Trumped Up Racist

What kind of person looks at US mass shootings and deduces that the solution is to ban the cultural/religious/ethnic group to which the perpetrator self-identifies? The common factor in all US mass shootings, obviously, is guns. It’s so tragically obvious, but the most upsetting thing here is the unashamed hate, fear and xenophobia against the worlds’ Muslims.

Trump’s announcement of his new policy: Ban “muslim immigration”, whatever that is.

Lets take a reality check:

  • Aaron Alexis killed 13 and wounded 8 when he attacked the Washington Navy Yard in DC in 2013. He was in his 30s, black, and complained of “voices in his head” and paranoid delusions. He self-identified as Buddhist and used a Remington 870 Express Tactical 12-gauge shotgun.
  • Seung-Hui Cho attacked Virginia Tech University in 2007. He only had two handguns (a Glock 19 and a Walther P22) but his assault resulted in 33 deaths and 23 injuries. He was a South Korean US permanent resident. He had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder.
  • James Holmes walked into a Colorado movie theatre and killed 12 and injured 70. He used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle, a Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun and a Glock 22. His psychiatrist noted that he “may be shifting insidiously into a frank psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia. Before that, he was awarded a BSc Neuroscience and ran cross-country. His mum is a nurse.

These people, often with mental health problems, are not just buying any old ‘utility’ gun, like a farmers’ shotgun for example, which we might still see here in the UK. They are buying assault weapons:

  • An M&P15, of the type used in Colorado and San Bernardino, is a semi-automatic assault rifle. Who uses this weapon normally? LAPD, of course!
  • The 12-gauge tactical shotgun? Is used internationally by various armies and special forces — occasionally it is used by specialist UK firearms police officers to breach doors. In the US it is a standard weapon for Highway Patrol, State Police and the Internal Revenue Service. Hmm.
  • Glocks, although “only” a handgun, are serious weapons. There is no manual safety; they are designed to immobilise a target quickly. They are used internationally by armed forces and specialist police officers. They are the standard sidearm for most of the UK’s 7,000 firearms officers. There may be a total of 10,000 Glock pistols in the UK right now, while the US imports 120,000 Glocks every year.

So, bearing all that in mind, what would Trump have us do? Ban black people? Ban Buddhists? Ban Koreans? Ban mental health problems? Ban gardeners? Ban nurses from having children? It’s ridiculous. Mass shootings are the most equal opportunity pursuit in America. The problem isn’t race or religion — it’s guns, always the guns.

Maybe America should start small. Ban military-grade assault weapons for people with mental health problems or criminal convictions, perhaps? Doesn’t that sound sensible?