The Year in Gun Massacres

The year 2015 not only marked an escalation in citizen-perpetrated mass shootings, it marked an escalation in where mass shootings occur from churches, movies, highways and medical offices to on the street during a live TV newscast. Many people, except those in San Bernardino, Roseburg, Chapel Hill, Chattanooga, Lafayette and other places, have forgotten the many 2015 massacres per the gun lobby’s wishes. After all, we can’t legislate on “fresh graves,” it says, while selling guns on the basis of fresh graves.

Most of the 2015 mass shooters were clearly unbalanced, violent and some had police records or issued threats. Anyone could see the murders coming. Yet the gunmen had sailed through their background checks and were the “law-abiding” gun owners whose “rights” the gun lobby defends.

A case in point is Craig Stephen Hicks, who allegedly killed three Muslim students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in February, possibly over a parking space. Hicks, whose gun threats had been noted by neighbors, owned more than a dozen firearms including an AR-15 and an extensive collection of ammunition and scopes at the time of his arrest. What normal person needs such weaponry cache for “self-protection”? Many gun perpetrators can be identified by the outrageous arsenals they keep, including George Zimmerman.

The summer of 2015 was saturated in gun bloodshed from the Charleston church murders–possibly the most overt racial murders since the civil rights era–to the murders at military recruitment stations. After the Chattanooga murders, gun rights advocates stationed themselves at recruitment stations to “protect” troops, blaming the deaths on “gun-free zones.” (The military told them to go away after some misfired weapons–thanks but no thanks.) But Military Times reported the Chattanooga recruiting stations were far from gun-free zones and some servicemen had personal weapons they fired back. The real issue the gun lobby ignores is: guns are so easy to obtain in the US, a clear terrorist with a police record bought them legally and murdered troops in Chattanooga. At least two guns used in the San Bernardino massacres were bought legally too.

It is hard to believe the “patriotic,” “Constitutionalist” gun lobby reveres “gun rights” over protecting Americans from terrorism but even after San Bernardino the gun lobby and its toady lawmakers defended the rights of people on the Terror Watch to buy guns. What?

There is something else the gun lobby doesn’t want to talk about. It says gun laws will never work because “criminals don’t obey laws” and only law-abiding citizens will be affected. Yet the massacres at Chapel Hill, Charleston, Chattanooga, Lafayette, Roseburg, Roanoke, Denver, Planned Parenthood, Santa Barbara, the Navy Yard (both), Fort Hood (both), Tucson, Aurora, Northern Illinois University, the Wisconsin Sikh Temple, Virginia Tech and more were all courtesy of legal gun owners who passed their background checks.


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Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

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