By J. Brett Whitesell
I grew up in a hunting family. My father hunted, he taught me how to hunt when I was younger. His brother’s hunted, as did their children. I used to love to build and shoot black powder rifles and revolvers. Spent many days with friends who also enjoyed shooting black powder. You could spend the day shooting, cleaning, and talking, for about $7.00. When the kids came along I made a decision to sell the guns rather than take a chance on an accident. I took my oldest son to hunting classes, even took the test again. He now hunts and is showing his son how to hunt, who is now 9. The only reason for even listing this drivel is so those with over thick and protruding frontal lobes, reading this understand where I am coming from.
Now, let’s look at some history:
– Aug. 1, 1966: Charles Whitman opens fire from the clock tower at University of Texas, killing 16 people and wounding 31
– May 4, 1970: Four Kent State University students were killed by Ohio National Guard troops, nine people were wounded.
– July 12, 1976 Edward Charles Allaway fatally shoots seven fellow employees at California State University, Fullerton, and wounds two others.
– March 24, 1998: Andrew Golden, 11, and Michael Johnson, 13, killed four girls and a teacher at a Jonesboro, Ark., middle school, and wounding 10 others.
– March 21, 1998: Two teenagers were killed and more than 20 hurt when Kip Kinkel, 17, opened fire at a high school in Springfield, Ore., after killing his parents.
– April 20, 1999: Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates, a teacher, and wounding 26 others before killing themselves.
– July 29, 1999 Mark Barton, a former day trader, age 44, killed nine people at two Atlanta brokerage offices, then himself.
– March 5, 2001: Charles “Andy” Williams, 15, killed two fellow students and wounded thirteen others at Santana High School in Santee, Calif.
– March 12, 2005: Terry Ratzman, 44, gunned down members of his congregation in Brookfield, Wisconsin, killing seven, wounding thirteen, then kills himself.
– March 21, 2005: Jeffrey Weise, 16, killed nine people, including his grandfather and his grandfather’s companion at home. Also included were five fellow students, a teacher, and a security guard at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minn. Seven students were wounded, and then he killed himself.
– Oct. 2, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, shot and killed five girls at West Nickel Mines Amish School in Pennsylvania, then killed himself.
– April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and classrooms at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, then kills himself, making this the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
– Dec. 5, 2007: Robert A. Hawkins, 19, opened fire at a Von Maur store in an Omaha, Neb. Mall, killing eight, wounding 5, two critically, then taking his own life.
– Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27 opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, fatally shooting five students, wounding 18 others before committing suicide.
– March 10, 2009 Michael McLendon, 28, killed 10 people—including his mother, four other relatives, and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy—across two rural Alabama counties before killing himself. (AP Associated Press, March 29, 2009)
This list doesn’t include 6 reported killed in a shooting at a nursing home in Carthage, NC. On March 30th, and five workers shot dead in a plant shooting in Kentucky, it is endless. If this sounds like a lot it barley touches the surface of gun related deaths in America. Consider this, according to latest reports; Germany has an average of 180 gun related deaths per year, The United Kingdom (incl. England, Ireland, and Wales) averages 91, last year there was only 51. In Japan last year there were 3 gun related deaths. They all have strict gun laws.
The United States now averages over 30,000 gun related deaths each year……….30,000!
This is not rocket science, nor does it take a mental giant to look at these numbers and know something has to be done.