How many more shootings do we need?
On 14 February 2018, 17 were killed and 15 injured in a a high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. On 2 October 2017, a man assassinated 59 people and injured more than 500, by shooting to the attendees of a country music concert in Las Vegas. This has become the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States. The previous most deadly shooting took place the previous year, on 12 June 2016, when terrorist attacked on the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 and injuring 53. This are not not isolated cases. It follows a series of mass shootings, including the San Bernardino attack (16 killed, 19 injured) six months earlier, which have attracted great media attention worldwide. Gun control and gun violence became central issues in the Trump vs Clinton election battle. The Republican and the Democratic candidates adopted diametrically opposed interpretations of the causes and solutions of these problems. In the end the former won the election. One of Donald Trump’s promises was to protect the right to bear arms.
Gun deaths in America are at a historic high, and there are reasons to be concerned about the current situation. During the early 1990s, the worst period in recent history, America averaged 13,000 annual homicides by handgun. Gun violence declined in the late 1990s and early 2000s but now it seems to show a new worrisome upward trend. In 2017, firearms caused 11,208 deaths by homicide, 21,175 deaths by suicide, and 505 deaths by accidental discharge. There are about 310 million guns in America.
The worrying trend among this is the mass shooting epidemic that we have recently witnessed in the US. Just in 2018 alone there have been a total of 48 mass shootings in the US. This is just ludicrous. 2018 is only 2 months old!
The NRA and the GOP are the primary reasons why this worrying trend is on an upward trajectory. Is the NRA really more powerful than the house, congress, senate and the President? When we look at the total amount that the gun lobbyist have pumped into the republican congressmen, senators and the president it is staggering. Donald Trump alone received 30 million dollars in campaign funding from the NRA in 2016. How will a man that has received that amount of money ever re-look the issue of gun-control? In 2016 – 216 republican house members and 23 republican senators received political contributions from the NRA. In comparison, only 5 democratic house members and 0 democratic senators received political contributions from the NRA. (Source: https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000082&type=&sort=&cycle=2016) Will the GOP bite the hand that feeds them?
Let’s move on to the constition. In the bill of rights, the second amendment clearly states :
The Right to Bear Arms.
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Lets not forget that this was written on the 15th of December 1791 by the founding fathers. The purpose of the Second Amendment was to prevent the new Federal Government established in 1789 from disarming the state militias and replacing them with a Federal standing army. It was a concern that was relevant perhaps for a few years around the birth of the country. It is irrelevant today. Americans do not rely on state militias in 2018 for their freedom from the federal government.
The Second Amendment is a relic of the founding era more than two centuries ago. Its purpose is long past. As Justice John Paul Stevens argues persuasively, the amendment should not block the ability of society to keep itself safe through gun control legislation. That was never its intent. This amendment was about militias in the 1790s, and the fear of the anti-federalists of a federal army. Since that issue is long moot, we need not be governed in our national life by doctrines on now-extinct militias from the 18th century.
More basically, the idea that unregulated private gun ownership and trade protects us against tyranny, or that gun controls would threaten tyranny to us all, is baseless. Democracies around the world regulate guns, preserve their freedoms, and achieve firearm murder rates that are a tiny fraction of the rates suffered in the United States. Other countries, like Australia, have made themselves much safer from gun massacres. Only the U.S. has a political class (GOP), on the take from gun manufacturers owned by Wall Street, that stands by while the nation’s children are slaughtered. Yet perhaps the stench is getting even too great for some on Wall Street.
We are not against the rights of any citizen to bear arms but for crying out loud, do we really need semi-automatic firearms and AR-15’s on the streets. Weapons that are used in war with devastating effects are killing children in America. In no other civilised first world country do we even hear of reports like this. The only other country that has the most amount of mass shootings compared to the United States is Yemen. Not exactly the type of company you will like to keep.
Trump has undone every gun-control measure that Obama put into place during his second tenure as president. A total of 23 executive orders was signed by Obama with relation to gun control. It comes as no surprise that the current occupant of the White House only deems it fit to undo them all. When will the current administration step up to the lobbyist and the NRA and enforce stricter gun control laws? How many more children need to die before some sort of action is taken?
The 2018 midterm election is around the corner. Will we see any change before that from the GOP? I am not holding my breath. Will the upcoming student march and the trending hashtag #enoughisenough just be another fad and slowly die off? We have had enough of your thoughts and prayers, republicans! We have had enough of the rhetoric that – ‘the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’ – well how is that working out? I agree mental health is an issue but wouldn’t Obama’s gun laws help ensure that anyone with a reported mental health issue not be permitted to buy a gun? You cannot purchase an alcoholic beverage in the United States till you are 21 but you can purchase an AR-15 the day you turn 18. That is pure insanity! It’s time for actions republicans! Just how many more people have to die before this issue is brought to your attention? The GOP has to step up to the mantle and save the country from this epidemic. This is not politics but this is your fellow country men’s lives that are at stake. What happened to the oath of office you took when you were sworn in- to protect constituents and the country. #enoughisenough
It’s truly a state of affairs that is shocking to the rest of the world. Wake up. More people die in the US from mass shooting than people die of terrorism. That is appalling! Just how many more have to die from mass shootings? How many more parents have to bury their kids this year? I pray that none of you republican politicians will have to bury your own kids but I guess the old adage applies ‘ you wont know what it feels like till it happens to you!’ Maybe then you will stop talking and start acting on positive gun control measures.
Note: It took me a while to address this issue as I found it heartbreaking. The absurdity of the GOP and the countless of innocent lives lost is just devastating. Just how much longer does this have to go on?