Bob Herbert hits the nail on the head:
Since Sept. 11, 2001, when the country’s attention understandably turned to terrorism, nearly 120,000 Americans have been killed in nonterror homicides, most of them committed with guns. Think about it — 120,000 dead. That’s nearly 25 times the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For the most part, we pay no attention to this relentless carnage. The idea of doing something meaningful about the insane number of guns in circulation is a nonstarter. So what if eight kids are shot to death every day in America. So what if someone is killed by a gun every 17 minutes.
Absolutely incredible. I knew lots of Americans were killed by guns each year, but one every 17 freakin’ minutes? And yet there are whole right-wing organizations dedicated to making sure that this can still happen. And those same righties are going around clamoring about being “pro-life.” Give me a break.
Guns are like weapons of mass destruction on an individual level. If someone goes on a murderous rampage with a knife or similar deadly object, he or she may well kill one or even a few people before being overrun and captured (often by police with guns). But imagine what happens when you give that person a pistol, or even an assault rifle. The criminals potential for destruction of innocent life doubles, triples, or more; the death toll rises into the double digits. Police officers, or the people we’ve put in charge of executing our laws, often taking the brunt of the assault, because they have no superior ability to kill or capture than the assailant. In the international community, we ostracize the unstable countries that want WMD, and do everything we can to prevent proliferation. Yet here in the United States, any resentful and mentally unstable loner can end up with an assault rifle if he decides that it’s a good idea. Meanwhile, the NRA and other right-wingers in power have been doing everything they can to promote this proliferation of these localized weapons of mass destruction. After all, it’s great policy to give the North Koreas in our communities unlimited access to nukes, right?
According to Herbert’s stats, about 2 people died because other people shot them with guns while I wrote this post.