How many mass shootings is enough?

Another shooting.  

The 377th mass shooting in America since January 1, 2017.  377 mass shootings over a period of 309 days.

How is this possible?  How can this continue?  How is it that there is no conversation happening on this in Congress?  

Today, was a shooting in Texas.  At a baptist church, in a state where you are allowed to carry a weapon and arguably a state that most loudly touts its right to do so.  I wonder if those who walk out of that church today, will still think so?

As the shooter left the church he was shot at by a good samaritan who then chased him down with another person.  Word is still out if they shot the shooter or the shooter shot himself.  Either way you look at it, they were a little too late - as 26 people have died from that shooting and 20 people were injured.  Did that good samaritan have his gun on in church?  Because it didn’t stop him.  Yes his gun most likely stopped the shooter eventually, a sort of vigilante justice, but way after the damage had been done.

I had no idea that the numbers of mass shootings were so high.  That almost EVERY SINGLE day, all across america, someone opens fire on a group of strangers, relative strangers or sometimes family and friends.  EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Many, define a mass shooting as a gun incident that results in at least 4 people being wounded or killed in a gun shooting.  Though another source, Mother Jones, defines "mass shootings" as "indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed by the attacker." There are only 10 of those for 2017 accounting for 106 dead (this accounts for 20 in today’s incident) and many, many more injuries.  

But that second definition wouldn’t account for the 4 teenagers injured Friday night.  There was a group of kids hanging outside at a party in Buffalo, NY, when someone pulled up to them in a car and started shooting at 10:30 at night.  The 4 teenagers happened to be the unlucky ones who caught the bullets.   The shooter is still missing.  It doesn’t say why.  It doesn’t say who was affiliated, if they were rivals, strangers or friends.  It doesn’t matter. And they need to be counted.

These statistics are staggering and it’s almost like we have returned to the wild west.  Most of the articles that I read showed the shootings occurred at 2:30 am, 4:00 am, 6:12 am, 7:00 pm… Oftentimes, it’s someone who is drunk, pulling out their gun and showing what a badass they are because they have a gun and then shooting it.  

I distinctly remember the mailbox’s on our street having a vandalism problem when I was a teenager.   We lived on a straight long street, about a mile long, between two relatively busy roads.  The houses were all set a fair bit back from the road with mostly big front yards.  Cars liked to drive fast down the street at night with a baseball bat and hit the mailboxes.  I don’t know if they ever caught those kids but I remember my dad planning and then installing, new iterations of mailboxes that would send that bat reeling out of a kids hand or at least make his arm reverberate for a few hours and hopefully make them think twice about hitting a mailbox again.

I feel like those bored kids now have guns.

Every time there is a mass shooting, gun sales go up.  People are afraid that that’s it, guns will be harder to obtain, so they run out and buy one. So even the gun owners in some weird way think it’s in the imminent future.  The same reason we have a bag full of cans and other preparedness for the “big earthquake”.  I don’t do this, my husband does, because he is smart and think it’s just a matter of time and he needs to be prepared for it.  Future gun owners even know that.

And congress does nothing.  

Not a single thing.  

A friend forwarded me the local chapter of Moms Demand Action, for gun sense in America a month or so ago.  I was busy, our car was broken, Matt wouldn’t be able to come home in time so I said I’d make the next one and though I meant it, I still haven’t gone.  But I will now.  Something needs to be done.  I’m not sure how this is going to be addressed, but I want to join the conversation.  And if the “Moms” part makes you go “hmmmm…” it did me too -- this needs to be all of us colluding together and their website states “Our common-sense, middle-ground solutions to the escalating problem of gun violence in America are straightforward. We are moms, aunts, sisters, grandparents, dads, brothers, uncles, and friends, and we want you to join us on the ground!”

I’m joining this fight.  This has got to stop.  

I love this quote going around the social media world for the past COUPLE of years:

I want any young men who buys a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protestors holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protester who call him a murderer.

After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.

-- anonymous, but made enormously popular by Gloria Steinem repeating it.

Maybe that’s where we start.

I was just reviewing what it takes to get a gun. And let's just say it’s not difficult.  Like a pet, you are the one who is required to register it properly.  And if you buy a used gun, we just have to hope that the person selling is it is running all the background & mental checks like they are supposed  to be doing.

I get that people don’t want their guns taken away.  But I also get that those responsible people, who are following the laws, who are registering their guns, who are storing their gun in a responsible place, these aren’t the ones we have to worry about.  It’s the guy or girl who feels so wronged that they have to seek out guns in other places, who practice using them in the mirror in the bathroom, who think of the thrill and the glory of shooting all of those people.  The power that will come with it.  The notoriety.

That’s what I am scared of.

Too many times it takes someone who is personally affected to take a different stand:

Like this post from Caleb Keeter, guitarist in the band on stage during the Vegas shooting.

“I’ve been a proponent of the 2nd amendment my entire life.

Until the events of last night. I cannot express how wrong I was. We actually have members of our crew with CHL licenses, and legal firearms on the bus.

They were useless.

We couldn't touch them for fear police might think that we were part of the massacre and shoot us. A small group (or one man) laid waste to a city ……… because of access to an insane amount of fire power….”  

And the scary thing is at that rate, more and more of us, will be affected by this.  Will it take each person to be affected personally until we actually take a stand?

377 mass shootings this year alone people.  Let that sink it.

Jessica McClure