It’s been a bloody couple weeks. Since May 27, at least 28 people have been shot dead across the country and an additional 47 wounded in 13 separate mass shootings, defined as confrontations in which at least four people are shot in one incident. Yet those U.S. killings barely caused a ripple in the public consciousness.
One reason is all the attention being paid to acts of political terrorism. And of course terrorism of the sort that occurred in London and Manchester, England, recently — and in San Bernardino, Paris, Madrid and New York and elsewhere in recent years — is a very significant concern that requires extraordinary vigilance, close scrutiny and effective, preventive countermeasures.
But the cold, hard reality is that the most pressing risk to American lives comes not from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, but lies here at home, among ourselves and our obscenely large arsenal of firearms.
In fact, it is the commonness and ordinariness of gun violence that are so chilling. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show an average of 33,880 annual deaths involving firearms from 2011 to 2015. Of those, 11,564 were homicides, or an average of about 32 homicides and 58 suicides a day over five years.
That’s an astounding level of carnage.
A CNN analysis last year found that for every American killed by an act of terrorism in the United States or abroad in 2014, more than 1,049 died because of guns.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE LOS ANGELES TIMES