Thursday, April 19, 2018
Public safety

Since Newtown: Shootings continue to claim hundreds; desire for tougher gun laws fades

A year ago, skinny, lonely, antisocial Adam Lanza woke up in the Newtown, Conn., house he shared with his mother and shot her in her head in her bed. He then drove his Honda Civic to Sandy Hook Elementary School and used a Bushmaster XM15-E2S .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle to shoot and kill the principal, shoot and kill the school psychologist, shoot and kill two behavioral therapists, shoot and kill two teachers and shoot and kill 20 children in two first-grade classrooms.

Two days later, President Barack Obama said, "This is our first task, caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right."

Five days after that, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre said, "There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people," referring to violent movies and video games and "monsters" that "walk among us." He also mentioned mental health.

Five weeks after that, at a Senate hearing on guns, Gabrielle Giffords said, in slow, halting speech, because she got shot in the head when she was a member of Congress, "Too many children. We must do something."

Congress did nothing. "We are not going away," Mark Barden, the father of one of the 20 children, said in April in Washington. Since Newtown, though, national gun laws have not changed.

Since Newtown, some laws in some states have made it harder to buy a gun, own a gun or carry a gun, but more laws in more states have made it easier.

Since Newtown, poll numbers show, support for stricter gun control has gone down, not up.

Since Newtown, based on data compiled by Slate.com using mainly media reports, more than 11,400 people have been shot and killed in this country, but that's a low tally because the majority of gun deaths are suicides and the vast majority of suicides aren't covered in the news. At least 194 of the people that have been shot and killed, according to a project done by Mother Jones, were children under 12. Seventeen of those children lived in Florida.

Most children who are shot and killed are shot and killed not at school but at home, and most children who are shot and killed are shot and killed not by a stranger but by a family member.

The 17 children in Florida were shot and killed by their parents, who then shot themselves; they were shot and killed by their siblings, because they didn't know; they were shot and killed because they found guns that belonged to adults who lived in their homes, and played with them, because they were children.

Since Newtown, districts around Florida are putting more guards with guns in schools or are talking about it.

Since Newtown, the state Legislature has passed one law about guns. It made it harder for people with a history of mental illness to buy them.

Since Newtown, a district court of appeals decided the state's public universities can't tell students they can't keep guns in their cars.

Since Newtown, in state rankings based on gun laws, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gave Florida an F.

The FBI defines a mass shooting as a shooting in which four or more people are killed, not counting the killer. The shooting Friday at a high school outside Denver left one student injured. That doesn't meet the threshold.

Remember the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard? Of course. Remember the mass shooting in Tulsa, Okla.? Remember the mass shooting in Albuquerque, N.M.? Remember the mass shooting in Herkimer County, N.Y.? Remember the mass shooting in Akron, Ohio? Remember the mass shooting in Federal Way, Wash.? Remember the mass shooting in Manchester, Ill.? Remember the mass shooting in Ottawa, Kan.? Remember the mass shooting in Waynesville, Ind.? Remember the mass shooting in Fernley, Nev.? Remember the mass shooting in Santa Monica, Calif.? Remember the mass shooting in Hialeah? Remember the mass shooting in Clarksburg, W.Va.? Remember the mass shooting in Dallas? Remember the mass shooting in Oklahoma City? Remember the mass shooting in Crab Orchard, Tenn.? Remember the mass shooting in Rice, Texas? Remember the mass shooting in Paris, Texas? Remember the mass shooting in Phoenix? Remember the mass shooting in Terrell, Texas? Remember the mass shooting in Callison, S.C.? Remember the mass shooting in Jacksonville? Remember the other mass shooting in Tulsa, Okla.? Remember the mass shooting in Topeka, Kan.?

Those are the mass shootings that have happened in this country since Newtown, since Dec. 14, 2012, when Lanza left his Civic in a No Parking zone outside Sandy Hook and walked toward the school wearing all black except for a pale green vest and yellow earplugs and carrying a Glock semiautomatic pistol, a Sig Sauer semiautomatic pistol, and the Bushmaster rifle, from which he fired 154 rounds in five minutes, shooting and killing principal Dawn Hochsprung, shooting and killing school psychologist Mary Sherlach, shooting and killing behavioral therapists Rachel D'Avino and Anne Marie Murphy, shooting and killing teachers Lauren Rousseau and Victoria Soto, and shooting and killing Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Ana Marquez-Greene, Dylan Hockley, Madeleine Hsu, Catherine Hubbard, Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler and Allison Wyatt, the children in first grade.

Michael Kruse can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 957-0383.

 
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