The U.S. is Going Off the Deep End

Guns, guns everywhere

Photo by Jay Rembert on Unsplash

I have often commented under many pieces here on Medium on the fact that Europeans are watching the U.S. with ever-increasing bewilderment and alarm, as it seems to us that politics and life, in general across the pond, is becoming more unhinged by the day.

Few things are as characteristically American in that sense as mass shootings.

And now this happens.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 108-year-old law limiting who can obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun in public in New York. Instead of enforcing stricter gun controls, not a total ban on assault rifles, as that, although completely logical for most other countries in the world, seems politically unrealistic for the U.S., the Supreme Court actually doubles down on loosening gun restrictions in the state where the largest city of the country resides.

Again, I can’t begin to explain how alien this seems to most of the world. We know that we’re not like you, America, but school children and teachers trying to shield them from getting shot year after year is inconceivable to us. In the unlikely case that such a thing would occur in Europe, it would be such a traumatic event, that it would be considered a national disaster for years to come.

In the U.S. it’s just another bullet point in a long list. Last month it was a racist terrorist attack. Sorry, that’s what we would call it over here. Over there it’s just another mass shooting. The New York State Police had apparently ordered a psychiatric evaluation for the gunman, just a few months before the attack. Nothing came of it, as when the owner of the gun store ran a check on Payton Gendron, it came up empty.

Ten days later, another school was painted red with the blood of innocents. Texas’ public safety chief testified that the shooter could have been stopped in three minutes. Instead, an hour passed before the police intervened. I realize that the police are people, too, and they’re not keen on getting shot at, even though it’s sometimes required when lives are in danger. And that’s a moral failure. But we have to acknowledge that their job is a lot more dangerous in the U.S. than it is in most developed countries, thanks to the insane amount of firearms which is legally in the hands of the public.

Certainly, people can and do get their hands on illegal firearms all over the world. But a mass shooting in a school is almost never crime-related and extremely rare everywhere else. It happened in Scotland in 1996. The next year draconian gun laws were passed in the UK. There hasn’t been another school shooting since.

And it’s not just Europe. In faraway Australia, in the very same year, a man walked into a cafe in Tasmania and killed 35 people with a semi-automatic rifle. What did Australia do? It confiscated 650.000 privately-held firearms in just one year.

Miraculously, mass shootings stopped.

And not just that, but the suicide rate dropped by an astounding 57 percent in the seven-year period after the ban, compared to the seven years before it.

For some reason, the precious (but likely misunderstood) Second Amendment seems to require an enormous toll of blood sacrifice to appease the gods of personal freedom. It’s likely Moloch or some similar bloodthirsty deity, because it definitely has nothing to do with Christianity.

Τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· ἀπόστρεψόν σου τὴν μάχαιραν εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς· πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀποθανοῦνται.

ΚΑΤΑ ΜΑΤΘΑΙΟΝ ΚΣΤ’, ΣΤΙΧΟΣ 52

Then said Jesus unto him, “Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword”.

(Matthew 26, 26:52)

And, yes, people can kill people with knives, baseball bats, cars, and many other means. But guns are the most effective way to do it, as has been proven by centuries of warfare and the subsequent perfecting of murderous implements, such as the ubiquitous assault rifle. You’ll certainly not find knives or baseball bats used as primary weapons on the battlefield, and with good reason.

For the love of all that’s good, please understand that the NRA cares not in the least for your Second Amendment, and even less for children and innocent people getting massacred, but for enriching the weapons industry in the U.S. which is lining their pockets.

But of course, it applauded this ruling by the Supreme Court, which will make sure that thousands of handguns will suddenly find their way to the streets of New York on a daily basis, with all the dreadful possibilities that they bring with them.

All this at the exact moment when the U.S. Senate is passing a rather conservative gun safety bill, that’s better than nothing, but far from enough. Like so many other things that should have never been political, such as the handling of an epidemic, police brutality, or abortion rights, this issue has turned into another tug of war.

And, like always, lives are on the line.

The rest of the world has proven beyond any doubt the practically self-evident fact that the fewer guns are in circulation, the less gun violence there is. The U.S. keeps doubling down on the idea that the more “good people” with guns there are, the safer it is for everyone.

Yet somehow, it trusts teenagers with lethal weapons, while not trusting them enough with a bottle of beer.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nikos Papakonstantinou

Nikos Papakonstantinou

It’s time to ponder the reality of our situation and the situation of our reality.