watching the news.  Remember the horror growing as the magnitude of pain and suffering crystallized.  Remember hearing about the families waiting to find out if their children were safe.  Remember the stories of the teachers who tried to save their students and lost their lives in the process.  Remember the names of Noah, Dawn, Avielle, Benjamin and Rachel, and too many more.

Now multiple all of those memories by three, and then imagine going through that experience every day of your life.  That's what we, collectively, as a nation, are putting up with until we stand up and say enough.

Let's say it 1,260,703 times.

No individual possession rights are worth 1,260,703 human lives.

* * *

*I got the statistics in this paragraph from Mark Shields, who cited them on NPR last week.  Here is a link to that interview

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