My heart goes out to all those affected by yet another mass killing in the USA – this time a cowardly attack on unarmed worshipper’s – including Grandmothers and mothers dying to protect their children in Sutherland Springs,Texas. 27 people dead including lots of young children. Two of the five deadliest mass shootings in modern US history have happened in the last 35 days and yet, as per usual, Donald Trump uses a very different kind of rhetoric whenever it’s an American – it seems to be down to issues with mental health and in the only country where this kind of mass killing routinely occurs, how is it possible that people say “there was no way to prevent the massacre for taking place” and for Trump to avoid the issue of gun control when questioned, by pointing out that it was good there was a gun pointing in the other direction? Johnnie Langendorff “is a hero with a gun of the Great State of Texas. Who knows how many other people would have died without his intervention?” is what people are saying and yes, the have-a-go hero brought him down – which of course is great, but he didn’t actually stop him from killing did he.
What can be done? It’s hard to sit back and look at it from our tiny island over here, because we would be having very urgent debates about it – as we are with our rising levels of knife crime and acid attacks. Since 9/11 according to Jon Sopel in his excellent book “If Only They Didn’t Speak English” less than 100 people have been killed by terrorism in the USA, whereas ten’s of 1000’s of people have been killed by gun violence. THIRTY THOUSAND PEOPLE on average in America are killed each year by guns, including suicides. Sorry, I need to say that again. 30,000 people. Presumably, with the horrendous Vegas attack and now this Texas attack, this will surely be a record year?
On Christmas Day in 2015, more people died from gun homicide in the USA than died in the UK throughout the whole of 2013. You would expect more, of course given the comparative size of the USA compared to the UK, but this is a thousand times more, not five times more as you would imagine with the size difference.
No event so far has brought a consensus to the issue of gun control in the USA. We are a month down the line from the Vegas attack where 58 people were mown down at a music festival and it seems to me that there has been an incredibly muted response to the tragedy. Trump, who is becoming known, a year down the line for someone who doesn’t stick to the script, is sticking very much to the script where gun control is concerned and beginning to look unbelievably hypocritical. Could this be because the National Rifle Association is one of his largest backers and is very aggressive about their opposition to gun control?
I am really interested in what the women of the USA think about gun control and how to quell the surge of attacks. Is there a better way to protect people from attack? More rules to gun ownership? Not being allowed to get through the restrictions when you buy a gun and give it away as a birthday present? Stopping the black market somehow? Clearly the database system is faulty when in a statement about the latest attack, the Air Force said: “Initial information indicates that [Devin] Kelley’s domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations.” WHY NOT??? We all understand that there is a need to protect yourself in the sprawling vastness of America, but it is not acceptable to think that the situation is “helpless” in a country where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years.
It’s easy to say that surely if no one was allowed to own a gun, then things would be different and I understand the issue is vastly complex. However, it should NOT be easier to buy a gun than to buy cigarettes and surely this is now the time to step up the protests? Especially by parents of children they want to protect. It should also not be about kowtowing to the beliefs of your largest benefactor – even if you’ve struck a deal. Lives are at stake.