The FBI has released a study which clearly documents the rise in sporadic mass killins in the United States since the turn of the century. The NYTimes notes “The bureau’s new survey across the past 13 years concludes that horrific shootings like those in 2012 at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., are occurring with greater frequency. The average annual number of shooting sprees with multiple casualties was 6.4 from 2000 to 2006. That jumped to 16.4 a year from 2007 to 2013, according to the study of 160 incidents of gun mayhem since 2000. (In 2000, The Times examined 100 spree killings, all those that the paper’s staff could find going back 50 years.) The F.B.I. report makes the shooters’ terrible effectiveness clear: 486 people were killed — 366 of them in the past seven years — and 557 others were wounded, many of them gravely incapacitated for years afterward.”
My reaction to all of this is ‘big deal.’ Only 486 people dead? So what? I’ll tell you the number of dead that really gets my attention; 16,651. This is the number of people that died in 2010 from physician-prescribed opioid analgesics, pain-relieving drugs containing narcotics (Percocet, Oxycontin, etc.). Let me do the simple math for comparison. 486 dead over seven years is an average of 69.42 people for year killed in mass shooting sprees. I will be generous and round the number off to 70. Now let’s look at the other example by way of comparison. If the annual rate of deaths over the past seven years from narcotic prescription drugs stayed the same, 116,657 people have died, a number that really gets my attention.
Now that I, perhaps, have your attention as well, the number of gun deaths each year is in excess of 31,000. This number is the total of annual deaths from all guns including those guns that are carried legally throughout the United States, some into churches and bars and college classes and Starbucks and wherever else a gun–toter may fancy. Let me do some quick math again about that number, a number that really does get my attention; 31,000 times 7 equals 217,000 people dead over the last seven years. 486 is only 0.02% of those 217,000 people.
Big deal? So what? The ‘big deal and so what’ to me is that the NRA and its gullible-as-hell minions scream (and spend millions of dollars lobbying and buying off our hapless politicians) to protect the specious right to bear arms. The ‘big deal and so what’ to me is that doctors and Big Pharma scream about unfair lawsuits and restrictions on their right to kill people for profit.
Just saying . . .