For the state of Colorado, the city of Aurora and the University of Colorado, plenty is ahead and it is not good stuff. Here is synopsis of the cost of the Aurora shootings:
Who will pay for this? You and I will. Or I should say most likely the taxpayers of Aurora and Colorado. If you have health insurance, you may be paying higher premiums because of shootings like this. Someone has to pay for it. If you think the private health insurance companies will absorb it, think again. This is all part and parcel of the consequences of doing the bidding of the NRA. Because our elected leaders have failed in the necessary courage and leadership to speak up and stop the shootings, this is what we will continue to see in America. Something needs to change. Someone needs to speak up. Many have. But politicians are running for election. They can't be bothered by this controversial issue. Some gun rights extremist might threaten them. Or the NRA will likely cause trouble by sending out brochures or letters of misstatements, hyperbole and fear to get leaders to just shut up when it comes to guns. Sick and sad.Police spent more on overtime pay responding to the July 20 mass shooting in a movie theater than the city would typically spend in a full year for extra police efforts.The city so far has spent $462,600 on overtime costs for police officers and civilian employees following the midnight movie killings at the Century Aurora 16 theater and has applied for a federal grant to help cover the costs. The costs include investigators and responders on the morning of the shooting, security at a large vigil held later and protection for visiting dignitaries.On average, Aurora spends $454,800 a year on police overtime. Fire department overtime totals have not yet been released.-just part of the public cost of that morning's horror. James Eagan Holmes, 24, a former University of Colorado Denver doctoral student, is charged with scores of counts of murder and attempted murder in the shootings that killed 12 and injured 58.Should the Holmes case proceed to trial, both prosecution and defense are likely to spend thousands on investigators, expert witnesses and other associated costs.And even before the first lawsuit has been filed, taxpayers and college students are on the hook for thousands in legal fees at the University of Colorado.
So what now? As I have been writing, it's time to get started with a plan for how to prevent gun injuries and deaths. We can prevent them. We can do better than this. Sanjay Sanghoee, who I have quoted before, has a lot to say about how to get started. The title of his article is: "After Three Shootings, America Needs Zero Tolerance on Guns". There is so much here that it's difficult to pick out just a few points made by this author. Sanghoee is of the opinion, as am I, that the arguments used by the NRA are just plain not true. The NRA and its' minions do not want any changes to gun laws except when they are the changes promoted by themselves. So naturally, they will put up strong resistance to anything supported by those in the gun violence prevention community. If we said the sky was blue, they would likely deny it. That being said, let's take a look at some of Sanghoee's concerns for the discussion around guns and gun policy.These are the headers for each paragraph from the linked article above:
" The Technicalities of Assault/Automatic/Semi-Automatic Weapons Matter"
" Guns are no different than Box Cutters or Airplanes"
" Recovery of Existing Guns is Impossible"
" Most Gun Owners are Law Abiding Citizens"
" Federal Gun Laws violate State Rights"
" More Guns make Everyone Safer"In his article, Sanghoee refutes each of these points and why they shouldn't be show stoppers when it comes to talking about the prevention of gun deaths and injuries. His points are much the same as those I have been making on this blog for several years. We are having the wrong discussion. How much do the technicalities about assault weapons matter? What should matter is that we allow them at all to be in the hands of civilians. Arguing about the fine points is a great way for the gun rights advocates to stop the conversation. We should not let them do that when people are dying by the dozens in a matter of a few weeks.
We have prohibited carrying box cutters onto airplanes. We require that everyone take their shoes off before going through airport security. We do that for good reason. We are trying to save American lives. Why SHOULD guns be different? Great point. Let's move on. There ARE ways to stop the flow of existing guns without banning them outright, which is not a consideration anyway after the Heller and MacDonald Supreme Court decisions. For his next point, I write about "law abiding" gun owners shooting themselves or others on a regular basis on this blog. Yes they do. Just because you start out as law abiding when you first purchase your gun(s) doesn't mean you will stay that way. It's mighty easy to use that gun in a lethal way in a moment of anger, carelessness, dispair, depression, or for criminal activity. Sanghoee is absolutely spot on when it comes to federal gun laws. If we don't have them, we are stuck with a complicated web of different gun laws from state to state that make it too easy for people to go from one state to another with guns they shouldn't have. If we don't have universal background checks, for example, prohibited people can get guns too easily in a state with loose gun laws. That should not be and should be changed. And the last point is one I make constantly on my blog. More guns have not made us safer in America. The total opposite is the truth and fact.
But the NRA is not dealing in truth or facts. When it comes to guns, they are into hyperbole, fear and outright lies. They have managed to convince some politicians and some media so that, as in the following article, they fail to bring up the word "gun" when talking about mass shootings but rather only talk about mental illness and what to do about it. This article wonders if we can do anything at all about mass shootings.
There are conflicting views in the article about whether we should be concerned about the fact that we have seen 3 mass shootings in about 3 weeks' time. I happen to believe it should concern us. Note then, that there is a recommendation for what to do in case you are in a venue where a mass shooting breaks out:Taylor and other experts said that an underlying factor in most of the mass shootings is mental illness on the part of the suspect. While the investigation into the College Station shooting is in the early stages, the mother of Thomas Alton Caffall, the shooter, told reporters her son had been having “difficulties” with his mental health in recent years.That mental health aspect, combined with the current state of the economy, will make it all but impossible to eliminate mass shootings, those who study them say. And that makes them even more terrifying, even if the occurrences are still relatively rare.“With the cutbacks in mental health systems, we are seeing more people released into society who are not on their meds, who are not in constant treatment, and we are seeing people who are more easily agitated,” said Dr. Larry Barton, a professor at the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and an instructor at the FBI Academy in Virginia. “And two, the economy is not getting better and people are getting more desperate. The more desperate they become, the more likely they are to become violent.”Dr. Albert Blumstein, a professor and criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, agreed with Barton about mental health issues being a big cause behind the actions of mass shooters. But he said it’s difficult to be proactively protective because “lots of people act strange, but it’s tough to know of those who are acting strange who is going to do something outrageous.” (...)The randomness of those acts, Barton said, often results in them being even more deadly. He said that when catastrophic events take place, such as a shooting, a flash fire or even an earthquake, many people fall into a trance-like state he called “milling,” where they don’t immediately react to what is occurring.“In an attack, there’s a sense of thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me.’ So often in a catastrophic situation, if people fall into milling, they freeze and they die,” Barton said. “If you move quickly in the first 10 or 15 seconds of anything that seems wrong, and that includes an earthquake, your chances of survival are much, much higher.”But Barton acknowledged that even with the most recent spate of spree shootings, Americans remain “very safe in almost all places, whether that’s at work, in a house of worship or at a mall.”
Note also that there is no recommendation to carry your own gun in this situation. But then, neither of the people interviewed in the article above mentioned that restrictions on guns and who should access them should be considered as a solution to mass shootings. The doctors and other health care professionals who treated the victims of the Aurora shootings are well aware that bullets from guns are actually a problem in mass shootings. Here is an article with a description of the emergency room and what the staff experienced on the day of the Batman shootings:Experts say you can’t fully prepare for a mass shooting, but these are things to keep in mind:• Be aware of your surroundings at all times.• Think about ways to escape any place in any situation.• Take mental notes of anything and anyone that seems out of the norm.• If something does happen, don’t freeze: Take immediate evasive action. Consider running or hiding.• Don’t become a hermit. Mass shootings remain rare, and experts note that there’s a difference between being cautious and being ruled by fear.
Dealing with the actual aftermath of shootings is what we should be talking about. Shootings have a ripple affect. They affect a wide circle of people. We are better than this. We can prevent this awful stuff from happening. And, the public knows it. New polling data is showing that again. How much more do our elected leaders need? Check out the support from Independents, Republicans and Conservatives for support of more strict gun measures:But for the doctors, nurses and other staff at the hospital — which received 23 of the injured, one of them dead on arrival — the shootings were not only a trauma but also a test of their skills, their stamina and their teamwork, as the simulated disaster drills they had practiced turned abruptly into reality.Looking back, many said that having come through the experience, they now felt prepared for anything a violent and unpredictable world might throw at them.“We went into emergency medicine because we know it’s crazy — you never know what’s going to come through the door,” said Dr. Comilla Sasson, one of two attending doctors in the emergency room that night. “But the thing none of us have gotten over is, we made it through. We really, truly shined.”April Koehler, the emergency department’s nurse manager, said that for days after the shooting, she woke up in the middle of the night with the urgent feeling she had to go out and help someone — just as she did when her emergency pager went off at 12:56 a.m. that Friday, the message reading simply: “Mass shooting.”Jason Kennedy, a paramedic, served in Iraq with the First Armored Division, and little fazes him. But he finds himself replaying the images of those hours in his mind: the flashing lights of police cruisers bearing the wounded, the screaming and the blood, the hallways filled with bandaged patients lying on stretchers or standing in a daze, baffled survivors of an unexpected battlefield.“You catch yourself thinking about it for no good reason,” Mr. Kennedy said. “Just out of nowhere.”
Voters want something to happen. They want our elected leaders to act. Demand a plan. When asked about specific sensible gun laws, support is there. Let's get started. Ask the candidates to talk about the issue. Ask Presidential debate moderators to ask a question of President Obama and Mitt Romney about their plan to prevent senseless shootings. Common sense says it's time to act.But as is typical with gun polling, specific gun laws are far more popular than the broader issue of gun laws, generally. This recent Quinnipiac/New York Times poll in three swing states shows majority support for a ban on high-capacity magazines. The poll was conducted in Virginia, Colorado, and Wisconsin--all swing states that have experienced mass shootings in recent years. Recall my firm's January 2011 national survey for Mayors Against Illegal Guns showed this to be one of least popular gun measures tested nationally. Yet even this proposal continues to receive majority support in swing states.The CNN/ORC survey also demonstrates clear majority support for a lengthy list of stronger gun laws. Some, garner near universal support, such as "preventing certain people, like convicted felons or people with mental health problems, from owning guns" (91% favor). Even Tea Party supporters strongly support this law (92%). In fact, only two of the proposals tested were unpopular, and they are not even up for real discussion: limiting the number of guns a person could own (45% favor, 54% oppose) and preventing all Americans from owning guns (10% favor).Further, voters say they want to hear more from the presidential candidates on guns. In the Quinnipiac/NYT poll, pluralities in the three swing states say the candidates are "spending too little time talking about laws covering gun sales."
Instead, we continue to see more senseless shootings. As long as we don't act, they will continue.
There was an alleged politically motivated shooting at a conservative organization in Washington D.C.
And another two law enforcement officers are dead and 3 people injured in Louisiana in an "ambush":A law enforcement official said the gunman made some remarks opposing the Family Research Council's policies before opening fire.A source working with the DC Center for the LGBT Community told CNN that Corkins had worked as a volunteer at the center.David Mariner, executive director of that center, released a statement Wednesday night saying he was "shocked to hear that someone who has volunteered with the DC Center could be the cause of such a tragic act of violence."No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the strongest terms possible. We hope for a full and speedy recovery for the victim and our thoughts are with him and his family," Mariner said in the statement.Warning signs of violence: What to doA backpack and a vehicle believed to belong to the suspect were recovered, the law enforcement official told CNN.The suspect's weapon was a legally obtained 9mm handgun, according to another law enforcement official. The suspect had obtained the weapon "fairly recently" from a gun shop in Virginia.The council is a Christian group that has pushed family and anti-abortion issues and religious liberties. It has been a leading opponent of same-sex marriage.The Family Research Council recently backed restaurant chain Chick-fil-A after the company's president, Dan Cathy, said the company supports traditional marriage.
The first shooting happened in a parking lot at a steel plant in LaPlace, about 25 miles west of New Orleans, St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff Mike Tregre said. The second happened when the deputies went to a nearby trailer park to investigate the first shooting and were ambushed by a man armed with what Tregre described as an assault rifle, he said.In addition to the two wounded deputies, two of the five people taken into custody were hospitalized with gunshot wounds, Louisiana State Trooper Melissa Matey said. Tregre said investigators were still sorting out what role those detained may have had in the shootings.
I have collected just a few articles about recent shootings involving those "law abiding" gun permit holders which you can read below.
This Pennsylvania legal gun permit holder went nuts and started shooting at other drivers on a local street. Where is common sense?
A Witchita shooter's gun was returned to him after he was arrested just because he was a gun permit holder. He later shot a security guard at a store. Where is common sense? These are the laws the NRA has supported in state after state.
This "law abiding" Virginia gun permit holder took out his anger, or whatever, on his wife, leaving her in critical condition. Women are at risk in domestic cases and are shot every day. This woman is alive but is making excuses for her husband. That is not atypical for domestic abuse victims. There are no excuses for shooting someone. Where is common sense?
To summarize: We can do something about shootings. The public wants something to be done. The candidates should be asked to talk about guns and gun policy. Law abiding gun permit holders continue to shoot people. Law enforcement officers are at continued risk from shooters. Assault rifles are being used with more frequency in shootings. A concealed gun is likely not going to work well in a mass shooting. People with mental illness should not have guns and we should stop them from getting them. Sensible federal gun laws can actually work to prevent shootings. Treating patients with gunshot injuries is horrible and will likely stay with the people who witnessed the shootings and/or survived them and/or saw the blood and and heard the screaming of the victims. Other methods of mass destruction are stopped by new laws. Guns are not. America has many more guns than most countries and we are not safer. We can actually find better ways to recover crime guns. We can stop more guns from flowing into our streets. You should be watchful in public places and ready just in case a mass shooting breaks out.
We are better than this.
It sure didn't take long for another story about 2 "law abiding" gun permit holders got into a shoot-out at a Virginia Rite Aid pharmacy:
It's a darned good thing no one else was shot. This is what we are coming to when more people are carrying loaded guns around in public places. Without the guns, one of the men would be alive today and the other would not be sitting in jail charged with killing someone. This is the NRA's vision of America.The man charged in a fatal shootout at a drugstore Thursday said today in a jail interview that he was defending himself after being attacked.The shootout inside a Rite Aid followed an argument over cutting in line at the checkout, police said today. The man who died was identified as Ramon P. Colorado Jr., 42, a former Norfolk deputy sheriff.Police charged Bernell Duvall Benn, 41, of the 8100 block of Ridgefield Drive in Norfolk, with murder and felonious use of a firearm.The two shot each other about 2:05 p.m. Thursday inside the Rite Aid in the 3600 block of Tidewater Drive, police said.In an interview with The Virginian-Pilot today at the Norfolk jail, Benn said he fired in self-defense after he was pepper-sprayed and threatened by Colorado.After both men had drawn weapons, Benn said, he asked Colorado to put his gun down."I came to the store just to get my medicine," said Benn, who was crying at the start of the interview. He said he was shot in the back.Colorado was a Norfolk deputy sheriff from April 1994 to May 1996, when he was terminated, said Paula Miller, a sheriff's office spokeswoman. He later worked as an auxiliary deputy in Chesapeake.Police issued a statement with the following details:Benn was talking on a cell phone when Colorado got in line behind another customer. Benn accused Colorado of cutting in front of him and they began arguing. Colorado sprayed Benn with pepper spray and Benn then drew a handgun and approached Colorado, firing at him. Colorado drew his handgun, returned fire and collapsed.