Petty things people get shot and killed over

By Christopher Ingraham at Washington Post

People are losing their lives over the smallest disagreements. Photo / Getty
People are losing their lives over the smallest disagreements. Photo / Getty

5484.

That's the number of lives lost to gun violence in the United States this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organisation that compiles real-time information on shootings in the United States.

The 5,484 dead from gun violence excludes suicides by gun, which are nearly double the number of gun homicides in any given year.

The 5,484 gun deaths work out to about 36 every day in 2016. They include the 132 people killed over the Memorial Day weekend. That may seem like a lot of carnage for a long weekend, but it's considerably fewer deaths than the 182 over the Labor Day weekend last fall.

Although the shootings in public places draw the most media attention - like the murder-suicide at the University of California at Los Angeles this week - the Gun Violence Archive's numbers are a reminder that most gun homicides take place out of the public eye, barely noticed, a simple fact of life in a country with one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world.

Much of the daily drumbeat of gun violence involves drug gangs and turf battles in poor city neighborhoods - Chicago is the current poster child for those shootings, with 69 of them over Memorial Day weekend. But average Americans nationwide routinely shoot and kill each other over the most petty of disagreements, including:

• A Florida man who is accused of shooting and killing his brother over a dispute about a cheeseburger.
• A Texas man who is accused of shooting and killing a stranger for cutting in front of him at a taco truck.
• Another Texas man who is accused of shooting and killing his step-son for jumping on the bed.
• A Colorado man who is accused of shooting a neighbour after an argument about feeding squirrels.
• A Tennessee man who is accused of shooting a toddler three times after her mother didn't flirt back with him.

These incidents all happened in May. They were initially compiled, among many other incidents, by Parents Against Gun Violence, an advocacy group lobbying for gun safety.

It's often said that an armed society is a polite society. But it's striking how some of us use guns to shoot and kill over trifles, issues that potentially could be resolved by being a little more polite.

- Washington Post

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