Comfortably Numb: The New American Normal?

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?
Comfortably Numb- Pink Floyd
The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall, the movies, a coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot.


It gives me no solace  to know that the President of the United States and I share a sense of ‘frustration” over  the gun violence in the United States. It is awful to hear the  adjectives “normal” and “routine.”  being used to describe the deaths and injuries  by guns in America.  The citizens of the United States are  referred to as “Numb” when it comes to being the collateral damage in the politics and profits of our weapons industry. The most recent mass school shooting at  Umpqua Community College, in Oregon  resulted in nine more individuals murdered and at least nine more injured by the gun fire.

I believed  following the Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown murders, where  a classroom of six and seven year old children ( and the staff trying to protect them,) were shot America had reached a  tipping point.  That the United States citizens would rally for change to the way we buy and sell guns.  This would be  the United States of America’s  watershed moment. I was so wrong.

There have been 142 School shootings since the Sandy Hook School murders.

Spend some time with your heart and mind with these numbers:

As of August 26, 2015 the United States  averages more than one mass shooting per day. A ‘mass shooting’ defined as a shooting with four or more victims. That is 238 days with 247 mass shootings. The number has increased to 294 since August.

15—The number of times during his presidency that Obama has made a statement about a mass shooting.

294 – The number of mass shootings (defined as when four or more people were injured or killed by a gun) in 2015.

45—The number of school shootings that have taken place in 2015.

142 – The number of school shootings since the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

9,957—The number of people who have been killed by gun violence this year.

20,269 – The number of people who have been injured by a firearm this year.

153,144—The number of people who were killed by homicide in which firearms were used between 2001 and 2013 (the last year that such data was available).

7—The number of children and teens who die every day, on average, from gun violence (Five are murdered and two kill themselves).

20– The number of times higher the homicide rate by guns is for Americans, compared to those who live in other developed countries.

President Obama tells us,  “There is a gun for roughly every man, woman, and child in America.” That is Three hundred and Twenty One Million, Eight Hundred Ninety One Thousand, Eight Hundred , Fifty Nine (321,891,859.)  guns.

Folded into  President Obama’s frustration, is the solution:


This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America.  We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.  When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer.  When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer.  When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities.  We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives.  So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations doesn’t make sense.

So, tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate, I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up.  And that will require a change of politics on this issue.  And it will require that the American people, individually, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, when you decide to vote for somebody, are making a determination as to whether this cause of continuing death for innocent people should be a relevant factor in your decision.  If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views.

The daily reality of living or visiting in the United States is that whether going to the market, church, school mall,the moviesa coffee shop, or just walking down the street, there is a risk of being shot. For yourself, your children, your parents, your neighbors, friends and coworkers; everyone is at risk at anytime.  Just how long are we willing to stay ‘Comfortably Numb?


  1. Staggering statistics! How does one get the guns out of the wrongdoer’s hands? I’m not so sure the answer is simple but a person who wants to do harm to others or themselves will find a way, with or without a gun. That is the sad reality we must try and address first!

    We left South Africa because of the very high levels of violence. There the problems are continually escalating so it is sad to see the leader of the democratic world is also in the grip of violence. Maybe the problems are more deep-seated. Human nature is going off the rails…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thank you for this very thoughtful response to Comfortably Numb: The New American Normal. I believe there is great benefit when individuals like yourself speak up about your experience with violence, and the actions you made to get safe.

      The ease in which someone can get offended or angry and choose to respond by opening fire with a legally purchased automatic weapon should be unacceptable.

      Again, thank you for your response. I wish you the very best.


  2. The numbers are just absolutely shocking. I believe most of us still think of these mass shooting as isolated incidents. But it really has become an ugly and ingrained part of our culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sometimes try to understand the mental state of these gunmen, holding their weapon, just about to take a life. I must confess that I can never ever understand the reason why someone would feel better by killing innocent people, innocent children!
    Worst part is that when numbers of casualties become too big, the public starts seeing them just as numbers and not as individuals.
    Horrible. Just plain horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How startling to see your blog on the subject. You came to my blog this morning, and then I went to yours, and you echoed almost word for word what my husband and I had said this very morning. There are just basically no words to describe the pent up emotion that we both hold for those who are engendering and encouraging the use of guns in our country.

    There is money to be made, and that is all that counts! Disgusting.

    Virtual hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

  5. So truly heartbreaking, I agree! I have 2 teen daughters! Hate having to worry about sending them to school! School is supposed to be one place you should be safe! But anymore, as you said, guns are everywhere. So sad ! Thanks for your post! And LOVED your photography in your other posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. While there is plenty I disagree with in British politics, the US gun laws are simply beyond my comprehension. It must be so frustrating for the majority of sensible Americans like yourself. I cannot imagine what it must like to know that wherever you go there might very well be a gun in the back seat of that person’s car, or in someone’s rucksack or back pocket… and that your children are not even safe in school. I wouldn’t want to live in that kind of environment. I surely hope the powers that be come to their senses, though I’m not holding my breath. Thank you for speaking out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Kim, for your response. Yes, knowing that anyone at any time could pull a weapon out and shoot …it does temper the way I conduct my daily affairs outside my home.


  7. As long as the people of the U.S. insist on believing the absurd libertarian dogma that personal liberty is not subject to compromise in the interest of the good of the community we will be unable to stop this slaughter. We must stop voting against our own interests. We must stop allowing our emotions to be used as weapons against us. We have lived in an irrational nation for so long that we have forgotten how to speak to each other as adults who are responsible for protecting this planet and each other. The the rest of the world looks on in shock as the citizens of the U.S. once again take on the role of enablers for the bullies who control our media and our political system.

    The problem is that it isn’t their children who are being killed, it isn’t their parents who are sent into homelessness when they should be in assisted living facilities, it’s not their children being gunned down by police and it isn’t their mentally ill loved one who can’t get the treatment they need because of stigma and cuts to public services.

    At some point we may want to ask ourselves why we let this happen to one of the greatest nations in the history of our species. But we can change it. All we have to do is remember that democracy works best when everyone participates in the debate and then votes based on a careful assessment of unbiased information.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It’s so discouraging and infuriating, I can’t begin to understand why nothing gets done. I’m with you, I thought Sandy Hook would be a watershed moment. It’s unfathomable that it’s business as usual.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s truly shocking of the recent tragedy in US. Obama put it wisely and I do hope there will be real positive movement to control the guns and perhaps increasing awareness how to use the guns wisely..

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Gob-smacking statistics and hard to comprehend on this side of the pond (Australia). Let’s hope that a new ‘normal’ is allowed to see the light and that meaningful gun control has an opportunity to be actioned. Adding this on my FB feed if you don’t mind?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am by nature, an optimistic person, but when it comes to the choke hold the weapons industry has on the US….not to mention the billions of dollars in weapons we sell to other countries every year….on this I feel helpless and hopeless.

      While I do not hunt, I come from a family that has hunted and kept guns for generations. What is happening in this country does not resemble anything even close to keeping guns for hunting and home protection.

      Oh, by all means add the essay to your ‘feed’ but do suggest that everyone show up and visit/follow my website.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. These statistics are staggering! I am not a news watcher. It’s so depressing. And biased. But you clearly put much research into your posts and I do appreciate your enlightening me. I wish I could ‘tweet’ your incredibly shareworthy information, but you haven’t got a ‘share this’ tag for Twitter. Hugs, Melissa

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is in the share settings with all the others, fb, reddit, etc. Let me know if you add it as I would love to share this info and a great platform. 🙂

        Ha, ha, you just sent another message….I will refresh page and check. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Two comments: 1) “Normal” is a setting on a dryer. And 2) takes a bit longer to explain. Many years ago, during the Viet Nam War, I was a graduate student studying rhetoric. It became abundantly clear over the years of that war, even with all of the protests, that the media had “numbed” the minds of citizens by the telling and retelling and retelling of the same horrific tales, and showing and showing and showing photos of soldiers getting killed. We saw and heard it so much, that it stopped becoming “news” and became commonplace. The use of euphemisms also played their part: “casualties” instead of the words “dead soldiers” is a good example. So here we are again — a different problem — but its repetition and one after another and another and another — till it hits home, as in my daughter, my son. Any way you look at this situation, for the life of me, I cannot understand how Congress cannot listen to the people — the majority of whom at the very least, want closer checks on who can get guns. Or outlaw magazine clips that are automatic and cataclysmic and certainly not needed for hunting or for self-protection. There is room for negotiation here.
    Thank you for posting this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lillian: Thank you for your thoughtful response. Your commentary over the choice of words adds much to my essay, and when you wrote ” I cannot understand how Congress cannot listen to the people — the majority of whom at the very least, want closer checks on who can get guns. Or outlaw magazine clips that are automatic and cataclysmic and certainly not needed for hunting or for self-protection. There is room for negotiation here.” all I can say is Yes and Yes again. Again, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. If only there was a simple answer. Most of the people involved have a history of issues. The idea of being an internet sensation probably doesn’t help. I really don’t things 321 million guns get turned in any time soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We seem to be a world of dumbed, and numbed down people. The success of education, law and media. But a few like you remain passionate, and I hope those few will change things while everyone else is sleeping.

    Liked by 2 people

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