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That list, by the way, represents only a random sampling of recent shootings, most so run-of-the- mill, so plain vanilla ordinary, they didn't even make news outside their local areas, which should give you an idea how common gunfire in this country is.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, nearly 98,000 of us are shot each year, a figure that includes law enforcement activity. That's nearly 268 a day, 11 every hour.
By the reasoning of the NRA, you do not address that sad state of affairs by crafting laws that strive to balance the rights of responsible gun owners with the need to block the irresponsible, the dangerous, the criminal minded, the unhinged, from access to these WMDs. No, by the NRA's reasoning, the solution to too many guns is more guns still.
The organization frames this as a defense of freedom. To which the best rejoinder is provided by Gil Scott-Heron in the song quoted above: "Freedom to be afraid is all you won."
It is a trenchant observation. Just the other day, two seventh-graders in Tilla-mook, Ore., found a handgun, with a round in the chamber and the safety off, on the floor in
Quackenbush reportedly feared someone might shoot up the place--as happened in Aurora, Colo., last July during a Batman movie. So add movie theaters to the list of places we should have armed guards. We are a people shot through with fear, a nation under the gun.
And one wonders how much more of this "freedom" we can take.
Leonard Pitts is a columnist