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?