By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: ‘This isn’t the time to talk gun control’

A demented mass murderer killed at least 58 people Sunday night in Las Vegas during 10 minutes of near-automatic gunfire from high above an outdoor concert venue. We still don’t know exactly how many were hurt — reports range from 241 wounded by gunfire to 500-plus people injured from shooting or other causes during their runs to safety.

We’ve heard the mantra that follows every mass murder by firearms: Now is the time to respect the victims, not the time to talk about controlling access to hand-held weapons of mass destruction. That is code for America’s real mantra: There is never a time to discuss true prevention of access to such weapons.

Before Las Vegas, America’s worst mass shooting in modern history killed 49 and injured 58 in an Orlando nightclub. This week, stories from Las Vegas suggest that killer Stephen Paddock prepared his horrific plan for months.

Whatchamacolumn

Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

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It’s little wonder a different incident Monday night in Nokomis, Florida, caused nary a ripple. When Susan Rutigliano-Garcia threw a cell phone over the house, her husband, Anthony Isgrig, became so enraged that he shot and killed Susan and her 18-year-old son, wounded her 17-year-old daughter, tried to run down a neighbor coming to help, then shot and killed himself.With 24-hour coverage continuing from Las Vegas, that Florida familicide incident didn’t merit a mention in the news. Worse, despite best of intentions, Americans soon will begin to forget the details and even the scope of the Las Vegas massacre.

One way to remember is through statistics compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit corporation created in 2013 “to document incidents of gun violence and gun crime nationally to provide independent, verified data to those who need to use it in their research, advocacy or writing.”

Some challenge the GVA’s accuracy and relevance, but its numbers deserve a seat at the national debate table. A few of those numbers include: In 2017, through Wednesday, 46,992 firearm incidents produced 11,753 deaths and 23,861 injuries. Those deaths don’t include about 22,000 annual suicides, but they do include 551 children age 11 or under, and 2,453 age 12-17. There have been 273 mass shooting incidents — one per day.

America is on-track to reach nearly 15,500 firearm deaths in 2017. That number has increased steadily since 2014, when the GVA reported its first annual count of 12,571. Firearm injuries have increased from about 23,000 in 2014 to what could be nearly 31,500 this year at our current pace.

But this isn’t the time to talk about that.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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