I’m F*****g Sick of Mass Shootings

There Was Violence at Topps Friendly Markets in Buffalo, New York on May 14.

There Was Violence at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on May 24.

There Was Violence in Highland Park, Illinois during a Fourth of July celebration.

There Was Violence at Greenwood Park Mall in Greenwood, Indiana on July 17.

What are the grim words that tie these events together? Mass Shootings.

We can go on and on based on the data, but instead, let’s set the stage with some context of what is happening in the U.S. with gun violence in general.

I referenced data from The Gun Violence Archive — an independent organization that sources data from more than 2,500 agencies including the Center for Disease Control, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

Here’s a brief snapshot of the gun-related deaths by state: As of August 26, 2022, there were almost 70 in California, almost 200 in Arizona, nearly 150 in Texas, and almost 400 in the southeast region.

One of the grimmest pieces of data to me personally is the children killed or injured by guns.

There were over 200 child-involved incidents in the northeast, well over one hundred in the southeast, and again with more than one hundred in the state of Texas — a state where their idiot governor passes a permitless carry law earlier this year.

Gun-related deaths and injuries have trended upwards in nine categories from 2014 through 2020 including deaths, suicide by gun, teens killed or injured, murder-suicides, and unintentional shootings.

As a note, there’s usually a one-to-two-year lag in data because of course, we still have a few months left in 2022 so the reporting agencies are still compiling their numbers as this craziness continues.

Mass shootings alone have grown from 269 in 2014 and continued to climb to 611 in 2020.

Here’s the point of all of this: As human beings and American citizens, we are failing each other.

The “We” in this equation are the systems and politicians that allow assault rifles and high-capacity magazines to circulate in a country that is not at war with a foreign enemy.

The “We” in this equation are the bad actors namely the people who commit these mass shootings based on revenge fantasy, a warped sense of justice along with racial and religious bias.

Curiosity led me to a search for data that captured politicians on the NRA’s payroll, the amount they received, and the gun deaths in the state they represent. I sourced OpenSecret’s data via Brady United. Note: the monies received appear to be cumulative over their respective political careers:

Mitt Romney from the state of Utah — more than $13 million and over 400 deaths.

Richard Burr of North Carolina received almost $7 million with almost 1,500 gun deaths in his state.

Roy Blunt of Missouri received more than $4.5 million with almost 1,300-gun-related deaths in his state.

Our prospects as a nation struggling with mass murders and gun violence, in general, look grim and I am deeply concerned.

Political leaders who are elected to act in the best interests of the nation are failing us largely because they can be bought off to keep laws in place to make it easy to purchase and own firearms no matter who you are.

Depending on what state you live in, you can be an adult that identifies as a fire-breathing centaur, but as long as you have ID, a few hundred dollars, and pass a basic background check, you can legally own a firearm that can kill large groups of people in seconds.

This is one of the few subjects in this country where I can honestly say, it is not so much about race, because many of these so-called leaders and lobbyists who are white don’t demonstrate that they care who dies in these mass shootings regardless of the victim’s race. If that were the case, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Hyland, Columbine, and other mass shootings where white children and adults were tragically slaughtered would have lit a fire up their ass to invoke meaningful change.

The blame is not totally on the politicians. A lot of this culpability is on us citizens for voting these people into office at all levels of government.

Too much stock has been put into the overinflated value and often warped idea of the Second Amendment Right to bear arms.

I believe responsible, mentally stable citizens should have the right to bear arms… in their homes… secured and out of the reach of children and/or irresponsible individuals.

But here we are as Americans with our glamourization and weird fetish with guns so much that we’re willing to retain ownership while human life is snatched away in schools, places of worship, and hospitals — the very places people should be safe.

Like some of you, I assumed that anyone willing to commit a mass shooting was mentally ill. That was until I read this article published in the Psychiatric Times by Seth D. Norrholm and Alan D. Blotcky — both PhDs.

While both writers indicate that estimates show 1 in 5 (20%) of mass shooters do have some serious mental illness, the remaining offenders can be quite calculated.

Let’s take the 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas — an outdoor concert. To jog your memory, this is the guy who booked a hotel room near the concert grounds, checked in with a large arsenal of guns and ammunition then shot at people from his hotel window.

To support the notion of these shooters being calculated, the article mentions the following evidence of the Route 91 shooter and others:

“… shooter reportedly had extensive notes on distance, trajectory, and wind changes in his hotel room. These shooters are often linked with an adherence to ideas and rhetoric that are bandied about as truth on media outlets. On top of that, elected government officials with massive public platforms echo these “truths” and reinforce their so-called legitimacy. The result is a radicalized — not mentally ill — individual absorbing all of this extremist ideology who then takes advantage of the easy access to guns in America.”

If anyone wants to dispute that these criminals are getting bolder then look no further than the man armed with an AR-15, a nail gun, and wearing body armor who tried breaking into a Cincinnati FBI office earlier in August. He was later killed by law enforcement after a long standoff.

So, you do the math on this.

Does it stand to reason that a person goes to a destination with weapons and body armor to harm a single individual or a large group?

In my younger years, I’d probably be inclined to make statements like, “We need to do some soul-searching as a nation.” But here’s the thing: I’m not sure half of us have souls. You would think that as much as Americans talk about democracy, God, Christianity, and freedom, our nation would have taken aggressively proactive action towards gun control.

Columbine should have been our “No-More” moment. So should Parkland, Sandy Hook, Uvalde, and other sites where mass shootings have been.

America is a great country, but it’s also a big f*****g lie with liars as citizens and political leaders.

Some of us repeat the cliches of “Protect our kids”, “Back the Blue” and “Support our Troops”, but when the opportunities come to do just that, many of us aren’t accompanying those clichés with good faith, meaningful action.

I’ve never been shot and nor do I want to, but I can describe the feeling of bullets whizzing by my head.

I can describe moments in my hometown of Los Angeles where gunfire erupted and crowds of us scattered and ran for our lives.

I can tell you how lives were impacted by my peers being murdered and how being shot changed the lives of people I knew.

I’m not sure what the answer here is, but I guess that we need to keep assault rifles out of the hands of citizens. We also gotta take more seriously the swelling threat of domestic terrorism.

Remember in school when your teacher or college professor uttered that one phrase many of us hated when he handed in a half-assed assignment? That phrase was, “Show your work.” — meaning, demonstrate that you did proper research to support your argument and that you clearly understand the subject matter.

Well, what I like about the article written by Seth D. Norrholm Ph.D. and Alan Blotcky PhD. is that they did just that. They are pulling information based on real-life events and reputable sources like Psychology Today, NPR, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Journal of Public Health. Not these BS, fugazi media outlets that pretend to be legit, but have about as much journalistic integrity as a dryer vent.

The long-term prospect of controlling mass shootings doesn’t look good. Not enough people care to stop the sales and keep assault rifles out of the hands of everyday citizens.

The numbers don’t lie. There is no bottom in sight and what I suspect that is happening in parallel, is the next group of radicalized, irresponsible gun owners is waiting for their first opportunity to get their hands on a AR 15 or some other high-powered weapon to murder a military enemy they will never face and people they don’t even know.

So how about us planning and starting now, America? Vote out anybody that cozies up to the gun lobbyists and NRA. Then, let’s pass legislation that outlaws the sale of these kinds of guns.

Lastly, make a personal pledge that you won’t own this type of weapon.

Imani Kaliid is a Los Angeles native, host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power” (Roku TV, Amazon Fire), author of “There Was Violence” and advocate for victims of violent trauma. Follow him on Twitter: @SurvivorImaniK

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Author of “There Was Violence”, Host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power”, survivor and advocate for victims of violent trauma.

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Imani Kaliid

Author of “There Was Violence”, Host of “Survivor Stories: From Pain to Power”, survivor and advocate for victims of violent trauma.