A Numbers Question: On The Shooting At Fort Hood


Well, we’re officially over Hump Day and we’ve lost another few Americans to gun violence.

Someone went on rampage again at Fort Hood yesterday, and first and foremost this makes me really furiously angry. I actually have this same guttural reaction (perhaps the only time I, personally, fantasize about shooting anything) every time one of these episodes occurs: livid, rage, followed by a bittersweet aftertaste of sadness and an enduring confusion as to why we Americans still think guns are a good idea.

The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States, and they argue that the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to arm the good guys. I’d like to argue that, even if this were true, isn’t this really just advocating an eye-for-an-eye-making-the-whole-world-suffer-very-real-pain-and-loss policy just so you can keep your hobby? What continues to elude my understanding is that there are 4 million members of the NRA (and countless other supporters) who really seem to believe this, or who at least say they do because they like the rush they get when they get to make fire and loud noise come out of a tube in the safety of a controlled environment. But as thrilling as that rush may be, is it worth 11,000 lives a year? Is it even worth one life a decade? I value my hobbies as much as the next person, but I would give up anything – anything – if it would save thousands, or even one, innocent life. Hell, I’d give up ice cream – and anyone who even kind of knows me knows how totally batsh*t I go for ice cream.

Coming back to Fort Hood — what’s special about this particular shooting is that my cousin was shot in the stomach and is now sitting in the ICU. But, I realized, at some point it was bound to hit this close to home. Which then made me wonder: when 11,000 people are killed in the United States by guns each year, and undoubtedly countless others shot but just lucky enough not to die, how many Americans personally know someone who has been directly affected by gun violence? And how is the NRA still winning?

How long until we realize that guns are not a solution to themselves?