Dear Mr. Kos: As you may be aware, on Friday, Saturday, and part of today (Sunday, Decemberr 23, 2012) the front page of the Huffington Post carried links to news articles about all the gun related deaths that have occurred since the shootings at Sandy Hook. Sadly, this count topped 100 this past Friday morning. The headline reminded me of something the old Milwaukee Sentinel used to do about 40 or 50 years ago. On the bottom of the front page every day was a little box with the number of people who had been killed in traffic accidents in Wisconsin from the first of the year to the date of publication, along with the number for the same period from the previous year. Every year saw the count grow higher and it was a very subtle but effective reminder of a very serious problem.
Today, thanks to the many laws and regulations passed regarding road and vehicle safety, Americans drive two or three times as many miles with about half the number of deaths. Injuries have been reduced in number and severity. I don't mean to imply that the count of traffic deaths published each day was the driving force behind the improvement in highway safety. That, of course, was the result of hard-working and courageous legislators, the insurance industry, advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and individuals too numerous to mention. I do believe, though, that the presence or those figures helped to focus public attention on the problem and foster a sense of urgency.
On Saturday I posted a comment on HuffPo congratulating the editorial staff for posting all those links and suggesting that they continue to add to them, or at least keep a running total of post-Sandy Hook deaths. I fear that with the many distractions in American life (Christmas, Bowl Season, NFL Playoffs, the Superbowl, the Final Four, etc.) people will lose the sense of urgency they now feel that we must take measures to reduce gun violence. My comment was lost in a flood of others (more than 30K the last time I checked). I would, therefore, respectfully request that Daily Kos keep a running count of post-Sandy Hook gun deaths on its home page.
Furthermore, I would like to request that you and all your readers and contributors contact the proprietors of other blogs, newspapers, network news shows, and cable news shows and urge them to do the same. I don't think this would be a particularly onerous task for such organizations, and I believe it would be a simple and effective means to highlight a very serious problem. Imagine seeing that number every time you picked up the New York Times, Washington Post, or your hometown paper, or if every night Scott Pelley, Brian Williams, and Diane Sawyer greeted us with "Good evening. The number of post-Sandy Hook gun deaths reached 500 today." Who could say against this? It's not manipulative or "playing politics". It's just the truth, the bitter, ugly, and sad truth about life in 21st Century America
I apologize to you and your readers if my suggestion is stupid, starry-eyed, or reeks of Kumbaya, but I feel so awful every time I see a picture of one of those beautiful children or those dedicated and courageous women that I want to do something, but as just one fat and crotchety old white man I don't know what else to do. I am also very disappointed in myself for not feeling the same sense of urgency and rage when children in Chicago were being gunned down every other day this past summer. Posting the news links and/or a running total of deaths would tend to equalize people and demonstrate that it's not just children but that it's men and women, the young and old of all races who are dying.
Thank-you for listening and giving consideration to my suggestion. I would like to wish you, your family, your staff, your contributors, and all the many and delightfully various Kossaks a happy, healthy, safe, and joyful holiday season. And just because I am a life-long atheist does not imply irony, sarcasm, or sardonicism.