Once again, we end the year with a gruesome mass murder of innocent people by others armed with weapons of war that are, by definition, weapons of mass destruction.
I often speak of “Opposite World” (where in is out and up is down), and nowhere is that theory more obvious than our hypocritical obsession with the “war on terror” and our lack of any policy or urgency in battling our gun epidemic.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 153,144 people were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013, the last year that data are available (that number excludes deaths by “legal intervention”).
- The Global Terrorism Database — which uses a criteria to determine terrorist attacks but also includes acts of violence that are more ambiguous in goal — estimates that 3,046 people in the U.S. died in terrorist or possible terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2014.
The top number doesn’t even include suicides and legal police killings (which boost the number to 394,912). Still, just counting homicides alone, 11,780 Americans were killed by guns a year on average, in that time period, while 219 on average were per year killed by terrorism — although of course the 9/11 attacks are the bulk of the deaths.
The NY Times took the almost unprecedented step of printing an editorial on the front page of the paper on Saturday, “End the Gun Epidemic in America.”
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
Today on the show, Joel Silberman joined me for our regular Monday morning meeting of the minds, and we both agreed that the president didn’t deliver what he needed to bring in last night’s televised address from the Oval Office.
In hour two, Dave Johnson of the Campaign for America’s Future returned to help me figure out how President Obama can be for the Trans Pacific Partnership and in favor of a climate treaty at the same time. And we spoke about his latest offering at OurFuture.org, “Does Clinton Really Oppose TPP? There Is A Test For That” which you need to click on and read right now!
I promised I’d share the entire interview I did with Tim Fischer, Australia’s former deputy prime minister who helped usher in new, sensible gun laws that have precluded any new mass shootings since 1996. He made news this week, suggesting official travel warnings about the US due to our gun epidemic. But in our 2013 interview, I suggested that hitting the US in the pocketbook might be the only thing that’ll make our elected representatives act on guns.
Back tomorrow, radio or not!