In a country where too many are content to relax in the belief that it is the world’s best, it is outrageous to read, or tune into, news outlets, to learn, on a daily basis, of yet more killing and wounding of innocent humans by one or more deranged, usually white male, humans.
We can be grateful where in many cases our police, risking their own lives, rapidly rushed to the scenes to limit the slaughter – but this is not enough, nor the solution.
One example in a long string of crimes came on Sunday, 04 August, 2019, when headlines in the morning newspaper reported that 27 had been killed and 26 wounded yesterday in a busy shopping area in El Paso, Texas, by a lone gunman who was taken into custody. I had barely finished reading the paper, that also included details of another local murder, when I learned that 9 more had been killed and 27 wounded on Sunday, just 13 hours later, in Dayton, Ohio. This time the police arrived within a minute to kill the shooter whose victims included his own sister.
This makes 251 mass shootings in 216 days so far in 2019. 2016 also saw more than one mass shooting per day. All told there have been over 8,000 dead and 17,000 wounded in mass shootings, defined as 4 or more deaths per incident, not including the shooter. Sufferings are multiplied many times over by all the friends and relatives.
In the same time period Canada suffered one mass shooting and Mexico three.
Much of the blame is hurled at President Donald Trump whose rhetoric and actions are hostile to the environment, to immigrants, and to humans not of the wealthier classes.
The White race, dominant in Europe, Western Russia, North America, and Australasia, has contributed much it can brag about, but it does have its share of dangerous faults such as a history of massacres of and thefts from indigenous tribes plus slavery of humans considered inferior. Improvements have been impressive, but they remain a work in progress.
Blessed by geography, the United States has created a world-leading country, providing many benefits for humanity, Currently embracing other cultures, it can boast of millions of its citizens striving for a better world for all.
But it also shelters many thousands who worship Greed and are indifferent to the sufferings of other citizens, be they soldiers in far-off conflicts or poorly-rewarded common workers. Some fear their world of dominance is eroding and they must fight back. An easily-available assault rifle is the cheapest means of broadcasting their anger while presidential rhetoric convinces them they have backing at the highest level.
So, banning assault weapons is an obvious first, and popular, step. After each shooting there has been a fervent call for federal gun-control action. A poll of registered voters shows that 93% would support universal background checks for all gun buyers. Some states, impatient with federal lethargy, have imposed their own restrictions.
So far the gun industry has been successful in fighting meaningful lasting controls. Actually, mass shootings are profitable for them as gun sales increase after each.
And, we can extend this cancer to the world where an unscrupulous few employ Fear and Hate to surpass Love and enhance Profits.
Temporary as it might be, our species has evolved on a planet that offers beauty and contentment in exchange for Care and Co-operation. The failure of many of us to recognize, and react to, the many threats, especially global warming, leave us with a mere 12 years to take the actions vital to avoiding our demise.
While corrective actions on gun control are vital and long overdue, it is futile to concentrate on them without including the other threats to our survival. We do need to heed the cover-the-waterfront proposals of such presidential candidates as Berni Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Ye Olde Scribe