Oklahoma may not be the center of American Gun Lust, but it's probably close. We Okies love our firearms—and ain't no freakin' Yankee liberals gonna grab our pistols, rifles, shotguns, and other forms of weaponry.
So it takes some journalistic courage for the Tulsa World to publish Philadelphia columnist Karen Heller's anti-gun arguments in today's edition. "Where's the outrage about gun violence?" the headline asks. In response, Heller points out that Americans get worked up over all sorts of problems—alcoholism, cruelty to animals, transfats in foods, gay marriage—but show little concern over the continuing terror of gun violence.
Guns aren't the entire problem, Heller admits. But guns are an efficient form of death.
Heller continues: "Guns allow disturbed people to shoot up Amish schools. And thugs to shoot children in front of city schools. And distraught kids to terrorize suburban schools."
Heller also notes the "hideous number" of people killed in Philadelphia last year: 406. Most of the victims, she adds, were young, poor, and black.
True, Tulsa isn't Philadelphia. But even a casual scan of the headlines in eastern Oklahoma tells a similar tale: lots of young people with guns shooting each other, lots of hard-drinking husbands and boyfriends (and sometimes women) shooting their lovers, even a few school boys packing heat in their backpacks.
So Oklahoma has its own gun violence problem, which is unlikely to change anytime soon. But it's high time we took a hard look at gun violence in Oklahoma and in Tulsa, where too many bad people with guns keep killing too many citizens.