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Another deadly day in America

Only this time, Americans can actually witness a consequence of the 2nd Amendment. Will it make a difference?


 

WDBJ reporter Alison Parker (L) is pictured interviewing Vicki Gardner in Moneta, Virginia August 26, 2015 moments before she was shot, in this combination of still images from video posted to the Facebook account of Bryce Williams. Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were both killed in the shooting incident. Gardner was reportedly also injured in the incident. AP

We’re all talking about another American murder. In some ways, it’s indistinguishable from thousands of others. An angry man. An easily obtained gun. Innocent, seemingly random victims. Breaking news. A manhunt. A suicide. Politicians calling for “action.” Others reminding us not to politicize the terrible deaths. It’s a one-act tragedy we’ve all seen. Playing now in Virginia. Yesterday in Texas. The day before that, it was California. It’s an old and repetitive story, and it’s easy to ignore.

But today, we are all talking about this American murder. This time, the performance was different. It was broadcast live. There was a Facebook post. The victim was white and young and pretty. She was ambitious and funny. Everyone loved her. (Oh, and he was nice, too—everyone’s friend.)

But tomorrow, we will not be talking about this American murder. Tomorrow, it will be a politician’s gaffe, an actress’s shame, or a dead lion. Our murders need to be fresh.

James Holmes shot 82 people. We talked about that one too, for a few days. It took place in a movie theatre. Batman was showing. But we moved on. Yesterday, as all the cameras were turned to Virginia, Holmes was being sentenced to some 3,000 years in prison. We didn’t talk much about that. We’d moved on. We had to. There have been 247 mass shootings in the U.S. this year. That’s more than one a day. We can’t talk about all of them. Unless it’s different. Live, for example.

We have grown accustomed to the American murder, desensitized, bored even. Of course, we’re not monsters. If a class of kindergarten children is massacred, we will pay attention. We will be horrified. We will mourn the victims. We will curse the National Rifle Association, the gun makers, the killer, his mother. But we have bills to pay. And the kids need new shoes. And there’s a season finale tonight. And you simply can’t get angry at every gun death you read about or hear about on TV.

We literally can’t. Our brains are incapable of that sort of extended mass empathy. Evolution has programmed us to fear threats we can see. If you see a woman being shot, her face shocked and in terror, our brains physically react. Our adrenalin gland releases hormones. We want to fight or flee. We are scared. We get angry. We demand action.

There were 32,000 gun deaths in the U.S. last year; that’s more than there were car deaths. We read about a tiny percentage. And unless you’re a cop, or a mortician, odds are good you didn’t see any of them, unless perhaps you looked at the front cover of the New York Daily News today. There was one of those murders, one of those people as they died.

The editors of that paper were attacked for being shameless cretins, using an obscene death to sell a few more papers. They probably are. Nonetheless, there it was. At least one death will be seen. Americans can look and put one face of pain to the statistics, can witness at least one consequence of the Second Amendment.

In 1937, two young black men, Roosevelt Townes and Robert McDaniels, were lynched by a mob in Duck Hill, Miss. Unlike countless earlier lynchings, everyone talked about this one, because someone took a photo of McDaniels, chained to a tree, his arms stretched back behind him, burnt by a blowtorch. It was a horrific, obscene photo. The picture ran in Time magazine and in newspapers around the world. People got angry. They demanded action. And, as a result, the House passed America’s first anti-lynching legislation.

But it didn’t pass the Senate.

On an average day in America, 87 people will be killed by guns. That’s 29 dead by breakfast, 47 by lunch. It’s three o’clock as I write this. That’s 55 killed so far today. But these deaths go unseen and unnoticed. Maybe if they didn’t, if we saw the horrific, obscene truth of those numbers, people would pay more attention. If newspapers and magazines printed crime-scene photos and shared CCTV footage, we might keep talking. Maybe, like the McDaniels photo, it could lead to something. Or, like the McDaniels photo, it won’t lead to enough. Either way, at this point, we need to try.


 

Another deadly day in America

  1. Why are you reporting American news in Canada?

    • Has Queen Globalist herself suddenly become isolationist?

      He’s writing about it for the same reason he would have written about the Dunblane Scotland massacre or the Norwegian massacre if it happened yesterday. He writes about current social and political issues. Stop confusing your own dull-wittedness for failure on someone else’s part. That you would even ask such a ridiculous question (rhetorical though it no doutbt is) labels you an insensate mushroom, void of critical thought or reasoning abilities. We already know that, but a reminder never hurts I guess.

      • Macleans is a Canadian newsmagazine. Not an international one. We get world news from a varietty of sources…..there are very few outlets for Canada.

        Why so bitter……?

    • Because we are a part and parcel of America…. Canada, USA, Mexico…. and this is news everywhere…. be thoughtful when commenting .

  2. Guns are easily available in Canada, too. Perhaps the differences are that Canadians are more civilized (dare I use that word?) and that Canada enforces its laws.

  3. The writer is careful to start talking of murder and then quote numbers for homicide, suicide and accidents as a combined “killed by guns”. It’s a dishonest tactic.

    The 2nd Amendment has regularly been ignored by Presidents and lawmakers across the US for well over a century. It did not stop Jim Crow laws, gun bans, back ground checks or waiting periods. It didn’t stop 30,000 gun laws from being on the books or the formation of a federal gun police- the ATFE.

    A question the writer should answer is what laws would he would implement that are currently prevented by the 2nd Amendment. I expect he’d be hard pressed to find something that’s not in place somewhere in the US. I’d guess he doesn’t understand what laws are on the books which is the usual condition for those demanding more laws.

  4. There were plenty of guns around 50 years ago, yet none of these mass killings or workplace killings. What’s changed? Sky high antidepressant usage for one thing. Very few mass murderers over the past 20 years haven’t been on one SSRI/SSNI or another. Talk about the problem or talk about guns.

    Eliminating 99% of guns in society stil leaves enough of them out there so that anyone who wants to go on a rampage can do so. Good luck with that approach. Or, figure out why people are doing this when they never used to. I’d start with the antidepressants. And I’d put money on it that this guy was on them. That’ll come out – just watch.

    And before someone gives me the old “correlation does not equal causation” argument, topped off with “Of course they’re all on ADs, cuz they were troubled long before they went on a rampage, it doesn’t mean the ADs caused them to go on the rampage”, save your breath because I already know that. But ADs now come with a blackbox warning stating they can cause “suicidal ideation” as a side effect. Are you sure that same side effect cannot over time become a “murderous ideation”. Seems like something worth exploring, no?

    Sorry to interrupt the consensus. Now back to blaming guns.

  5. While I would love to believe that by seeing those images people would demand change, I believe the fear would likely lead to more individuals arming themselves.

    There is a lot that needs to be done. But when it comes to gun control issues, the politics are challenging. Usually that means that little of substance happens. Despite the laws that have been enacted, there are so many guns readily available (legal or illegal) that anyone can get their hands on one for the right price. That will take generations to change, if it ever does.

  6. This is yellow journalism at its worst. There are so many fallacies and there is so much anti-gun hysteria in this piece, it is hard to know where to begin making some seriously needed corrections. The Second Amendment, which recognizes the inalienable right of good citizens to self defense, and to organize to protect their constitutional government, has absolutely NOTHING to do with a mentally ill pariah choosing a gun instead of a bomb or sulfuric acid or what ever else have you to assassinate a perceived enemy and her cameraman.
    Also, guns do not shoot themselves, and the overwhelming majority of gun owners do not ever harm anyone. This guy is solely responsible (along with our nation’s egregious mental health treatment system deficits,) for harming the individuals he shot.
    When will we actually look at the root causes of violence which in the main are related to character disorders and the use of toxic, addictive chemicals, whether licit or illegal. We are in a pandemic of violence, and guns in the hands of good citizens are one of the most effective antidotes to deter the violence that has been steadily dropping despite the crazy making drugs (like Oxycontin, heroin and meth) epidemic because of the growing number of people who defend themselves and their homes and businesses with guns. How can you see violence that does not happen? in comparing the rates of growth in gun ownership and the lowering rates of crime.
    Stop trying to infantilize America, we have a big enough problem with drugs and sex addicts causing international harm because of their horrible criminal enterprise exacerbating habits.

    • PS for the record 125 people today will die of drug overdoses, it is now the leading cause of death (and heroin is the leading drug causing death ) in my state in your falsely manufactured term “gun violence” which is a construct of gun grabbers because there is no such thing, there is only violence, the percentage of deaths today among criminals shooting each other or being shot by police dwarfs all other forms of death related, however spuriously (aka suicides, who will use any means they most prefer)..so you can chop at least 38 deaths off your daily 50 by simply categorizing them correctly as crime related (to which one can add a great deal more) or depression related which should never even be counted as violence but rather as mental illness precipitated suicide

      • Get rid of the secon amendment and grow up. Americans misunderstood it anyway.

  7. The current push toward gun control is being presented in a particularly dangerous and dishonest manner. It is being framed in terms of mental health and packaged in a way that almost guarantees victory for the advocates of control. The debating point proffered is, “How do we keep guns away from the mentally ill?”

    Obama is attempting to lift a longstanding ban on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) taking a position on gun control. In 1996, Congress made the appropriation of funds to the CDC conditional on the stipulation that “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
    Raising the question of keeping guns from the mentally ill is not meant to promote discussion. It is intended to discredit and to silence anyone who answers it incorrectly.
    The tactic is particularly dangerous because those who should be defending the fundamental right of self-defense are falling over themselves to agree with the focus on mental health. On January 24, the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) reminded readers that it has urged “the federal government to address the problem of mental illness and violence” for over four decades. The NRA reiterated, “the time is at hand to seek means by which society can identify, treat and temporarily isolate such individuals [the mentally ill].”
    Before exploring the problems that attend the rhetorical coupling of gun ownership with mental health, however, it is important to note that the demand to keep guns away from the mentally ill does not refer to the sensible step of refusing to sell a weapon to someone high on PCP who screams, “I need it to kill my mother!” It refers to accepting the government’s definition of mental illness. It means agreeing to a government screening process that undoubtedly involves a federal database on people’s mental health.

    The NRA’s chief executive Wayne LaPierre fully embraces this violation of privacy. He told FOX News that the mental-health lobby and federal law had blocked his organization’s proposal to place the names of people “with potentially dangerous mental health problems” into a federal database. (Emphasis added.) In reality, of course, everyone screened would be entered into whatever database existed.

    First, the question makes several unwarranted assumptions. It assumes everyone has a common definition of mental health — the government one. It assumes that politicians who are zealously anti–gun ownership will use their additional authority to make gun ownership safer rather than obsolete. (On one day alone, Obama recently signed 23 executive orders bearing on gun ownership.) It assumes that government approval of mental “wellness” ought to be required to exercise a fundamental right. Most importantly, the question leaves all discussion of actual rights to choke in the dust while expediency is explored. Respecting the Second Amendment is no longer on the table. How to revise it is.

    Who is mentally ill?

    In an article entitled “Obama Taking Over Psychiatry,” Dr. Lee Hieb argues that government should not be the one to decide. She writes,

    The use of psychiatry against dissidents in the Soviet Union was one of the major human rights scandals of the 1970s and 1980s.… [E]stablishing a dictatorship that pretends to be a republic requires a stealthy way of silencing opponents.… What better way than to be labeled mentally ill?”

    Allowing the federal government to define mental illness, screen for it, and maintain a database does not necessarily lead to the psychiatric internment of dissidents. That is the most extreme possible consequence.

    More likely outcomes include

    gun control via a circuitous route;
    a federal database of highly personal information on people who have committed no crime;
    a further erosion of medical privacy;
    the loss of constitutionally guaranteed rights by anyone who seeks help for a mental problem;
    a cementing of the criminal and medical systems;
    a de facto ban on gun ownership for those whom the government deems hostile.
    Lawful gun ownership is not a disease. It is a constitutionally protected, individual right.… The president said that we suffer from an — quote, “epidemic of violence,” end of quote. Although there is too much violence in America, violent crime rates are at the lowest level in 50 years.

    State-controlled psychiatry is a terrifying weapon, especially when it is used to determine who has rights.

    Every individual should be able to be eccentric, different, and even self-destructive. As long as the behavior harms no one else, it is no business of authority. To screen people for potentially dangerous behavior is a form of pre-crime diligence that gives government an almost unlimited power over anyone it targets. It is a tool of social control, not safety.

    http:// fff.org/ explore-freedom/article/who-is-mentally-ill/

  8. It would greatly benefit the author to read, “Is the damage to society from the misuse of guns worth the freedom to have guns?” at http://hub.me/adOMK

  9. ….. Gun crime drama, for entertainment, is something that I am so used to , it is now passable and to be expected……just imagine if every gun incident was ordered tomorrow to be a knifing. Most would notice with outrage. Gun crime… no outrage.

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