In the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, which are still being investigated and appear to be much more than a normal mass shooting in the US, it is worth considering that single statement. A normal mass shooting in the US. Normal is defined as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected. So are mass shootings in the US, normal? Well by that definition, yes. Yes they are.
If I posted the graphic below every time a ‘mass shooting event’ had taken place in the US in 2015, I would have posted it over 350 times already. I cannot comprehend the reasoning of lobbyists who think the US response to these events is appropriate. Yet these same people tend to want a right-to-life for the unborn and believe in prayer in schools. I believe that as a functioning society, a right-to-life once you are born might be a good goal to aim for and that if their God visits them one day soon, he will be appalled at their lack of humanity.
The image below was made by me in October 2015. It is already woefully out of date with regard to the US statistics. I think the saddest thing, apart from the waste of live and the tragedy for the families, is the fact that mass shootings, whatever their reason, are now so mundane in the States that no one will be surprised. The rest of the world hears the news and thinks, ‘Just another day, just another mass shooting in the US. It’s what they do.’ I wouldn’t imagine the founding fathers would be proud of that. I can’t believe they wanted that reaction when the precious amendment was passed.
Even if San Bernardino turns out to be a “homegrown terrorist attack” it is worth comparing it to the latest such attack in the UK. A machete-wielding extremist stabbed three in a London Tube station. Stabbed three, not gunned down thirty. I would suspect that is primarily because trying to buy assault weapons in the UK is extremely difficult. I am sure that making guns more difficult to buy on the open market would have a massive effect in reducing the mass shooting numbers in the US. But, according to a large number of right-wing commentators in the US, reducing the numbers is not the answer. They are arguing that the answer to the type of shooting in San Bernardino is to arm everyone. Make more guns available on the streets. Thankfully I can not find many in the UK who are arguing for that as a solution. Not even the Police who disarmed the attacker with the use of a non-lethal Taser. It seems that arming all of the citizenry is only seen as a wise move in some of the more Republican heartlands. I worry for that heart.
I fear the Republic is being corroded by copper and lead. My sympathy to the victims of all of these events. My disgust to the Gun Lobby.
Source for 355 mass shootings: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/03/458321777/a-tally-of-mass-shootings-in-the-u-s
Ian Andrew is the author of the alternative history novel A Time To Every Purpose, the detective thrillers Face Value and Flight Path and the Little Book of Silly Rhymes & Odd Verses. All are available in e-book and paperback. Follow him on social media: