EDITED: A friend has taken my suggestion to heart and will be creating a non-profit to launch an effective grassroots campaign against mass shootings. Please visit his Gofundme page here: https://www.gofundme.com/pn5gucts
Yesterday's shooting in Umpqua is tragic but it is hardly surprising. As of yesterday there had been 294 mass shootings in the United States in only 274 days. There could literally be a cable channel devoted to 24/7 coverage of mass shootings (Roger Ailes, I'm looking at you).
You've been bombarded by coverage and numbers in the last 24 hours so I won't repeat them all here but I do want to make a concrete proposal for a grass roots effort to finally put these tragedies firmly in our nation's past.
After the Sandy Hook shooting left 20 children dead more than 90% of Americans favored stricter gun control laws and yet those laws fizzled in congress. Why? The NRA spent approximately $35M ensuring that gun control would not happen in 2014. In non-election years their spending drops off dramatically but is still a substantial force. I don't know if the NRA is entirely to blame for this country's inaction on gun control but it certainly has been a huge factor.
$35M might not seem like much money but the average congressional campaign is "only" around $1M. If you look at just the primary portion of the campaign it is probably substantially less,. For the sake of argument lets say the average primary portion for a Congressional Representative's campaign is $500,000. This means that the NRA can pay for the campaign of 70 representatives in Congress or about 15% of Congress. Compounding this, the NRA doesn't need to spend money to get the votes it wants. With the war chest it has at its disposal, the mere threat of funding a challenger is enough to convince most Congressional Representatives to cave to NRA demands. The answer to getting rational gun control laws passed then has to be to defeat the NRA.
Here is how we can take the NRA out of the equation. We start a $1000 gofundme.com campaign for every person killed in gun violence in this country. In 2013 that would have raised $33M, enough to counter the NRA dollar for dollar. If we also launched a $500 campaign for everyone injured but not killed in gun violence, we would have added an additional $42M in 2013. Every person killed or wounded in gun violence has family, friends and a community who love them and who would gladly contribute towards ending gun violence in the name of their loved one.
Technology in the form of gofundme has provided us with an opportunity to make major change in this country. We can outspend the NRA more than 2:1. We can defeat them together and we can make this a safer place for all of us to raise our own families.