Don't think I'm trying to change your mind.
I never had an anti-gun or pro-gun agenda in mind when I sat down to work on this project.
I simply wanted to add something to the conversation.
A few months ago, 58 people died while trying to enjoy an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I'm sure you felt as sick as I feel now as I struggle to elicit complex thoughts and emotions using nothing more unsatisfactory than a number.
It is a number that represents yet another threshold crossed.
Yet another definition of the words “deadliest modern-day American shooting” reached.
That's not why I started working on this project, however.
Not too long ago, I started examining dozens of obituaries and online news articles in an effort to put together a story not on the 58 who died in Las Vegas.
That story had already been told and retold over local, national, and international airwaves.
What I wanted to do was try to find out how much longer it would take for another 58 people to die in the United States on the wrong end of a gun.
My count started immediately after the first shot fired in Vegas.
One minute later and 1,244 miles away, police in Louisiana discovered a 22-year old dead in an SUV.
He became my list's starting point.
With the help of the website www.gunviolencearchive.org, I kept counting.
I deliberately chose not to include suicides because reporting on suicide is either sporadic or nonexistent.
In other words, minus quizzing an endless number of coroner's offices across the country, that data would have been virtually inaccessible under the time constraints of this project.
I did include accidental deaths as well as officer-involved shootings.
I chose that not to highlight anything other than that idea that I believe my audience is smart enough to consider the unique nature of both when it comes to this discussion.
I did manage to find at least one act of self-defense.
I'm also comfortable enough to say there could be more acts of self-defense on my list.
I can't find one death on the list that involved something other than a handgun.
I also know, for a fact, many of those who died were not exactly saints, but I'm also a believer in the idea that even felons aren't always at fault when it comes to their own murders.
It took me a few weeks to put together this list.
I don't claim it to be definitive.
There remains the possibility I missed some. Not all gun deaths go reported online.
But it gives you an idea of just how long it took for at least another 58 people to die in gun-related homicide.
By my count, it took a little more than two days. 49 hours. 38 minutes.
If you look at FBI statistics from 2016, that's slightly longer than the 2016 average.
Consider the list as you will.
I have no intention of using it to try to suggest anyone should come for your guns.
I also have no intention of suggesting any of the myriad of gun law proposals I've seen to date would have had much of an impact on the list.
I simply wanted to see how long it might take.
Now I know.
And so, perhaps, you do too.