America, please make it stop.
Another mass shooting. Another Godforsaken waste of life in a country that should, but does not, know better.
This time, 59 people murdered and hundreds injured as a man with 23 guns fires indiscriminately from a Las Vegas hotel window into a crowd enjoying a country music concert. Last time it was a nightclub. Before that, schools. Thousands of lost souls, young and old, cut down barbarically with these murdering devices.
Time will tell where this latest gun-toting killer acquired his vast arsenal, but at least some of them will have been bought over the counter of a supermarket. What kind of civilised country allows that to happen? The answer is no civilised country allows that to happen.
I am from Dunblane in Scotland. A place forever scarred by the actions of one wretched man with a couple of guns, hundreds of bullets and a twisted, hateful mind. A man who slaughtered 16 children in the gymnasium of the primary school I attended, and the wonderful teacher who had those beautiful little people in her care.
But you surely don’t have to be from such a place to feel the aching pain of the people affected by this latest preventable tragedy, and to feel an overwhelming sense of frustration that this still happens. Bill Clinton said that such events should be “unimaginable” in the US. He’s right of course, but America’s relationship with guns is like that of a child with a plastic machine gun. ‘I want it, I want it, I want it’. Except in America, children don’t need plastic guns. They can pick up Daddy’s gun and shoot him dead with it.
21 years ago, following those shocking events in Dunblane, the UK moved to ban handguns. They did so despite the protests of a minority, and the howling conspiracy theories of the kind of fanatics who should never be allowed to own a water pistol, never mind a deadly firearm. There has not been another tragedy here on that scale since.
That is exactly what America should be doing now – better controlling who owns guns and thus saving lives. There comes a time surely when a civil people chooses life over the needless death and heartache facilitated by the wilful and dreadful misrepresentation of the Second Amendment to the US constitution – the right to keep and bear arms – by the dark forces of the NRA and its supporters.
The NRA, the National Rifle Association, has ‘gone dark’ since the events in Las Vegas. Presumably that’s the plan – say nothing until the gunpowder has settled and the dead are buried, and then press on folding dollars into the palms of politicians and running expensive propaganda campaigns such as the one to deregulate the silencers that could make 59 dead bodies look like a drop in the ocean.
America, how many more times can this happen before something gives? It’s time for proper gun control.