An Adult Conversation About Guns

Earlier today, a gunman walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where people were watching the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. He fired gas canisters into the crowd, and then opened fire. At least 12 people are dead and 59

Aurora Police outside the Century 16 movie theatre, Denver

Earlier today, a gunman walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where people were watching the midnight showing of the new Batman movie. He fired gas canisters into the crowd, and then opened fire. At least 12 people are dead and 59 people are injured. My heart and prayers go out to all of them.

On the day Gabby Giffords was shot, I was picking up my son Henry from a lesson when I got the text message saying there had been a shooting. I’d campaigned with Gabby in 2006. Henry didn’t understand why I’d stopped getting into the car and started crying.

Walking back from a haircut the other day, I passed Café Racer, where on May 30th a gunman walked in and killed four people.

It's time we had an adult conversation in this country about guns.

On January 17, 1989, a gunman in Stockton, California walked onto a playground and opened fire, killing 5 children and injuring 30 more.

On July 1, 1993, a gunman in San Francisco walked into a law office and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 6.

On April 20, 1999, two gunmen in Columbine, Colorado walked into their high school and opened fire, killing 13 people and injuring 21 others.

On January 16, 2002, a gunman in Virginia walked into a law school and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 3.

On July 8, 2003, a gunman in Mississippi walked into a factory and opened fire, killing 6 and injuring 8.

On March 21, 2005, a gunman in Minnesota walked into a high school and opened fire, killing 7 and injuring 5.

On November 20, 2005, a gunman in Tacoma walked into the mall and opened fire, injuring 6.

On March 25, 2006, a gunman in Seattle walked into a party and opened fire, killing 6 and injuring 2.

On February 12, 2007, a gunman in Utah walked into a mall and opened fire, killing 5 and injuring 4.

On April 16, 2007, a gunman in Virginia walked onto the Virginia Tech campus and opened fire, killing 32 people and wounding 17 others.

On December 5, 2007, a gunman in Nebraska walked into a mall and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 4.

On December 9, 2007, a gunman in Colorado Springs walked onto a church parking lot and opened fire, killing 2 and wounding 3.

On February 7, 2008, a gunman in Missouri walked into a city council meeting and opened fire, killing 5 and wounding 2.

On February 14, 2008, a gunman in Illinois walked onto a college campus and opened fire, killing 5 and injuring 17.

On June 25, 2008, a gunman in Kentucky walked into a factory and opened fire, killing 5 and injuring 1.

On January 24, 2009, a gunman in Portland walked up to a nightclub and opened fire, killing 2 and injuring 7.

On March 29, 2009, a gunman in North Carolina walked into a retirement home and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 2.

On August 4, 2009, a gunman in a suburb of Pittsburgh walked into a fitness club and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 9.

On November 5, 2009, a gunman at Fort Hood in Texas walked into a medical center and opened fire, killing 13 and injuring 29.

On November 29, 2009, a gunman in Lakewood, Washington walked into a coffee shop and killed 4 police officers.

On January 7, 2010, a gunman in St Louis walked into a power plant and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 6.

On January 12, 2010, a gunman in Georgia walked into a truck rental place and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 2.

On February 12, 2010, a gunwoman in Alabama stood up in a college faculty meeting and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 3.

On August 3, 2010, a gunman in Connecticut walked into a warehouse and opened fire, killing 8 and injuring 2.

On August 7, 2011, a gunman in Ohio broke into his girlfriend’s house and opened fire, killing 7 and injuring 1.

On September 6, 2011, a gunman in Nevada walked into a pancake restaurant and opened fire, killing 4 and injuring 7.

On October 5, 2011, a gunman in Cupertino, California walked into a quarry where people were working and opened fire, killing 3 and injuring 7.

Sadly, I could go on.

But the numbers don’t tell the stories. These were people. Rachel Scott was a 17-year-old aspiring writer and actress who wanted to change the world through small acts of kindness. Dave Sanders was a 47-year-old teacher and girls basketball coach who was shot and killed while trying to evacuate students. Cassie Bernall was hiding under a table praying. Jack Berman was a lawyer who founded a program to help homeless people find housing. John Scully died while shielding his newlywed wife with his own body. Drew Keriakedes and Joe Albanese were musicians with wicked senses of humor. Every one of the hundreds of people shot in the incidents I list above had dreams and aspirations, laughed and cried, had friends and neighbors and parents.

As a country, though, we have not had a real conversation about guns in many, many years. The National Rifle Association (NRA) threatens the career of any politician who so much as opens the conversation. As a consequence, our country has not discussed assault weapons – which have no use except killing large numbers of people in massacres like the ones I’ve listed. We have not discussed the fact that anyone can buy a gun at a gun show without any background check, even if they have a history of criminal violence. We have not discussed the expiration of the ban on large clips, which allow shooters to kill more people in a shorter time because they don’t have to reload. We have not discussed what a sensible, rational approach to regulating guns in our country might be.

Enough.

It’s time we took steps to stop the mass killings.

It’s time we had an adult conversation about guns in this country. The NRA can go to hell.

In deepest sympathy,

- Darcy

Also posted at DailyKos

About Darcy Burner

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