OPN 190804 Texas-1564914380125
A vigil for victims of the shooting on August 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. Image Credit: AP

Americans woke up on Sunday to news headlines from Texas and Ohio that some 30 people had been shot dead in two separate senseless mass shootings.

In the city of El Paso on the border with Mexico, at least 20 people are believed to have been shot to death and scores more injured as they shopped in a Walmart supermarket. The scale of the incident inside the store, where many families had been shopping for back-to-school supplies, means the full toll is not yet known, while at least nine died in a shooting in Dayton.

It seems as if these mass shooting incidents are a national psychosis that afflicts only those living in the United States, whether it be at workplaces of disgruntled or former workers, those with a grievance, those with hate, those with mental illnesses or political afflictions that believe it’s perfectly natural to pick up a gun and want to kill as many people as possible. Today, there are countless families across that nation who will be grieving the loss of a relative, the injury to kin or friends, and also feeling the relief of surviving the actions of deranged gunmen.

The reality is that these incidents are not a psychosis but are instead a natural result of Americans’ unrestrained love affair with firearms. In no other nation is it possible to own a personal arsenal, buy and collect guns and ammunition seemingly at will, and protect the right to keep those weapons at every election and challenge the sanity of those who point out the madness of this obscene obsession.

read more

In New Zealand in March, when a gunman killed 52 people and injured scores more at two Christchurch mosques, the government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern acted swiftly to strictly limit the rights to guns. In the UK, two decades ago, following a mass shooting in Dunblane, that nation’s strict gun laws were tightened even more. But in the US, regardless of what city, school, workplace or setting, when a mass shooting takes place, any gun reform is painfully slow to come, challenged at every level, and rolled back come the next series of elections.

We all feel the pain of those affected by these horrific events. And we wonder just what it must take for US lawmakers to change their mindset and take every possible measure to effectively stop this carnage by cartridge. When will Americans wake up and finally realise that people with guns kill people.