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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

1 in 179

1 in 179. If violence remains at its current level, that is the statistical probability that at some point in our lives we will be murdered. That is a startling number and is totally unsustainable. The reason why it’s so high is because there have been over 600 mass shootings this year. Let us stop and think about what that means: if you bring a child into the world today, there is 1 in 179 chance that they will be murdered. We need a defense system against mass murder. Guns are an obvious part of the problem and I do believe that assault weapons should be banned, but that by itself isn’t going to stop the problem.


Last week in Virginia, a man shot and killed six people in a Walmart breakroom. The man’s father was a crystal meth addict and his mother died of cancer. The man himself was paranoid; he thought the government was trying to track him and even put black cloth over his phone so they couldn’t track him. Additionally, he had no social skills and no one at his Walmart job liked him. Some of them were afraid of him and none of them wanted to be around him because he would find fault with them or chew them out for nothing. He felt everyone was laughing at him and found out that one of the managers had been planning on getting rid of him since the day he got hired. He bought the gun he used to kill those people in that breakroom just a few hours before he committed the massacre. He walked into a gun store and easily bought a gun; there was nothing that could’ve stopped him from doing so because up until that point, he had no criminal record. What good are gun laws if you have no criminal record? After he bought the gun, he wrote a manifesto. He began by apologizing to God for not being a better person and for not listening to the holy spirit within him. He then began listing his grievances at his job, said he thought people were laughing at him, and explained how the government was trying to track him. This man’s mind was clearly deteriorating. He ended his manifesto with, “God, please forgive me for what I’m about to do” and walked into that breakroom with his gun, shooting six people to death before then killing himself. This is why our chances of being murdered are 1 in 179, because we have no defense system against this sort of violence. The shooter obviously had social deficits; he couldn’t get along with anybody, his coworkers were afraid of him, and nobody wanted to be around him. Unfortunately, there was no program around to help him to acquire the skills he needed to survive in society. He was spiraling down a black hole of nothingness and he got there. Sadly, the massacre was committed the day before Thanksgiving. Imagine what Thanksgiving Day must’ve been like for the families of the six people who were killed. Instead of a having a feast, they had to plan a funeral. We desperately need a defense system to stop this sort of thing. Every child born today is going to be in danger of being murdered if this level of violence continues. How long is the structure of our society going to last?


What needs to be done? First, we need hotlines urging people to seek help for themselves. If there had been a hotline this guy could’ve called, maybe someone could’ve helped him. We also need programs to teach these people the social skills they need to get along with other people and be successful in society. Finally, we need specialists who can deal with people like this. We need people who specialize in this area who can understand the terrible problems these people face. 600 mass shootings in one year. What does that say about our society? While the prevalence of guns is indeed a problem, the strongest gun control laws will never stop the current problem because a lot of potential shooters don’t yet have criminal records. What good do gun control laws do then? As important as they are, we’re going to need more than just the banning of assault weapons to get to the bottom of this because a 1 in 179 chance of being murdered is not something we can live with. That is going to tear our society completely apart. We need public health statements, hotlines people can call, and therapists who specialize in treating these kinds of people. We need to find a way to reduce the odds of 1 in 179. These human time bombs are everywhere and if we don’t stop them sooner or later, it’s going to be our turn. I don’t want to be murdered in my supermarket, on my street, in my church, or at my workplace. I don’t want to be murdered by somebody who has problems our society can’t help them with. Until we can manage to solve this problem, all we can do is be alert. We have to keep our eyes and ears open every time we walk out the door.

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