Last summer a post here “Another gun massacre of innocents on America’s streets – chances of new gun laws?” concluded with the warning ‘…. don’t expect the ‘Las Vegas’ event to be the last in the US, nor for it to change anything one iota about guns in America, will you? and so it turned-out, didn’t it?
Yes, despite the fact that Las Vegas last October was the deadliest mass shooting ever (with 58 innocents killed and over 150 injured), then here just over 4 months later in Florida, our Americans cousins had 14 teenage Parkland school students and 3 staff were killed and 14 hospitalised, in another avoidable massacre.
Of course, as most of us probably won’t have heard, that hasn’t been the only shooting of 3 or more victims in that timescale – there have been over 30 classified mass shootings this year so far, eh?
Oh yes, major public mass shootings happen year on year in the US, so they have only hardly started in 2018, and will be in addition to a disgusting volume of other gun violence and killing, as well
[So earlier in this century: 2017 -58 deaths and 26 deaths, 2016 – 49 deaths, 2015 – 14 deaths & 9 deaths, 2013 – 12 deaths, 2007 – 32 deaths, 2012 – 27 deaths & 12 deaths, 2009 – 13 deaths & 13 deaths & 10 deaths, 2007 – 32 deaths, 2005 – 9 deaths.
To carry out the killings, the killers use a handgun 10 times, a semi-automatic rifle 8 times, multiple weapons 6 times, and a shotgun 1 time – so it is NOT simple matter of banning one type of weapon, is it?]
You see the handed-down folklore practices in the thirty years of the renowned old “Wild West” of the late 1800s, can’t hold a candle to the what is happening in so-called ‘developed’ America of these days, does it? No, the feared killers of that long-gone era would be mere pussycats in modern times, so forget the frontier film-enhanced stories of pioneers, cowboys and Indians, scouts, prospectors, gamblers, lawmen, gunfighters, gunslingers, outlaws, and criminal gangs, because its roughness and lawlessness are tame compared to that of the 21st Century.
Many of the gunfighters of of the Old West were deranged, dark, sadistic outlaws and horse thieves, often of unpredictable personality, or violent temper and propensity for violence, so became cold-to-the-core killers, when even the shooting of unarmed men occurred.
Like gang leader and infamous gunslinger, twenty-one-year-old Billy the Kid who was taken-out by Sheriff Pat Garrett when he had already amassed no less than 21 killings.
There was horse thief and ‘reputed’ gunfighter The Sundance Kid of the Wild Bunch gang which was responsible for the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history [not know if he himself was actually a killer though] – the leader of that notorious criminal gang of outlaws was Butch Cassidy. Both men are believed [but is disputed] to have died in a shoot-out with authorities in Bolivia following a payroll robbery there. Criminal celebrity Jesse James of the James-Younger Gang, was involved in robbing banks, stage coaches and trains [shot in the back the head at home by a friend, hoping for the reward money]. Heavy drinker and rowdy drunk Curly Bill Brocius became unofficial leader of Tombstone’s Cowboys gang of cattle rustlers but later was killed by Wyatt Earp for suspected in being tied to the murder of the lawman’s brother. Transforming himself from being a simple farmer Sam Bass became a famed outlaw, proficient at robbing banks, stagecoaches, and subsequently trains – whence his gang robbed a Union Pacific gold train in what is still the largest single robbery of the Union Pacific [age 27 he died from a gunshot wound inflicted on a robbery trip].
Supposedly respected lawman were sometimes themselves actually cold-blooded killers and murderers at heart with reputations as paid assassins and killers-for-hire.
Like say, Wyatt Earp of Dodge City and mining boomtown Tombstone fame, who was formerly tagged a tramp, had been arrested and fined three times, including that for stealing a horse, escaped from jail, sued twice, and was at various times teamster, buffalo hunter, bouncer, saloon keeper, gambler, brothel keeper, miner, boxing referee, policeman, sheriff, US marshal. He was one of the best known and feared lawman of all time, but all that started as being an accomplished gunslinger and he was adept at killing. He took part in the notorious Gunfight at the OK Corral and he was accompanied on the infamous ‘Vendetta Ride’ in a personal revenge posse that killed 7 (illegally?), by one Doc Holliday who had a degree in dentistry but became a renowned gambler and gunfighter with a deadly reputation, who is known to have killed no less than 10 men. Or perhaps legendary actor, gambler, lawman, and skilled gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok who started-out as a Pony Express rider, but subsequently he was a proven winner in quick-draw street style duels (but himself killed by a shot in the back of the head during a poker game)
Well, the old gunfighters of the fastest guns in history renown, may have killed many dozens of men over their years alive but today’s gunmen can, and DO, take the lives of men, women and children, all in one go in a single mass shooting, can’t they?
The base problem in the USA is that it is the world leader for gun ownership and gun violence with some half of the population now owning a gun, or live in a household with guns – so 88 guns held for every 100 people. The more civilian-owned guns in a country, the more firearm deaths there, as is amply demonstrated in the US.
However, so far ALL proposals to overhaul that nation’s gun laws, aimed to prevent more mass shootings, have failed because the lawmakers from both parties simply forcefully rejected ANY gun control agenda. You see guns are big business in the United States and it’s not the Senators’ and Congressmen and Congresswomen whose families are being slaughtered by them, is it?
The driving force behind guns in America is of course the National Rifle Association [NRA], which has successfully fought most limits on gun use or manufacture, and in fact has pushed through legislation in many states making gun ownership far easier. It is so powerful and dominating on ‘Capitol Hill’, not least because of its influence with voters and moreover its money, when some half of the congress beggars are taking cash as well as other help, and have been doing so for donkey’s years to the extent that they unashamedly now rely on the NRA’s generosity to help them remain in office, eh?
The NRA organisation’s response in the face of such a mass shooting of children as has just been witnessed in Florida, and indeed every shooting carnage that occurs, is to advocate the sale of even more guns – and moreover, that is just what happens, doesn’t it?
Current President Trump, has a similar moronic undermining attitude to gun control, probably because it is big business, not to mention the fact that reportedly he got $30 million worth of help from the National Rifle Association on his way to the White House, or that the equally moronic American voters in love with guns simply vote for him, eh? That dis-concern comes despite 2 of the worst shootings happening under his watch in just the first year.
Then there is his crass attitude and his public reaction to national tragedies [like those images of Mr. Trump hurling rolls of paper towels at hurricane victims in Puerto Rico last year and now grinning broadly for photographs with emergency medical workers from Parkland] which is an embarrassment for the American people, surely? Trump has shamefully failed to console or help survivors or show any real empathy to grieving families, and afterwards his answer to school firearm massacres is to arm the teachers, so they can take down the attacker in a classroom showdown shoot-out – no doubt he will claim that would be very ‘educational’ for those who survive, eh?
Regarding this latest school shooting, brave Trump has said he would ‘have run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon’ – a bizarre bravado claim from a draft dodger (having got no less than five deferments from Vietnam), don’t you think?
[Trump was the presidential candidate who criticized Senator John McCain, (son of the Admiral commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater), saying he wasn’t a hero – because he was “captured” [his plane had been shot down over Vietnam, he was captured, assaulted, bayoneted, beaten and interrogated, tortured, and was a POW for 5 ½ years].
Contrast that with Past President Obama, who had been clearly angrily frustrated at his own acknowledged inability and powerlessness to prevent the ongoing tragedies of mass shootings. Back in 2012 he was visibly distressed by, and indeed cried in a heart-breaking speech about, an elementary school shooting carnage in which 20 children between six and seven years old and six staff were shot dead at Sandy Hook school.
The polls suggest legislative changes would be widely supported by the American public – the NRA doesn’t speak for THEM, does it? Students are rising up to demand that politicians act and take tough action on gun control, because ‘thoughts and prayers’ doesn’t suffice, and without doubt they will employ social media in their quest, wont they? Oh yes, the rightwing media apparatus dedicated to continuing unrestricted access to powerful weapons will lie, cheat and discredit that call though, won’t it?
If Republicans and Democrats simply NOW work together to bring guns under control at last, then the NRA won’t be able to threaten either, will it?
Congress need to “think outside the box” as the saying goes, don’t it?
Take the example, of the successful bringing down the notorious mobster gangster and crime boss, newspapers’ Public Enemy No.1, Al Capone, Scarface, who couldn’t be done for his major crimes so they put him away for tax evasion for 11 years, didn’t they?
Or take a leaf of Shakespeare’s merchant of Venice play where Shylock is allowed his contractual right of a pound of flesh but is thwarted as it has to be exactly a pound and he can’t spill any blood in the process.
So what can America do now to stop its excessive gun ownership, thwart the NRA, and still not be accused of going against the Constitution regarding the right to bear arms?
Easy, make normal people shit-scared to own a gun in the first place. How can that be done with simple and quick new national laws, then?
- ALL guns have to be registered to an adult owner and a national database will be held
- An owner is legally responsible for the security of the weapon and must check regularly that it remains secure
- An owner must immediately report it if the weapon goes missing and will be deemed an accessory before the fact for any illegal use of the weapon if not so reported
- An owner is guilty of a criminal offence if the weapon goes missing
- An owner becomes financially liable in federal law as the result of any illegal use of the weapon whether reported missing or not
The result will be that a LARGE number of weapons will be handed-in by the general public, and these should be destroyed – NOT deactivated, eh?
[Other counties, even those with relatively minor gun abuse problems compared to the US, have tightened-up firearms laws to further protect their citizens in a dangerous World – time for America to get a grip on reality].