The nation is mourning the recent massacre of 49 people at the gay Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The country also mourned after the senseless shooting murders at Charlestown, Aurora, Newtown, San Bernardino, Oak Creek, Chattanooga, Virginia Tech and Fort Hood.
Still, after repeated mass killings, Congress is unmoved. Members, mostly Republicans, listen to the commands of the National Rifle Association, not the demands of reason.
This violence level in the U.S. when measured against other countries is shameful. But Congress doesn’t care.
Upshot magazine cites the gun homicide rate in Europe: just two people out of every million are shot to death by another person per year. So? the GOP asks.
About 300 million firearms are in private hands in the United States. You can go to a gun show at the local convention center and buy an assault rifle without a background check.
The New York Times published an editorial citing the factors behind the slaughter by Omar Mateen in Orlando:
“A virulent homophobia, a failure to identify and intercept those with a history of domestic abuse or threats of violence, and a radicalized strain of Islam that works daily to convert angry, disaffected people everywhere into mass killers.
MATEEN’S DOMESTIC ABUSE
As a perfect example of domestic abuse, Omar Mateen frequently beat his former wife, Sitora Yusufiy, confiscated her paychecks as a day-care teacher and isolated her in their Florida home. She fled in 2009 with the help of
Parents who took her back to their home in New Jersey. She justifiably got a divorce.
Yusufiy said six weeks after their marriage he began to behave erratically, flaring into temper tantrums without provocation and becoming verbally and physically abusive.
“Out of nowhere he would even abuse me when I was sleeping,” she said. “He would make anti-gay comments when he was angry.”
Islamic terrorist groups openly advertise America’s lax gun laws to encourage those who want to carry out attacks here.
The Times gives the solutions:
“Washington’s cowardly lawmakers have made these massacres easier by repeatedly refusing even to pass the most obvious and least burdensome measures like universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and empowering the FBI to block firearms sales to people on a terror-watch list.”
Mateen slaughtered 49 people with an assault rifle firing 30-round clips as fast as he could pull the trigger. Only the NRA has the insanity to endorse a weapon that no one should be allowed to carry.
The FBI, which investigated Mateen in 2013 and 2014 for suspected terrorist ties, may well have been stopped from purchasing guns if such laws had been enacted.”
Strict gun controls will not stop all nefarious crimes by gun wielders but they will greatly reduce chances of deadly weapons getting into their hands.
Before the slaughter in Orlando, 95 percent of the deaths resulting from domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11 were inflicted by guns. Yet despite filibusters and sit-downs by senators, the Senate blocked four gun-control measures.
And as usual the retrograde U.S. Supreme Court sides with the NRA. In Heller v. District of Columbia in 2008, the court struck down a D.C. handgun ban, citing the Second Amendment.
NRA defenders and their ilk always cite the Second Amendment as a bulwark against any congressional gun laws: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
First, well regulated clearly means gun controls. Second, in the early days of the nation individual colonies (states) had militias, the equivalent of today’s national guards, which are also well regulated.
Nevertheless, a federal appeals court judge, Maria Consuelo Callahan, dissented from a U.S. Ninth Circuit in San Francisco decision that found no right to carry concealed weapons.
Judge Callahan declared that “the Second Amendment grants protection to gun owners who carry concealed weapons. Like the rest of the Bill of Rights, this is part of the country’s bedrock.” Alas.
EUROPE’S GENEROUS PUBLIC BENEFITS
A recent article in The Nation magazine listed three countries in Europe and their “big benefits”:
DENMARK: “The country is known for its superb record on gender equality, fostered through social-democratic programs–so much so that artist Roosh V wrote a book calling women too independent.
FRANCE: The French healthcare system offers universal coverage. It was ranked by the World Health Organization as the best in the world.
SWEDEN: College is free in Sweden, resulting in graduates with no crushing tuition-debt load. In the U.S. cumulative student debt is more than $1 trillion.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor from the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)