Are we all crazy or just well armed?
Aug. 3 marked the first anniversary of the brutal killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Over the last year, there have been few changes for the better.
Why is this incident so pivotal? The body of this young man was left lying in the street for hours for the entire world to view. It sparked national outrage, a sense of enough is enough, and it launched a new movement to correct several wrongs. These include gun violence, police brutality, racial prejudice, hate crimes and civil rights.
From the first day of 2015 through July 26, the first 207 days of the year, there has been one mass shooting every day in the United States, according to shootingtracker.com.
It seems we have accomplished nothing in regard to ending gun violence or implementing gun control.
The July 27, 2015, article that didn’t make national news states, “A man armed with an assault rifle opened fire at a crowded park in Desire, Sunday, July 26, shooting at least four people, including a man left critically wounded,” according to a New Orleans police.
According to think tank New America, 74 people have been killed in the United States by terrorists since 9/11. In that same period, more than 150,000 Americans have been killed in gun homicides.
That is 5,069 days and an average of 30 gun deaths per day in the United States of America due to hate. The standard explanation for such shootings and murders is generally attributed to “a history of mental illness” of the shooter. If that is the case, then we have a terribly deranged society and all of us should fear for our lives.
Proponents of the NRA and strict Second Amendment interpretation would have us think that there are any host of reasons we should, in fact, constantly fear for our lives. They will deny, of course, that they are creating that fear to perpetuate the myth that everyone must be armed to protect themselves.
For example, when a tragedy of mass shootings occurs, the solution is like that expressed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who claimed, “if people could bring their guns to the movies, they could have prevented the movie theater shooting in Lafayette, La., Thursday evening.” Isn’t it equally possible that scenario would have added to the number of deaths via a mini shootout between sane citizens and the mentally ill?
In the previous decades, as a result of advocates of open carry instilling fear in the lives of citizens across the country, gun controls have become more lax and garnered the attention of the Supreme Court in 2008. In a 5-to-4 decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court upheld an individual right to gun ownership. People are now allowed by law to carry guns in churches and in bars and night clubs in some states.
This massive movement by the NRA to arm America is multi-faceted. One excuse is so that we will be prepared for the “end of the world.” NRA chief Wayne LaPierre states, “True American patriots need to get their guns now to get ready for the coming apocalypse.” Its campaign to get more guns in the hands of citizens has contributed to the gun homicide rate in the United States, making it at least 12 times higher than those of most other industrialized countries and 50 times higher than some. So if their theory is that the shootings are because of mental illness, then they are arming more and more mentally unstable people.
Jan Morgan, NRA activist, in her speech titled, “Gals and Guns: A Woman’s Role in the Defense of Life and Liberty,” said, “When the economy collapses, when people get desperate for food and water and basic necessities they’re going to come to your home and they’re going to come to those really nice homes because they’re gonna figure that’s where all the stuff is and you better have a way to defend your family and your things.” Is she implying that stuff is more important than a human life?
This is what the NRA is using as a means to arm people all across the country. Other statements influencing the national consciousness include these: (1) the government’s goal is to disarm America, (2) the government will decide where your talents lie and where you can best serve the almighty government, and (3) the Founders understood that the only way you can defend what is important to you is the right to bear arms, and are creating an avalanche of fear, mistrust, hate, and racial prejudice and profiling across the land.
Perhaps this is true mental illness.