In Marysville Today No One Got Ebola

Obama hasn’t had much to say about gun violence despite an overwhelming amount of deaths compared to Ebola

Today, Paul Allen announced that he’s donating at least one hundred million dollars to Ebola research. President Obama has appointed an Ebola Czar and today he hugged the brave and heroic nurse who contracted Ebola but is now cured. The world over people are remarking that we are treating Ebola the way we should have treated AIDS in the 1980s. Despite the media’s absolute paranoia about Ebola, it is somewhat inspiring to watch as various governments, individuals, and organizations come together to stop a global problem from becoming worse.

Since 1976 there have been 7,842 known cases of people getting an Ebola related virus. Of those, 4,494 people have died from it. Over half of those deaths have been since March of this year. The Ebola virus while not nearly the pandemic that some reports would have you believe is most definitely an increasing danger that we need to put our various resources towards stopping in its tracks. And let me be clear that I’m glad we are making these efforts to contain and eradicate the Ebola virus.

Today in Marysville, Washington a young man walked into his high school and shot five people, killing at least one and critically injuring others before turning the gun on himself. Unfortunately, such an event is nothing new. We average four of five school shootings a month these days. And school shootings account for an incredibly small percentage of gun violence overall. We hear more about school shootings because they are considered more tragic and more frightening as they strike at the youngest among us and those we care for the most. Our children are precious and the idea that they are becoming used to the schools we drop them off at going into lockdown is a tragedy in and of itself.

Every year 30,000 people in America alone are killed by people using guns. Guns are so easy to get in America that even Mexican drug cartels come north to get their weapons. Two out of three of these gun deaths involve only one person. The amount of suicides committed using a firearm is staggering.

Almost three times as many people shoot themselves every single year as have ever been infected with the Ebola virus in the last 38 years. Even our yearly gun deaths from homicides outnumber the number of people worldwide infected by the Ebola virus. More people were shot and killed today in Marysville than have been killed by the Ebola virus in America.

And yet absolutely no one expect President Obama to appoint a Gun Control or Mental Health Czar. No billionaire is going to spend one hundred million dollars to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Paul Allen, who is an amazing philanthropist has put $500,000 towards local gun background check Initiative 594. Or to put it another way, he’s given .05% as much towards gun control as he’s giving to stop Ebola.

Whether you want to blame lack of gun control or lack of mental health care (and I really don’t understand those who aren’t capable of blaming both), practically nothing whatsoever is being done by politicians, billionaires, or organizations to stop your child’s school from being the next place a disturbed person chooses to start firing his gun. But don’t worry, they probably won’t get Ebola.

– Jack Cameron

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The True Cause of Most Gun Violence

gunI have spent the last few weeks debating on this site, on Facebook, and elsewhere the merits of gun control and gun regulation. Much like when speaking of politics, it’s easy to pick one side or another and then vehemently defend it. What I’d like to do here has nothing to do with gun control and yet I think it’s a direct cause of most gun violence.

I used to be a much more violent man than I am today. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the thing that seriously minimized my use of violence as a solution was a quote I read from actor Martin Sheen: “Violence is an act of desperation.”

Now I don’t mind considering myself occasionally depressed, badly behaved, angry, or any number of other negative terms. But I’m rarely if ever desperate and even when I am, I don’t want to admit that I am.

And so whenever I felt like being violent regardless of the situation, I would ask myself, “Are you truly so desperate that violence is the only response?”

My point here is that violence, including gun violence comes from people who are desperate. If we want to cut down on gun violence, we need to work on making people less desperate. Like all social solutions, it’s not as simple as it sounds. That said, I think the first step is making people aware that using violence does not make you brave or smart or great. It makes you desperate.

When it comes to gun violence, it’s important to note that almost twice as many people kill themselves with guns as kill other people. There are few things more desperate than feeling the best option in your life is to shoot yourself. If we could find a way to stop these deaths from happening gun violence would be a third of what it is now.

Don’t get me wrong. There are situations in which violence is the only remaining solution. But that’s just it. It should be an act of last resort. For those for whom violence comes easy, we need to do our best to make them aware that violence isn’t strength. It’s weakness. It’s admitting you’ve either run out of options or are simply not smart enough to come up with a better solution.

Violence is an act of desperation. And I am far from desperate.