Memorial to the Lost

Memorial to the Lost
at Chester Eastside Ministries

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In last week's Washington Post: Guns are killing as many Americans as cars

By Christopher Ingraham
For the first time in more than  60 years, firearms and automobiles are killing Americans at an identical rate, according to new mortality data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2014, the age-adjusted death rate for both firearms (including homicides, suicides and accidental deaths) and motor vehicle events (car crashes, collisions between cars and pedestrians, etc) stood at 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
The convergence of the trend lines above is driven primarily by a sharp drop in the rate of motor vehicle fatalities since 1950. In the late 1960s, for instance, there were well over 25 motor vehicle deaths for every 100,000 people in the United States. Since then, that rate has fallen by more than half.
Over the same period, gun deaths rose, but by a considerably smaller amount. Gun homicide rates have actually fallen in recent years, but those gains have been offset by rising gun suicide rates. Today, suicides account for roughly two out of every three gun deaths.
One way of illustrating the shift in gun and auto deaths is to look at state-level data. In 2005, gun deaths outnumbered vehicle deaths in just two states, Alaska and Maryland, plus the District of Columbia. By 2014, gun deaths were greater in 21 states plus D.C.
to read more, click here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pictures from today's vigil in memory of those slain by guns

The convent of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia is a beautiful stone building on a quiet road in Aston.  This afternoon, the whole community -- joined by many from the surrounding towns -- lined Convent Road holding candles and signs in memory of the children and teachers killed in Newtown, and the young people killed in Paris, and the dead from San Bernadino and the more-than-400,000 killed in the US by gun violence since 9/11/2001.

They stood, silent, in the gathering twilight, holding candles and signs.  I thought about those children, who'd be in 4th grade now if they were alive, and their grieving families, and the young men dead in Chester, and their grieving families.

Many of the Sisters are older; several walked with canes, but they stood there 45 minutes, holding candles and signs, and I thought about Zechariah 4:6, which we Jews read in the week of Hanukkah:  Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

From The Trace: How many shootings over the last year near you? How many deaths?

In relentless succession, a parade of towns and cities have this year joined the bloodstained ranks of American mass shooting locations. The mere mention of the places — Charleston, Chattanooga, Colorado Springs, San Bernardino — evokes images made familiar at Columbine and Virginia Tech and Tucson and Newtown: the police battalions rushing to respond, the shocked survivors and bereft loved ones, the eerie portraits of newly infamous killers.
But the truth is that these cities and towns and the events that now define them, however lethal they were and however large they understandably loom, comprise just a small fraction of the gun violence recorded in America during this or any year. In 2013, the last year for which government statistics are available, less than 2 percent of more than 33,000 gun deaths in the country were due to mass shootings. Tallies of gun-related fatalities are in turn dwarfed by totals for gun injuries. Every 12 months, more than 130,000 people are shot; many are left with devastating physical impairments and crippling health care bills.
Thanks to a nonprofit, nonpartisan project known as the Gun Violence Archive, data on gun homicides and non-fatal shootings is now available well before the federal government releases its statistics. That data includes location information that makes it possible to plot those shootings on a map showing how many have taken place in your vicinity. Where someone was killed, the shooting is coded in red (this includes multiple victim incidents with a mix of fatalities and injuries). Shootings resulting in injuries but not deaths are coded in yellow.
To read more, click here