Late Sunday, a lone gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing fifty-eight people and wounding hundreds more. Making this worse is the fact that the Vegas shooting feels like another awful episode in a collective, recurring nightmare. Mass shootings happen in America horrifically often. On a small scale, it seems to happen on a weekly basis. On a large scale, it feels roughly annual. It is, thus far, the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The tragedy in Las Vegas reveals the limits of language: how do we express our compassion for the affected, rage at the circumstances, and transcend hope that somewhere, the departed are at peace in some mysterious place where violence like this never happens?
Nobody has got a coherent answer to that question other than: How can we make sure this never happens again? That’s the only way to do justice by the victims of this tragedy AND YET America repeatedly reveals itself to be a country full of money-drunk gun lobbyists and action-movie junkies more in love with their deadly hobby than with the rest of humanity.
Look at Australia: there was a terrible mass shooting in 1996. The government said “Well, OK, looks like we’re not responsible enough for everyone to have killing machines laying around their home. We’re going to buy everyone’s guns back, unless you’re a farmer or a hunter or someone with legitimate uses for weaponry.” How many mass shootings have happened there since? Zero. This is a one-to-one equation. If the deranged f#%k in Vegas had a simple knife, he would’ve been able to inflict a fraction of the violence he did.
Guns are, to a vast majority of the population, just toys that make one feel like a character in a cowboy movie. How many people use guns in self-defense (or whatever their metric of legitimacy is), then how many people die in horrific acts of violence? Why can we not get our shit together on this?
Oh, wait: because the gun lobby is busy swinging its moneyed Satan-dick all over Washington DC, peddling nationalist Lone Ranger narratives in the media to increase their quarterly earnings. It is too deeply fucked to contemplate without weeping.
How many people have to die before America gets its shit together on gun control? How can we lift this plague of violence? What will it take before we realize that our warped relationship with the 2nd Amendment is increasingly drenched in blood?
Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
May peace find them.
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