America has a firearms problem — in particular, the problem that firearms are so easily obtained.
Every year, there about 57,000 incidents of firearms violence in the country and around 13,000 Americans die. That’s roughly equal to the following:
From 2005 to 2015, 71 Americans were killed by terrorism — but 301,797 people were killed by gun violence, and in 2015 alone, two people under the age of 18 died from gun violence every day.
None of this is to devalue those terrorist attacks; they were horrifying incidents that should never have happened. This is about perspective, something I don’t think people have when you talk about firearms. The entitlement factor kicks in and suddenly it’s “all about me.”
So far, 2016 sits at roughly 8,000 deaths from gun violence, with about 1,800 Americans between the ages of 11 to 17 among them. And that number increased by one on Tuesday when 17-year-old Diego Rodriguez of South Texas, a teen with bone cancer, was shot and killed.
To make this even more tragic, Rodriguez was just days away from seeing his Make-A-Wish Dream come true when he was gunned down. He was apparently trying to take a firearm away from a 15-year-old when the firearm discharged and killed Diego.
Diego’ s dream was to see his grandfather’s vehicle, a 1993 Chevrolet S10 pickup truck, restored. His mother promised that if he survived to see his 16th birthday, then they would pay to have it restored.
Jason Pena, a co-owner of San Antonio’s BlackJack Speed Shop, which was overseeing the restoration, said:
I was excited to bring some joy to a young man who was down for the better part of his earlier years. I am just saddened and disappointed that he is not going to be able to physically see the final product and end result of his wish.
He added that he was initially reluctant to do the restoration, except Diego’s mother’s pleas convinced him otherwise.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation was also saddened to hear about the death. In a statement, the South Texas branch of the organization said:
There is nothing we can do to make up for [Diego’s] loss, but we hope that his car will be a great reminder to his mother that the realization of their dream and the community they had made a difference for him and gave him strength.
The truck, which was expected to be revealed to Rodriguez on Saturday, will now be part of the funeral procession. Because this how we do things in America.
This is another needless gun death, and all because the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave” is so laughably pusillanimous and gutless it can’t stand to look itself in the mirror and say “I have a problem.” So it instead demands that we pay attention to terrorists overseas, or immigrants coming into the country.
It’s easier when you don’t have to pay attention to the real problems with your country, isn’t it?
Feature image via screen shot
Thamiel is a teacher and a learner; he’s a patron of the arts and sciences, and a supporter for universal human rights — as well as another quiet afternoon with the latest find at the local library.