Donald V. Watkins
Mass Murders in the U.S.: When Will They End?
By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on August 6, 2019
After just one mass shooting, New Zealand’s Parliament voted 119-1 on April 10, 2019 to ban most semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles in the country. The decisive action was taken one month after a white supremacist killed 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
In America, national and state political leaders react to mass shootings by offering “thoughts and prayers” or “prayers and condolences.” Then, it is back to political business as usual. It does not matter how many people are killed in these mass shootings, or who is killed.
Washington will not curb easy access to the military-style assault rifles and semiautomatic weapons used in these mass murders whether the victims are small elementary school children, high school students, university students, movie-goers, night club patrons, concert attendees, church worshippers, synagogue worshippers, Walmart shoppers, military base personnel, workplace employees, or anybody else.
The gun lobby in the U.S., particularly the National Rifle Association, completely controls these politicians. State and national politicians profess to be “pro-life” when discussing the protection of a fetus in the mother’s womb. Yet, they are unwilling to take any action to protect innocent lives from the homegrown domestic terrorists who commit mass murders in America on a daily basis.
Thirty-one innocent men, women, and children were murdered in acts of domestic terrorism in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio on Saturday and Sunday. Another fifty-one were seriously injured in these shooting incidents.
As of Aug. 5, which was the 217th day of the year, there had been 255 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country. The GVA defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.
Before the El Paso attack, the deadliest mass shooting of 2019 happened in a municipal building in Virginia Beach, where a former city employee killed 12 people and injured four. The last time the mass shooting toll topped days of the year was 2016, which had 382 mass shootings — the most in any year since the Gun Violence Archive started keeping track. The past two years came close, with 346 mass shootings in 2017 and 340 in 2018.
The NRA’s Stranglehold on Politicians in Washington
The swift reaction to a mass shooting in New Zealand is something that is not possible in the U.S., which has not passed any significant changes to federal gun laws since the 1990s.
That’s not because stricter gun policies are unpopular in America. According to Pew Research Center surveys, most people in the U.S. support universal background checks, a federal database to track gun sales, bans on assault-style weapons, and bans on high-capacity magazines.
Instead, the fate of gun control legislation in the U.S. is controlled by the NRA, the single most powerful organization in the U.S.’s gun control debate. With a direct link to millions of members, the NRA can rally American gun owners to call members of Congress and protest against any proposal to restrict guns. Politicians often succumb to the NRA's political pressure to kill gun control legislation.
Conservative politicians covet their NRA rating on the protection of gun ownership rights. They often appear in campaign ads either carrying a gun, or shooting a gun, and or sitting with a rifle across their lap.
As pictured below, Republican Texas Senator Ted Cruz posed with an assault rifle in one of his 2018 campaign ads. Cruz's pose is strikingly similar to the one captured on videotape of Patrick Crusius, the El Paso shooter.
The only time in American history when the NRA supported strict gun control was in 1967 when about 30 armed members of the Black Panther Party staged a peaceful protest at the California State Capitol. The photos of armed Black Panthers openly carry rifles and other weapons frightened white politicians in California and across America.
This event helped to pass the Mulford Act of 1967, a California state law prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms, along with an addendum prohibiting loaded firearms in the state Capitol. It also gave Congress the impetus it needed to pass the Gun Control Act of 1968, which adopted new laws prohibiting certain people from owning guns, providing for beefed up licensing and inspections of gun dealers and restricting the importation of cheap Saturday night specials [pocket pistols] that were popular in some urban communities.
California’s Mulford Act and the Gun Control Act of 1968 were aimed at restricting gun ownership rights in the African-American community amid growing racial tensions in the 1960s.
Nothing Will Happen Beyond Offering “Thoughts and Prayers”
President Donald Trump will visit El Paso and Dayton to console the families of the shooting victims. He will again offer “thoughts and prayers” in a staged political event.
Unlike New Zealand, Trump and his Republican-controlled Senate will take no action to ban the kind of semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles that are used in America’s mass murders of innocent men, women, and children.
Instead, more Americans will die in the next mass murder, and the one after that. On this issue, “pro-life” Republicans are self-centered hypocrites and political cowards.
In a “do-nothing” political environment, it’s just a matter of time before someone Republicans truly care about becomes the next victim of a mass murder at an elementary school, high school, university, church, synagogue, movie theater, concert, hotel, baseball game, night club, shopping mall, workplace, or another “soft target.”
PHOTO: El Paso, Texas mass murderer Patrick Crusius is captured on videotape as he starts his killing spree.
PHOTO; Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz poses with an assault rifle in a 2018 campaign ad. The ad is real, but Cruz's courage as a man is fake. Donald Trump proved this point when he openly insulted Cruz's wife during the 2016 Republican Presidential debates and Cruz did nothing to protect her honor or name.