Red Lake, Minnesota, 2005; Nickel Mines Pennsylvania, 2006; Newtown, Connecticut, 2012; Marysville, Washington, 2014; Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas, 2018; Oxford, Michigan, 2021; and Uvalde, Texas, 2022.
Those are not cherished battlegrounds where heroic principled Americans fought with valor. Instead, they are slaughter grounds, ugly America’s wretched sites where gun violence took innocent lives.
America used to be celebrated for its democracy and passion for human rights and dignity but no longer. Today it is notorious for being the world’s greatest and proudest gun-owning country – host to a killer culture, which is watered, fertilized and sustained by America’s everlasting unprincipled nexus of politicians and gun rights advocates.
A single child killed recently in a Russian attack on Ukraine made international news with American media slamming the cruelty of a demonic Putin. Compare that single child’s death in a war zone with missiles and bullets flying freely, turning a thriving little kid into a war casualty, against the peacetime massacre of 19 children by a youngster breastfed not on the milk of human kindness but the savagery of video games and hate-filled alienating and permissive culture.
When a child in America is readily and recklessly gunned down, an angel weeps over how the land of liberty stands mauled in its spirit and disgraced to its core.
In 1996, as the presidential election approached, an article in the prestigious American journal JAMA cited national opinion surveys showing that public concern about violent crime would be one of the key election issues. Based on a survey report that two-thirds of Americans indicate that a candidate’s position on crime would be important in deciding their vote for president, the article’s inferences, far from being prescient alas, turned out to be plainly naïve.
Those and similar other predictions went nowhere in so far as Americans kept and continue electing presidents and congressional candidates who rely heavily on donations from the gun lobby and lack the will and guts to stand up to them.
Gun control and gun rights have been at the core of America’s longstanding contentious debate pitting the two political parties and their respective leaders against each other with no foreseeable prospect of anyone winning the duel.
Guns are as basic to American identity as the apple pie, and the right to own a gun remains a bread-and-butter issue for politicians. Rather than dare to put in place commonsense gun ownership and use regulations, most politicians yield to the divinity of the constitutionally protected right to bear arms.
By implication, except for minor tinkering, they also cede to the American public the right to purchase and sell to anyone as many cartridges and weapons with as much firepower as the gun would hold.
Savage incidents entailing genocides in their immediate wake elicit vehement condemnation and rage against gun holding and gun-supporting elements in the American polity. Still, again and again, politicians fail to deliver on the rage and the promise of effecting gun use control.
The candidates who propose toughening gun control laws, especially on handguns and assault weapons, are like empty vessels that make much noise.
Each episode of the innocents’ massacre accentuates the rhetoric, but nothing concrete occurs by way of legislative action and reform.
Biden’s anguish that he is “sick and tired of it (the carnage)” is shared by all who have an ounce of decency left in them, but his avowal that we have to act and “don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage” is at best merely optimistic and at worst untrustworthy.
Sick of these repeated outraged admonitions and outlandish promises, and the unending tug of war gun-regulation game between republicans and democrats, we have the sole option to unite as one nation and say to our blood-ridden politicians – on the right and left and in the center – that “You have to act. And if you don’t, we will throw you out of your cushy senate and house seats and banish you from state elected offices until you crawl on your knees to beg our mercy and prove your sincerity by actually casting your vote in favor of the sanity of gun use control and against the insanity of gun use”.
To the gun lobbyists, we need to send a similarly terminal ‘do or die’ offer: “Either you cease to advocate for relaxed or no regulation of gun purchase, trade, and use, or your candidates metaphorically die at our hands, and their political career is finished.”
And finally, to gun sellers, traffickers, and purchasers, “Beware the wrath of grieving families and of innocent souls brutally cut down under your guns’ fire. We are now on the same side of the right to safeguard our own, our children’s, our neighbor’s, and all Americans’ lives. You can no longer leave it to chance or someone utterly vicious and whimsical who will use your freely available weapon to assign any of us to untimely senseless and savage death.”