In this last week of the year, the media is bursting with Best of 2012 lists. Best books. Best films. Best songs. Best deaths. Well, my preferred publications tend to favor a more delicate phrasing for this last; see The New York Times’ Notable Deaths and The New Yorker’s Lives Remembered.
The names and faces on the “best death” lists are familiar to many; their highly celebrated contributions to the social good in government, education, arts, science, industry (and so on) recognized throughout the land by anyone who turns on a television or computer. Their deaths were the result of the usual culprits: age, disease, accidents.
So soon after the latest in a seemingly endless string of bloodbaths that stain our nation’s school houses and public spaces, however, my thoughts turn to the “worst deaths”.
The names and faces on the “worst death” lists are known by few; their largely unsung contributions to local civic groups, charities, schools, businesses, sports teams (and so forth) recognized within their communities by their families, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. Their deaths were the result of the most unexpected horror: intentional, indiscriminate gun violence.
We witnessed sixteen mass executions across our country in 2012:
Feb 22 Norcross GA health spa 4 killed 0 wounded Feb 26 Jackson TN nightclub 1 killed 20 wounded Feb 27 Chardon OH high school 3 killed 3 wounded Mar 8 Pittsburgh PA hospital 2 killed 7 wounded Mar 31 Miami FL funeral home 2 killed 12 wounded Apr 2 Oakland, CA college campus 7 killed 3 wounded Apr 6 Tulsa, OK city street 3 killed 2 wounded May 29 Seattle WA coffee shop 5 killed 1 wounded Jul 9 Wilmington DE city park 3 killed 2 wounded Jul 20 Aurora CO movie theater 12 killed 58 wounded Aug 5 Milwaukee WI Sikh temple 6 killed 3 wounded Aug 14 College Station TX college campus 3 killed 4 wounded Sep 27 Minneapolis MN workplace 5 killed 3 wounded Oct 21 Brookfield WI health spa 3 killed 4 wounded Dec 11 Clakamas OR shopping center 2 killed 6 wounded Dec 14 Newtown CT elementary school 26 killed 0 wounded
The NRA says “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”.
Good guy, shmud guy. Please. Who can tell? The only thing that stops a bad guy is to make sure he never gets a gun in the first place.
© 2012 Jaclyn Schrier. All rights reserved.