This week, in America, there were three school shootings.
“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
― James Baldwin
I can hardly believe that I just typed that, but this mass shooting would make about the 145th or 146th since the 2012 Connecticut mass shooting. Even prior to me moving out to Massachusetts, there was the Santa Barbara shootings. Having worked at several elementary schools in my past, I’m no stranger to potential shooter lock-downs — fortunately, all of them ended up being a false alarm, unfortunately that usually meant the shootings were in the local neighborhood these children had to go home to. I’m old enough to remember the first shooting rampage, Columbine, and I was sure it’d be the last. Little did I know that was just the beginning of our war on each other.
If you’re a foreign reader, a bulk of my viewership is, you might wonder why and how we allow this to go on. You ask a question that many of us, of a certain political slant, have asked our fellow countrymen and women. I wish I could give you a succinct and logical reason to why we have yet to implement any meaningful changes or policies, but I can’t.
America has a lot of things going for it, but one thing we can never forget is that we’re the land of contradictions — some would even call it the hypocritical. We are proud of our rights, especially the extremely quotable “All men are created equal”. Though, we prefer not to discuss that African Americans were denied this right by being deemed “not American, therefore have no rights“, and hence how you can have a country that proclaims freedom but operated one of the most organized and cruel slave trades in modern history. When Germans, Irish, Polish, and Jewish immigrants first came they were all met with racism wrapped in the cloak of nativism — in fact, until the Irish started to migrant here there almost was no immigration policy, it was seemingly forged to keep the ‘others’ out. Arguably, some Asian families were even here long before some of their European counterparts, however this is a minor footnote in history despite their contributions and Asians are almost always considered ‘foreign’ even though many are as American as apple pie and ice cream. Indeed, taking a chapter out of WWII strategy, some politicians profit on nativism and target those from Central & South America and Middle Eastern decent — don’t worry my Middle Eastern friends, if we’ve proven anything is that you too will get the chance to be the native against the next new group.
Though, it’s important to note that no one race has ownership of all prejudice or hate, in fact we’ve seen many nativism sympathizers of all races with my own being no exception. It would seem the best way to prove you’re a native is to hate on the newcomers. Also, it’s important to note that America holds no monopoly over racism disguised in the cloak of nativism, we just have a penchant for pretending like everything is okay-dokey. The irony is that we’re a country of immigrants who get in a hissy-fit when new immigrants come here to try to receive the same benefits their forefathers did — there the difference is that for a lost of ‘natives’ their family came when immigration wasn’t strictly enforced and now it is.
So, in the land of contradictions is it really any wonder that we’ve forsaken ourselves for the right to have a pistol?
And it would take a full dedicated article to discuss how women have been often been excluded, and heaven forbid you’re minority and a women circa the period your people were hated. We claim to care about children, but do nothing but offer prayers at the hope that someone else will take action when they’re massacred.
Therefore my reader, I apologize, I can not explain why we’re okay with nearly weekly massacres. You would assume, since we spent trillions on terrorism abroad, that we would be staunch opponents of domestic terrorism with guns. However, in yet another series of contradictions, we decided to turn a blind-eye. Really, the most logical conclusion is that if we cared enough we’d do something, since we don’t we simply don’t — I would find that a much more honest and genuine position than feigning compassion.
Many can cite Australia as a country who successfully passed sweeping gun legislation to curb mass shootings following their tragedy. Australia’s response was “never again”, we can only wonder at which massacre, perhaps the “245th” we’ll finally have the guts to take a hard look at ourselves and weigh which matters more: the idealistic argument about guns or the actual lives they’re used to take.
But, I think it’s something a country of immigrants can eventually come together to work out, as soon as we get rid of nativism and the fear of the ‘other’.