Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mass Shootings—As American As Apple Pie

            The American tradition continues; another mass shooting, this time at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Seven people are dead including the shooter and three more are wounded.
            Once again there are condemnations, words of sympathy—and, there is no attempt to do anything about the growing gun violence in this country. The politicians just ring their hands, shed tears for the cameras, and then shrug their shoulders and walk away. The shooting epidemic has now reached the point where an average of 32 people are killed every day in the United States by gun violence. To quote the Brady Campaign “We are better than this”—particularly if we really are the greatest country on earth.
            Slightly more than two weeks after James Holmes butchered 12 innocent people and wounded 58 others in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, Wade Michael Page walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on Sunday morning, August 5, 2012, and turned his automatic weapon on unarmed worshipers. The death toll could have been higher. Had Page waited another hour, the temple would have been full of Sunday worshipers.
            Among the wounded survivors is 51-year-old police officer Brian Murphy. Murphy was shot at least eight times and is in critical condition, but is expected to survive. The police are calling the shooting a possible domestic terrorist incident, and have released few details. It is known, however, that Page was a singer in a skinhead band called “End Apathy.” Acquaintances have described him as a white supremacist.
            The suspect enlisted in the army in 1992 and in 1994 and was assigned to the psychological operations unit at Fort Bliss, Texas. In 1998, he was discharged under “honorable conditions,” which is not an honorable discharge. A pattern of misconduct, including being drunk on duty, led the military to discharge him.


Baldr Odinson said...

How many killings does it take for our legislators to take action? We're already at a mass shooting at least every month. How much of a war zone does it have to be for people to stand up and demand more?


Cephas Atheos said...
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Cephas Atheos said...

As an Australian, I'm regularly horrified by the daily death toll of gun violence in the US, the monotonous roll broken only by interpersonal of mass murder.

I realise many Americans assume the right to keep and bear arms is all there needs to be, so why isn't the rest of the text understood or applied better? The bit about "the regulated militia"? Carrying a gun under your car seat isn't well-regulated, and unless the driver is a soldier in the US armed forces or LE, he/she's not militia. Nor is a concealed weapon in a shopping mall, or post office, or school, or cinema, well-regulated, and they're certainly not militia either

That's why nearly all other countries shake our heads and sadly laugh to ourselves when we hear statements like "If every other theatre goer carried a weapon, it would have resulted in fewer casualties." How about if the guy wasn't able to buy a weapon in the first place? That would also result in fewer casualties, probably none. Same for all the other terrible, saddening, avoidable massacres.

I realise its not a perfect solution, to advocate gun illegality, but while the Constitution continues to be selectively misread, innocent people will continue to die, every damn day. Sure, there were terrible massacres elsewhere in the world, Anders Brevik comes to mind, as does the German school a couple of years ago, and our own massacre in Tasmania in the 90s. But they're still the exceptions that prove the rule! And they're usually decades apart, in widely varying countries, with very, very few - if any - gun deaths between them, in most cases.

I know anything is better than what you have now, so I wish you all luck in your endeavours. But I just know you all already know what the real answer is. I guess you'll have to just wait until the question becomes impossible to ignore.

I'm truly not trying to tell you how to fix the problem, that's not my intention, honestly! That would just be discourteous and rude and unhelpful. But I *am* trying to draw attention to the awful fact that you already know the right answer, it's even written down for everyone's benefit.

Thanks for reading, and I truly wish you all the very best of good luck saving some lives.