That’s the minimum number of years lost to guns in the United States of America in the 99 days of this blood-soaked year.  Click the link for an amazing data visualization that captures the loss of lives and  years to homicides (and some suicides) thus far in 2013


The scandal, of course, is that the last three months or so is no more crimson than any similar slice of time in recent memory.  Here’s the 2010 version of the same data visualization, representing homicides only (and not quite all of them, if the CDC is to be believed).  The tally that year:  9,595 people, robbed of 413,838 years.

Ass long as the rump of gerrymandered Confederate and exurban white voters can be turned to provide the .01% sufficient political power to keep on robbing us blind, there is seemingly no end in sight.  Guns trump vaginas, non-pale folks, even moochers as the eternal touchstone of aggrieved right politics.  And until that chain that binds power to the untouchable civic virtues of 30-round clips, we’ll continue to live in a country where some 30,000 people each year will fall too soon to the wrong end of a gun.  That most of them will be gun owners themselves; hell that most of them will take their own lives [PDF — see p. 19] makes no difference to the debate.

One hundred and twenty thousand, four hundred and sixty one years that will never pass.  2,739 of our fellow citizens gone.  Obama is still trying.  Reid is still trying.  Maybe they’ll be able to rescue a life or two.  But not if the leaders of the  Party of Death have their way.

It’s gorgeous outside my window as I type this; sunny, 70 degrees and something, convertible top down weather.  Why does it feel so damn grim in these United States?

PS:  Optional soundtrack for this post.

Edouard Manet, The Suicide1877-1881.

57 replies
  1. 1
    Keith says:

    Why does it feel so damn grim in these United States?

    For me, it’s because most things I read (i.e. blogs) are either themselves grim or tell me I should be outraged by stuff. Not enough positive to go with the negative.

  2. 2
    johnny aquitard says:

    Ass long as the rump of gerrymandered Confederate and exurban white voters…

    I saw what you did there.

  3. 3
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Keith: Good point. I’ll see what I can do, for my sake and yours.

  4. 4
    Tom Levenson says:

    @johnny aquitard: We’ll call that an unintended but meaningful slip.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    Eduoard Maney

    French fried spelling, how does it work?

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    But… but… FreeDUMB, and LiberTEA!!!

  7. 7
    johnny aquitard says:

    Hmm. That map of firearms deaths correlates very closely with red states/blue states.

  8. 8
    Trollhattan says:

    We’re inured to the carnage. We don’t mind or care that the easy, ready availability of guns means more deaths–be they from suicide, accident, impulse or crime–than had a gun not been available. And, a loud, cranky and well-paid minority have figured out how to keep it that way.

    This Charles Pierce piece is the most depressing thing I’ve read this year.


  9. 9
    Tom Levenson says:

    @BGinCHI: Hey!

    Points for E.d.u.freaking o. a.r.d. at least..

  10. 10
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Trollhattan: Yeah. You mean the piece linked above :~{ Totally vein-opening…

  11. 11
    scav says:

    I remember that one from the Guard. If I’ve not lost my mind, on some platforms (not my current one) you can click on every line and there’s additional info. Projected natural death, basic chacteristics of the individual. People lifelines.

  12. 12
    Violet says:

    Hey, a bunch of students got stabbed today at a college campus in Texas. They weren’t shot. Progress!

  13. 13
    Comrade Jake says:


    Did you catch the recent poll showing that a majority of the country disapproves of how Obama has handled gun legislation? And it’s not because people think he’s not doing enough.

    Seriously, our country is so fucked up when it comes to guns.

  14. 14
    Trollhattan says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    Sorry, me not clicky all linkies before typing (typical, but hey).

  15. 15
    David Koch says:

    This is Obummer’s fault.

    If he would only use the Bully Pulpit.


  16. 16
    Disco says:


    I can only assume that the wingnut talking points are writing themselves as we speak. (“We should ban knives now.”) I’m not masochistic enough to find out.

  17. 17
    Todd says:

    It is interesting to watch firearm fetishists further add to multiply redundant collections of really durable goods.

    Your average firearm is a hardy lump of alloys, the ammo machined through by exploding gas and springs, and has an operable life measuring in excess of 50 years.

    Were American small arms manufacturers to shut down tomorrow, there is enough surplus inventory of high quality new (or rarely fired) weapons in the hands of fetishists to meet the needs of purchasers for a century or more.

  18. 18
    raven says:

    @Violet: One of the kids that ran the knifer down said he was deaf. Seems he was targeting girls and stabbing them in the face.

  19. 19
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Trollhattan: The comments aren’t much better.

    We are the most ignorant country in human history.

  20. 20
    Trollhattan says:

    @Comrade Jake:

    If the Oughts were the Decade of Foolish Pursuits the Teens will be the Decade of Wasted Opportunities. I’m afraid the answer to, “What’s it going to take?” is some death toll infinitely high. Twenty children? Meh.

    Am benumbed by the whole sordid mess.

  21. 21

    Because it is in the abstract. For most of us, we don’t know those 30,000 people. They are distant. They are individual victims. Lost in the numbers. Lost to us.

    There is no common community anymore really. There is only the individual. And if individual X living across the country from me dies because Y shoots him, well, that’s a tragedy, nothing to be done. I’ve got bills to pay.

    Things feel grim because they are grim in the political sense.

    Our government is paralyzed to inaction. We are powerless to change it.

    Our environment will soon be destroyed to the point that our civilizations may collapse within our children’s lifetimes due to climate change or THE BEES!!!

    Assuming they reach adulthood, of course, because some yahoo may shoot them first.

    And everyone will say, “What a tragedy. Nothing to be done. I’ve got bills to pay.”

    There are days when I am convinced that there is a literal hell and that we largely would deserve to go there.

  22. 22
    GregB says:

    We conservatives love us our guns, guns, guns and the death penalty and endless war and electrified border fences with towers manned with snipers because we support the culture of life.

  23. 23
    ruemara says:

    Why does it feel so damn grim in these United States?

    Because there’s so little hope. I know that’s kicking my ass. You’ve got nowhere to turn to, no one has one ounce of compassion in power, there’s nothing improving and you’re surrounded by the puling masses. No fucking hope here.

  24. 24
    Mike in NC says:

    @Violet: @Violet: I’ve seen newspaper articles recently on ammo shortages and hoarding.

  25. 25
    raven says:

    @Comrade Dread: I know a family that lost a wonderful daughter to a senseless gun murder. They don’t feel that way about either this country or life in general.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tom Levenson: Say huh?


    Comme ca.

  27. 27
    ruemara says:

    @David Koch: That’s the basic just of 70% of the comments. There’s no help to do anything there.

  28. 28

    @raven: My sympathies.

    I’m probably going through a bout of melancholy or cynicism right now. Things just look particularly bleak to me.

  29. 29
    Trollhattan says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    There are days when I am convinced that there is a literal hell and that we largely would deserve to go there.

    What if we construct it right here, first?

  30. 30
    Tom Levenson says:

    @BGinCHI: Well.




    Not my goddamn Académie française day, is it?

  31. 31
    Denali says:

    @Greg B,

    Yes, in some circles it is called the sanctity of life.

  32. 32
    Tone in DC says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I would argue with that point… but I cannot.

    In a truly best case scenario, Obama and the progressives in this country have spent the last five years appealing to Americans’ better angels. Be the change you are hoping for. Get out and vote. Call your congresscritter and tell them what you think.

    It didn’t work very well, for a variety of reasons. I blame the GOP for most of this, and the structures around this town (the Senate is worse than useless right now; Baucus is just as bad as Lieberman was) for some of it. I can blame Obama for being too much of a centrist, and too conciliatory, but I know he could not have been strident, much less angry, and gotten anything done at all.

    I also blame US Americans, and such as. The apathy, tribalism and short sightedness of these years. At least the people of 1933-1945 actually gave a shit.
    End rant.

  33. 33
    raven says:

    @Comrade Dread: It’s been a few years. I see them around quite a bit and their grace is a real lesson.

  34. 34
    Slumpbuster Douglas J says:

    Levenson is proof that gun crimes don’t discriminate, because he deserves to be the victm of something in his useless life of undue opportunity. karma is dead.

  35. 35
    beltane says:

    Where I’m sitting it is literally grim: 40 degrees and overcast. I would prefer my grimness to at least be accompanied by nice weather.

  36. 36
    BGinCHI says:

    @Tom Levenson: I wouldn’t correct you if I didn’t love you.

    You’ll thank me the next time you’re at the Louvre and a group of Parisian super-models want to know how to spell that dude’s name who painted the Olympia.

  37. 37
    Tom Levenson says:


    a group of Parisian super-models want to know how to spell that dude’s name who painted the Olympia

    Yeah. That happens to me. All the time.

    (And I know.)

  38. 38
    JPL says:

    What upsets me are those that what to return to the fifties. I really don’t remember those good old days with guns on every block. Also, too.. Hugh Beaumont wasn’t a great dad.. There is no Leave it to Beaver.

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    I mentioned this before but the pictures from Sandy Hook need to be shown. There are those if will say they that the pics are photo shopped but those are the twenty seven percent. Show the pictures.

  40. 40
    johnny aquitard says:

    Regarding the map, my assumption that strong gun regulations reduce the death rates would be borne out in the data for places like CA and NE states like MA, NY, NJ.

    And I’d see the converse confirmed, that the gun laws in the SE seems to have something to do with the higher rates.

    But I’m interested in the low rates of the upper Midwest. Michigan, Wisconsin, Minn, Illinois outside of Cook County, and Ohio do not have laws like CA or MA. And this region has a pretty entrenched gun culture. Hunting’s very big too.

    So the upper midwest’s got the gun culture, the guns, and doesn’t have the laws. But it’s got some of the lowest rates.

    There’s something more here than just gun regs. No doubt that has bearing on it but it looks like there’s something else going on here too.

    I’d be tempted to look at settlement patterns, I’m wondering if this might be some correlation with this map. I’m thinking I should read Albion’s Seed.

  41. 41
    ellie says:

    It feels grim because it is grim. My nephew’s wife killed herself two weeks ago today.

  42. 42
    hitchhiker says:

    My brother Charlie shot himself in the heart at a gun range just over a year ago. He was mentally ill and about to be arrested for fraud. Destroyed my 86-yr-old mother.

    My brother Mike is pleased to call the president a N**ger, just because. He’s on permanent disability due to diabetes and recently got a few thousand bucks out of the feds in exchange for spraying him with Agent Orange in 1968 in some godforsaken jungle.

    My brother Bob loves Rush. What else is there to say? He has no health insurance, a wife and 3 kids. I love him to pieces, I really do, but he’s just unreachable on this. He has guns in his house and would get more if he could.

    My brother Dan ignores the whole show as much as possible. It harshes his mellow, but I’m fairly sure he votes Republican. He’d never say it to me.

    I find myself looking for other things to read than politics right now, and it’s because I really can’t stand to see the gun people succeed in putting this fight to bed yet again with smug smiles on their faces. I’m sure there’s a way to translate this impotent rage into something useful, or at least something not damaging to my spirit, but I don’t know what it is.

  43. 43
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    I’d be tempted to look at settlement patterns, I’m wondering if this might be some correlation with this map. I’m thinking I should read Albion’s Seed.

    Look for the chapter on “Race-crazed homicidal Calvinists….”

  44. 44
    johnny aquitard says:

    @JPL: That will backfire. It will be the goopers shouting about the indecency of showing those images, about how ghoulish and disgusting and depraved the ‘gun grabbers’ are, how they are the ones who don’t care about the children, yadda yadda yadda.

    And yes people would be horrified to see what rifle bullets do to a living human body at close range. But the people seeing that won’t turn their horror to where you want it. They will turn on the ones who demanded it be shown for their own good.

    They don’t want to examine this closely, neither the images nor their beliefs that ultimately led to those images.

  45. 45
    DFH no.6 says:


    Were American small arms manufacturers to shut down tomorrow, there is enough surplus inventory of high quality new (or rarely fired) weapons in the hands of fetishists to meet the needs of purchasers for a century or more.

    This, exactly.

    The genies (300+ million and growing well-made, long-lasting, easily transported, handheld death machines) are long out of the bottle and you’re not getting them back in.

    Background checks? Limiting magazine capacities?

    Nothing short of outright confiscation of the vast majority of those 300+ million guns could make a statistical difference in American gun deaths.

    Anyone think that’s ever going to happen?

    Especially when you add in the 2nd Amendment and the bedrock American value of “don’t tread on me”?

    As I’ve commented before, our civilization will be a very different thing (and not in good ways) due to the coming environmental catastrophe that is global warming long before any legislated gun control could do fuck-all about the American way of firearm death.

    Digby wrote this in her blog some years ago, and she was dead right – liberals lost the war on gun control a generation (or maybe more) ago, and it’s lost for good.

    I hope I’m wrong on gun control and the far, far more serious problem of global warming, but I don’t think I am.

  46. 46
    Trollhattan says:

    @DFH no.6:

    While we’re armed to the gills, the demographics are interesting–with younger households dropping in percentage of gun ownership, with time. NRA knows this, too.

    I once thought nothing would slow smoking rates, but that’s been proven wrong as well. Reduce supply, place real responsibilities on arms sales and ownership, study and publish/broadcast the impacts of gun availability, and I think over a generation you’ll see a real and meaningful reduction in gun ownership and violence.

  47. 47
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    Increasingly urbanized population + declining violent crime rates = what did we think we needed guns for again, now?

  48. 48
    amy c says:

    This happened today. Babies shooting babies – the necessary cost to protect your freedoms, say the gun fetishists.

    This is my country, too. This is my home, too. I will not surrender it to the wackos who enable this kind of horror.

    Of course we are sad. Look at this horror show. But we have to keep fighting, too. Until one of them shoots you in the head for saying it, never throw up your hands and say it will never get better. What choice do we have, outside of mass emigration?

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @johnny aquitard:

    So the upper midwest’s got the gun culture, the guns, and doesn’t have the laws. But it’s got some of the lowest rates.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “doesn’t have the laws.” In Illinois, firearm owners are required to have a license from the state. If you don’t have an FOID, you can’t shoot at a gun range in Illinois.

  50. 50
    tybee says:

    i don’t get the tally/resentment/anger of those who self terminate.

    there are times when the need/ability/desire to euthanize one’s self is the only way.

    it’s illegal to seek a chemical end. kinetics will have to do.

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:


    i don’t get the tally/resentment/anger of those who self terminate.

    Because it’s very, very rare for someone to self terminate who has absolutely no friends or family, which means that the people who loved you are the ones who have to clean up after the mess you left, both legally and literally.

    When your mother has to personally scrub your brains off the ceiling like G’s friend’s mother did when she couldn’t find anyone else who was willing to do it after her son blew his head off, some resentment and anger tends to accumulate.

  52. 52
    Ruckus says:

    Party of death.

    So true. This should be hung around their necks, every chance possible.

  53. 53
    Svensker says:

    @Mnemosyne: Oh, God, that’s horrible.

    An elderly friend’s 48-year-old son just committed suicide by sleeping pill and I thought it was really cruel of him to do it at home so his mom would find him. I don’t blame him for killing himself — his life was truly a trackless waste — but finding his cold stiff body was just heart-breaking for his 80-year-old mother.

  54. 54
    Ruckus says:


    It’s the easy way out. A few oz pull on the trigger and gone. Of course as @Mnemosyne: points out it leaves a horrible mess for someone to clean up. One that can take years to work through all the crap that fills one’s head after that kind of experience. Had HS friends/neighbors come home from school to find mom and dad on the floor after a murder/suicide. They lost both parents, eventually their home and basically their will to live. Without a gun there they would have had at least one parent and the possibility of a semi-normal life.

  55. 55
    Ruckus says:

    I used to like to target shoot and hunt ducks and geese. We ate all we killed and it is a wonderful meal.
    But I missed getting my head blown open by about an inch by a .357 mag hollow point at close range. I was twenty. I would have missed the last 44 years. Not all of them have been wonderful but some of them sure were. I spent time in a military hospital during Vietnam. Most of the patients were marines who had been shot and they will never be the same. There were every kind of wound. Almost all of them had mental wounds along with the physical ones.
    Getting shot at or getting shot and living changes your perspective. It either makes you not give a shit or it makes you care a lot more. Being around a lot of people that have been shot does the same.
    I no longer care for guns. They are a far less than useless tool for anything other than hunting and killing.
    That so many people lose so much every year so some 3 yr old can feel like a 7 yr old is fucking ridiculous.

  56. 56
    Paul in KY says:

    @Todd: That was why when that show was on about the power all going off around the world & it was 15 years later & everyone was using crossbows & slingshots & I was thinking ‘where the hell are the 234,984,128 guns I know where here in US’? many of them well packed away by gun nuts/survivalists.

  57. 57
    Gravie says:

    I just spent two weeks in Spain where I never had to think about guns for one minute. No bellicose, aggrieved second amendment defenders. No earnest explanations about why guns are the only reason we can enjoy our excellent way of life. No damned gun-loving idiots whose attempts at logic in defending their obsession are laughable and yet horrifying. It was great.

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