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Items filtered by date: May 2016 - The San Bernardino American News

“We Are Charleston,” A Comprehensive Account Of Last Summer’s Tragic Events At South Carolina’s Mother Emanuel Church Is Now Available

"We Are Charleston" also details the deep history of the storied Mother Emanuel Church and the AME Denomination, show both the power and the price of forgiveness their members have faced through centuries of racism.

Charleston, SC ( -- We Are Charleston – an essential, multi-layered exploration of the tragic events experienced by South Carolina’s famed Mother Emanuel Church last summer – has been released through the W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

The book, written by South Carolina-based writers Herb Frazier (award-winning journalist and childhood member of Mother Emanuel), Dr. Bernard Edward Powers (AME Church member and professor of history at the College of Charleston) and Majory Wentworth (South Carolina’s Poet Laureate), is based on extensive interviews with family and friends of “The Emanuel Nine” – the church members who lost their lives on June 17, 2015, when a young white man opened fire on a prayer meeting at the church.

Additionally, We Are Charleston details the triumphant 230 year history of the AME Church – the largest body of African-American Methodists with 7.5 million members worldwide – and its role in America’s social justice story from slavery to the civil rights movement. The book discusses the importance of Mother Emanuel Church itself, both to the Charleston community and to the nation. The oldest AME church in the Deep South, Mother Emanuel’s perseverance in the face of adversity and discrimination serves as an example of faith and forgiveness to the entire world. It was no coincidence that this particular church was chosen for this grievous act.

“Nothing this tragic happens in a vacuum. Whether it be terrorism abroad or racism within, we have become the products of many years of anger in our culture,” said Matt Baugher, Senior Vice President of Thomas Nelson and Publisher of W Publishing Group. “Through its powerful portrayal of history and its stirring narrative from the present day, We are Charleston brilliantly shows all of us the importance of awareness, action, and yes, even forgiveness. I can think of no better people to write this book than these three individuals, each with their own ties to the city, the church, and the issue at hand. We’re honored to publish this important work.”

“The tragedy at Mother Emanuel AME Church affected us deeply,” the authors said in a group statement. “This book is our attempt to honor those whose lives were lost, the survivors and their families by telling their stories in the context of Charleston, the nation's racial history and the social justice efforts that have been the hallmark of the African Methodist Episcopal Church."

The book is available on,,, and other major online book retailers.


Library card signups increase nearly 15 percent countywide

Libraries countywide successfully participated in Vision2Read’s Summer Reading Challenge to increase library card signups and encourage more children and adults to read this summer.

During the month of May, libraries throughout San Bernardino County increased library card signups by 14.5 percent with 9,036 cards issued in May compared to 7,892 issued in May 2015.

“Reading is the coolest thing you can do this summer so we are thrilled so many more of our residents throughout the county are taking advantage of our libraries and what they have to offer,” said James Ramos, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.

Throughout the summer, libraries are offering amazing programs and activities and giving away rewards for meeting reading challenges. Summer reading programs help to avoid a loss of reading skills that can occur during breaks in the academic school year.

For a listing of all libraries countywide, visit

Vision2Read, a year-long literacy initiative of the Countywide Vision project, aims to raise the bar on literacy in our county by focusing on the importance of reading, connecting people who need help or who can help to literacy resources. Sixty-nine percent of San Bernardino County third graders do not meet new California English language arts and literacy standards and 32 million adults nationwide can’t read.

Literacy has an impact on a number of elements in our community such as jobs and the economy, education, public safety and wellness. When literacy skills are nurtured and encouraged, children and adults can reach their potential, the local economy can continue to prosper and the county will have a more educated workforce to attract employers to the region.

Visit for additional information about the campaign and literacy resources.


White Privilege Showed Its Ugly Roots At School That Barry Bond’s Daughter Attends

Racism scandal has shrouded a $37,000-a-year private school in Los Angeles after Barry Bond rebuked white students who participated in the making of a racist video in which they used the N-word.

The former baseball player was very disappointed after a video recording surfaced online showing white students at Brentwood School in Los Angeles, where his daughter Aisha goes, rapping to a popular song and using the N-word.

The short footage shows a group of young white teens rapping along artist A$AP Ferg’s “Dump Dump” song which contains the lyric, “I f— your bitch, n—.”

Bond, who’s currently serving as a Miami Marlins coach, came across the video and got really upset with it. He took to Twitter and said: “I am sad that i had to see this at my daughter’s school. #Racism #Fixit #Suspension.”

The incident prompted the creation of a petition that has since attracted more than 600 supporters.

“The recent events at Brentwood have prompted response from many, but the dramatic polarization of the student body and the faculty illustrates that this problem is bigger than Brentwood,” read the petition in part. “I don’t think that singing along to a song is inherently racist, but the act of posting it to the internet shows the hypocrisy of the school itself.”

It went on to say, “We preach diversity and progressive thought, but our actions show the complete opposite. As a black kid at Brentwood my experience is completely different than that of the majority,” adding that “I can’t say I ever felt comfortable at Brentwood, but I can say that friends that I could relate to eased the experience.”

Sources claim that the school responded by sending an email message to its student body, informing them that they’ll take action.

A statement sent to Los Angeles Times by the school termed the lyrics as “offensive and inconsistent with our core values.” It also said school officials are conducting investigations into the issue and will deal with it directly and respond seriously.

The school further said they’ll do more to ensure that future Brentwood School students “understand the harm that this type of conduct causes to themselves, to others, and to the community.”

Moreover, the school will use the incident to initiate dialogue on diversity.

Bonds’ ex-wife, Elizabeth, also gave her support for the petition.

On her Twitter page, she wrote: “Is this what $40k worth of private education gets you? I am extremely embarrassed that my daughter is a current junior at this school and has been here since kindergarten. I can’t even speak. I blame the parents of these children.”


BLU Educational Foundation Hosts Annual Scholarship and Awards Reception with More Than $150,000 in Financial Assistance Given to California Students Entering Colleges and Universities this Fall

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF. - (June 16, 2016) – California students heading to institutions of higher learning this fall are receiving much needed financial support thanks to BLU Educational Foundation (BLU). On Thursday, June 9, BLU held its annual scholarship and awards reception at San Bernardino Valley College where more than $150,000 in educational scholarships was awarded to more than 40 students preparing to start their freshman year at colleges and universities around the country. The students are participants in BLU’s College Exodus Project (CEP), which assists students in obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees from accredited colleges and universities. The scholarships are made possible by a new partnership with the Masons of California, a grant from the College Futures Foundation, and private donations. The Masons awarded 12 students with 4-year scholarships totaling more than $80,000. The scholarships cover tuition, fees, and other educational expenses for students.

Dina Walker with David Brown, spokesperson for the Masons of California, which awarded 12 students with 4-year scholarships totaling more than $80,000.

“We’re extremely proud of our students and very thankful to our funders and donors who make this scholarship opportunity possible,” said Dina Walker, President and CEO of BLU. “The scholarships provide some financial relief for students with limited income and pursuing higher education.”

This is the seventh consecutive year that BLU has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships to students participating in the CEP, which provides comprehensive college information, assistance and support to help students with admissions, financial aid, retention, and graduation from public and private institutions throughout the country. In exchange, students are expected to contribute to the local economy through employment, internships and/or volunteer service while participating in the program.

BLU awarded more than $150,000 in educational scholarships to students preparing to enter colleges and universities this fall.

“Our mission is to ensure that students in our program come full circle and exit as a college graduate. We stay in close contact with every student throughout their undergraduate experience. We’re dedicated to preparing students to enter college and successfully complete their education,” added Walker.

The CEP was created out of a need to increase the number of Inland Empire students graduating from college. BLU congratulates the following scholarship recipients:

Summit High School

*Ryan Rogers

*Marcus Shields

*Makayla Thompson

*Jabari Watson

*Angel Williams

*Desmond Young

Pacific High School

*Sharece Adams

*Brahier Anthony

*Janaye Browne

*Darnell Collins

*Kiana Flenor

*Jasmine Garcia

*Mister Gibson

*Aryana Hernandez

*June James

*Korion Mabin

*Casey Ortega

*Allen Smith

*Breana Smith

*Tatyana Taylor

*Sarah Tilo

*Emily Turcotte

*Dominique Whitfield

Val Verde High School

*Markell Parker

Summit High School

*Tiffany Abodoh

*Tiarra Blanche

*D’Ante Booker

*Alesha Bowen

*Amber Clay

*Davina Clay

*Jade Gayles

*Taelor Gray-Arnold

*Samantha Ndege

Vista Del Lago High School

*Mario Hernandez

*Alfonso Madrigal

*Pearlene Phem

Wilmer Amina Carter High School

*Jazmine Gray

Eisenhower High School

*Taja Sinclair

Rialto High School

*Breanna Earvin

* Natalie Jews

Arroyo Valley High School

*Ashly Brown

*Cynthia Hernandez-Rendon

*Austin Montoya

*Maria Tamayo

*Alejandra Tapia

Middle College High School

*Jordan Brown

San Bernardino High School

*Adam El-Sheriff

Rancho Verde high School

*Ayzia Clowney

About BLU Educational Foundation

BLU Educational Foundation (BLU) began its work in 2001 as a response to the higher education challenges faced by families with limited income and limited opportunities in California’s Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino Counties). Currently, BLU manages several education and human service programs that create a comprehensive approach to our goal of building productive communities. For more information, visit or call (909) 685-9995.


Supreme Court Rules for Police in Search Case

A divided Supreme Court bolstered police powers on Monday, ruling that evidence of a crime in some cases may be used against a defendant even if the police did something wrong or illegal in obtaining it.

The 5-3 decision drew heated dissents from liberal justices who warned that the outcome would encourage police to violate people's rights.

The ruling comes in a case in which a police detective illegally stopped defendant Joseph Edward Strieff on the streets of South Salt Lake City, Utah. A name check revealed an outstanding warrant for him.

Police Detective Doug Fackrell arrested Strieff and routinely searched him, finding that he was carrying methamphetamine.

The case raised the question of whether the valid warrant outweighs the stop, which was illegal because Fackrell lacked any reasonable suspicion that Strieff had been violating the law. It was the court's latest case that questions whether evidence should be thrown out of court because the police did something wrong or illegal that led to the discovery of the evidence.

Justice Clarence Thomas said for the court that the officer's actions were not a flagrant violation of the law. "While Officer Fackrell's decision to initiate the stop was mistaken, his conduct thereafter was lawful," Thomas wrote.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in dissent that the decision is a blow to constitutional rights.

The court today holds that the discovery of a warrant for an unpaid parking ticket will forgive a police officer's violation of your Fourth Amendment rights," Sotomayor wrote, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In a portion of her opinion that expressed only her own views, Sotomayor also described the "humiliations" of unjustified police searches and said that "people of color are disproportionate victims of this type of scrutiny."

Justice Elena Kagan filed a separate dissent in which she said the ruling "creates unfortunate incentives for the police — indeed practically invites them to do what Fackrell did here."

The fourth member of the court's liberal wing, Justice Stephen Breyer, joined the four conservatives to form a majority on the eight-justice court.

The issue is especially significant, Sotomayor said, because "outstanding warrants are increasingly common."

In one prominent example, the Justice Department's 2015 report that faulted police practices in Ferguson, Missouri, found that 16,000 of Ferguson's 21,000 residents had outstanding warrants.

Many of those outstanding warrants, like Strieff's, are for unpaid traffic fines — penalties that would not result in jail time.

The argument made by Strieff's supporters is that in places with so many outstanding warrants, officers have a good chance of randomly stopping someone who has not paid a fine for a minor infraction.

But Thomas, in his majority opinion, said that Fackrell's "discovery of the arrest warrant attenuated the connection between the unlawful stop and the evidence seized incident to arrest."


LeBron James Passes Michael Jordan as the Most Valuable Player in NBA History

Nationwide — According to the Washington Post, “Lebron James has moved past Michael Jordan in post-season value over replacement, a box score estimate of the points per 100 possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level player. In other words, James, despite not winning as many championships as Jordan, is the most valuable playoff player of all time.”

The newspaper also reports that he is “arguably the most clutch player in NBA history” and has “two of the top three performances ever recorded in the NBA Finals.” All of this is now being said as James and the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate coming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the 2016 NBA Finals championship.

During the entire finals series, James scored 208 points, grabbed 79 rebounds, and had 62 assists. He also became the third player to have a triple-double in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and his 29.7 points per game now stands as the highest scoring average by a player on the winning team in the Finals since 2010, when Kobe Bryant scored 28.6 points per game against the Celtics.

On top of all of that, James fulfilled his promise to Cleveland fans that he would bring a home a championship – something that hadn’t happened for a major sports team in the city of Cleveland in 52 years.

Even more James can now claim 5 of the 13 games ever played, in which a player had at least 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are the only two players to have more than one. Charles Barkley, Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd and James Worthy have the others. Jordan has none.

Congrats to Lebron James and the city of Cleveland!


Thousands Qualify to Still Enroll Even After Deadline Passes for Covered California

Although Covered California’s third open-enrollment period ended Jan. 31, the door is not closed to uninsured Californians, who have experienced life changing events like having a baby, losing health insurance that had been provided by their job or moving or moving permanently to California.

“Over the past two years, I’ve witnessed numerous patients who went years without properly treating health issues and seen them resolve it through the coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Stan Frencher, the medical director of surgical outcomes and quality at Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital in Los Angeles.

Frencher says the value in having health insurance is huge. And, while the window closed in January to enroll for coverage in 2016, thousands are finding they’re eligible to still enroll. Some of the most common life changing events that make consumers eligible for enrollment year round are:

· Lose job that provided health coverage

· Get married or enter a domestic partnership

· Have a baby of adopt a child

· Move to California

· Become a citizen, national or lawfully present

Enrollment must take place within 60 days of the life event. The majority of consumers enrolled in plans through Covered California also receive significant financial help to lower their monthly premiums.

It’s especially important that African American communities learn about this option as 14 percent of California’s uninsured are African American.

Additionally, African Americans face many health challenges, ranking at or near the top in conditions like heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The federal health reform law was a monumental step in providing quality health care to all Americans, not just those who could afford it,” said Frencher

He has seen the cases supporting data that show African American women have the highest death rate from breast cancer; that African Americans’ are nearly twice as likely to have a first stroke than whites. And, in 2010, roughly 4.9 million, or 18.7 percent of all non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 years or older, had diabetes.

For special enrollment after a qualifying life event, consumers can enroll online at or call Covered California at (800) 300-1506.


Beware of Donald Trump!

The United States of America, is the greatest country in the world. It has been since 1492, in spite of its growing pains over the centuries, and has continued to grow and progress to this day. Our political system of multiple parties has attached untold value to free speech and individual freedom. When free speech becomes a platform for lies, innuendo, and character assassination, it should be repudiated and condemned.

Candidates for political office typically come from seasoned politicians or experienced military personnel and especially those vying for the presidency of the United States. Additionally, these candidates are usually civil and respectful rivals.

Over the years there have been many famous and hotly contested presidential campaigns but none like the current primary and soon to be general election.

In 2000 Ralph Nader labeled George W. Bush and Al Gore “Tweedledee and Tweedledum” as in they’re both the same. Nader campaigned for finance reform and many of the normal campaign issues but never character assassination.

The election of 1964 is considered by many to be the most racially polarized presidential contest in modern American history. After 1964, Democrats could take the black vote for granted as the GOP became the party through which whites expressed their unease over black progress. The contest between Johnson and Goldwater shaped American racial politics for years to come. However, the contest was relegated to issues not personalities.

The 1960 presidential election was the closest election since 1916. Kennedy benefitted from the economic recession of 1957–58, which hurt the standing of the incumbent Republican Party, and he had the advantage of 17 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Furthermore, Kennedy’s campaigning skills decisively outmatched Nixon’s. The issues mattered in this election, not personalities.

One hundred years earlier in 1860, the United States was divided on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. These issues broke the Democratic Party into Northern and Southern factions. In the face of a divided opposition, the Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a majority of the electoral votes, putting Abraham Lincoln in the White House with almost no support from the South. Thus the “Emancipation Proclamation”. This election was decided on the issues, not on personality assassinations.

These were memorable elections contested by some of the greatest presidents the country has known in its 524 years of existence.

What we are seeing in the US today is a reminder of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933.

Adolf Hitler rose to a place of prominence in the early years of the Nazi party. Being one of the best speakers of the party, he told the other party members to either make him leader of the party or he would quit and never return. He was aided in part by his willingness to use violence in advancing his political objectives and to recruit party members who were willing to do the same. The release of his book Mein Kampf (translated as My Struggle) introduced Hitler to a wider audience. The party engaged in electoral battles in which Hitler participated as a speaker and organizer, as well as in street battles and violence between the Rotfrontkämpferbund and the Nazi’s Sturmabteilung (SA). Through the early 1930s, the Nazis gathered enough electoral support to become the largest political party in the Reichstag, and Hitler’s blend of political acuity, deceptiveness and cunning converted the party’s non-majority but plurality status into effective governing power in the ailing Weimar Republic of 1933. Once in power, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis created a mythology surrounding the rise to power, and they described the period as the time of struggle.

Today’s Republican’s presumptive nominee for the President of the United States seems to be following the same path as Adolf Hitler. As it was with Hitler, Trump had a best seller, “The Art of the Deal”.

He began his primary campaign by insulting women, Mexicans, Blacks (Undermining the efforts of “Black Lives Mater), Muslims and character assassination of his primary opponents. Jebb Bush, a member of a US political dynasty whose family had served the country honorably and continuously for decades was bullied and ridiculed out of the race. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Chris Christe, Carly Fiorina, Paul Rand, and John Kasich became objects of Trump’s vicious rhetoric. Meantime he had nothing of substance to promote his candidacy except to make the greatest country the world has ever known, “Great Again”.

His racism, lying, and fear mongering resonated among 40% of the Republican Party which gave him a decided edge over the remaining candidates. However, there were approximately 127 million votes cast in the presidential election of 2012. Sixty-six million for democrats and sixty-one million for republicans. Donald Trump’s rhetoric and fear mongering earned him 40% of the Republican voters, roughly 24 million supporters. That’s a long way from a winning level of 66 million.

Trump’s uncontrolled rhetoric always manages to get it wrong. He refused to name Omar Mateen, the killer in an LGBT nightclub in Orlando. Trump said that he was born “an Afghan, of Afghan parents, who immigrated to the United States.” But Omar Mateen was born in Queens New York to parents from Afghanistan not far from where Donald Trump was born. The real estate magnate also appeared to equate all Muslims who seek to come to the United States with the perpetrators of recent terror attacks — another claim that seems to fly in the face of the evidence about a community that has been present in the U.S. for decades. “We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer,” Trump said.

Today he uses that perceived electoral strength to insinuate that our sitting president is in some way involved with ISIS.

Trump is a known believer in a number of conspiracy theories, having said in the past that Obama was born in Kenya, that the Chinese invented the idea of global warming as a hoax, that thousands of Muslims openly celebrated 9/11 in New Jersey, and that Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel is making adverse rulings against him in a Trump University fraud case because of Curiel’s lingering loyalty to the government of Mexico. He also insinuated the Ted Cruz’s father was somehow mixed up in the Kennedy assassination.

It’s time for the Republican Party to reconsider whom they are nominating to represent them to the American people and the world.

Donald Trump clearly lies, insinuates, demeans, and bullies his way through each and every critical situation. The world is watching the developments in this presidential contest and are most likely concerned about the outcome.

In spite of Trump’s rhetoric, the world looks to the US for leadership and maintenance of peace and stability.

If Donald Trump wins this election, the US will lose its position as the leader of the free world and will be subject to the dictates of the new World Leader.

Voters, Beware of Donald Trump!


Assemblymember Brown to Host 4th Annual Men of Distinction Ceremony

SAN BERNARDINO - Outstanding men from the 47th Assembly District will be honored by Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown (D-San Bernardino) at her 4th Annual Men of Distinction program on Friday, June 17. This year, Assemblymember Brown will recognize: Burt Seuylemezian, owner of Burt’s Jewelry in Grand Terrace; Councilman Jesse Sandoval, City of Fontana; Pastor Draymond Crawford, a project manager at Sonrise Senior Citizen Villa in Fontana; Channing Hawkins, a representative of the Laborers’ International Union of North America; Colton Parks & Recreation Commissioner John Anaya; Sr. Pastor Raymond Turner, Temple Missionary Baptist Church; and Gary Grossich, chair of the Bloomington MAC and owner of Nickelodeon Pizza in Colton. “It’s my honor to acknowledge extraordinary men who are making positive contributions to our communities with their everyday activities,” said Assemblymember Brown. “These men play an essential role by creating jobs, generating revenue for our local economy, improving our quality of life, creating policies that meet the needs of residents and advocating on their behalf. Each honoree is highly deserving of this special recognition.” Assemblymember Brown holds her annual Men of Distinction program to honor men who have demonstrated professional excellence in their chosen fields, a commitment to advocate for others and community leadership. Nominations were sought from the communities where they reside. The 2016 Men of Distinction will be honored during a luncheon in San Bernardino. For more information, contact Ashley Jones at (909) 381-3238. Assemblymember Cheryl R. Brown represents the 47th Assembly District, which includes Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Rialto, San Bernardino, and the unincorporated communities of Bloomington and Muscoy.

Gun Deaths Today Surpass Those In Our Bloodiest War

When 50 people were shot and killed early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the toll from gun murders this year rose to somewhere around 6,000 deaths, which means if the trend continues, this year may end up with the highest gun homicide count since Barack Obama took office in 2009. Add to the homicide number the 550 or so victims of police shootings, roughly the same number of accidental gun deaths and the 21,000+ Americans who use a gun to end their own lives, and the total gun mortality number this year may go above 35,000.

There has been an ongoing discussion about the number of gun violence fatalities versus the number of vehicle deaths; some are predicting that the former may finally exceed the latter for the first time this year. Last year after two Virginia journalists were murdered, Nicholas Kristof wrote an op-ed stating that more Americans had died from gunfire since 1968 than in all the wars ever fought by the United States — a claim PolitiFact twice pronounced to be true.

Kristof’s attempt to show the extraordinary carnage of contemporary gun violence by comparing it to all wartime casualties was actually a significant understatement about our daily toll of gun deaths and injuries. His figures for wartime mortality included many deaths that didn’t occur anywhere near the battlefield. The numbers for war deaths came from a study published by the Congressional Research Service that set all wartime deaths previous to Iraq and Afghanistan at 1,003,644 — of which slightly less than 60 percent, or 575,359, were classified as ‘battle deaths’.

If we really want to compare wartime casualties to contemporary gun deaths, we should look at the Civil War, which had the most American casualties of any war in our nation’s history. The body count from the Civil War — believed to be 625,000 — accounts for nearly half of all military deaths that have occurred over the course of our nation’s history (recent scholarship may push that number even higher, to 700,000 or more). How could anyone imagine that today’s gun violence, which claims 30,000+ lives each year, would hold a candle to the loss of life that took place between 1861 and 1865?

When you look at the numbers, you can see just how violent we are today. By my calculations, we currently suffer more gun deaths than occurred during the bloodiest war in our entire history, and it has been going on for far longer than the fifty months of the Civil War.

To begin, less than one-third of the military deaths during the War of the Rebellion had anything to do with guns — or any kind of violence at all. According to the 1870 report issued by the Surgeon General, nearly 200,000 Federal troops perished from diseases, like typhus, influenza and other illnesses that came from unclean water, rotten food and communicable bacteria of all kinds. The number of Union soldiers who died on the battlefield, or from wounds suffered in battle, was much smaller: roughly 90,000. Our figures for the rebel side are much less exact, but historians believe that an even greater proportion of Confederate troops died from disease than those that died in and behind Union lines.

Despite the fact that a majority of troops on both sides died from causes other than guns wounds, the Civil War gun death numbers provide a sobering perspective on the rate of civilian gun violence today versus gun violence during the most violent of all our wars. The total number of Union soldiers killed by gunfire between 1861 and 1865 was somewhere around 90,000. Add the accepted estimates of Confederate battle casualties and we wind up somewhere south of 140,000 for the number who were killed on both sides during the war. Looking at the four years between 2011-2014, the total number of Americans killed by guns was 133,149, and adjusting to cover the same 50-month period of the Civil War would bring the contemporary gun death total to more than 140,000.

When we compare numbers on non-fatal gun wounds we also confront a situation that is worse now than back then. On the Federal side there were slightly less than 200,000 gun wounds over four years; the Confederate toll was probably half as great. This means that on average roughly 75,000 Civil War troops were wounded by gunfire each year— less than the 84,000 Americans who were victims of unintentional and intentional non-fatal gun wounds in 2013.

Not only are more Americans shot with guns today, but their wounds are much more severe. Union doctors treated 245,790 soldiers for gunshot injuries during the Civil War, but 70 percent of the wounds were to the arms and legs, so even with rudimentary surgical techniques, nearly all survived. Data from the National Violent Death Reporting System shows that virtually all contemporary fatal gun injuries occur to the head or the body mass and spine; surviving such wounds often leaves the victim with serious, long-term physical and mental distress.

In a New York Times review of Drew Faust’s penetrating, devastating book, The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, Geoffrey Ward wrote, “Americans had never endured anything like the losses they suffered between 1861 and 1865 and have experienced nothing like them since.” The terrible news out of Orlando last night is another reminder that we not only continue to experience losses like those suffered from 1861 to 1865; but also we now experience a level of violence and loss of life that is worse.

Mike Weisser is an N.R.A. life member, has a PhD in economic history and is the author of six books on guns.

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