17 good people were killed Wednesday in Parkland, FL. CNN reports that the town, the school, the survivors and their families have damn well had enough of “thoughts and prayers”. That’s not a solution. Neither is blaming mental illness. Easy access to military grade weapons strikes me as part of the problem, but there is no proof of that. We don’t understand what triggers mass shootings. We have no idea of how to prevent them, or how to identify probable shooters ahead of the killing. We have no data to help us form and advocate legislation that might minimize these incidents. We lack the necessary facts to make the arguments to limit banana clips, bump stocks, assault rifles, and even body-armor piercing ammunition.
Other than dates, place, and body counts we have no data on mass shootings. Let that soak in. We know a lot about auto accidents because they have been studied, extensively. We know much of what there is to know about the dangers of cigarettes, the causes of heart disease and cancer, and from that knowledge (largely developed by the CDC) others have developed action plans that have already produced significant, measurable improvements in mortality from those causes.
So why not do something similar about the causes and possible prevention of gun violence?
We have not done this, and cannot, because for 20 years the Federal government has forbidden the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from investigating deaths and injuries caused by firearms. Our leaders, cowed by the money and political power of the NRA, have chosen ignorance over gun facts for far too long. They have done this for a reason foreseen many years ago by the Gun Lobby: Guns Kill People.
You either agree with me completely, or you think I’m a libtard moron. No need to kid ourselves; that’s who we are. But, can we agree on this: knowledge is good. Knowledge is based on facts. We need more facts on gun violence.
And that’s where our politicians live as well. They can’t get much of anything done. Their world is too black and white, too red and blue, too us and them. And without the data to form a cogent argument, we will not reach a political solution for gun violence in my lifetime, nor the lifetimes of my Kat and my kids.
Then get some data. More Americans have died of bullet wounds in the past fifty years than in all of America’s wars from all causes combined. Is that not insane?
Let’s get the CDC on the case of what facilitates gun violence, and perhaps what to do about it. Employ science to study gun deaths and mass shootings. Let science do what our politicians will not. The Truth Is Out There.
It’s up to us to find it.