photo: cmiked via Flickr

The Washington DC Navy Yard massacre just happened.  And what are the chances of something like that happening in America again?  And again and again?  Really good.

According to the CDC and Google, the fifth most frequent cause of death in America is “unintentional injuries” — including those inflicted by guns.  The tenth most frequent cause of death in America is suicide, including those involving guns.  And the 16th most frequent cause of death in America is homicide, including a whole lot of murder-by-gun.  And even though NRA lobbyists now work night and day to keep the CDC from collecting statistics on the actual number of Americans shot and/or killed by guns every year, those numbers are probably right up there with the number of Americans who are killed by cancer and heart disease each year.

But even though, thanks to the NRA, we don’t have access to the exact statistics on deaths by gunshot, there’s still a really good chance that you and me could also be killed by a gun — one in 24,974 (and that doesn’t even include death by accidental gunshot injuries or gunshot suicides)

There are definitely a lot better odds in favor of us getting killed by our fellow Americans than by terrorists (one in 20 million are the odds of us getting killed by a terrorist).  Look what happened at the Navy Yard for instance.  Apparently Aaron Alexis was NOT a terrorist, just another fellow-American with guns having a bad day.  Based on even the vague statistics now available, the chances of something like the Navy Yard massacre happening in America again are really really really good.  And the chances of something like this happening to you and me are really good too.

PS:  Last night I had a rather graphic dream informing me explicitly that the manner in which I myself would meet my own demise would be to get shot through the heart.  Bam!  Right in the middle of the ribcage.  Dead as a doornail.  That’s me.

So if Disney is right and dreams really do come true, I now know exactly how I will die.  No sweet, painless “went peacefully in her sleep” good death for me.  Apparently I’m gonna become just another gunshot statistic.  Part of the fifth cause of death?  Part of the tenth cause of death?  Of the sixteenth cause of death?  Or just another statistic in the next Navy Yard or Sandy Hook or Aurora or Columbine massacre?  But does it really matter which category I’m gonna fall into?  Dead is dead.

“But, Jane,” you might ask, “if dreams really do come true, how can you prevent yourself from meeting this sad fate?”  That’s a no-brainer.  Lawmakers could easily save my life (and also the lives of approximately 35,000 other Americans this year alone) simply by making guns less accessible.  Works for me.

But as things now stand, with so many of my country’s armed killers abroad and so many of my country’s armed killers at home, I won’t be the only one to get shot through the heart.  America will also be shot through the heart.

PPS:  This weekend I will be attending BoucherCon, a murder-mystery writers and readers convention in Albany, NY, and will be staying in some shady Sam-Spade-type hotel in a sleazy Jack-Reacher part of town.  Perhaps that is where I will meet my death by gunshot?  And then have hundreds of crime-novel buffs all standing around, ready to solve the Whodunnit part of my homicide!  Awesome.