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.

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