Today I have been reading about the latest mass shooting in America.
I read this article, which shows that there have been 994 mass shootings in the USA in the last 1,004 days. That averages out at 4 people plus shot in an incident every day. That’s mass shootings mind you, not the random killings that happen singly.
There are a great many things I like about the USA. There was a time when we mulled over the idea of moving or working there.
The one thing that stops me, more than the cost of healthcare, which in itself is terrifying, is the shootings. I just cannot get my head around the shootings.
I am not saying for one moment that the UK is perfect. We have violence. We have terrible things happening here. Of course we do, but I never have to worry when my children are not back from school on time that they might have been caught up in a shooting. It is not something that it has ever crossed my mind to think about. Long may it remain so.
I know that there are two sides to every argument and I have tried to appreciate people’s feelings about the sanctity of the Second Amendment.
I still don’t get it.
I am sorry, but I cannot understand a world where people feel that the right to have ownership of a gun is more important than the right to have a life.
I cannot get my head around the idea that indiscriminately allowing people access to weaponry with no checks and balances in place that might weed out those people who should not be allowed them for whatever reason is a positive thing.
I cannot truly get my head around the idea that gun ownership is about defence.
I find it difficult to see a gun as a defensive weapon I’m afraid. It’s harder when the stories that I read are ones where guns are used to shoot those who are not attacking or hurting anyone and the only person they needed defending from was the one with the vast arsenal of inappropriately powerful weapons.
I know the answer the NRA would offer is that if everyone was armed then these things wouldn’t happen. I find the escalation argument even more baffling. Does everyone keep arming themselves until there are daily shootouts, when those who survive are the ones quickest on the draw?
Where does it stop?
It makes me sad. It makes me sad that children cannot go to school and teachers cannot teach without fear. It makes me sad that there are metal detectors at school gates, that teachers have to learn how to protect children from gunmen and that in Texas they are considering making it law that teachers are allowed to carry guns in classrooms to protect children.
I am sorry that President Obama is vilified for saying that words are no longer enough, that giving out blanket, inadequate solace without anything to back it up is not enough, because I think he is right.
I am sorry that people think that they are safer with a gun than without. I am sorry that people live in such fear that they think a gun is the only way of keeping themselves safe. I am sorry that those who shoot others are in such desperate mental straits that they think that killing is the only answer to the pain they are in, and that nobody hears them and nobody sees them until it is too late.
I am sorry nobody saw them sooner. I am sorry nobody thought that they would be much less dangerous to themselves and everyone else if they didn’t have a gun.
I am sorry that I don’t have anything pithy to say. I’m even sorrier that I’ve said some of this before in response to another shooting, and not such a long time ago either. How utterly sorry I am that I am thinking about this again.
I am so sorry for all those poor people who have lost loved ones, because it could have been different this time. Maybe. If people had dared to be brave enough not to hide behind a gun barrel and lay down their arms and talk.
I’m just sorry.