Surprising Facts About Who Threatens Our Safety the Most—Recommended Reading

With guns so easy to purchase at superstores like Walmart, it’s no wonder there’s so much gun violence in the US.
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With guns so easy to purchase at superstores like Walmart, it’s no wonder there’s so much gun violence in the US.

With guns so easy to purchase at superstores like Walmart, it’s no wonder there’s so much gun violence in the US.

In the wake of the Charleston shootings, WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker recently weighed in with a self-styled “rant” about America’s obsession with guns.

WhoWhatWhy also questioned the media’s continued unwillingness to confront lax gun laws in the aftermath of a mass shooting, rerunning  a vintage editorial, “Just Asking—Media Outfoxed on Spate of Bizarre Shootings?”—sadly still relevant some two years after its original publication.

We aren’t ranting alone.

Since we posted these stories, a new study has emerged showing that foreign terrorists are much less of a threat to the safety of Americans than are homegrown extremists. E.J. Dionne Jr. of The Washington Post  also contributed to the conversation on gun violence, in a column that adds intriguing new points to those made by Baker. He also notably calls for an end-run around Second Amendment absolutists like the NRA by casting the issue in terms of a public-health crisis, because what are the deaths of innocent people if not a public health issue?

Dionne compares this strategy to the battles waged against smoking and drunk driving. Noting the swift tide-change in the Confederate flag debate, he argues that given the facts about the actual circumstances of gun deaths in America, an aroused public could decide to clear some seemingly insurmountable past hurdles and begin demanding some kind of common sense measures to protect the innocent Americans who die every day from weapons fire.

Here’s some more required reading about gun violence as the debate heats up—again.

MSNBC: Blackout: How the NRA suppressed gun violence research, January 14, 2013

The Washington Post: Why the CDC still isn’t researching gun violence, despite the ban being lifted two years ago, January 14, 2013

New England Journal of Medicine: Preventing Gun Deaths in Children, January 31, 2013

Armed With Reason: Debunking the “Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People Myth, October 8, 2013

US News and World Report: We Need Gun Control to Stop More Than Criminals, January 16, 2014

PoliticsUSA: Homeland Security Warns Right Wing Extremists Are An Equal Or Greater Threat Than ISIS, February 20, 2015

The New York Times: Wait, Guns Do Kill People? February 20, 2015

The Washington Post: Gun deaths involving children are devastating. The NRA has no idea what to say about them, April 9, 2015

CNN: U.S. right wing extremists more deadly than jihadists, April 15, 2015

The New York Times: The Growing Right-Wing Terror Threat, June 16, 2015

The Washington Post: Here’s the deal with the Australian gun control law that Obama is talking about, June 23, 2015

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

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11 responses to “Surprising Facts About Who Threatens Our Safety the Most—Recommended Reading”

  1. Title

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  2. Mark In Boston says:

    There was a gun murder on my street a couple of weeks ago, and a shootout around the corner (thankfully no one was hurt). There has also been a rash of “shots fired” reports lately. Our neighborhood called an emergency meeting last night which drew an overflow crowd. BPD was there in force with Commissioner Bill Evans (remember him from the Marathon bombing?). The mayor sent a representative and our US Representative and a State Rep was there, too. So was Northeastern University criminologist Jamie Fox (the guy who insulated “Danny”). During the two-hour meeting a lot of issues were discussed. No one on the panel of police and public officials, or in the audience, brought up the subject of new gun control legislation. Not one. But the subject of existing gun laws did come up, twice from the audience and most poignantly by a police officer. The gist of the audience and police officer’s remarks: ‘Our (police) hands are tied, We bust punks one, two, three times on gun violations and the courts have them back on the street the same day as their court hearing – we’re tired of arresting people who are going to be let loose the next day.’ It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. A cop told me the same thing fifteen years ago when BPD shut down a crack house across the street from me. Someone in the audience asked our Rep: “What can we do to get judges to lock these thugs up?” He mumbled endlessly about how it’s a “complicated” issue that legislators have been dealing with for years. Typical.

    So, I’m sorry, if Government won’t enforce and prosecute the laws we already have to keep citizens safe, I refuse to follow them down a path that reinforces their political posturing for their next election. Wanna find out what’s really going on about gun violence in America and what those most effected think we should do to address the problem? Go to a neighborhood meeting where gun violence is a daily occurrence. You’ll find out quick that those who live with it daily are far more concerned with survival issues that have nothing to do with new gun laws that will either be ignored by the courts, circumvented by blue and white collar criminals, or don’t speak directly to the real problems at hand.

  3. coachblue says:

    The problem isn’t guns, it is psychotropic drugs that cause these people to go off the deep end.
    Saying it is guns is sort of like saying knives, forks, and spoons are the cause of the obesity epidemic. Not a really good comparison, but you get my drift.

  4. ShawnCathcart says:

    Who threatens our safety the most? Good question. Mother Jones has published a report on all of the mass shootings in the U.S. from 1982-2015, updated with the latest data from Charleston. The total deaths resulting from these mass shootings is 567 over a period of 33 years. Now, let’s compare this to the shooting deaths from this year, at the hands of U.S. police officers. Since the beginning of 2015 to date (6/28/2015) police have killed 549 people in the U.S.. Six months of government violence versus 33 years of violence by lunatics who were more often than not, under the influence of an FDA approved psychoactive drug when they committed their crimes.

    Who threatens our safety the most?

    Mass shootings data:

    Killed by police data:

    Mass shootings and SSRI drugs data:

  5. Westcoastdeplorable says:

    What we actually need do is permit and encourage MORE open-carry. If more citizens are armed the number of mass shootings will decrease. If fewer LEGAL guns are allowed in contravention to the 2nd Amendment, then gun murders will increase. The problem isn’t with legal gun owners, it’s with ILLEGAL gun owners. New laws/restrictions have zero effect on these people, so it only make sense to encourage more folks to own and carry guns for protection. I know it’s an emotional issue with some people, but facts are facts.

  6. icthelite says:

    One needs to pull up the latest numbers of death from guns for Chicago. This city has one of the strictest gun control programs in the country. Review the numbers of deaths from those with ILLEGAL weapons. Take notes, then get back with me on how legal gun ownership is a problem.
    Most mass shootings are committed in places where the shooters know no one is carrying firearms for protection.

  7. Sam says:

    The guys who can and do shoot down dead ordinary citizens would seem to be the ones to be terrorists – after all they’re the ones to be afraid of, aren’t they? And of course they can do more harm to the victims if the terrorists are organized and well-equiped with weapons, can’t they? Now ask yourself, do you see any gangs like that in your town? And if you do, can you do anything about it? Just asking…

  8. lofty1 says:

    They need to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force and National Defense Authorization Acts first, before they try to enact any gun control laws.

  9. danny j says:

    Polls consistently show that large majorities of USians favor some increased “gun control” legislation.

    Specifically, most people are in favor of truly universal background checks (UBC) for firearms transfers. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, polls were reported that even a majority of NRA members favored UBCs!

    So, who opposes UBCs, and has the political clout to prevent them? As far as I can tell, it’s weapons manufacturers and those gun sellers who will provide guns to anyone with the money to buy them. These are the groups that bribe and threaten our representatives, largely through their lobbyist, NRA.

    Less than 5% of legal gun owners are NRA members. So why do the 1/3 of USians who own guns let the NRA block UBCs?

    From what I can tell, it is because there is such a strong anti-private gun ownership movement that gun owners figure that, no matter how egregious may be NRA, at least they keep the anti-gun fanatics at bay.

    We need to unite on this issue. If we want gun owners to push for UBCs (thereby stripping NRA of its clout), then we have to shut down the radical anti-gun movement who push for widespread bans and confiscations of most firearms from most law-abiding citizens.

  10. I really think there needs to be something done about the ‘easy access to guns’ but it’s a tough one. I think most people (even if they don’t want to admit it), are afraid to give up their weapons ie. guns, because they need some form of protection against home invaders, night time work place, and believe it or not, protection against their own government. It sounds bizarre, but that’s my take on it. It will be one of the toughest things that I can imagine for the people and the lawmakers. VERY strict background checks and maybe a psychiatric evaluation is the one thing that should be at the top of any gun purchase. Unfortunately if the government wants to take over the population in any way; for any reason, it would have to be the militaries steadfast refusal that would stop something of this nature. If the military goes against the citizens, they, the citizens wouldn’t stand a chance.