The Onion was celebrating a week without any major massacres by firearms when it had to back off as it was announced that there had just been a mass shooting at New York City’s Empire State Building right in the middle of Manhattan. You probably wouldn’t classify this as the typical massacre like Aurora, Colo. or the Wisconsin Sikh temple because the gunman only shot and killed one person. The nine wounded were from police fire.
|Assisting victim in Empire State Bldg shooting
Now I am no expert at criminology, but does this incident appear to have been prompted by a police force—one of the finest in the world—that has become influenced with the possibility that every public shooting is potentially a massacre? These are well trained officers yet they wounded nine bystanders in the melee. Has the huge availability of guns in this country pushed police departments in America to the edge, resulting in this kind of outcome?
To give you an idea of the actual anticipation of the possibility of more imminent gun violence, federal authorities commented that a lot can happen in 24 hours, saying: ““so let’s not get too excited yet.” And they were right. Yet another person armed with a gun holding a grudge killed an innocent person. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was down the street talking to the celebrating crowd and when told what had happened said:
“You know what, forget it. There was another one about 20 blocks from here. So, party’s over. Sorry.”
It is a sorry state of affairs when we can’t go one week without a shooting that ends up killing innocent victims and wounding several others. But it is blatantly clear why this can happen and it all centers around the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) and its head, Wayne LaPierre. This organization, commandeered by this wacko in the late 1970s, who devised his evil concept that 2nd Amendment rights are more important than human life, deserves the majority of the blame for all the killings.
Vivid tape of Empire State Bldg. chaos with victim:
The shooter, Jeffrey Johnson, used a .45-caliber semiautomatic and was armed with extra ammunition in his briefcase. Johnson was killed by police but not until he caused nine innocent people to be shot. In BuzzFeed.com “Criminologist James Alan Fox has written that, according to FBI data, mass shootings have fluctuated since 1980 with no sustained upward or downward trend.” But his data stops with the year 2010 with no crime data available for 2012.
As regular readers know, I have been compiling nationwide figures on shootings since this past March, including deaths and woundings, broken down by the city in which they occurred. The numbers are starkly unbelievable and should shock the apathetic American public that has been shunning gun control. Since March 2012 there have been 432 deaths from 1,056 shootings; woundings were added to the report in June and in only 2 months there have been 628.
Keep in mind that these figures represent only those reported by the media and, thus, considered somewhat conservative.
To extend the data above by James Alan Fox that stopped in 2010 re. mass shootings, there were 28 that occurred since Columbine in 1999 through 2011, including the shooting and severe wounding of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Tucson, Arizona in Jan. 2011 where 6 were killed and 18 others wounded. Most notable from the 28, the massacre at Virginia Tech where 32 were killed, 15 wounded. Then Fort Hood, Texas with 13 dead and 42 wounded.
But that was just the warm up. 2012 exploded during the summer with 17 wounded with an assault weapon at a Tuscaloosa, Ala. bar. Then the mass shooting at the Aurora, Colo. theatre killing 12 and injuring 58. Next it was the Sikh Temple in Wis. where 6 were killed and 4 wounded. Which brings us up to the incident at New York’s empire State building. Fox comments that this trend is likely to continue with around 300 million guns in the hands of Americans.
Also from BuzzFeed.com, Philip J. Cook, crime scholar and Ludwig’s coauthor on Gun Violence, “believes adversarial political rhetoric is a possible contributing factor. He criticizes the NRA for ‘promoting the idea that Obama’s goal is to take away guns and they have to fight to prevent that from happening,’ an idea he says has stirred up fringe gun enthusiasts and led to record-breaking rises in gun purchases and concealed-weapon applications in many states.”
|NY Mayor Bloomberg with his group
|Just moments before the Empire State building shooting, NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg on WOR’s John Gambling Show said, “I don’t know what it takes, John. Somebody asked me what would shock Congress. Well, they had a Congresswoman shot…. And that didn’t seem to do anything,” the mayor said. “The Founding Fathers I don’t think ever envisioned AK-47’s in the hands of people.” The congress is clueless and Obama afraid of the NRA.
Mayor Bloomberg has been asking for new gun regulations for years and in a CBS NY article they are spelled out:
· Require background checks for every gun sold — 40 percent of all guns are sold without background checks
· Stronger enforcement of straw sales, where someone buys a gun for someone not eligible to own one
· A requirement that states enter criminal and mental health records into the federal background check system
I would add to this the banning of all assault rifles and high capacity magazines.
When will this country wake up? Following all other developed countries in gun control and leading that group plus many third-world countries in deaths from shootings should confound the simplest-minded person. We are not a nation of dummies, although some congressional leaders and states like Arizona would challenge that notion. We have a chance to do what’s right with the escalation of gun violence. The question is…are we smart enough to do it?