How many times can you watch the same thing?
If it’s a movie, some people can watch it multiple times and never get tired of it. But when it comes to real life, how many times can you watch a mass killing with a semi-automatic weapon and not be disgusted that no one in power in America seems to be capable of stopping carnage after carnage.
The latest slaughter of 10 innocent people in Pueblo, Colo. by a deranged person has produced the same cries of sympathy and sadness from millions of people.
Multiple elected officials from the president on down have expressed their sorrow and then nothing happens. Within hours of every mass killing, the political sides line up. Democrats call for a ban on the sale of assault weapons, Republicans call it “political theater” and line up against any efforts to make America safer.
It doesn’t matter whether it is a red state or a blue state, or if it’s tragedy after tragedy, it’s always the same result. Nothing. The horror stories go back fifty years or more, but recent memory bears repeating.
In 1999, two 12th grade students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris entered Columbine High School armed with assault weapons and killed 12 students and one teacher. Both then committed suicide.
In 2012, one sick individual entered Sandy Hook elementary school and slaughtered 20 children and six teachers with an assault weapon.
The nation cried out in shock and horror and once again, nothing. In 2017, another crazy person unloaded rounds after rounds into a Las Vegas concert crowd and killed 61 people. The national response was the same and the political response was identical.
In 2018, a gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon and killed 17 people and injured another 17 people at Parkland High School in Florida. The tragedy produced a high school-led political movement, but in the end, the NRA beat down any effort to ban those weapons.
The latest shootings in Atlanta, Ga., and Pueblo, Colo., are destined to produce the same results, nothing. Despite the fact that the NRA faces bankruptcy, the Republican U.S. senators, as a group, will refuse to support any meaningful gun safety legislation.
When you talk about banning the sale of semi-automatic weapons, you are not depriving the average gun owner of their rights. You don’t need a machine gun to kill a fox or a rabbit. And if you hunt for deer, you don’t require a rapid-fire instrument to get your prey.
A ban on one class of weapons will not take a pistol or a rifle out of the hands of a rural or inner-city homeowner who chooses to keep one for protection.
On the issue of gun possession, America stands out as one crazy country.
It is estimated that there are currently 300 million guns in the hands of private citizens and public safety officers. According to the Washington Post, between 1968 and 2011, 1.4 million people died from firearms, which includes suicides.
In 2020, gun violence killed 20,000 Americans, according to the Gun Violence Archive, more than any other year in at past two decades. An additional 24,000 people died by suicide with a gun.
In 2020, people purchased 23 million guns, a 64 percent increase over 2019 sales, according to the Post. International statistics paint an even grimmer picture of our nation’s passion for guns. America has 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people. Countries such as Bangladesh have 0.07 deaths per 100,000 and Japan and Singapore have similarly low rates. The United Kingdom has 0.06 deaths per 100,000.
It would be impossible to expect members of the U.S. Senate to vote to ban the purchase of any handguns or rifles. But it isn’t asking too much to stop the sale of semi-automatic weapons that are consistently used to slaughter Americans in wholesale numbers.
Senators like John Kennedy(R-La) are typical of the reasons nothing happens. He claims we should focus on drunk drivers and auto accidents and not gun deaths. He is too ignorant to realize that laws cover drunk drivers and automobiles are heavily regulated.
In the months and years to come, we will face more Columbines and more Sandy Hooks, and sadly the political system will continue to bow to the gun nuts.