Monday, April 16, 2007

Counting Bodies

The story of the 32 people shot today at Virginia will unfold in its full horror over the next few days. There will be inevitable comparisons to Charles Whitman, who killed 15 people on August 1, 1966, of whom 13 were shot from the emblematic Texas Tower on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Today’s killer has more than doubled Whitman’s body count.

Fifteen then and 32 today are both shocking numbers. And while the Mandarin has no personal connection to Virginia Tech, he had been a member of the Austin High School class of 1966 before moving away the year before. So he was not in Austin that day, by the grace of God not hanging out on “the Drag” like his friends and classmates Paul Sonntag and Claudia Rutt, who were bodies #12 and #13.

The murder of 15 or 32 people all at once seems shocking in a supposedly peaceful country like ours, but consider two things.

First, there were approximately 10,000 people killed by guns in the U.S. in 2005. That works out to one Virginia Tech every 28 hours. Not all in one place, not all killed by the same person, but on average, in our country, one person is killed by a gun every 50 minutes, day in, day out. And the Mandarin wagers that very few of the killers were part of “a well-regulated militia,” thus Constitutionally permitted to keep and bear arms.

We need gun control in this country, and we need it now. Write your Congressional Representatives and let them hear your voice.

Second, look at Iraq. Iraq’s population is about one-twelfth of the U.S. In the four years since Shrub’s 2003 invasion, perhaps 64,000 civilians have been killed by us or by each other. That is an average of about 45 a day. The impact of death at that rate would be like the U.S. suffering almost 800,000 civilian deaths: 530 a day, day in, day out, for four years.

Or one Virginia Tech every 90 minutes.

We to get our troops out of Iraq now. Write your Congressional Representatives and let them hear your voice.

Cross-posted at Watching Those We Choose.

No comments: