Plea from a Fearful American
My latest column for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy, the Polish Daily, is about gun control and what it means to me.
At the paper's website the article first appears in Polish and then in English. Please drop a comment there. It tells the City Editor that I'm worth keeping around.
Now here's the article I wrote:
PLEA FROM A FEARFUL AMERICAN
In 2014, about 12,500 people were shot to death in the US. In 2015, the number was about 13,500, give or take a couple. In 2016, it was about 15,000. In 2017, about 15,600. Last year in 2018, it was 14,700.
The number seems to go up and down some, just a little. In the last fifty years, it’s been as low as 8,000 and as high as 20,000. Some of these deaths took place in mass shootings, about 300 a year, but that leaves about 12,000 or more a year are just plain ordinary shootings.
The numbers kind of get confusing and ultimately boring, but what seems to be awfully clear is that there apparently is a type of American who likes to kill people.
I grew up in a neighborhood in Chicago where a lot of those people who like to kill people lived. It was the area just east of Humboldt Park. Sometimes the newspapers and the reporters on the local news broadcasts back then called it Murdertown.
There was a lot of that going on. Murders I mean.
I had a school friend who was murdered by some gang guys. They shot him in the back of the head and put him in some garbage bags and left him in an abandoned apartment a couple doors away from my home. He was the only one of my friends who was killed. My parents, however, lost four friends over the years we lived in that neighborhood. Their friends just seemed to be the victims of average sorts of murders. A couple of people even died on the sidewalk in front of my house. (The cops told me to just move along and stop staring.)
All that was back in the 1950s and 1960s in Chicago, and if the newspapers are to be believed it’s not that much different now. Even here in Lynchburg, Virginia, where I live, you hear about Chicago on the news, especially after a bad weekend where maybe 70 people are shot and 12 of that number are shot fatally.
Yeah, there was a lot of killing in my neighborhood. And a lot of fear there too. When we could, we finally left. We moved into a bungalow north of Diversey, just east of Oak Park Boulevard. It was a nice place. We were able to sit on the front porch in the new neighborhood and not fear getting shot.
As the type of American who is generally still fearful, I would like it made as difficult as possible for those other Americans to kill me or other people. You can understand my fear. I sometimes think it’s easier to buy a gun in America than it is to get a driver’s license. I just want it to be as hard to shoot someone to death as it is to drive a car.
So, if you know a politician, please pass my concern onto him or her.