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COLUMN: Just another violent day in America

COLUMN: Just another violent day in America

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I shrugged.

That was my reaction Sunday morning when I looked at my phone to see a news alert that 20 people had died in a mass shooting in Orlando.

I wasn’t angry.

I wasn’t outraged.

It was just another day.

I mentioned the shooting matter-of-factly to my wife, and then went into the bathroom.

When I returned from grocery shopping later that morning, my wife was watching the Orlando coverage on television.

I sat down. The number was now 50.

I got up.

I couldn’t watch.

Not again.

I already knew nothing will change, that the discussion about violence in America was pointless.

We have lost our humanity and we should be ashamed.

We have always been a country that addresses our problems.

When terrorists brought down the towers with airplanes, we made our airports safer.

When chemicals are found to impact our health and safety, we limit or ban their use.

If the river is polluted, we dredge it.

We act on threats foreign and domestic.

Yet, when people die in mass shootings, we shrug our shoulders like I did Sunday.

We refuse to address this problem. We refuse to even define it.

This is the America that we all live in today:

The death toll from gunfire in the United States between 1968 and 2011 — 1.4 million — eclipses the totals of all wars fought by our country. Source: Politifact

We spend more than a trillion dollars a year defending ourselves against terrorism. Between 2005 and 2015, 71 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. There were 301,797 Americans killed by gun violence during the same period. Source: The Trace, an independent nonprofit media organization that believes the rate of firearm-related deaths and injuries is far too high in this country.

There were 13,286 people killed by firearms in the U.S. in 2015 and 26,819 injured. These figures do not include suicides. Another 6,028 have already been killed by guns this year and another 12,338 injured. Source: Gun Violence Archive

The rate of those killed by firearms is 30 times higher in the United States than Great Britain. Source: The Trace

Nearly 100 metro areas have experienced mass shootings (four or more people killed or injured) this year. Only one major American city has not had a mass shooting since 2013 — Austin, Texas. Source: The Trace

Mass shootings account for less than 2 percent of annual gun deaths. Source: The Trace

A total of 756 children have been killed by guns in the United States this year. Three-quarters of them were under the age of 12. Source: The Trace

In 2015, a toddler in America shot someone about once a week. Source: The Trace

Suicide by firearm continues to climb. Source: The Trace

Domestic violence assaults with firearms are 12 times more likely to result in death than those without them. Source: The Trace

After 20 children were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, membership in the National Rifle Association grew, and the NRA bragged about it. Source: The Trace

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was passed in 1994 and prohibited the sale of new AR-15 semi-automatic weapons — the one used in the Orlando shooting — but Congress allowed the law to sunset in 2004. The SAFE Act in New York banned the AR-15. Source: Wikipedia

Between 2005 and 2013, gun manufacturers and their corporate allies have contributed between $20 million and $52.6 million to the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program, including manufacturers Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson. Source: Business Insider

On Monday, the stock of Sturm, Ruger & Co. and Smith & Wesson rose 8.5 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. Source: USA Today

God bless America.

Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at tingley@poststar.com. You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.

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