Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters


More Gun Shops than Starbucks

posted by Dr. Arnie Kozak

Image courtesy of jjoga

I heard the news of the Connecticut shooting incident from one of my patients and then listened to NPR and Marketplace. Kai Ryssdal, who has four young children, wanted to find a way to present the massacre from a perspective relative to his program. He disovered there are 58,000 gun shops in the United States. That’s more than all the Starbucks worldwide.

What does this say about our values?

Given the ubiquity of guns, I am always shocked in two ways by such incidents. The first is the horror at the loss of life. This time is particularly acute. Young children. The second is wrapped in relief that such incidents don’t happen more often.

This is a terrible tragedy–28 dead. Yet, if we followed the news from Detroit, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and other places where people are shot every day, we’d find comparable death tolls. The New Town incident is jarring because it happens all at once and the victims are “innocent.”

People are massacred every day all over the world. Yet, an event like this tends to mobilize peoples attention and motivates them to action. Perhaps this will lead to legislation making it tougher to get hold of guns. But it won’t address the underlying issues, if we even know what these are.

Worldwide, more children die from hunger than perished yesterday at the school–by three orders of magnitude–16,000-21,000. Every day.  Why isn’t the President crying about that?

Of course, we can be mindful of the Connecticut victims and I would also invite you to consider the unnamed victims around the country and the world. Compassion for Connecticut is a good beginning but is not enough.



  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kyle Kurt

    your guns laws wont do anything positive . . . gun laws only keep guns out of peoples hands who follow the law . . . and those are not the ones that you need to worry about. One good armed person could have stopped that massacre. You find massacres happening at places with the least ability to resist (gun free zones). With the Aurora shooting the gunman drove past multiple theaters that allowed guns to go to the one that did not (the possibility that someone was armed was enough to discourage the person). Guns are here . . . that is that, if we could unmake all of them then yeah . . . that would be great. In reality though guns are here to stay. Taking peoples ability to defend them selves away will only invite more catastrophe. It has been proven many times that banning guns only raises the violent crime rate. The focus should be on the people committing these crimes (figuring out where the system went wrong in molding them into functioning human beings). Tools do not use them selves, guns are no exception. When houses are built on a poor foundation they tend to fall, the same thing is true with humans. More attention should be payed to the education system, these are the people who create much of the foundation for our youth. Banning weapons is a short term fix (or lack there of) to a long term problem. That is a whole different rant though.

    just my $0.02 . . . maybe $0.03

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kit

    Arnie, I like your sentiment and understand where you are coming from. I have a few thoughts, though. Friday’s shooting was like being smacked on the hand with a hammer. One’s reaction to such an event is undoubtedly going to be more dramatic than being lightly tapped on the same hand, with the same hammer over time, even if the sum pain is equal. I don’t think it means more or less caring or trauma. It is more a function of being led where we let the media lead us. The danger is that we “forget” things much too quickly and our actions fall away. Also, we have no idea how Obama grieves for things on a day to day basis. I will say it is a relief to have a president who is not afraid to tear up publicly.

    • http://exquisitemind.com Dr. Arnie Kozak

      You make a good point, Kit, about the difference between a gradual trauma that accumulates over time and one that is dramatic and sudden. It occurred to me this is a distinction that insurance companies make, as strange as that may seem for a metaphor. If your home is damaged in a sudden flood, they will cover it. If your home is damaged by a slow leak, they will not cover it. I recently found this out, much to my chagrin. I don’t really understand the difference yet I wonder if it is tapping into the same psychology that you point to. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kit

    If we choose to have children, it is our responsibility to mold them into honest, kind and good people. It is not the responsibility of the education system.

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