Emily Tracy: Gun violence: Had enough?
A lot can happen in two months. And two months can seem like a long time – or a short time. And sometimes we let the flow of life roll on without paying a lot of attention to the details.
On Jan. 8, the country reeled in shock at the mass shooting at a congresswoman’s public event in Arizona. The attack raised many questions ranging from the mental status of the gunman, safety for members of Congress, gun control, to the dangers of heated political rhetoric.
For me, the attack once again raised questions about the level of tolerance for gun violence. Do people have an awareness of how frequently guns are used in violent acts in Colorado? And if they are aware, do they – for all kinds of known and unknown reasons – have a rather high level of tolerance for gun violence?
Just as Westerners cannot talk about gun control, by inference we also seem unable to talk about the violent use of guns, whether in the commission of crimes or in accidental injuries and deaths.
On Jan. 16, I began collecting gun violence headlines from several Colorado news sources. I did not attempt to collect headlines from all areas of the state, only from the several news sources I regularly read: the Summit Daily News, the Denver Post, the Pueblo Chieftain, the Canon City Daily Record, and occasionally online news from other sources. In the gun violence headlines listed below, no two headlines refer to the same incident:
>Denver police investigating early-morning shooting and car wreck – Denver Post, 1/16/11
>Authorities say gun misfired twice in murder attempt – Denver Post, 1/16/11 (Cortez)
>Aurora police ID men in “take-over” bank robbery – Denver Post, 1/16/11 (gun used)
>Bullets fired into Westside home – Pueblo Chieftain, 1/16/11
>Four arrested in robbery, beating at home – Pueblo Chieftain, 1/17/11 (guns used)
>Eagle-Vail man wounded, son in custody – Denver Post, 1/20/11 (gun used)
>Victim identified in fatal Colorado Springs shooting – Denver Post, 1/20/11 (death happened 1/18/11)
>Man fatally shot – 9News, 1/22/11 (Denver)
>Fort Collins police name man they shot – Denver Post, 1/26/11
>Springs police: Do you know this bank robber? – Denver Post, 1/26/11 (four recent armed robberies)
>Coroner IDs home invasion victim – Denver Post, 1/26/11 (woman shot 1/25/11 in Denver)
>Officials: Dad shot son after dishes dispute – Denver Post, 1/26/11 (shooting 1/24/11 in Ft. Lupton)
>Robbery, carjacking suspect arrested – Pueblo Chieftain, 1/28/11 (LaJunta armed robbery)
>Shoplifter uses gun to steal blanket – Channel 7, Denver, 1/28/11 (Colorado Springs)
>Police investigate shooting in Aurora – Denver Post, 1/29/11 (victim died)
>Gunman robs Walgreen’s store on South Side – Pueblo Chieftain, 1/29/11
>Two shot, two arrested in Aurora bar shooting – Denver Post, 2/7/11
>Pueblo police continue to look for leads in an early morning shooting outside a Pueblo bar on Sunday – Pueblo Chieftain, 2/8/11
>Man fatally shot in parking lot of Denver topless bar – Denver Post, 2/9/11
>Man shot in NE Denver home invasion – Denver Post, 2/11/11
>Man, 45, found slain in river park; Pueblo police on Saturday were investigating two apparently unrelated shooting deaths on the East Side – Pueblo Chieftain, 2/13/11
>Man shot in early morning drive-by in Colorado Springs – Denver Post, 2/14/11
>After catching an intruder breaking into his wife’s car early Saturday, a man told police the suspect brandished a gun at him – Pueblo Chieftain, 2/14/11
>Breckenridge Police arrest two well-armed teens – Summit Daily News, 2/14/11 (two loaded handguns)
>Three charged in Sheridan slaying – Denver Post, 2/15/11 (gun used)
>Manhunt underway in Thornton after shooting – Denver Post, 2/16/11
>Man wounded in shooting near state senator’s office – Denver Post, 2/19/11
>Homes, vehicles shot; drivers speed away – Pueblo Chieftain, 2/21/11
>Officers search for masked gunman who entered a Weld County home – Denver Post, 2/21/11
>Argument Over Woman Leads To Shooting – Channel 7, Denver, 2/23/11 (Colorado Springs shooting)
>1 Airlifted After Reported Double Shooting In Lafayette – Channel 7, Denver, 2/23/11 (Lafayette)
>Man wounded in accidental shooting – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/1/11
Man found dead in South Side home – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/1/11 (fatal shooting)
>2 killed in Burlington identified as married couple – Denver Post, 3/2/11 (fatal shooting; 2 dead, 2 severely wounded; 12-yr-old taken into custody)
>Car riddled by bullets – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/4/11
>Man shot in leg, robbed of cash in NE Denver – Denver Post, 3/4/11
>Teen allegedly pointed gun at bus – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/6/11 (Alamosa teen pointed gun at school bus with children in it)
>SWAT standoff leads to two arrests in Fort Collins – Denver Post, 3/6/11 (man with a gun had threatened neighbor)
>Daughters Witness Father Shot In Drive-By – Channel 7, Denver, 3/7/11
>Limon officer killed serving warrant, suspect shoots self – Denver Post, 3/10/11
>Police arrest man, say he put gun in woman’s mouth – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/12/11
>Denver police investigate homicide today – Denver Post, 3/12/11 (shooting)
>Police investigating three shootings – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/13/11
>Trinidad man held in shooting – Pueblo Chieftain, 3/13/11
>Boy shoots himself in Custer County – Denver Post, 3/14/11 (9-yr-old; fatal)
>Aurora police: Gunman holding two hostages fatally shot – Denver Post, 3/15/11 (a hostage and a police sergeant were also shot)
So, there are some of the gun violence details of life in Colorado during the past two months. And here is the question: Is it too much, or way too much? Is it time to insist that gun owners and gun enthusiasts sit down at the table with the rest of us and figure out how to vastly reduce the human damage from the use of guns? What do you think?
Emily Tracy lives in Breckenridge.
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