In the last 30 years, the U.S. has had 62 mass shootings. 70 were shot in a crowded movie theater this summer. Last year, outside a grocery store, a U.S. Congresswoman was shot in the head and a federal judge was killed. In 2009, four cops were killed in Oakland and eight months later, four cops were killed in Parkland, Washington.
But it's not just about the mass shootings, which receive media attention. It's the single homicides. Every year, over 10,000 people are murdered. The homicides are ignored and forgotten because the victims are generally poor and black/brown.
Here are the 103 murder victims in Oakland in 2011. The overwhelming majority of them died due to guns. With two weeks remaining, Oakland's 2012 murder count will be at least 122. Its population is just 400,000.
Banning all guns is not the solution. But we need more effective gun control policies with strong enforcement mechanisms. And we need an overhaul of our country's mental health care system.
If the deaths of 20 elementary schoolers won't get us to act, then there is no hope for humanity.