Like many Canadians, I was shocked — if not surprised — by the terrible news Sunday out of Texas. Or was it Las Vegas? Orlando, maybe?
I know it wasn't Newtown, because try as I might, that particular atrocity continues to reside in my mind.
From Texas the news was filled with the grim statistics of another mass shooting in America. Like before, a flood of people offered their thoughts and prayers for America in response. I will no longer be one of them, I'm done with that.
Canadians send their condolences to those affected by today's tragic church shooting in Texas - we wish a full recovery to the injured.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 5, 2017
For the victims and their families, my heart aches. I cannot even comprehend the depths of their sorrow in the wake of such tragedy, and do hope they find comfort and peace.
For America itself, the nation, I feel nothing.
America has brought this unending carnage on itself, and seems to almost relish in its steadfast refusal to do anything about it. There is no country in the civilized world where this sort of predictable tragedy would be allowed to continue unchallenged. Mass shootings in Australia and the United Kingdom brought down swift, meaningful action on guns, and both countries have seen blessedly few incidents since.
America has brought this unending carnage on itself.
Over 30,000 people per year are killed in the United States by a gun. If foreign terrorists were to even attempt to kill a fraction of the people that guns do, there would be immediate steps taken to stop them. Proof of that can be found in any airport where people are throwing out toothpaste or standing in their socks. Instead, in America, it is terrorists who are funding the very lawmakers who ought to be responsible for ending this crisis.
Perhaps the Dylan Roofs and Stephen Paddocks of America have made political donations as well, but they are not the terrorists I'm referring to. It is the the National Rifle Association, better known simply as the NRA.
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If you think it hyperbole to label them a terrorist organization, consider the legal argument put forth here by lawyer and political pundit, Warren Kinsella. In simpler terms, consider what you would call a group that has political objectives, uses fear and intimidation, and supports violence?
I don't think "sportsmen's club" would be your moniker of choice.
This is what stands at the root of America's gun problem. A well-funded organization has the financial means, and the legislative support to ensure laws that would save lives are never passed. Countries around the world with tougher gun laws — or even a state-to-state comparison in the U.S. — clearly show that proper gun laws save lives.
Waiting periods, and background checks are effective barriers to slaughter which the NRA have opposed. Even something as simple allowing handguns and hunting rifles but ensuring weapons meant for the battlefield — and not the backyard — are banned is a position the NRA will not support.
In Texas, Las Vegas and Orlando, the shooters' weapons allowed for a deadly rate of fire — 160 rounds per minute in Orlando to over 500 rounds per minute in Las Vegas. There are not enough deer in any forest for a hunter to require that sort of firepower.
The nation has shown over and over that an archaic constitutional clause is worth more than the lives of thousands of innocent people.
Gun sales spike after a mass shooting, putting the NRA and the gun manufacturers they represent in the business of violence for profit. While that may be reprehensible and evil, it is understandable — in a nihilistic, theoretical sense — that they want to stay in business. It is not their duty to put themselves out of business. That duty falls to American legislators. It is a duty that they have neglected, and the price of their dereliction has been paid in innocent blood.
There will be another mass shooting, another American city will trend on Twitter for tragic reasons. When that dark day comes, my sympathies will be reserved for grieving families, and not a mournful nation.
The nation has shown over and over that an archaic constitutional clause is worth more than the lives of thousands of innocent people. I cannot spare prayers for a nation like that, because there are too many souls who will need them instead.
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