This Is Our Fault.

When I was in Jr. High School in Gaithersburg, MD a classmate walked up behind me and held a knife to my throat during a multi-class science lab experiment.

He said he was going to kill me because of something one of his friends told him I had said about him. I had not said it.

Three teachers pretended not to see this happening because they didn’t want to get involved in an altercation with this known troublemaker.

I managed to survive the encounter.

When we were brought before the school principal, this kid was told to dispose of his illegal switchblade knife and was suspended for two days.

My parents were not informed by the school, they did not find out until I told them.

That’s when we got the police involved for aggravated assault charges.

At different points during their investigation this kid tried to kill his mother, himself, and at least one cop. He would spend several years receiving mandatory inpatient psychiatric care.

Meanwhile, his friends decided to jump me one day after school for “ratting on him.”

I did not win that fight.

I also did not lose it.

As a result, the school administration thought my own use of extreme violence in self defense — thanks to martial arts training — against multiple attackers who were close friends with someone who had already tried to kill me warranted the necessity of me receiving psychiatric counseling in order to be allowed to stay in school.

To this day, 4 decades later, I still cannot sit comfortably with my back to a room and ever vigilant threat assessment is automatic.

Thankfully, this — and extreme discomfort wearing a tie with the knot pressing on my throat — is the extent of my PTSD from these attacks which I endured in the 7th grade.

Today, we train preschool kids to look for their emergency exits on playground areas and to not only know, but practice, what to do when bullets start flying on campus.

There is no point in their public lives from that moment on that they are not dealing with the same situational combat awareness stress that makes it difficult for war-time vets to readjust to normal day-to-day life when returning home.

This is our fault.

Because we refuse to reasonably regulate the right to bear arms.

If that boy had a gun instead of a knife, I would have died in a 7th grade science class.

And now we also add the trauma of complete strangers attempting to harm them through anti-public safety protocols — refusing vaccines, social distancing, and masks — during a pandemic health crisis as they cough and sneeze on grocery produce and in small spaces with recycled air. They assault retail and food service workers and flight attendants for trying to enforce the rules. They stand outside elementary schools and scream profanities and threats at educators and kids who are just trying to survive the day.

It’s a miracle any of these kids remain functional.

Some days, I think it’s a miracle I do, and I had it much easier than these kids today.

Enough!

It’s time to put some things in perspective.

As I write this, at 12:30 p.m. eastern time on August 4, it is the 216th day of 2019.

Based on the statistics at the Gun Violence Archive this is where we stand right now:

gva2019

So, lets do some averaging to put things in perspective.

So far this year America has maintained:

  • A rate of 153 incidents gun related incidents per day.
  • Over 40 gun related deaths per day.
  • In excess of 80 gun related injuries per day.
  • Nearly 2 daily deaths or injuries of children between the ages of birth and 11 years old by guns.
  • More than 9 daily deaths or injuries of children between the ages of 12 and 17 due to guns.
  • More than one daily mass shooting even with 4 or more victims — not including the shooter — injured or killed by gunfire.
  • Nearly 1 officer involved shooting daily that results in the injury or death of a police officer.
  • More than 5 officer involved shootings per day that result in the injury or death of a suspect.
  • More than 5 uses of a fire arm during a home invasion each day.
  • Over 4 defensive uses of a fire arm daily.
  • More than 4 unintentional discharges of a fire arm daily.

Keep in mind, that these tallies only include those incidents that were reported and verifiable.

Here are some definitions for their methodology:

methodology

Now, let’s also take a look at more than one year. The folks at Gun Violence Archive have been keeping these tallies since 2014.

gunviolence

So, in just over 5.5 years, the United States has experienced:

  • 309,626 gun related incidents
  • 80,233 deaths as a result of gun violence.
  • The injury or deaths of 19,814 children aged 17 and under due to gun violence.
  • 1,923 mass shooting events resulting in the injury or death of at least 4 people not including the shooter.
  • The injury or death of 1,598 polices officers in officer involved shooting incidents.
  • 10,967 suspects injured or killed by police gun fire.
  • 13,293 uses of a firearm during a home invasion.
  • A defensive use of a firearm 9,798 times.
  • 10,386 unintentional discharges of a firearm.

Enough is enough.

Of all the wars the United States has been involved in since its foundation only the American Civil War and two World Wars have claimed more American lives than we have sacrificed in just the last five and half years by our refusal to well-regulate our gun ownership rights.