One of the worst feelings that emerges from horrible events like the mass murder at Connecticut's Sandy Hook elementary school is the sense that we live in a country that has fundamentally lost the ability to protect itself and its most vulnerable citizens from gun violence.
This sense of defenselessness can be overwhelming, especially when the increasingly savage mass killings are blasted over our mass media. When we look at the recent scorecard, it's clear that the problem is spiraling out of control. Six of the 12 most deadly shootings in our history have occurred within the past five years. The vast majority of the world’s worst mass shootings, in developed countries, have taken place in the United States. There have been 65 mass shootings since Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2009. On top of that, nearly 15,000 homicides were committed in the U.S. in 2011, two-thirds of them with firearms, and this rate is rising since December.
Ironically and depressingly, sales of guns and ammunition has gone through the roof since the Sandy Hook tragedy, and production cannot keep up with demand. So the 300 million guns in personal hands in the U.S. are increasing for sure.
With the mass murders, it is the NRA that is most culpable. The NRA has been transformed from an organization primarily about gun safety to one taken over by gun zealots. The NRA protects the ability of virtually anyone to get their hands on guns, even the most powerful assault weapons like those used in recent killings. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the developed world. For the NRA, "freedom" is now defined as the ability to carry a concealed handgun virtually anyplace.
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