Welcome to our world

“Walkin’ down the street, smoggy-eyed
Looking at the sky, starry-eyed
Searchin’ for the place, weary-eyed
Crying in the night, teary-eyed”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”

“Wonder when I’ll find paradise
Somewhere there’s a home sweet and nice
Wonder if I’ll find happiness
Never give it up now I guess”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”

“Don’t you know that it’s true
That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto”–War circa 1972

Listening to the news today, I couldn’t help but notice the stark difference in the media sensationalism with gun violence.  For some reason, I still expect some semblance of balanced journalism from the corporate owned media outlets.  At the same time, I still get let down by the ratings and advertising revenue chasing aspect of the media as opposed to providing some semblance of balanced news reporting.

This afternoon, another school shooting took place in Marysville, Washington.  One student was killed, and there are 4 others in critical condition.  Unlike most other school shootings, this one was perpetrated by a popular student as opposed to the typical loner or outcast.  The gun used allegedly belonged to the father of the shooter which means that it was likely a legally purchased and owned gun.

My sympathies go out to the students and families affected by this tragedy.  I send out anger and scorn to the media and the talking heads over the selective reporting of violent incidents like this.

Since the shooting occurred, I’ve heard the actions, thoughts, and everything else about the shooter being analyzed on tv by people who don’t have a clue about this guy.  The media outlets have gone through social media accounts to piece together as much as they can about the shooter.  Some outlets have interviewed students live on-air to get an idea of what the victims were like in school.

When this happens in Chicago, or some other urban setting, why is there not equal reporting or analysis?  Why don’t we hear the stories about the victims of these violent incidents?  Why isn’t there wall-to-wall coverage analyzing every single aspect about the incident?  We don’t even see televised press conferences when shootings happen in urban environments unless there’s a baby or little kid killed.

Well, in case you haven’t figured it out already, there is no avoiding or escaping violence.  There’s violence all around us daily.  We just choose to ignore it until it comes knocking at our front door.  Then, when violence rings our doorbell, it’s an urgent matter that has to be dealt with swiftly.  As long as it’s happening on the other side of the tracks, it’s out of sight and out of mind.

You can’t escape violence by turning off the television or moving to the suburbs.  As we all know, violence knows no racial, social, or economic status.  The sooner we all realize that we’re rowing the same ship, the sooner we can all work together to limit the possibility of violence striking at your feet.  Don’t think for a second that you’re immune to violence.  The world is a ghetto, and we’re all residing there regardless of our station in life.

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Another day in America, another shooting

Another day in America brings forth another shooting incident.  Today, it was in Reno at the Nevada Advanced Medicine building near the Renown Regional Medical Center.  There was one killed and two people injured by the shooter before he took his own life.  At this time, there’s no motive known, and maybe time will reveal what was the issue.  What time won’t do is bring back the deceased person who was the victim.

Reading up on this, I came across a site at Reddit.com that tracks what they call “mass shootings” called Guns Are Cool.  Reading their definition of “mass shooting” and comparing that to the media’s definition, it pushes up the count quite significantly above and beyond what the media counts as mass shootings.

The most obscene incidents of gun violence usually do not make the mainstream news at all. Why? Because their definition is incorrect. The mainstream news meaning of “Mass Shooting” should more accurately be described as “Mass Murder”.

The old FBI definition of Mass Murder (not even the most recent one) is four or more people murdered in one event. It is therefore only logical that a Mass Shooting is four or more people shot in one event.

Here at GrC, we count the number of people shot rather than the number people killed because, “shooting” means “people shot”.

For instance, in 2012 Travis Steed and others shot 18 people total. Miraculously, he only killed one. Under the incorrect definition of mass shooting, that event would not be considered a mass shooting! Arguing that 18 people shot during one event is not a mass shooting is absurd.

The only requirement is that four or more people are shot in a spree or setting, likely without a cooling off period. This may include the gunman himself (because they often suicide by cop or use a gun to kill themselves to escape punishment), or police shootings of civilians around the gunman. The reasoning behind the latter being that if the shooter is arrested, he will often be charged with injuring people the police actually shot, as that is a foreseeable result of a shooting spree.

According to their list, there have been 351 mass shootings to date in the United States, and that doesn’t include the Reno shooting today.  As today is the 351st day of the year, that averages out to one shooting where four or more people were shot every single day of the year this year.  You will likely never hear that number repeated by the media, nor will you see it debated much across the internet.

That site lists every single incident with links to news stories to verify the stories.  You hear people talk about the violence in Chicago, but Chicago accounts for 16 of these incidents over the entire year.  That’s not to say that Chicago hasn’t seen it’s fair share of gun violence.  However, simply dismissing gun violence as an urban issue is easily disproven when looking at the places on this list.

I’m not advocating for or against gun control here.  What I want to do is highlight reality without all the subterfuge.  In my honest opinion, America is and will always be a violent country.  Our country was founded in violence when we separated from England by way of the Revolutionary War.  When slavery was abolished, it was by way of the Civil War and the results of that violence.  When we expanded territory, it was usually by way of the gun when we took land from the First Nations who were already here.

We owe it to ourselves to be honest, even if the truth hurts.  With the estimated 300,000 guns in circulation in this country, we are never going to rid ourselves of guns.  We simply have to learn to live safely with them in our society.

Instead of trying to restrict access and such to guns, we should focus on training and educating people in safety aspects.  Sure, there will be people who will somehow gain access to guns when they should not have that access.  No system of denial will ever be 100% foolproof.  That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t better train ourselves to deal with deadly situations much better than how we’ve done to date.  After we run through the usual suspects, mental health, video game violence, and such, we will have to get to the root issue of access if we really are interested in curbing the senseless deaths in this country.  Otherwise, we’re simply twiddling our thumbs and hoping that our number isn’t called in one of these incidents.  By then, it will be too late for us to do something about it.

On the Subject of Gun Control

Given the recent dialogue on gun control laws, I think that the people who want better gun control laws should stand back and let the “responsible gun owners” make the case for them.  Here’s a sample from recent headlines that had me scratching my head today.

One would think that members of the law enforcement community would be considered amongst the group of sensible gun owners as they carry as part of their job, and they also enforce the laws governing guns.  It should make one think when even law enforcement officers have the perception of not showing the best in judgement.

I’m not passing judgment on any of the people involved in these stories here, but using the perspective of an average citizen, why would anybody think it’s ok to walk around town wearing body armor with an AR-15 strapped to your body?  This is a classic example of “just because it’s legal, that might not be a good idea” type thinking.  If you’re doing nothing wrong, why not answer questions from cops to put them at ease.  Given the rash of mass shootings, when they get a call like that, I can only imagine the adrenaline is already pumping before they hit the scene.  A little common sense goes a long way at times, and it was definitely needed there.

Also, private sales are perfectly legal, but the sale in Arizona shows an inherent weakness in the current system.  There’s no way to know whether a person can legally own a gun without a valid background check.  You can’t always look at someone and tell if they are legally restricted from owning a firearm.  WIthout checking, there’s no definitive way to ensure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.

Finally, all I can say about Florida is “just damn”.  I’m really beginning to wonder if it’s safe for the citizens of Florida who have enhanced melanin to leave the house.  I know they’re not the only victims of gun violence there, but when you’re getting shot up just steps away from your own home, something ain’t right.  It’s even worse when the victim is unarmed.  Police have a stressful job, and sometimes they have to make split-second decisions that may not seem remotely justified in hindsight.  I sincerely hope the deputies in Florida were acting within their training, even if that training is wrong.  A problem like that can be corrected with adjustments to training.  If they were acting on their own, then I’m at a loss for words.

One final issue I have about gun ownership that I rarely see addressed by any of the factions is training.  I could care less about someone wanting to express their right to carry a firearm.  I’m more concerned with that person’s ability to carry, use, and defend that firearm in a confrontation.  Just having a gun doesn’t mean diddly squat if someone can take it from you and use it on you.

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/07/31/early-start-or-teen-attack-in-city-hall.cnn.html

When trained people can lose their weapon in a scuffle, what does that mean for the untrained?