Voice of the People: Mass Shootings Are Only Part Of America’s Gun Violence Epidemic

Voice of the People by James J. Devineby James J. Devine

There have been at least 67 mass shootings in America during the last three decades — and most of the killers got their guns legally — but a far greater problem are the thousands of individual killings made possible by firearms.

The deadly rampage at the Washington Navy Yard by alleged gunman Aaron Alexis is the fifth mass shooting incident in the United States this year.

Although 26 mass shootings have occurred since 2006, seven of them in 2012 and six this year, what seems like an epidemic of gun violence over the last three decades is in fact only the tip of the iceberg.

Gunshot victims have become so common that they have largely disappeared from the front pages and become submerged in our collective consciousness.

When common sense legislation to require background checks on every gun buyer failed in the U.S. Senate, the issue died as surely as those 20 school children and six adults massacred in Newtown, Connecticut.

When one person is injured and killed, few people learn about the shooters’ identity, the type of weapon they used, or the name of victim.

This newspaper and others recently reported that most shootings go unsolved unless someone dies, and the closure rate for firearms murder is only two out of three.

Jersey City has experienced a surge in gunplay, staggering shooting numbers coming out of Newark are an issue in the Senate campaign of Mayor Cory Booker while Elizabeth and Plainfield lead Union County for both gun violence and failure to solve those crimes.

However, homicides, shots fired and gun assault incidents are not limited to big cities so there is no running away from flying bullets.

A mass shooting in Chicago aborted the appearance of that city’s mayor at a Cory Booker rally in New Jersey but that is only part of America’s gun violence epidemic.

President Obama pointed out that every three or four months the Windy City experiences a number of child deaths due to to guns equivalent to the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy.

While 90 percent of Americans want to require background checks for every gun buyer, common sense legislation to accomplish that failed to get through the U.S. Senate.

Mass shootings are only part of America’s gun violence epidemic and a gun violence epidemic is only part of America’s problem.

Citizens in this country need to make government work for the people again.

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