Gun violence has become so commonplace in the United States that reacting to it has now descended into gallows humor.
Only this explains Reddit compiling a list of every mass shooting this year – now at 355 – under the heading “Guns Are Cool.” (A mass shooting is defined as any shooting that results in four or more people being killed or wounded.)
But nothing puts the crazy nature of gun violence in the United States into perspective quite like this “politifact,” courtesy of the August 27, 2015 edition of the New York Times:
“More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history…There have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths since 1968, compared to 1,396,733 cumulative war deaths since the American Revolution.”
Think about that. Then ask yourself why the National Rifle Association (NRA) is not considered a greater threat to this country than ISIS and every other terrorist group combined.
The NRA propagates a constitutional justification for the rabid proliferation of guns, which are specifically designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible. But this is even more specious than the religious justification ISIS propagates for the rabid proliferation of terrorism.
The NRA has perpetrated a brazen and unconscionable fraud on the American people by pretending to be arch-defenders of their right to keep and bear arms. Because the NRA is just the lobbying arm of gun manufacturers, and its sole mission is to ensure that those manufactures have the right to sell as many guns of every type to as many people as possible.
Called GOP out
I applaud the New York Daily News for calling out Republican politicians for continually rushing to offer prayers for the victims of gun violence, while continuing to legislate what the NRA propagates. Here is the pithy, provocative headline it emblazoned over its entire front page: GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.
Now if only the media would neutralize their anti-Muslim headlines about radical Islamic terrorism by screaming headlines about radical Christian terrorism every time a Christian goes on a rampage, especially given that Christians commit over 95 percent of the mass shootings that terrorize this country.
More to the point: unless advocates for gun control can raise more money to defeat these venal politicians than the NRA raises to elect them, Congress isn’t fixing this either. Republicans are now so committed to championing NRA propaganda, they argue – with a straight face – that even legislation that merely prevents certifiably insane Americans from buying assault weapons would violate the fundamental liberty of all Americans.
Even more reprehensible, though, is the way gun merchants salivate after every shooting tragedy.
Nothing new for me
I have waxed indignant about gun violence in too many commentaries to comment on this latest fusillade much further. Indeed, how can outrage be anything but contrived now that gun violence has become as American as apple pie and Chevrolet? I end with these points:
•Just as jihadi Muslims terrorize fellow Muslims more than anybody else, gun-loving Americans terrorize fellow Americans more than anybody else. So, who’s calling whom fanatics?
•Political quibbling over labeling gun violence “a mass shooting” or “terrorism” amounts to a perverse distinction without a difference.
•The venality of politicians is surpassed only by that of journalists, who provide obsessive media coverage of mass shootings more to generate TV ratings (by preying on fears) than to provide any public service.
As I originally wrote in 2007: “Why do the media always reward these psychotic people by giving them the fame they covet by plastering their pathetic mugs all over television and on the front page of every major newspaper worldwide, and reporting pop psychology about why and how they did their dastardly deeds? Isn’t it clear to see, especially in this age of instant celebrity, why some loser kid would find this route to infamy irresistible?
“You’d think – given the record of these psychotic and vainglorious episodes since Columbine – that we would have figured out by now that the best way to discourage them is by focusing our attention on the victims and limiting what we say about the shooter to: May God have mercy on your soul as you burn in hell!”
Anthony L. Hall is a Bahamian native with an international law practice in Washington, D.C. Read his columns and daily weblog at www.theipinionsjournal.com.