sandy hook kids

One look at those pictures above and we instantly remember.

Shortly after 9:30am on the morning of December 14, 2012, a mentally ill young man armed with a small arsenal of weapons and more ammunition than one person should be allowed to purchase in a year shot his way through the locked doors at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

When I heard a news report of a possible armed man at an elementary school, I almost dismissed it, thinking no one would dare to hurt innocent children. When I returned to the TV a few hours later, my stomach dropped and my heart broke. We remember the rest, some parts of the unthinkable story more vividly than others.

Dec. 14, 2012 fell on a Friday. Back then, I didn’t do a show on Fridays. I sat glued to the TV, hoping for some good news out of this mess, but there was none to come. To make matters worse, I was fighting the flu, so I was bedridden all weekend long.

From the moment the enormity of the tragedy became apparent, I was dreading the moment when the victims’ pictures would be made public, and for good reason. Those beautiful children, just 6 and 7 years old, now statistics in America’s sadistic obsession with guns.

Why am I bringing this up today, with still a little of two months before we hit the sad three-year anniversary of the loss of those little lives and the handful of adults who gave theirs to protect them?

Well, I have an appointment this morning that prevents me from doing a show, so I had to find something to run this morning. When picking out one from the past to run instead, this one kept pushing its way to the front of the line. I think that’s because we need to remember when it’s all too easy to forget.

So, this was my first show after the shootings. Cliff Schecter joined me, as did Cheryl Wheeler, the singer-songwriter responsible for “If It Were Up To Me,” the song I play every time there’s another mass shooting shaking the people of this country to the core, but never moving our elected officials enough to do anything.

In the wake of the latest mass shooting, this one at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, an Australian gun control group has called for a boycott on travel to the US!


What a brilliant idea! So brilliant, in fact, that I’ve been suggesting it for two years now!

Below the fold is my original post from Sept 2013, updated in April 2014. Let’s make this happen!

This article was written and originally posted on Sept 18, 2013. It’s re-posted and slightly updated today, and includes my interview with former Australian Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer, who helped enact gun laws in Australia after a 1996 massacre in which 35 people were slaughtered, and who warned Australians not to travel to the US following last summer’s shooting death of Australian baseball player/college student Christopher Lane. This graphic shows the Mass Shooting/Killing incidents since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 through the time The Atlantic published it on Sept 16, 2013. At that time, we had just experienced yet another mass shooting, this one at Ft. Hood. Sadly, since the time this article originally ran, there was a second mass shooting at Ft. Hood…

The shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., on Monday marks the 20th time since Barack Obama took office that there has been a mass killing incident. Using data compiled by Mother Jones magazine, we created an animated map to show, month-by-month, what that toll looks like.

According to that data, 174 people have lost their lives since January 2009 in such incidents. The incidents must meet several criteria: four or more killed, it must have been a solitary shooter, the killings must have happened in a public place or series of places.

I’ve come to the realization that nothing will be done to stop the madness. The mass killings by crazed gunmen with weapons that serve no purpose other than to kill will continue unabated. After all, we’ve already witnessed the unthinkable:

  • a congresswoman meeting with constituents outside of a grocery shot in the head. She was lucky enough to survive, but six people who went there to meet her were not.
  • TWENTY 6 and 7 year-old children slaughtered in their classroom, along with 6 adults who did everything possible to protect the children in their charge.

On Monday, the crazy man with the guns killed twelve people. But they were just your everyday, run of the mill, normal folk who raged in age from 46 to 73. No, they weren’t babies. And no, they weren’t high ranking elected officials. If our representatives in Washington weren’t moved by 20 babies’ bullet-ridden bodies, or by one of their own ambushed, they certainly won’t be motivated by the loss of another dozen or so mere citizens whose job it is to protect. Obviously, the only thing that seems to matter to these politicians who are either against any sensible gun regulations, are afraid to cast the vote they know is needed, or simply haven’t read the entire Second Amendment to the Constitution (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”) is money. So, I say that we take it to their pocketbooks. Although the murder of Australian baseball player and college student Christopher Lane last month in Oklahoma by “three bored teenagers” isn’t on the map of mass killings above because only one person was killed. But it was enough to prompt Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer to warn

‘It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street. People thinking of going to the U.S.A. for business or tourist trips should think carefully about it, given the statistical fact that you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S.A. than in Australia, per capita.”

That doesn’t apply only to Australia. The Washington Post published this chart on the day after the Newtown massacre, which clearly shows that the United States is, by far, the gun killing capitol of the world!

The United States has by far the highest per capita rate of all developed countries. According to data compiled by the United Nations, the United States has four times as many gun-related homicides per capita as do Turkey and Switzerland, which are tied for third. The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other countries on this chart. That means that Americans are 20 times as likely to be killed by a gun than is someone from another developed country.

Lovely, huh? That information makes the case that the US is not the best choice when citizens of other nations are planning their vacations. After all, why go somewhere where you are 20 more likely to be killed by a crazy person with a gun than to a country where you’re likely to be much safer? Yes, that would hurt our pocketbook. According to the International Business Times,

Travel and tourism in the U.S. is flourishing compared to the overall national economy, according to quarterly statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Monday.

Spending on U.S. travel and tourism rose by 6.8 percent in the first three months of 2013, compared to national gross domestic product growth of 2.4 percent in the same quarter. Growth in tourism spending has mostly stayed higher than GDP growth since about mid-2010, according to bureau data. In early 2011, tourism spending rose by about 10 percent, while GDP growth stayed at 2 percent or lower.
And according to the World Travel & Tourism Council,

Travel & Tourism”s total contribution to GDP in the Americas was US$1.9trillion in 2011, or8.6% of total GDP. This compares to 6% for automotive and mining and 7% for chemicals.

Hit ‘em where it hurts. If the politicians can just step over all the dead bodies in the road, let’s see how they react to the huge monetary losses their corporate benefactors will suffer. Once the US Chamber of Commerce steps in, maybe they’ll do something. Click the link below to hear my conversation with Former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia Tim Fischer