Richard Lutz on the double massacre in the US.
I feel like a broken record. Once again, I have to report on bloody mass killings in the States. And once again, I have to refer back to a more halcyon time to give this violent nightmare some context.
I was eleven years old in New England and learning gun safety at a rifle range. I had never held a real weapon before, had never touched a loaded weapon.
It was so innocent and so filled with boyhood enthusiasm, a real-life extension of a cowboy movie or TV show. That’s the way an eleven year-old’s mind works. The riflery teacher was a guy called Guy and he taught and taught and taught us about safety, safety, safety. Loads of families, especially in the rural areas, had guns and the reality was if you were to be around them you had to know how to shoot safely, whether for hunting or just hitting targets as a hobby.
It is an American reality that those outside the States may not understand. But I learned respect for weaponry, albeit a mere .22 rifle, very early on.
This drags us to this past weekend, when thirty people in Ohio and Texas were slaughtered in two massacres. The vitriolic debate and political rhetoric ricocheted around the planet. But one thing is sure: There’s been massacre after massacre, murder after murder, in the fifty states with no real movement towards tightening things up, banning semi-automatics which have no use except to mow people down and getting a tight grip on handgun sales. Terribly, the slaughters will continue.
The National Rifle Association and gun-owning America are just too powerful. They have a tight grip on Washington either through cash-based lobbying or simple electoral voting power. Politicking for gun control is a vote loser for many in Congress.
Trump’s slow movement of ultimately calling out white supremism may just help a small bit. He has given a new twist to his usual boorish views. But it was an odd robotic affair, as if he read the autoprompt with a sharp stick digging into his back. Obviously some clever advisor, maybe even his beloved daughter Ivanka, had offered a more reasonable, more articulate, voice to his usually thoughtless thoughts. But it will have no real effect and its impact will fade in the August heat as DC politicians head for the beaches and mountains.
So, sadly, it will take more than a White House speech to move minds. The gun lobby is rich, there are tens of millions of gun owners who lean on the outdated second amendment to legitimise their need to carrying murderous weapons and, I fear, that another massacre and then another will erupt in a bloodied nation filled with terrible weapons.