American Civilian Killing Floor
“Even in Iraq they didn’t see that kind of casualties in one day.” – Chris Swecker
Sunday's massacre makes Las Vegas the new home of America's ‘deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.' Vegas will not likely retain this title very long. The inevitable next mass shooting is likely to surpass the Vegas shooting in heinousness and efficiency.
How do we know? How can we predict something so dreadful? Easily. Shortly after reports of the Vegas tragedy, the markets reacted with a significant rise in gun stocks. How’s that for subtlety? That market jump in gun stocks is the clearest indication that we just don’t care about gun violence.
Commentators have widely described the Vegas terror attack as resembling a ‘killing floor.’ Note: animals brought in from pasture for killing and processing are held on the killing floor. Like unsuspecting livestock, thousands of country music fans attending the fourth annual Route 91 Harvest Festival were targeted for slaughter. As 64-year-old Mesquite, Nevada resident Stephen Paddock opened fire on the crowd of concertgoers from his 32nd floor Mandalay Bay perch, his victims scattered in terror, searching for cover. For nearly 60 people, that cover would never appear
Folks claiming, “This could not have been prevented,” are wrong. We can prevent the endless scourge of gun violence devastating our country. Headlines along the lines of “Another Mass Shooting” are uniquely American. No other industrialized country with a functioning republic on earth experiences these sorts of gun massacres. Not just to this frequency, no other country like us experiences them, full stop. As a result, U.S. citizens have grown too familiar with the phrase, “another mass shooting.” So familiar, the phrase ‘another mass shooting’ is no longer shocking to the system. Rather, it’s a backstory to an ordinary day in the global gun capital. We pretend to value freedom in this country.
We tout our religious freedom and freedoms of speech, press, and assembly, as the bedrock of our democracy. What about our freedom to live and breathe and attend concerts, and movies, enjoy nightclubs, and libraries, visit grocery stores, and places of worship, school, and the doctor, without fear of being shot to death?
What about those freedoms? Should the freedom of gun enthusiasts continue to supersede the freedoms of everyone else to live in a country free from daily gun tragedies?
Congress, save your thoughts, shove your prayers and f*cking do something!
The U.S. epidemic of gun violence is a national disgrace. Besides cowardice and apathy, there is no justifiable reason for Congressional inaction. All the thoughts and prayers in the world are incapable of saving us from craven Congressional allegiance to gun lobby overlords.
The following is a list of recent gun massacres. Sadly, this list is a few hundred thousand short of being comprehensive:
Orlando Pulse Night Club
June 12, 2016 - 49 killed, 53 injured
San Bernardino, CA Inland Regional Center
December 2, 2015 - 14 killed, 22 injured
Kalamazoo Uber driver
February 20, 2016 - 6 killed, 2 injured
Sandy Hook Elementary School
December 14, 2012 - 26 killed
Emanuel A.M.E. Church - Charleston, SC
June 17, 2015 - 9 killed, 3 injured
Chattanooga, TN Military Recruitment Center
July 16, 2015 - 4 killed
Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood
November 27, 2015 - 3 killed, 9 injured
Washington D.C. Navy Yard
September 16, 2013 - 12 killed, 3 injured
Umpqua Community College
October 1, 2015 - 9 killed, 9 injured
University of California Santa Barbara
May 23, 2014 - 6 killed, 14 injured
Tucson, AZ Safeway Parking Lot
January 8, 2011 - 6 killed, 19 injured
Oak Creek, WI Sikh Temple
August 5, 2012 - 6 killed, 4 injured
July 20, 2012 - 12 killed, 70 injured
Virginia Tech University
April 16, 2007 - 32 killed, 17 injured
Columbine High School
April 20, 1999 - 12 killed, 21 injured
What do all of these massacres have in common? Victims of these tragedies all died because of GUNS, period. Until we repeat this fact in unequivocal terms, gun enthusiasts will manipulate language and artfully shift the blame to ‘sick and twisted’ individuals. Those individuals would not have access to weapons of mass destruction if cowards in Congress enacted basic common sense gun safety measures like background checks, limits on the size of ammunition magazines, and 30 to 60-day waiting periods. These measures do not infringe on the right to own a gun.
Not only did Chris Swecker, former FBI Assistant Director for the Criminal Investigative Division, compare the Vegas shooting to a ravaged Iraqi city in the middle of a war, he claimed it was worse! The horrifying reality of our existence in the United States is an understanding that the many must sacrifice their well-being to appease the gun enthusiast few.
Contrary to the rhetoric of gun lobby representatives, the answer to eliminating gun tragedies is not a “good guy with a gun,” as perfectly demonstrated in the Fort Hood massacre. When a military base full of trained soldiers armed for battle, suffered 19 casualties; the problem is clearly not connected to a deficiency in armed responders.
Anyone reading this, accept the challenge of doing everything in your power to ensure you and your loved ones never join the gun violence survivor club. Demand your member of Congress and local legislators debate the issue of gun safety. The very least they can do is have a public discussion of the issue.
There are times when blunt language is the most effective in getting a message across. So here goes. We. Are. Not. Safe. While cowards beholden to the gun lobby occupy legislative offices, we will never be safe.