As you read this, Sandy Hook Elementary has been evacuated following a bomb threat on the anniversary of one of the most horrific mass shootings in US history. Because the Gun Cult is satanic. But this is not about that. This is about the terrible reality of yet another massive evil for which the Gun Cult is responsible.
Here is a heart-wrenching piece on the Shot and Forgotten: the devastating, life-long burden borne by the people who aren’t killed in shootings.
Several thousand miles from Philadelphia, Richard Castaldo, 37, sits in a wheelchair in Los Angeles, trapped in a pose he’s held since April 20, 1999, when he was shot eight times and paralyzed by his classmates Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold outside of the cafeteria at Columbine High School in Colorado. Harris and Klebold killed 13 people and wounded 21 others that spring morning, ushering in an age of relentless mass shootings in America.
The price tag of our gun-violence epidemic is staggering. Between 2006 and 2014, patients suffering from gunshot wounds incurred $6.6 billion in hospital costs, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. More than a third of those bills were paid by taxpayers, in the form of Medicaid. In Philadelphia, where more than 1,250 people have been shot so far this year — up 15 percent over 2017 — survivors face an average of $46,632 in medical costs, according to the Department of Public Health.
But as Castaldo — and Frazier — found out, hospital bills are just a small portion of the financial burden that’s shouldered by survivors, no matter if they’re injured in a nationally prominent mass shooting or a spurt of inner-city violence that attracts only glancing media attention. Many struggle to navigate a confusing web of local, state, and federal assistance programs, which are plagued by steep backlogs and in some cases can award as little as $1,500 to victims whose injuries require expensive lifelong care. Some, in their desperation, turn to Kickstarter or GoFundMe campaigns to help them obtain such basic needs as handicapped-accessible housing, transportation, and even functional wheelchairs.
Castaldo has had visibility that victims of inner-city gun violence like Frazier could never dream of — he met former President Bill Clinton, and received a portion of the $6 million that donors gave to Columbine charities after the school massacre. But like so many gunshot victims, he still struggles to make ends meet, and almost lost his condominium in California to foreclosure in 2012. In December, he will finally move into a handicapped-accessible apartment that he and his mother have sought for years.
Frazier, meanwhile, has pined for freedoms that seem well beyond his family’s grasp, like a house large enough for him to move through in his wheelchair. Much of his energy has been spent on trying to keep his head above the waves of a depression that threatens to pull him down into the darkness.
“No other country has this level of gun violence, or the cost shifted to individuals for treatment of the wounds they suffered as a result of that gun violence,” said Kris Brown, copresident of the Brady Campaign. “It’s unconscionable.”
Every year 35,000 people are killed by guns. But over 116,000 people are shot. This is the enormous penumbra of gun violence victims the Gun Cult totally neglects in focusing only on gun death. Indeed, the technique of the Gun Cult is always to minimize the enormous cost of their idolatrous evil. Faced with the 35,000 dead per annum, the Cult never says, “Don’t forget that the toll is actually 116,000+. We need to bring those numbers down!” They say, “Actually, 2/3 of the dead are suicides, so that’s alright then. Screw you! Don’t touch my gun!” Because the mark of the Gun Cultist is to always think first, last, and always of himself and not of the common good.
And in addition to the physical wounds is the psychological and emotional and spiritual trauma, not only of the victims, but of their friends and family. Those people now number in the millions in the United States and have conceived an implacable hatred for this narcissistic and selfish Cult. My own moment of awakening was in watching the Gun Cult’s selfish and sadistic response to Sandy Hook. I have hated it ever since and nothing will change that till salt is poured on its unhallowed ashes. Indeed, the Cult has only made itself more vile since then with it disgusting attacks on and threats against the victims of Vegas and Parkland. And as those magnificently brave kids have shown in helping to contribute to the Blue Wave in October, we are coming to destroy you and melt your idols and ruin you financially and politically. Because you are enemies of the human race.
Then the king will say to the goats on his left, “Depart from me in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was paralyzed at Columbine, and you worked to make sure it never ever stopped and to deny me health care and impoverish me and leave homeless.” But to the sheep on his right he will say, “Enter into the kingdom which my Father has prepared from the foundation of the world. For you worked to keep criminals, maniacs, morons, white supremacists, demented schoolkids, domestic abusers, stalkers, and neo-Nazis from obtaining weapons of war and you cared for me when I was shot.”