I’d like to think, for the safety of everyone within a hundred-mile radius of me, in the unlikely event I decided to go on a shooting spree that the means to carry out such a nihilistic plan of destruction would not be readily available to me.
In many parts of the United States, this would seem not to be the case.
Even while violent movies and video games are blamed for putting ideas into people’s heads, few people with any power seem to realise that for those who are willing it’s just as easy to do the real thing than it is to pretend. Less are inclined to do something about it.
While the country has openly waged a war on drugs for the last forty years, launched by that paragon of virtue Richard Nixon, disarmament is not a word passing the political lips.
That the war on drugs is both selective (the first thing that strikes you on a visit to the US is the wall-to-wall advertising for prescription meds) and ineffective (as detailed in this extensive report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy) is a triumph of ideology and cronyism over evidence.
It took less than four hours for a political figure to blame the Colorado shootings on continued attacks against Judeo-Christian beliefs, despite the fact that Judeo-Christian beliefs include a god that commands you to slit your own child’s throat as a test of faith. And that’s merely an entry-level atrocity.
Shooting massacres have become so commonplace in the media landscape since the Columbine High School incident that it’s become a sick black comedy. If you want proof, look no further than this entry from satirical news source The Onion:
According to the nation’s citizenry, calls for a mature, thoughtful debate about the role of guns in American society started right on time, and should persist throughout the next week or so. However, the populace noted, the debate will soon spiral out of control and ultimately lead to nothing of any substance, a fact Americans everywhere acknowledged they felt “absolutely horrible” to be aware of.
The time for navel-gazing is over. What further debate is needed when the price of the “right to bear arms” is again being measured in corpses on stretchers in a suburban parking lot?
In less than one hundred days in office, the new government in Queensland, Australia has moved unilaterally to repeal civil unions for same-sex couples, remove funding for an AIDS organisation, and ban gay people from becoming surrogate parents. It’s one of the largest rollbacks of equality for gay citizens in the Western world.
There was no public consultation, no debate, despite howls of protest. Campbell Newman’s government believes they have the mandate to carry out the work of God (the same aforementioned child-sacrificing Judeo-Christian one). Who needs consultation with a mandate like that?
As reprehensible and morally deranged as Queensland’s leaders are, one has to have a perverse respect for them in light of another shooting tragedy in the world’s largest Christian nation.
If Newman and company can make such sweeping changes to law (and they’re only just getting started) in spite of evidence, why can’t America’s lawmakers act swiftly to make a difference when the evidence is once again right in front of them?