Only gun control can save US from murder of innocents
The script on May 24 in Texas was straight out of a Hollywood movie. Only this time it was as real as it gets after an 18-year-old teenager entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas killing 19 children and two teachers, including his grandmother.
The motive of the carnage will be difficult to establish as the gunman was killed by law enforcement officers at the scene. But there can never be any excuse for the killing of innocent human beings.
The ghastly incident comes barely two weeks after another gunman, incidentally also an 18-year-old teenager, stormed a Tops Friendly Markets store in a predominantly black neighbourhood in Buffalo, New York on May 14 and massacred 10 innocent people. The attack was obviously racially motivated and attributed to the “Great Replacement” theory that claims Whites are becoming an endangered species.
Statistics show that in 2020, more than 45,000 Americans died from the shooting, whether homicide or suicide, an increase of 25 per cent over a five-year period, and a 43 per cent increase from 2010. Gun ownership in the country has shot up drastically to a ratio of 120.5 firearms per 100 residents, up from 88 per 100 in 2011.
This is the highest in the world. The country has really turned into a killing field by anyone who has a grievance against society, no matter how warped.
We are barely halfway through 2022 and the US has already recorded 213 mass shootings, according to data published by the non-profit research group Gun Violence Archive. Tens of these incidents have actually been in schools leading to several fatalities and injuries.
President Joe Biden is a realist. He has advocated for gun control legislation, and promised to stop the insanity of gun crime in the US, both during his presidential campaigns and post-swearing in. During the campaign trail in 2020 Biden vowed to rein in gun violence by, among other measures, lifting legal immunity for gun and banning assault weapons.
However, his supporters, including victims of gun violence to whom he gave his personal commitment, have expressed their disappointment that since taking office, he is yet to follow through on this promise. It definitely has to do with the extremely powerful gun manufacturers and their highly influential lobbyists who protect the now infamous Second Amendment that give Americans the unfettered rights to own guns.
The December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which claimed the lives of 26 people including 20 children aged between six and seven years, is still fresh in the minds of the deceased families and friends.
Pray, why would a teenager be allowed to own an assault rifle at 18 while the minimum legal age for alcohol consumption is 21 years? The US body politic must now cross ranks and stop the lip service in addressing this scourge.
Republicans, who have been accused of being sympathetic to the manipulative gun rights advocacy groups, should reciprocate the political goodwill shown by the Democrats in coming up with an effective gun control legislation.
The gun epidemic in the U.S. is driven by fear and vengeance, creating a vicious cycle that drives people to purchase firearms in self defence. Sadly, there are no background checks, psychological tests or other due diligence taken on those buying guns. You simply walk in a gas store and, voila! You become a licensed gun holder.
On the risk of sounding insensitive, the recent shooting will not be the last if strict regulations and ultimate review of the Second Amendment are not urgently instituted to limit gun ownership to genuinely deserving cases, particularly within high risk demographics like teenagers and those with a criminal record. Only extreme measures will do to counter the ruthlessness with which the gun men execute their targets.
— The writer comments on international affairs