Yet another mass shooting in the USA has killed 17 students. As Americans struggle to cope with this insanity, neither the FBI nor especially politicians are bothering to do their jobs which include passing consistent and responsible gun legislation and in the FBI’s case, investigate leads provided to it so as to prevent future murders.
Kal K Korff
Another day, another shooting, welcome to America,” goes a popular adage. If only reality were this simple where it concerns this subject. It isn’t. For the truth about this issue is far worse. With each day that passes, the number of people who are murdered by individuals who use guns is far greater than just a single death each day.
In the city of Chicago alone, which for years now has held the inexcusably infamous and genuinely morbid distinction of being the murder capital of the United States; in the year 2017, out of a total of 679 homicides, 625 of them were caused by people using guns. Put another way, 92 percent died from being shot.
Drill down further into this morbid statistic and the data gets even worse, for these aren’t just ‘accidental’ murders, many are instead deliberate, cold-blooded, calculated killings. In 2017, of the 625 human beings who were murdered in Chicago, 325 people, slightly more than half of them; were shot in the head, causing 217 of these 625 deaths. This is a minimum number where it concerns this statistic since the precise body locations where someone is shot is not always reported. In 2017 in Chicago, statistically speaking a human being was shot every 2.27 minutes, an individual was murdered every 12.59 minutes. In 2017, 612 men in Chicago were killed, 63 more were women. 2,606 men in Chicago were wounded, versus 326 women.
To be clear, the city of Chicago and its gun violence epidemic is not a snapshot of the rest of the United States. One of the ironies of Chicago is that it has some of the toughest gun laws in existence, yet one would never know this since it remains the gun murder capital of the country by a large margin compared to other cities across the nation. Standing in contrast to Chicago is a city like Reno in the state of Nevada, where residents can buy guns and carry them out in the open in what is called “open carry.”
No permit is needed to do this. Nevadans also have the right to carry concealed weapons, but doing so requires a concealed weapons permit. There is no open carry law in Chicago, which is in the state of Illinois. Illinois is one of only five states that has banned open carry. The others are California, Florida, New York, South Carolina and the District of Columbia, otherwise known as Washington D.C.
Put another way, as of this reporting, 45 of the 50 states in the USA allow for some form of “open carry,” some states require a permit to do this, while others do not. Even California has some exceptions to its open carry law, such as when outside in designated hunting areas, obviously hunters can (and do) carry their weapons out in the open out of obvious necessity.
This contrast and irony when comparing Chicago to Reno is beyond obvious. Despite its no permit required open carry law, you won’t find most of the gun owning residents in Nevada walking around openly brandishing their guns, despite their legal right to do so. This is one of the ironies of the Great Gun Debate in America. One would think that where liberal gun laws exist, gun related crimes would skyrocket. This is not happening, as the situations in Reno and (standing in contrast) Chicago proves. Criminals don’t obey laws, in Chicago most of the killings are done using pistols which are far more often than not, purchased on the streets illegally.
Very few gun related deaths are caused by using military grade assault weapons. The exception to this is when what is called a “mass shooting” takes place, which is generally defined by law enforcement as involving the shooting of three or more people.
Every time there is a mass shooting that gets widespread attention, the following disgraceful tired schtick seems to almost always occur. It can be summed up in these words — outrage, prayers and gun control pushes.
The first thing politicians and others tend to do, is express their understandable outrage over a mass shooting. This is not only logical, it is even commendable, especially when such sentiments are sincere. Then things typically go downhill from here.
The next step are what people call “prayers.” A typical example of one is when words such as, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of this tragedy,” are said.
While some of these remarks are unquestionably well intentioned, and there is no dispute that many people are genuinely upset and angry over the news of a mass shooting and the devastation it causes, the blunt truth about this issue is that “prayers” won’t achieve anything.
Prayers won’t change existing gun laws. Prayers won’t hunt down the guilty. For those who claim to be “religious” and put all of their eggs in their prayer basket, try this simple experiment.
Take a coin or any other object that is not lighter than air. Hold it in your hand and then drop it. When you do this, it will fall, thanks to gravity. After it hits the ground, pick it up again and now start “praying” to whomever or whatever you want, before you drop it again. Pray that it won’t fall this time. Keep doing this as many times as you want, because ultimately it won’t matter. For no amount of “praying” will ever prevent such an object from falling once you let it go from your hands, unless you’re in a ‘zero-G’ environment such as in outer space. Every time, without exception, it will always fall, it’s Basic Physics 101 and physics always wins.
Unless you naively and superstitiously believe that “prayers” only work on objects you choose not to drop, it doesn’t matter what you say, it doesn’t matter who(m) you pray to. Instead, what does matter is what you do. “Prayers” don’t write laws, legislators do. Improving gun laws and closing their stupid inconsistent loopholes that undeniably exist cannot be achieved by prayers, they can only become reality when people choose to finally act!
After outrage, condolences and prayers are said, posted on social media and covered by the general press and pundits, leftwing leaning types, self-proclaimed “progressives” and liberals will next call for tougher gun control laws, as well as the outright banning of specific weapons such as assault rifles. Conservatives, on the other hand, will ignore these pleas and argue that present gun laws are either too restrictive or don’t need to be improved. To some of these latter types, they believe that it is perfectly “OK” for citizens to own military grade weapons, even automatics.
To ‘justify’ their belief, often the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment gets cited. This is at times tragic, since most of the people who scream about their “Second Amendment rights,” don’t genuinely understand what it really means when it says that, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
They key word here of course is “militia.” A Militia is, according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, “a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency. A military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army. All able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service.”
Ask yourself this question: Does an individual who owns an AR-15 military grade rifle have the legal right to own it? Presently, yes that person does. Yet he or she is very likely not part of any “militia,” most gun owners are in fact simply individuals who do not even belong to shooting clubs.
Those who use the Second Amendment as a ‘justification’ for owning military grade weapons are in fact parsing the very words of what the Constitution really says, focusing on the latter part which states, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Yet taken literally, if this were to become law, ordinary citizens would be allowed to have .50 caliber automatic machine guns, arguably even their own atomic bombs. The very word “Arms” is simply another word for weapons. It can also be a short form of the word “firearms.” Does this now mean that Americans get to have their own tanks, stealth bombers and cruise missiles? The answer is absolutely not!
The current debate in the USA, especially among its lawmakers, is where does one draw the proverbial line where it concerns the right to own guns? Some lawmakers think that owning military grade weaponry is perfectly fine. They often hide behind the claim that these are semi-automatic, instead of full blown automatics like the military and police are allowed to (and do) use. Their argument is cold comfort to the hundreds of victims now who have been murdered by semi-automatic AR-15 rifles which have become the “weapon of choice” by mass shooters during the past several years. The AR-15 rifle is extremely popular, precisely because it is a knock off of what the military uses.
Lest anyone doubt the lethality of an AR-15 put in the hands of a murderer, on October 1, 2017 the deadliest mass shooting in American history took place in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to police, a lone ‘nut’ sat in his hotel room and from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel he fired some 1,100 bullets, killed 58 people. Of the 851 individuals who were injured, 422 of them were hit by the gunman, Stephen Paddock. As of this reporting, Las Vegas Police told this writer that they are now looking for “two people of interest” who may have also been involved in this crime. Paddock is dead, he offed himself before SWAT teams stormed his room, which was loaded with several military grade weapons. He had fired so many rounds of ammunition, that the smoke from his rifles triggered his room’s smoke detectors.
This incident remains the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, when one excludes the mass shootings of Native American Indians committed by the U.S. government as part of its formal policy of committing genocide against the native inhabitants of this country.
White House Reacts
There is no question that President Donald Trump is more “pro-gun” than his predecessor, Barack Obama was. As a rule, Democrats by much larger margins support far more restrictive gun laws than their Republican counterparts will ever do. Obama is a Democrat, Trump is a Republican.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders has articulated before what Trump’s stance is, “I think one of the things we don’t want to do is try to create laws that won’t stop these types of things from happening. I think if you look to Chicago where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes last year they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn’t helped there.”
As with much of what the Trump White House says, her statement isn’t credible. California has stricter laws than Chicago does, her claim is a falsehood, not a fact. While President Trump has visited the emergency responders who helped save the lives of the most recent shooting victims in Florida, what he has not done, inexcusably, is lead from the front on this issue by advocating common sense changes to gun laws. In fact under Trump and the Republicans, mentally unstable individuals can now resume buying guns, bypassing a previous restriction Obama had put into place. If this change in the law is not immoral, nothing is.
With Trump now Tweeting and emphasizing how “mentally unstable” the killer in the recent Florida shooting is, his words ring hollow and they’re pure hypocrisy.
Fast forward now to the present, and another mass shooting has taken place, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Nicholas Cruz, age 19, has been formally charged with premeditated murder and attempted murder, which could get him the death penalty. His killing spree took the lives of 17 students and injured at least 15 more.
Already, his legal defense team, which consists of Public Defenders, are already telegraphing their strategy. According to Melissa McNeil, who went so far as to ‘comfort’ the shooter by placing her arm around him during his initial hearing before the Judge, McNeil claims that, “He’s (Cruz) sad. He’s mournful. He’s remorseful. He is fully aware of what is going on, and he’s just a broken human being.”
Another member of Cruz’s defense team, Gordon Weekes, has told the media that the death of Cruz’s mother is what triggered his meltdown and killing spree. Cruz was adopted by Lynda Cruz, and according to all known accounts by people who knew her, loved Nicholas Cruz “to a fault,” as one neighbor put it. Reports that she always went “too easy” on him are easily found on Google.
Lynda Cruz, tragically, died of complications from pneumonia in November of 2017, she was one of numerous victims of a flu epidemic that has swept the USA and has baffled scientists.
While his adopted mother’s death obviously impacted Nicholas Cruz, independent of this fact there is persuasive evidence that he was a dangerous ticking time bomb, regardless. Cruz was kicked out of high school for fighting. He sold weapons such as knives while at his school, and carried bullets with him on campus. His social media postings paint a disturbing picture, they contain literal pictures of him brandishing weapons and being obsessed with guns, pistols included.
Nicholas Cruz was reported twice to the FBI as a person who deserved scrutiny for potentially deadly behavior. The FBI has now admitted that as recent as last September, 2017, a warning was lodged with them by a bail bondsman in Mississippi who became concerned when he saw Cruz’s boast that he was, “going to be a professional school shooter,” which he had posted online for everyone to see.
We now know that Cruz was a mental patient, but stopped going for treatment. The fact the FBI didn’t follow through in checking on Cruz, combined with no known follow up by health officials concerning why it was that Cruz suddenly stopped his treatments, are inexcusable. Had FBI and health officials done their jobs, the students Cruz murdered might still be alive today.
Cruz purchased his AR-15 rifle legally from Sunrise Tactical Supply in Coral Springs, Florida. Taking advantage of a law that arguably makes no sense, U.S. Federal laws allow people in states like Florida to buy what are called “long guns,” once they turn 18 years of age. Yet to buy hand guns, a person must be age 21. Pistols are not as deadly as an AR-15 is. Cruz passed the required background test.