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Monday, June 13, 2016

Timely Summer read


    This past week I finished the book " A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of a Tradgedy."  The author is Sue Klebold the Mother of Dylan Klebold one of the two shooters in the Columbine High School killing in 1999.  It is hard to remember that the Columbine shooting seemed so unusual and tragic at the time.  Sue writes how one morning in May 1999 her biggest concern was the failing health of a family pet and 24 hours later she and her husband were in hiding at a relative's house after Dylan had been involved in the Columbine shooting.  They were receiving death threats and the news media had made it impossible to stay at their home.  For both she and her husband their life would never be the same.  A intimate look at their life with Dylan would be examined publicly and they would be condemned as a dysfunctional family that could raise a mass killer.  What comes out in the book is how her family in Colorado could be the story of any middle upper class suburban community.  Kinda reminded me of our community in Howard County.
       Now it seems that every week brings another mass shooting at a school or movie house.  Even in our utopia of Columbia we have seen the killing of 3 people at the Columbia Mall.  This weekend's killings in Orlando, as large as it was, seems to be just another sign of the acceptance of mass killings as inevitable and something we just accept.  I could relate all this to the politically charged discussion of gun control, mental health or terrorism but all those arguments, both pro and con gun control, are well known.
     Recently Politifact posted this startling fact:

"So many people die annually from gunfire in the US that the death toll between 1968 and 2011 eclipses all wars ever fought by the country. According to research by Politifact, there were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period, compared with 1.2 million US deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to Iraq."

      When you look at the fact that we spend close to a trillion dollars a year fighting terrorism that killed just 17 American citizens in 2011 and almost nothing combating the almost 12,000 people killed in the United States every year by gun violence we seem to be spending money more by fear than rational thought.

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