The Question of Mass Shootings

by Eric Le Roy (in collaboration with Anthony, Chinese student)

Content 18+ Recently a disillusioned teenager strolled into an elementary school and mowed down dozens of young children, making the incident the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012. Apart from giving adolescents yet another reason not to go outside the home to get their education, the shootings cast the public eye back towards the fact that many gun-toting American citizens can also go berserk at any given moment and kill disproportionately large groups of hapless human beings. Why this is and how to stop it has been the topic of discussion for many an old fellow sitting on his stony veranda, smoking a pipe.

Even in America, where accountability comes hard and the standard rationalization has always been to try to isolate the where-did-he-come-from madman from the standard-bearing ‘good guys’ – declaring it all an aberration and an anomaly (“Well, he was different, he was never one of US!” – this same cretinous evasion, these repeated oddball slaughters that come and go like holidays in Hell – the bad news is starting to seep in. America is a clusterfuck.

One reason the majority of us focus on is the extreme availability of firearms in the US. You see gun shops next to strip malls, you see gun shops next to public toilets, you see gun shops next to massage parlors, and probably there’s a gun shop near the Empire State Building and a stone’s throw from the White House. The question of “why” is a bit more murky. It appears that in the Constitution a clause authorizing every federal state to raise a militia when needed is the reason for the problems we face today. Since militias were supposed to have arms in order to combat an enemy (which meant the British when the words were set down) and expected to be able to take up their arms without hesitation, portable gun repositories were created, and their descendants are the gun stores we see and fear today.

Yet most surveys in the world show that the number of guns smuggled annually is equal (and even surpasses) the number bought and sold in the US. So why don’t we see many Indian shooters or Inuit murderers? This takes us back to the Constitution and its fellow documents.

It is safe to say that most countries lie between two extremes on a “chart of freedom”: On one end are autocratic countries like China, Russia, and so forth; on the other end you can see the USA. Ever since the words “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were set down in ink, this has all too often been interpreted to mean that there should be no restraints on gun rights, that people should be able to define the law much as they wish, and that happiness, which the Constitution expresses in terms of ‘pursuit’ is in fact a ‘right’. This implicit narcissism which seems to be part of the American temperament as well as an obsession with individual celebrity and a personally customized graffiti-strewn SELF which one wears around his neck like some kind of SPECIAL BRAND -- plus the essentially confrontational nature of Americans dating from the hog-wild, yahoo infancy of the country, and this joined with an all-pervasive case of low impulse control, has resulted in a ‘perfect storm’ wherein the use of guns in the modern arena has simply run amok. It is quite possible that a growing number of the denizens of this hullaballoo of a nation, having thought that they were within their rights as 'exceptional' people, decided to express their emotions in a more “external” or public way than just jacking off in the shower, i.e. gunning down poor children in classrooms after becoming depressed and shooting old church-goers after losing at video games. You don’t see this much in Canada or Cambodia or Cameroon or the Cayman Islands, but you can walk around the block and find it in America. So we can safely assume that its not only the deadly weapons stacked to the rafters but the fucked up mentality of Americans themselves that stirs the lethal ingredients bubbling in the boiling cauldron, am I right? That such an unhappy marriage of menace and moron is behind this terrible streak of shootings in the United States?

Of course gun advocates have several well-rehearsed arguments and slogans in support of their agenda. First, they cite the famous (or infamous, as it were) 2nd Amendment, acting as though it were carved in unalterable bedrock. If that is the case, why is it referred to as an ‘amendment’? Moreover, logic fails them in an even deeper way. In other words, what made sense and may have been good law in 1789 is simply no longer applicable in 2022. If anyone would dispute this, let’s sit down together and try to make good, sound law for the year 2275. It is the same difference of 250 years. The absurdity of trying to create practical legislation for the distant future is as ridiculous as holding the founding fathers accountable for prescribing operable laws for 2022 based on their own social and psychological milieu in the 18th century. As an analogy, in those days there was no need to post speed limits along the roads, and there was a very good reason for this: horses could not run 140km per hour.

Another slogan runs as follows: “Guns don’t kill people; People kill people.” And to support this claim, they will tell you that kitchen implements such as forks and bread-knives, and other household items like nail files, scissors and even bars of soap (made into ‘shanks’ in prison) can exterminate people just as readily and efficiently as guns. That much is true. What they willfully fail to take into account is the fact that none of the examples listed above are designed to kill people, whereas guns have no other purpose.

Finally, they proclaim that “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have them.” But this flies in the face of fact-based statistics which show that of every 5 gun fatalities, 3 of the cases involve people who know each other, and 2 of the 5 involve family members. So much for the hooded rapist coming through your window at night to have at it with your wife and afterwards eat your children.

Finally, even if we acknowledge that people who are qualified, well-trained, and, above all, shown to be sane, should have the right to bear arms as in the old days, there is absolutely no justification for the appearance in their homes of military assault weapons. No justification at all for stockpiling these killing machines plus tons of ammo on hand. But such excesses do serve One Major Purpose, and that is to fill the coffers of the National Rifle Association, So, ladies and gentlemen, in the end it comes down to good old American greed and the Bottom Line. Limitless hunger for DOLLARS coupled with terminal immaturity of mind and vision, and the obsession with having those precious ‘15 minutes of fame’ , is a sure recipe for ongoing mayhem. All the candlelight vigils in the world will solve nothing in the face of such short memories, avaricious mentalities, and fantasy-filled loony-brains ushered about by everyday freaks who look harmless enough at first glance but who, in fact, are so pissed off because the boss wouldn’t promote them, the dog wouldn't lick them, or the pretty cheerleaders laughed at their pimples -- that they are ready liquidate the whole goddamned circus tent full of their self-appointed and mostly imaginary oppressors.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the ThinkMyTime owners or its other authors.

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Last updated February 01, 2018


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