The Sandy Hook school shooting for many was the defining moment for gun control laws in the United States. On that day, many young children died, and as always, many Republicans ran away from the problem like they always do. Instead of addressing the problem and doing something about it, they continued to run the same throughs and prayers line they always ran while saying, “let’s not make this political out of respect for the victims of this tragedy.”
Then over the course of the years, all of that went out the window in the wake of the Parkland shooting, when the victims themselves made things political. Now those on the right were saying that we need more guns to solve the problem; that we should arm teachers and employees with guns to solve the problem.
And that’s not to mention how guns have been continuously used to inflame racial tensions whenever a shooter is African-American, Muslim or Hispanic. But not if he’s white, of course, like David Katz, the man who shot and killed two people Aug. 26 during the Madden Tournament in Jacksonville –all because he was a bitter, sore loser. But you have those on the right who will continue to come up with excuses and blame his despicable actions on mental illnesses.
And here’s the kicker: conservatives will even go so far as to blame the victims for this disgusting act, like our good friends at FOX News did when they blamed the victims for, wait for it, having their headphones on at a video game tournament and being unable to hear the shooter!
The Madden Tournament shooting is just another example of the racial differences in how Americans respond to issues of gun violence. Instead of responding to gun violence with discussion that candidly working to find a solution to the problem and calls for reasonable legislation and social change, conservatives more often than not have taken the opposite approach. They wait to find out if the perpetrator is a member of a marginalized group and then proceed to respond with racial agitation and political propaganda.
The actions, or should I say inactions, of our president in these situations only further illustrates the mindset of the American people when it comes to issues of gun control. Trump in the aftermath of the most recent shooting, touted his “approval rating” of 52 percent overall in a recent tweet, while saying absolutely nothing about the shooter or the victims in the shooting. Yet when London is the victim of a terror attack by Muslims, he can’t stop himself from tweeting until his fingers bleed about his “Muslim ban.”
But this is the reality we live in in today’s America. We’ve been trained by the right wing to believe that gun violence is just as unavoidable as natural disasters whenever a white shooter is responsible for a mass shooting. But when a shooter of color is responsible for these crimes, then the fault is placed on an entire demographic and their community is at fault. But that is far from the case. Gun violence can be avoided with strict gun control and common sense regulations. It’s worked for countries like Great Britain since 1996, which has had only one mass shooting since 2010; it’s worked for Japan, which pretty much has had a “zero tolerance” policy for guns since 1958; and it’s worked for Germany, which has one of the highest gun ownership rates, but also one of the lowest gun homicide rates in Europe, thanks to strict gun laws in the wake of high-profile shootings.
If those countries can get the message and be safer as a result, then ask yourself: Why can’t our own country follow that example and do the same? It’s simply because they remain blind to the truth and because they don’t want to see it. They realize that changes need to be made, but instead of embracing that change, conservatives continue to fearmonger and spread this political jargon to distract everyone from the real issues at hand. And unless we continue to fight back against this conservative rhetoric, things will continue to stay the same.