Americans have been outraged and saddened by the devastation caused by the bombs that disrupted the Boston Marathon. Three people died, many lost limbs or suffered other severe injury. It’s an unacceptable situation, and Congress is now investigating what went wrong. Homeland Security, federal data bases, and the FBI somehow missed the alert. Someone should have known that Tamarlan Tsarnaev and his brother were dangerous. Congress will continue to debate and review the facts and try to find out what went wrong, all with the intent of making us feel safer.
As horrific as the Boston attacks were, I find it difficult to understand how they engender such debate and investigation. After all, 80 people died today by gunshot, 80 died yesterday, and 80 will die tomorrow. That’s the frightening average of deaths in this country as a result of gun violence. Why do we not see a vigorous debate in Congress about how to lower these statistics?
Of course, we must be vigilant of terrorist attacks. They take us by surprise, and innocent people die. But is that to say that we can ignore the 80 people per day, 30,000 per year, who die by gunshot? President Obama proposed a comprehensive package of gun legislation that would help decrease this appalling number. Congress failed to act on any of it; even the simple measure of background checks was defeated. Instead, fear, fueled by the NRA, has resulted in an increase in gun sales. More guns in the hands of the public means more deaths by gunshot. Are we really content to stand by and watch this daily death toll, including massacres such as that at Sandy Hook and Aurora, continue from too many guns in our communities?
If you are as disturbed as I by these 80 daily deaths, there are several approaches you can take: arm yourself more heavily, opening up the potential for those weapons to fall into the wrong hands, take the ostrich head-in-the sand-approach with “it doesn’t really affect me,” or you can call your congressperson. Congress people are remarkably receptive to hearing from their constituents. They will listen and, more importantly, act on your opinion as to whether or not 30,000 annual gunshot deaths is a statistic that we Americans are content to accept.