In Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia,New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Fort Gibson, Minnesota and far too many other places to mention in a little blog, school shooting has become as American as apple pie. And like apple pie, it can be had anywhere: gurdwara, planned parenthood, colleges, elementary schools, high schools, cinema, driveways, streets, church, malls, lawns, disability centers, military base…has any place been left out?
Guns are banned in schools yet most shootings occur inside and around elementary and high schools and universities. A weird thought shot to my mind as I write this: the terrorist group, Taliban, shot Malala Yousafzai in school. Yet our shooters aren’t called terrorists. Our Land of freedom is quickly becoming the Land of fear, and soon to be Land of guns. Barely 3 years after Sandy Hook, which took 20 lives of 5 yr olds and 6 adults’ lives, 142 more shootings have occurred. And each time a shooting occurs in America there’s a kind of ritual:
- NRA heaves it chest, characterizing and normalizing it by calling it “an act of a lone madman”
- America’s power figures solemnly go on air, offer prayers and condolences to/for gun victims & their families then callously and fearlessly reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killings.
Even though an astounding 40 percent of guns in America are acquired without a background check as New Harvard research between 2004 and 2014 show. And more than 2,000 terrorism suspects purchased guns in the United States [Nicholas Kristof’s “on guns we’re not even trying” nytimes.com 2015/12/03]. The Senate allows people from the terror list to buy guns, but block them from boarding planes, and the NRA & its republican allies distract us from the real problem of guns, with the word ‘terrorism’.
Yet, all the senseless shootings by killers are nothing but acts of ‘preventable’ terrorism.
America is fighting guns at home while the rest of the world is fighting ISIS. Our own guns, our homegrown terrorism which we perpetuate, by our own people whom we humanize after they shoot to terrorize and kill. We get into the past of these homegrown, overwhelmingly white radicalized shooters and publish histories of their loner status, how they were ostracized, bullied, isolated, intimidated, disrespected, picked on etc. But we dissociate their brutal acts from terrorism and continue to conflate terrorism with only those having Muslim names while never calling the shootings of the white majority American shooters a terrorist act, thereby skirting the whole gun issue while the ‘terrorism’ issue rages on. But whether it’s a school shooting or Planned Parenthood or a community college or San Bernadino, it’s a shooting by guns as the unrelenting average of 92 gun deaths per year in America proves [Kristof’s “hysteria about refugees but blindness on guns” nytimes 2015/12/06].
To say that shooting continues in America because gunners have guns is simplistic. Gunners have another strong weapon to fight gun control & violence which they brandish like a sword every time the gun control talks come up: the Second Amendment. They cite a constitutional document written hundreds of years ago when gun shootings didn’t yet exist among civilians, and when Internet & social media didn’t make it easy to buy guns or gun parts online and assemble guns to kill.
America has proudly come a long way in creating change for our own good: we are now told what and when to eat because eating became uncontrollable and they had to ban foods with TFAs and huge sodas etc before we kill ourselves. They had to remove candy machines from our schools before we kill our children and they’ve instituted change in areas where other ‘first world’ countries like France lag far behind: affirmative action. They’ve even been able to remove the stigma of behind non heterosexual unions and told us we can marry into the same sex, but they can’t curb their trigger fingers. We’ve abolished slavery in America, but we cannot let go of that second amendment clutch to create SAFETY for all peoples. We cannot let go of that ‘right to bear arms’ even if those arms are in the hands of psychotic killers. We cannot forego that ‘God-given right’ to protect our homes, families, and lives. All that this tells us is that no right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation or doubt.
Perhaps the shooting spree we’ve been living – or dying for – should be given more life in areas like presidential races. Not the Jeb bush kind where “Islamic terrorism that wants to destroy our way of life, wants to attack our freedom” Or “they’ve declared war on us. We need to declare war on them”. We must declare war on our fascination with gun violence, on our mostly white male, suburban gun owners and shooters. War on our toxic culture of masculinity that fosters the destructive narrative of one winner and a whole lot of losers. It behooves America to look at the other countries which have been able to curb or eradicate gun violence. In 1996 in Scotland a gunman shot 16 children at school, and the public outcry the following year made the British gov’t ban private ownership of automatic weapons and handguns on British mainland. In Australia of the same year after a massacre by guns, sweeping gun control laws were passed. In such places, although the natural instinct is to arm oneself, self-defense does NOT count as a valid reason to have a gun, post 1996.
If our constitution requires everyone to bear arms including psychos, mentally ill & other criminal minds , then we need a new one, like Australia & Scotland. Vigilantism is not a constitutional right, and when someone loses a child or any loved one s/he doesn’t care about people’s sympathy or eulogy; s/he just wants those who can do something to get to work and do something!”
Thought of the day: if your constitution requires psychos/criminals to bear arms and kill, then you need a new constitution because guns kill. Alllivesmatter.