by: Frederick Foote
Yet again, Americans are forced to ask the tough questions about guns and the Soul of the United States…
Facing the reality of another mass shooting, many of us are left asking ourselves questions, yet again, about what the United States of America stands for. The following questions are not rhetorical, and feedback is encouraged, as together we must find a way to sort out the rampant gun violence in America. In the wake of the events in Sutherland Springs, Texas we must ask ourselves:
1. Are we, the United States of America, a civilized nation?
2. Are we, the home to routine and increasingly violent mass murders, a beacon of peace, freedom, and democracy?
3. Are we fighting fourteen and sixteen year-old wars, and engaging in multiple conflicts around the world, while failing to address the threats of violence at home?
4. Are white males with assault weapons a threat to our domestic tranquility?
5. Are our legislative and congressional processes owned and operated by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and various gun manufacturers and lobbies?
6. Has internal violence against each other become a normal way of life for us?
7. Is our inability to address our patterns of mass violence indicative of a national moral and cultural deficit?
8. What is the Religious Right’s position on mass gun violence?
9. When are we going to make the study and prevention of domestic gun violence a high priority in this nation?
10. When will we start marketing Mass Violence Insurance to cover deaths and injuries from these events?
11. When will we have a calendar of mass murderers, so we can track, celebrate and mourn each event?
12. When will we add a standard moment of silence to our sporting events to pay tribute to the victims of these murder fests?
13. When will we have a national tour of mass murder sites for school children and tourists?
14. When will Las Vegas bookies start taking bets on the timing and number of victims of the next killing spree?
15. When will we start mass-marketing “I survived Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech” T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies?
16. When will our president become a “role model” and start carrying on national television?
17. When will new cars come equipped with gun and rifle holsters?
18. When will designer clothes include gun pockets?
19. When will we insist our elected officials only speak the truth about gun violence and not spout NRA talking points or make other fact free comments after each massacre? ((Question submitted by Bonnie Wilkins Overcott.))
The preceding questions range from the obvious to the absurd. However, the absurd has been transformed into the norm in America. Gun violence is such a common part of American’s lives that we hardly bat an eye at the news of violent gun deaths, and are only shocked and dismayed when the mass killings impact the white majority. Gunshot deaths in communities of color are routinely ignored or dismissed as the behaviors of alien predators in a distant land that has no impact on the “general public.”
The majority of American’s gun fatalities were either suicides (21,175), homicides (11,208), or accidental discharges (505) in 2013, and this pattern has been consistent over the last few years. White gun deaths are more likely to be from suicides and black deaths from homicides. The gun is the common denominator and as long as we define gun ownership as a right, and don’t push towards increased gun control in America, we will undoubtedly continue to bear witness to routine mass murders, and thus be in some part responsible for the loss of lives due to our silent complicity.