On Monday around 2:00pm, at least 13 gunshots were fired at a little cafe located across the street from the bus-stop two blocks from my casita. Apparently, an armed gunman robbed someone on the patio, and the victim decided to take justice in his own hands. Stupid flog.
This is the bus-stop that I use almost daily to catch a bus to my gym downtown. At the time of the shooting, a bus was there letting off or taking on passengers. One of the bullets hit a bus window. Fortunately, the driver had taken note of what was happening and told everyone to duck in their seats, just before the bullet hit the bus. No one on the bus was injured.
I was tired Monday, so I skipped the gym. I'm glad, because I often go around 2pm.
Now, let's have a quick look at some statistics.
Analysis of data pertaining to children (<15 y/o), collected between 1990 and 1995 and reported by 26 developed countries, including the U.S., revealed the following (MMWR, 46/5, 1997):
- the overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children aged less than 15 years was nearly 12 times higher than among children in the other 25 countries combined;
- the firearm-related homicide rate in the United States was nearly 16 times higher than that in all of the other countries combined;
- the firearm-related suicide rate was nearly 11 times higher;
- the number of non-firearm-related suicides was comparable in all countries.
For me, the most revealing statistic from this report is that last one. Grim, yes, but what it provides is undeniable proof that we have a gun problem in the U.S.
Gun-related homicides in the U.S. and its neighbors, as reported by the United Nations in 2002 (NationMaster.com):
- U.S. = 9,369
- Mexico = 2,606
- Canada = 144
I realize there is a marked population difference, but come on. Canada has over 33 million people and only 144 gun-related homicides?
Seen in the light of the above statistics, as well as a great many others, today's Supreme Court ruling that Washington D.C.'s decades-old handgun ban is unconstitutional completely boggles my mind and depresses me to no end.
The potential legacy of this Court decision is frightening, especially in a modern context. Quite simply, more people will die, especially from firearm-related suicide and drug-related gun crimes.
I hope Justice Scalia dreams of bullets ripping through human flesh and stealing lives every time he goes to sleep. And I hope he wakes shrieking and sweating. Every single, fucking time.