They’re like recurring allergies – they just keep hitting over and over. But we have a bevy of cures for allergies. We don’t seem to have many for the sickening epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S.
As of this day, the U.S. has experienced over 250 mass shootings in 2022 – more than the number of days thus far in the year. A mass shooting is defined as an event where four or more individuals are shot, not including the actual assailant.
Two recent massacres – 10 people in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and 21 at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas – have garnered considerable attention. The Buffalo calamity was racially-motivated, and the Uvalde event was the worst school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Between the Buffalo and Uvalde episodes, the U.S. experienced 14 other mass shootings. Let that sink into your brain for a few minutes.
The gun issue has always been sensitive and controversial. Hardline gun rights advocates have consistently placed the value of their sacred firearms over the right of people to live peacefully and happily. Even more aggravating is a recent survey where 44% of Republican voters say mass shootings are one price we have to pay for living in a free society. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. Ironically, many of these people consider themselves pro-life.
On the other side, far left gun control proponents want to eliminate all firearms for private citizens; believing that – in this violent, imperfect world – we only need herbal tea and kind words to solve every crisis. These are the same people who get so emotional it’s almost painfully embarrassing to watch them recount their ordeals. I understand these are horrific events, but the time for tears and anguish has already passed.
And that’s what I want to communicate to liberals. Stop crying! It’s time to get mad, stand up and yell back at these idiotic gun nuts whose only resolution to firearm blood baths is another weapon and a few thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers serve as little more than toilet paper for the carnage.
In the immediate aftermath of both Buffalo and Uvalde, as more talk of gun violence and gun control arose, we heard the usual cadre of right-wing loudmouths more worried (as always) that the rights of “law-abiding gun owners” could be desecrated.
Spare me the narrow-minded anxiety!
People have more of a right to live than anyone has a right to own a gun. And no, they aren’t equally significant. But conservatives campaigning for public office consistently point out one characteristic: they are pro-Second Amendment. I see these ads every election cycle, especially here in Texas. They always skip over the First Amendment, which ensures free speech and peaceable assembly and guarantees the right to vote. Again, the twisted priorities of the conservative mindset.
Last year, when Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed several pieces of legislation into law that declared the state to be a “Second Amendment sanctuary”, I wasn’t shocked. But I was angry. This is the same governor who oversaw blatant attacks on the right to vote by dismissing the reality of gerrymandering in the state and allowing for partisan poll watchers. In older days, partisan poll watchers across the South carried guns and would deliberately intimidate (mostly non-White) voters. Conservatives steadily bemoan the myth of rampant voter fraud, while ignoring the very real pandemic of gun violence.
For the first anniversary of the 1999 Columbine school massacre, a national news network interviewed several of those first responders. One man stated that he was particularly upset that the perpetrators (two teenage boys) had included girls among their victims. He said could understand them shooting boys, “but they shot girls, too.” I literally stopped when I heard him say that. Aside from the shock value of the verbiage, that he could differentiate between the genders of the victims and therefore categorize his horror level proved how complacent people in this country have become towards violence. It certainly was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard.
The outrage continued in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, when the U.S. Senate held a hearing on gun violence in the nation and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre sat with a scowl on his face and became defensively hostile with every question lobbed at him. And, as usual, liberals wept, while conservatives grunted. And then…nothing. Nothing happened. No new legislation to address gun violence; no new funding for mental health counseling…nothing. With that, it seemed the gun violence debate in the United States ended. We’d accepted the murder of helpless children and thus, nothing more could be done.
At this point, I really don’t hold out much hope for any kind of movement on the legislative front. Politics has gotten in the way of public service. So, what’s new?
I remain as tired of the crying from liberals as I am of the concern for gun owner rights from conservatives. If only the latter group understood the extent of the damage caused by bullet wounds, then perhaps they’d rethink their commitment to ensuring gun rights over human rights. It’s time for we progressives to get mad and shout down the right-wing extremists who proudly pose with their firearms for family holiday photos the way most normal-minded folks pose with their children and pets, armed with little more than smiles. The saccharine responses from the horrified won’t result in any considerable change. They’ll just fade into the morass of national traumas.
Then we’ll have another mass shooting – in a school or some public venue. And the cycle of tears and excuses will begin all over again.