“I never thought it could happen here.”

Mass-shootings*Two hours before this was scheduled to publish, New Jersey is in the midst of a shooting situation at the Garden State Plaza Mall. Thankfully, as of now, there are no reports of injuries. Let’s hope the news stays that way.*

I know we’re all a bit battle weary of hearing about guns and shootings and deaths…oh my!

And yet, each week brings another town or family or community saying, “I never thought it could happen here.” And many of these tragedies don’t even get their 15 minutes of fame anymore. Or even ten minutes. We are just inundated. Exhausted.

From what I’ve heard, one of the most concerning issues for many people is the threat of a mass shooting. Whether it’s at a Santa Monica college, a midnight film, an outdoor political meet-and-greet, or in a classroom — these incidents, despite being more rare than the horrible day-to-day toll, are frightening because of their randomness. And one thing is clear, the intersection of mental health and access to firearms must be addressed. But we don’t deal with one issue at a time; they must all be worked on consecutively – and from all sides.

That said, which do YOU think is easier to affect? Anyone who has struggled with mental health or who has someone they care about who has struggled knows the answer. It’s about access to firearms first, folks. Which then makes access to effective and consistent mental health services possible.

Will that stop all violence? Of course not. But the fact remains that firearms are the most effective “tool” used by those who wish to cause death, mayhem, and destruction – including towards themselves.

And with that. Check out this graphic — it’s clear, informative, and just sad. It’s also woefully outdated after last week’s horrific collection of four additional mass shootings, the latest occurring at Los Angeles International airport. The average in the USA is (only!) one mass shooting every two weeks.

Click on the image for a readable version.

Angry enough to act? And then act again? Here’s one menu of options with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.

Not into Moms so much? How about MAIG and their Demand Action campaign?

Still not thrilled? Want something a little more in your face? The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence may be your style.

The Brady Campaign also has avenues to action — see their site here.

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About That Unique* Weblog

Adjusting to the car culture, dealing with leaving a career I love, and spouting off along the way.
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2 Responses to “I never thought it could happen here.”

  1. Access to guns. Yes. One mass shooting every two weeks is unfathomable. I respect the opinions of the people who believe that the second amendment affords them the right to own a gun, but what about our right to stay alive when we go to school, see a movie, or go to the mall?

    I just read this account from a rabbi who was at the Garden State Mall when the shooting started. He and a few of his kids got out, but his wife and daughter were stuck inside. It is breathtaking: http://observer.com/2013/11/my-familys-terror-and-the-nj-garden-state-plaza-shooting/

    • Wow. That account really shows how terrifying a situation can be, no matter the final outcome.

      A common gun lobby query when events like this occur is “What are YOU doing about mental health? That’s the REAL problem!”

      Their concern for those with mental issues is touching, and while it is absolutely important, it is the overlap of access to weapons with mental health and violent tendencies. The vast amount of people with mental health challenges are not violent. And if/when they are, the violence is usually, tragically directed inwardly.

      But all that seems too nuanced for the gun lobby to accept since it doesn’t forward their agenda.

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