Posts Tagged ‘gun violence’

Cheeps and Chirps for May 11, 2019

May 11, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 11, 2019

Let’s fire up the old tweeting machine.

• Politics

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Phantom gunshots, real terror: Notes on two recent incidents in the land of the free, home of the armed (and fearful)

August 18, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 18, 2016

In Tuesday’s edition of Cheeps and Chirps, I included a tweet from Saturday that shared a breaking news alert:

This was one of the lead news stories in the Triangle on Saturday, but what I didn’t realize when I was preparing the blog post was that police have yet to find any evidence that a gun was actually fired at the mall that afternoon. I deleted it from the post once I understood that there had evidently not been any kind of shooting whatsoever. Authorities are continuing to investigate the reason why shoppers thought that a firearm had been discharged, a misperception that provoked a stampede that left several people injured.

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Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 16, 2016

August 16, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 16, 2016

There will be Twitter!

• Comedy!

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Cheeps and Chirps — belated July 2016 Republican National Convention edition!

August 11, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 11, 2016

Twitter feed, represent!

Sadly, this could be an evergreen tweet

 

• Reminder: The U.S. is still at war

 

• Comedy!

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Tragedy upon tragedy: America suffers its worst week in nearly 15 years

July 9, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
July 9, 2016

This week, two men — two black men — who did not seem to pose an imminent threat to anyone were shot to death by police officers in Baton Rouge, La., and in a suburb of St. Paul, Minn. About 24 hours after the death of the second man, Philando Castile, a gunman began firing at the conclusion of a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas. Five law enforcement officers died; eight other people were wounded, all but two of whom were police.

More than two years ago, I called April 2, 2014, “a most American day” because of the events that took place on a seemingly ordinary Wednesday. That morning, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision that eased restrictions on political donations, thereby further paving the way for America’s wealthy to expand their influence on the nation’s political process. That afternoon, a mass shooting took place at Fort Hood in Texas, as three people were killed and 13 others injured by a soldier who subsequently took his own life.

That was a bad day, and bad in ways that were characteristically American; that is, in ways that showed off our nation’s embrace of money and guns. This past week, I think, has also been uniquely American, and for some of the same reasons. In fact, I think this has been the most discouraging week for our nation since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

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Arguing about American rights: The U.S. Constitution and its first two amendments

April 29, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 29, 2016

Perhaps the worst day in American history since Sept. 11, 2001, was Dec. 14, 2012. That Friday morning, a 20-year-old fatally shot his mother in their Newtown, Conn., home before driving to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed six adults and 20 children before turning a weapon on himself. The gunman used weapons that had been legally purchased by his mother.

Over the course of more than a year following that massacre, I spent a great deal of time on Twitter attempting to persuade people who held what I thought to be excessive enthusiasm for gun rights that their ideas were somewhat misguided.

“I no longer want to live in a country that shrugs and says the Second Amendment justifies every gun death,” I told one such fanatic several hours after the killings had taken place.

After right-wing conspiracy peddler Alex Jones told Piers Morgan in a January 2013 interview, “My point is that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct,” I quoted Jones and added a sarcastic parenthetical (“Kids’ lives? Whatever”) in attempt to highlight his skewed priorities.

When a conservative mixed-martial-arts fan told me on Twitter that “guns as written in the constitution are to protect countrymen from a tyrannical government,” I dryly observed that “[t]hat worked perfectly in Waco and at Ruby Ridge, right?” Shortly afterward, I asked the same individual, “So 31,000 gun deaths annually is the price of the Second Amendment?”

Reader, I’m 99 percent sure that I persuaded approximately zero percent of the people I engaged to alter or adjust their views in any way.

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The American way of death: Assessing 2015 mass shootings in the United States

December 22, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Dec. 22, 2015

The gun massacre in San Bernardino, Calif., that left 14 dead on Wednesday, Dec. 2, followed shootings and a five-hour-long siege at Colorado Springs, Colo., Planned Parenthood clinic that left three dead on Nov. 27. And that attack, of course followed one at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., that left 10 dead on Oct. 1.

But it’s not as if gun violence in America took a two-month holiday between Roseburg and Colorado Springs. In attempt to understand the extent of mass shooting incidents in America, I went to the Gun Violence Archive and downloaded its data on 2015 mass shootings.

The site defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are “shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location not including the shooter.” I realized afterward that what truly interested me were what the archive categorizes as mass murders, in which four or more people are “killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location not including the shooter.”

The archive hasn’t broken out data on gun massacres (as I will call them) separately from mass shootings, but I did some number crunching using their information. I found that there had been 300 mass shootings in which 341 people were killed and 1,212 injured. Read the rest of this entry »

April 2, 2014: A most American day

April 4, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 5, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, was a quintessentially American day. It will be remembered primarily for two events; history will also footnote one purported joke that seemed to be a reaction to one of those happenings.

• In the morning, the U.S. Supreme Court announced the result of McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission. In a 5-4 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court invalidated provisions in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 limiting the total amount of money any one individual may give to political candidates or political parties.

Previously, the law set a number of restrictions. According to SCOTUSblog, any one person could give up to $2,600 per candidate per primary or general election, $32,400 per year to a national party committee, $10,000 per year to a state or local party committee, and $5,000 per year to a regular political action committee. Further, an individual’s aggregate donations over a two-year election cycle were limited; in 2013–14, the maximums were $48,600 for federal candidates and $74,600 to political committees.

The new ruling lets stand limits on giving to a particular candidate or committee, but the aggregate caps are no more.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: Ammunition counts

December 28, 2012

This one wondrous sentence suggests just how disparate the experiences of two nations with two very different gun control regimes can be.

As many as 100 bullets were fired in Newtown; last year, a total of 85 were fired at people by the police in all of Germany and 49 of them were warning shots.

Source: Michael Winship, “Just a Few Miles From Newtown,” BillMoyers.com, Dec. 16, 2012.

One Wondrous Sentence: On naming the right names

December 27, 2012

This one wondrous sentence urges reporters and their audiences to celebrate the heroes, not the villains, of tragedies such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter.

Right now, everyone knows the name of the Connecticut shooter — but we should know everything about Sandy Hook principal Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, who bravely chased down the shooter and tried to tackle him before being fatally shot.

Source: Sally Kohn, “Celebrate the heroes, not the shooter,” Salon, Dec. 17, 2012.

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 4

December 25, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the fourth and likely final post in a series presenting excerpts from these Centers for Disease Control publications. (The first two entries appeared on Thursday and Friday of last week; the third, on Monday of this week.)

Please enjoy these data on 2009 American deaths:

• There were 5,005 deaths listed as having unspecified intent, meaning authorities could not determine whether the fatalities were intentional or accidental. Of those, 232 involved gunfire.

• Of 25,562 falling deaths, 18 were homicides and 67 had undetermined intent.

• There were 4,211 drownings, most accidental. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 3

December 24, 2012

Last week, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the third post in a series presenting excerpts from the report. (Here are links to Thursday’s and Friday’s fatality fact roundups.) I’ll probably put up one final fact-filled entry on Tuesday.

Without further delay, we now present the following 2009 death data:

• Murder claimed 5.5 lives per 100,000 Americans. The three highest rates are for these age brackets: 15 to 24 (11.3 deaths per 100,000), 25 to 34 (10.2) and, astonishingly, those younger than 1 (7.4). Those aged 5 to 14 were least vulnerable (0.8).

• The District of Columbia had the nation’s highest homicide rate, with 135 killings translating to 22.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate of 5.5 was less than a fourth of the district’s tally.

• D.C.’s 111 gun deaths, including suicides, homicides and accidents, also made for the nation’s highest rate, with 18.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. The national rate was 10.2. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 2

December 21, 2012

Yesterday, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

Much of the post was based on a report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, that spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As previously noted, the Centers for Disease Control has sliced and diced the data in multiple ways.

I found a number of fascinating facts and figures in this almanac of American death. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, this is the second post in a series presenting excerpts from the report.

I’m planning to post more items containing 2009 death data on Monday and Tuesday of next week; the first item went live Thursday evening. And now, some additional fatality facts:

• A child born in 2009 had an expected life span of 78.5 years. The rate was 76 years for males and 80.9 years for females. For all races, females have longer expected life spans than males.

• A black child born in 2009 was expected to live 74.5 years; a white child, 78.8 years; a Hispanic child, 81.2 years; a non-Hispanic black child, 74.2 years.

• Alzheimer’s disease was first recognized as a cause of death in the late 1970s. It is now the nation’s sixth-leading taker of lives, claiming 79,003 victims in 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

Facts and figures from the 2009 almanac of American death, part 1

December 20, 2012

Earlier today, I wrote about different ways that Americans die, with a focus on what role guns play compared to other causes of death.

The report, Deaths: Final Data for 2009, spans 119 pages and is supplemented by 11 pages of additional tables. As noted, it slices and dices the data in multiple ways.

I’ve selected some additional facts and figures from this almanac of American death, chosen simply because I found them interesting. Because this information can be difficult for readers to digest in bulk, I’ll put up at least one more post featuring excerpts from these Centers for Disease Control publications in coming days.

On with the fatality facts:

• In 2009, 10.2 Americans out of every 100,000 were killed by firearms, whether by suicide, homicide or accident. From 1999 through 2009, the rate ranged from 10.1 to 10.5. These rates, like other gunshot fatality rates, have varied only slightly over the previous decade. Read the rest of this entry »

On firearms and firearm fatalities

December 20, 2012

Author’s note: This entry was initially posted on the afternoon of Dec. 20. It was extended and re-posted later the same afternoon. Slight edits were also made to the original text. Thank you for reading! MEM

***

The 117-page report compiled by the federal government’s Centers for Disease Control provides detailed breakdowns by age, race and sex for more than 100 different causes of death in the 2009 calendar year.

The nation tallied 2,437,163 deaths that year, with a number of predictable causes leading the way. Heart disease was the top culprit, claiming nearly 600,000 people. Malignant neoplasms, or cancers, finished in second place by ending just shy of 568,000 lives. Chronic lung disease and various ailments that stop or limit blood flow to the brain respectively notched 137,353 and 128,842 deaths.

Accidents or unintentional injuries were responsible for 118,021 fatalities, ranking fifth on the list. Eight of the next 10 causes are diseases, except for suicide (No. 10, 36,909) and assault or homicide (No. 15, 16,799).

Incidentally, the government’s catch-all category, covering all but the top 15 causes of death, accounted for 469,367 deaths, or around 19.3 percent of the total.

These rather dry tables drew my interest because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter, which claimed the lives of 20 children and six staff members. They were all killed by multiple gunshot wounds, like victim No. 27, the shooter’s mother, who was slain in her own bed. (The suspect also dispatched himself with a bullet.)

This horrific event has prompted Americans to begin debating gun safety with a fervor that has perhaps never been matched. It’s resuscitated a great deal of argument over this old saw: “Guns don’t kill people, people do.”

Yet a superficial reading of government statistics indicates that guns do in fact kill.

Read the rest of this entry »

One Wondrous Sentence: Guns, death and injury

December 18, 2012

This one wondrous sentence, citing 2005 data about gun violence in the United States, captures the extent to which firearms affect Americans’ health.

When we consider that there were also nearly 70,000 nonfatal injuries from firearms, we are left with the staggering fact that 100,000 men, women, and children were killed or wounded by firearms in the span of just one year.

Source: Gregory D. Curfman, Stephen Morrissey and Jeffrey M. Drazen, “Handgun Violence, Public Health, and the Law,” New England Journal of Medicine, April 3, 2008.

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