Soviet Premiere Nikita Khruschchev stated in November of 1956, “We will bury you.” In 1956 Khruschchev was referring to colonialism in general and the United States in particular. Fast forward to America 2017 and we will find that his statement has an ironic prophetic twist. Americans seem to have taken up a new pastime. Americans love to kill one another with guns. Western democracies are in the throes of the fear of terrorism. In some cases we are talking more than fear, we are talking about actual terrorist attacks. Several European countries have reported terrorist incidents. France and the United Kingdom have been hit time and time again. The United States has had more sporadic, yet extreme cases. However, it is only the United States that has to contend with domestic mass shootings on a regular basis. This has been going on for quite some time. In 2001 I wrote in a poem, “The safety drill has been changed from a fire drill to ‘an in case somebody goes off up in here’ drill!” To borrow a phrase from the rock group Pink Floyd, “American is growing “comfortably numb” with the reality of mass shooting. They are reported on in the same manner as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. We almost see them as natural occurrences.
Mass shootings are the more sensational aspects of Americans killing one another. There is a constant stream of reporting regarding Americans dying by from shootings either in robbery attempts, car jacking’s, stray bullets, bar fights, domestic violence, random fights, and gang related violence. Nevertheless, American streets and homes are awash with guns. If we cannot agree with the proposition that the United States has been cursed by the Second Amendment; can we at least agree that the United States has been cursed by the more recent interpretations of the Second Amendment? These recent interpretations have given us such deadly legislation as “Stand your ground.” Such laws are guided by mythological assumption of “Shoot first and ask questions later.”
When President Reagan was shot, he was not moved to utter phrase that bordered on gun control. Nevertheless, his press secretary James Brady launched a foundation to work for gun control. The same can be said of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. She and her husband have organized to try and curb gun violence. Even the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have organized to curb gun violence. Can you imagine grieving family members and survivors of gun violence receiving hate messages simply because they want to see more gun control? This happens only in America. America is uniquely insane when it comes to guns. The current President’s oldest son believes silencers on guns are a health related issue. Can you imagine people complaining about Paddock being too loud? They would have been just fine if he had quieted things down. The President’s oldest son also believes that silencers help reduce the kick from firing powerful weapons and thus help make these weapons more kid friendly. It this logic is not sick, I do not know what can be diagnosed as a mental sickness.
Irrespective of the thousands of commonplace shootings that occur in the United States on a daily basis, with each mass shootings our political leaders opt for less gun restrictions. This perverted inversion of common sense defies explanations. They tell us that more guns on the street will solve the issue of gun violence. They argue that more states need to be open carry states. Such leaders envision a world where buying a gun is no different than buying a pair of shoes. Such an argument short circuits the Second Amendment, which also uses the phrase, “well regulated.” Until as such time as a politics of sanity regarding guns in America prevails, we just have to live with the end of the day feeling of at least on one in my family got shot today. These sighs of relief are the outgrowth of the madness inherent in the sadness of such daily happy endings.
Anthony Neal earned his Ph.D. in political science at Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). Dr. Neal is an associate professor at State University College, Buffalo. The author of numerous book reviews and journal articles, he has had his work published in the Western Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Black Studies, and Black Issues in Higher Education. In 2014 Dr. Neal received the university’s Faculty Appreciation Award, was named Instructor of the Year by the university’s United Student Government, and Professor of the Year by the Student Political Society in the Department of Political Science. In 2015, he published The American Political Narrative which is a succinct yet poignant narrative about the development of the American political system and what is needed to maintain it. In 2016, he will publish a book of poetry entitled “Love Agnostic | from 9/11 to Charleston”