Americans and their guns

2009 Columbine 13 students murdered, 2014 Sandy Hook 26 murdered among them 20 children ages 6 and 7, 2015 Charleston SC.  African American Church 9 murdered, 2015 San Bernardino 14 murdered, 2016 Pulse Night Club 49 murdered, 2017 Las Vegas 60 murdered, 2018 Parkland High school 17 students murdered, May 2022 Buffalo NY 10 murdered, Uvalde Texas 19 children murdered…..

It physically sickens me when I hear of a mass shooting. It is soul destroying trying to imagine the grief and the sense of injustice that all families of victims feel, especially those lives, so cruelly taken of young children. Not one child’s life is worth all the guns in the US and the 2nd Amendment of the US constitution. These acts of murder by mentally deranged individuals were made possible by the circulation and easy access of military grade firearms.

Many US citizens venerate guns. A lot of American history is a history of violence. Even our everyday  language is peppered with expressions around firearms e.g. a straight shooter, loose cannon, bullet points, hired gun, stick to your guns, silver bullet, son of a gun, bite the bullet etc…. We love action films and westerns where justice is doled out often at the end of barrel of the hero’s gun. Anthropologists and sociologists trace our fascination with guns to pioneer period of the US later followed by the civil war and the conquest of the west which we have not completely got out of our system. The genocide of the American Indian, the vigilantes, the posse, the near extermination of the American buffalo were made possible by access to cheap massively produced firearms.

Gun collectors are everywhere in the US. Conversations about collections of guns and the latest purchases made are shared freely and earnestly. Many Americans talk about their gun collection like the French talk about their wine collection! In many communities in the US the “rite of passage” to becoming a adult male is through gun ownership. The US population represents less than 5 % of the world’s population. Almost 50% of the world’s firearms are in the United States.

There is always a quirk or something irrational and difficult for others to understand  in someone else’s  culture e.g. the cruelty of Spanish  bullfighting, French strikes, the Italian male’s veneration of the Mama, etc…  In the US we have our obsession with guns.

The lack of strict gun control and a culture of fear has created  what Charles Blow of the New York Times so aptly calls “The American Killing Fields”. So what are Americans afraid of? Why is it necessary to have a gun or locker full of guns in your home? Well the delusion held by many Americans is that they need a gun to protect their family from criminals, drug addicts, immigrants, and people of other races…. A vast majority of gun owners and their families have never been and will never be threatened. They would  probably put their family in greater danger if they were forced to use a gun for self defense.  Unfortunately the fears have been fed by many conservative Politicians in our government, the National Rifle Association, conspiracy theories and hate groups on internet. Both parties the Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the lack legislation regulating who can own a firearm, how firearms are sold, the type of firearms that can be sold, and purchased by our citizens. The irrational issue of protecting the right to gun ownership always wins votes and lots of them. Let’s face it. If a country does not have the moral fortitude to pass legislation for very strict gun control after the 2014 incident of Sandy Hook where 20 children ages 6-7 and 6 teachers were brutally murdered. Many of our Republican legislators answer to stopping mass shootings is to arm the good guys and teachers! It is so utterly sad and sickening.

Volumes more could be written about this very sad and sick part of our society. I honestly do not think there is a solution to our gun insanity.  I only hope there is a special place in hell for mass murders and especially those murders of young children. It would be only appropriate that our legislators who have done nothing to stop the senseless deaths of so many innocent people will be with them.

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