The Press Newspaper
By On Nov. 5, 2009, U.S. Army Maj. Malik Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 29 others at Fort Hood, Texas, before being shot and wounded himself. Being that Army bases are among the most well-armed places in the world, it should be evident that more guns are not the answer.
In the wake of the Dec. 14 killing of 20 little children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., by a maniacal gunman, more people at least are looking for answers among the obstinacy.
That could not be said after last February's shooting deaths of three students and wounding of three others at Chardon High School. It is tragic in itself that three lives of somewhat older children somehow do not measure up for more serious dialogue.
Then again, there have been at least 62 incidents in the United States in which four or more people were killed by guns since 1982, almost all of them perpetrated by lone shooters.
Among the 25 worst mass murders in the world over the past 50 years, 15 occurred in the United States. Finland was second with just two. The U.S., of course, has the most guns per capita in the world, 88.8 per each 100 citizens, with Serbia a distant second at 58.2 guns per 100 citizens.
However, gun ownership actually has been decreasing from more than 50 percent of U.S. households around 1960 to less than 40 percent today. And, contrary to media perceptions, deadly assaults are decreasing as well.
While the debate rightly continues over the prevalence of guns and violence, another insinuation that raised its head after the Chardon shootings and again following the Newtown slaughter is the presence of God in schools and other public places, or lack thereof.
On Sunday, Dec. 2, the organist was shot and killed at the United Presbyterian Church in Coudersport, Pa. On Oct. 29, the pastor was beaten to death at Greater Sweethome Missionary Baptist Church in suburban Fort Worth, Texas. On Oct. 24, a man walked into a prayer service and killed one of its leaders at World Changes Church near Atlanta.
Most Christians believe that God is present in those churches, as he is everywhere, including public schools, where children are free to pray without disturbing others.
There are 247 million Christians in the United States, more than any other country in the world, although drug-ravaged Mexico is proportionately more Christian at 95 percent.
On Aug. 5, a gun-toting white supremacist killed four people inside a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc., and two more people outside before shooting himself in the head. No similar incidents have been reported against that peace-loving religion in India, which has the largest Sikh population in the world.
It should come as no statistical surprise that six of the 10 U.S. states with the highest rates of firearms deaths also are among the 10 highest in gun ownership. Neither is it surprising that six of the 10 states with the lowest rates of firearms deaths also are among the 10 lowest in gun ownership.
Perhaps more surprising is that five of the 10 states with the highest rates of firearms deaths also are among the 10 highest in regular church attendance. Furthermore, five of the 10 states with the lowest rates of firearms deaths also are among the 10 lowest in church attendance.