The Worse of 2012

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.

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