San Bernardino, Calif., Colorado Springs, Colo., Roseburg, Ore., Charleston, S.C., Watertown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va. The routinization of mass murder in the U.S. continues apace.
The overall statistics may not show an increase in the number of Americans killed by firearms each year. But the horrific nature of recent mass slaughters reveals a tragic truth: The proliferation of guns in our society has been, and continues to be, one of the nation's leading threats to public health.
About the same number of people die each year from gunshot wounds—over 32,000—as die in car accidents. That's an average of 88 deaths a day from homicides, suicides and unintentional gunshots. It's the equivalent of an airplane falling out of the sky every day. No other country in the industrialized world even comes close to that level of preventable carnage.
The societal costs are staggering—$174 billion a year for medical and mental healthcare, criminal justice costs, wage losses and the price of pain, suffering and lost quality of life, according to a recent study by the Children's Safety Network. That works out to $645 every year for every gun in America.