Sixty Four Days To The Next Big Mass Shooting: America’s Problem With Violence


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imrs.phpWashington Post

Jeb Bush is in trouble. Well, European media is unhappy with his remarks about the latest school shootings. Following the atrocities at Umpqua Oregon, he appears to have simply shrugged his shoulders and said “Stuff happens” whilst walking away. Trump too just said “people slip through the cracks” and dismissed it at that. My email box has received comments from readers of the blog (mostly foreign non-American readers) incredulous that this can even happen.

Two hundred and seventy four days into 2015 and we have already had 294 mass shootings in the USA. A mass shooting being defined as where four or more people are shot in any one incident. The atrocity at Umpqua Oregon was merely the 45th school shooting in 2015. We may expect the next “Big mass event shooting” that will capture the news headlines in a little under 64 days’ time. Meanwhile we will just have to do with the day to day violence.

The press has woken up once more to politics in the real American world. It most certainly is not a pretty sight. But this is not a recent collapse into political or social anarchy, we cannot simply blame the usual suspects of single parent families; deprivation; poor schooling; drugs; or modern “rap” culture. Sadly it is simply a return to business as usual.

Americans have always had a history of resolving their inner issues, and personal disputes by violence. It runs from the school playground through the neighbourhoods, into the work-place and on up to and including the White House itself.

Remember that four out of the six Presidents in the sixties, seventies, and eighties of last century had attempts on their lives, and one was successful.

America is a violent society. It has always been violent and its politics have been particularly so. Nine Presidents out of the 44 have suffered assassination or attempted assassination: Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Harry S Truman, John F Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford (twice) and Ronald Reagan. Of these nine, four died.

An attempt was made on the life of Franklin D Roosevelt when he was President-Elect, and on three Presidential candidates, Theodore Roosevelt, Robert Kennedy and George Wallace. Robert Kennedy was killed, Wallace was left in a wheelchair.
Add to this eight governors, seven United States Senators, nine United States Congressmen, eleven Mayors, seventeen state legislators and eleven judges and it’s a pretty grim butchers’ bill. I did a piece previously on Huey Long “The Lenin of Louisiana which would be illustrative of the usual “all American lone gunman” excuse.

If the great and the good cannot keep themselves safe what chance do the High Schools have?

Basically the response of the left is to hope that all this anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is something new, something outrageous. Something they hope that might be amenable to change. If only we all worked together. Aye well. These nice people we all know would also tell us this not the United States of America that most of them grew up in, and they often tell us we must now “do some deep soul-searching”. Not wishing to tread on these good people’s feet they have clearly forgotten their childhoods in the sixties? Remember all the riots in those “long hot summers”? Remember Kent University?. Remember Malcolm X, Medgar Evans and remember Martin Luther King?

Remember how the rights of the black man and woman were kept down by force and murder in the post reconstructionist South even into the 1960’s! There has been an astonishingly violent history of Trades Unionism in America too. America has had the most bloody and violent labor history of any modern society.

The treatment by Americans of the native populations of the country amounted to genocide. Throughout the nineteenth century there were interclass conflicts between European immigrants and the previously settled US citizens. Those who have Catholic Irish or Italian roots can confirm that they were not given a wholly openhanded welcome to the land of the brave. Mob violence was frequent and institutionalised. There were bombs detonated in cities. America is no gentle giant and it never was. No other country in the western world, nor any of the developed democracies, can claim such a violent political and social history.

Shall I list them all? No I can’t, for there simply isn’t room. Rather, can I recommend that you search for “Political violence and terrorism in Modern America: A Chronology” by Christopher Hewitt. It’s available on line and does just what it says on the cover. Page after page, after page, in carefully researched, tabulated, serried ranks.

So all the above adds up to a case for new gun laws? Don’t bet on it. Umpqua and all the others do not count so much as a bent nickel in getting gun law changed. Nor will the next,or the next again.

No Republican Representative or Senator is ever going to risk being called a “gun grabber” and none of the present Presidential contenders will touch this subject with an electrified cattle prod. Hence why Bush and Trump promptly distance themselves. This because they are terrified (and this is a correct use) of the NRA. The National Rifle Association rallies its support with a truly astonishingly effective use of fear and distrust of big government with ordinary gun owners, whilst using “Gun control” as a touchstone for the genuine Conservative politics of candidates. No Republican candidate will ever dare fall foul of the NRA. Democrats too are becoming more gun friendly. Despite Obama’s rhetoric and campaigning, since 2008 the numbers of Democrats wishing to hold guns sits solidly at 41% with no change whilst Republican supporters are ever more keen to hold guns.

There is also the sheer physical impossibility of stopping guns being owned in the USA because there are so many already out there. People will (and do) believe that they are actually safer if they own one than if they don’t. They would view gun-free zones as placing the advantage with the felon.

We also have more polarised and divided America than we have seen in recent decades. Sure urban post graduate educated Democrat people believe that gun control is more necessary than Republican rural high school educated people. So the rural people will see that the urbanites are trying to take their guns away.

Gun control eh? Let me know when that works out well.

Copyright David Macadam 2015


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