Another day, another shooting.
The details are still sketchy, but a shooter in northern California killed four and wounded 10 others in a seemingly random incident Tuesday.
The one-a-day remark isn’t hyperbole, as there have already been more than 300 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year. In 2016, by year’s end there were 483 mass shootings, defined by the FBI as involving three or more victims.
In the past couple of months, the U.S. has seen two of the top 10 deadliest shootings in its modern history. On October 1, 58 people were killed and more than 500 wounded when a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas. And just last week, 26 people were killed when a man opened fire in a small church in the rural Texas town of Sutherland Springs.
The mass shootings grab the headlines, but gun violence happens routinely each day in the States. According to the Brady Campaign, a gun-control organization, each year an average of 108,476 people in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, or by police intervention. Of those, 32,514 die – 11,294 are murdered, 19,992 people kill themselves, 561 people are killed unintentionally, 414 are killed by police intervention, and 254 die but intent is not known.
That works out to 297 shootings each day, of which 89 people die from the gun violence.
Still, Americans can easily get their hands on all kinds of weapons, including the assault rifles. And any attempt at a rationale discussion about gun control is immediately shut down by corporately owned politicians.
Stand your ground. Open carry. Second Amendment. The gun debate is incomprehensible to many of us in this country. Controls and bans seem self-evident, but are a no-go in the U.S. of A. While each mass shooting brings gun-control advocates out, it also fuels the sale of even more guns – with no irony, many think it’ll make them safe, while others fear that there might actually be a crackdown on their ability to buy that assault rifle with the grenade-launcher attachment. Experience shows that no such thing will happen.
Despite the outpouring of emotion that followed the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, for instance, and despite polls and surveys showing the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting tighter restrictions on gun ownership, nothing has been done. If the death of 6- and 7-year-old children doesn’t generate action, nothing will.
With every incident, some people call for further restrictions on gun ownership. On the other side of the argument, gun advocates, led by the National Rifle Association (NRA) make excuses and argue for greater access to guns, saying armed civilians could have gunned down such criminals before their killing sprees continued. Some even push for heavily armed schools and churches.
The latter arguments are commonplace in the U.S., where Second Amendment – the right to keep and bear arms – issues abound. In Canada, the notion seems ridiculous: having more guns at hand increases the risk. It would be far more likely for someone to see red, snap and use a readily available gun than it would be for someone to be faced with a murderer on a shooting rampage.
Today’s another day. Expect more of the same.