WARNING: TRAVEL IN THE US AT YOUR OWN RISK

This graphic shows the Mass Shooting/Killing incidents since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

The shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., on Monday marks the 20th time since Barack Obama took office that there has been a mass killing incident. Using data compiled by Mother Jones magazine, we created an animated map to show, month-by-month, what that toll looks like.

According to that data, 174 people have lost their lives since January 2009 in such incidents. The incidents must meet several criteria: four or more killed, it must have been a solitary shooter, the killings must have happened in a public place or series of places.

I’ve  come to the realization that nothing will be done to stop the madness.  The mass killings by crazed gunmen with weapons that serve no purpose other than to kill will continue unabated.

After all, we’ve already witnessed the unthinkable:

  • a congresswoman meeting with constituents outside of a grocery shot in the head.  She was lucky enough to survive, but six people who went there to meet her were not.
  • TWENTY 6 and 7 year-old children slaughtered in their classroom, along with 6 adults who did everything possible to protect the children in their charge.

On Monday, the crazy man with the guns killed twelve people.  But they were just your everyday, run of the mill, normal folk who raged in age from 46 to 73.   No, they weren’t babies.  And no, they weren’t high ranking elected officials.

If our representatives in Washington weren’t moved by 20 babies’ bullet-ridden bodies, or by one of their own ambushed, they certainly won’t be motivated by the loss of another dozen or so mere citizens whose job it is to protect.

Obviously, the only thing that seems to matter to these politicians who are either against any sensible gun regulations, are afraid to cast the vote they know is needed, or simply haven’t read the entire Second Amendment to the Constitution (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”) is money.

So, I say that we take it to their pocketbooks.

Although the murder of Australian baseball player and college student Christopher Lane last month in Oklahoma by “three bored teenagers” isn’t on the map of mass killings above because only one person was killed.  But it was enough to prompt Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer to warn

‘It is another example of murder mayhem on Main Street. People thinking of going to the U.S.A. for business or tourist trips should think carefully about it, given the statistical fact that you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the U.S.A. than in Australia, per capita.”

That doesn’t apply only to Australia.  The Washington Post published this chart on the day after the Newtown massacre, which clearly shows that the United States is, by far, the gun killing capitol of the world!

The United States has by far the highest per capita rate of all developed countries. According to data compiled by the United Nations, the United States has four times as many gun-related homicides per capita as do Turkey and Switzerland, which are tied for third. The U.S. gun murder rate is about 20 times the average for all other countries on this chart. That means that Americans are 20 times as likely to be killed by a gun than is someone from another developed country.

Lovely, huh?

That information makes the case that the US is not the best choice when citizens of other nations are planning their vacations.  After all, why go somewhere where you are 20 more likely to be killed by a crazy person with a gun than to a country where you’re likely to be much safer?

Yes, that would hurt our pocketbook.

According to the International Business Times, 

Travel and tourism in the U.S. is flourishing compared to the overall national economy, according to quarterly statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) on Monday.

Spending on U.S. travel and tourism rose by 6.8 percent in the first three months of 2013, compared to national gross domestic product growth of 2.4 percent in the same quarter.

Growth in tourism spending has mostly stayed higher than GDP growth since about mid-2010, according to bureau data. In early 2011, tourism spending rose by about 10 percent, while GDP growth stayed at 2 percent or lower.

And according to the World Travel & Tourism Council,

Travel & Tourism”s total contribution to GDP in the Americas was US$1.9trillion in 2011, or 8.6% of total GDP. This compares to 6% for automotive and mining and 7% for chemicals.

Hit ‘em where it hurts.  If the politicians can just step over all the dead bodies in the road, let’s see how they react to the huge monetary losses their corporate benefactors will suffer.  Once the US Chamber of Commerce steps in, maybe they’ll do something.

On the show today

The Census Bureau yesterday released its Annual Poverty Report.   The New York Times reported a few findings:

  • Government programs remain a lifeline for millions. Unemployment insurance, whose eligibility the federal government expanded in response to the downturn, kept 1.7 million people out of poverty last year. Food stamps, if counted as income, would have kept out four million.
  • Median household income, adjusted for inflation, was $51,017 in 2012, down about 9 percent from an inflation-adjusted peak of $56,080 in 1999, mostly as a result of the longest and most damaging recession since the Depression. Most people have had no gains since the economy hit bottom in 2009.
  • Since the recession ended in 2009, income gains have accrued almost entirely to the top earners, the Census Bureau found. The top 5 percent of earners — households making more than about $191,000 a year — have recovered their losses and earned about as much in 2012 as they did before the recession. But those in the bottom 80 percent of the income distribution are generally making considerably less than they had been, hit by high rates of unemployment and nonexistent wage growth.
  • No racial or ethnic group experienced significant changes in income, but that left the gap between Asians, at the top, and blacks, at the bottom, as wide as before. The median income for Asian households was $68,600. For non-Hispanic whites, it was about $57,000, while the typical Hispanic household had an income of $39,000, and blacks were at $33,300.

That story also quoted Dr. Sheldon Danzinger, the president of the Russell Sage Foundation, a nonprofit organization that studies poverty, who joined me on the show this morning to discuss the report:

“The continued high rate of poverty is no surprise, given ongoing high unemployment, stagnant wages and government spending cuts.  Unless we find ways to strengthen job opportunities and enhance the social safety net, we’ll continue to get disappointing news about the poverty rate from the Census Bureau each September.”

And Susie Madrak, managing editor of Crooks & Liars joined in to talk about the underlying problems that helped to put us where we are today, and what must happen if we want to turn things around.