Thursday, December 3, 2015

"Just Another Day in the United States of America, Another Day of Gunfire, Panic, and Fear": Commentary on Latest Mass Shooting in U.S.

The BBC opened its coverage of the ongoing San Bernardino mass shooting Wednesday evening by acknowledging a fairly alarming reality: "Just another day in the United States of America, another day of gunfire, panic, and fear."

[T]here is a mass shooting – defined as four or more people shot in one incident – nearly every day. 

America averages one shooting of at least four fatalities per day, with one shooting per week at schools. These shootings are happening faster than we can meme them. The routine is familiar, and we already know how the next few days are going to play out: First, we will be reminded that this is definitely not the time to discuss ways that we could have prevented this shooting, along with tomorrow’s and next week’s and the ones tofollow.

Just a few days ago, after a deadly mass shooting in Colorado Springs, President Obama issued a statement saying, "This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this – if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience – then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough." 
That was Saturday. Four days later, here we are again.

The number of shootings in which a gunman wounds or kills multiple people has increased dramatically in recent years, with the majority of attacks in the last decade occurring at a business or school, according to an FBI report released Wednesday.

At least 745,000 and as many as 1.5 million Middle Eastern refugees have come to the U.S. since 9/11. They have carried out precisely zero terrorist attacks. 
Meanwhile, there is an average of more than one mass shooting in the U.S. every single day.

We have reached the point where mass shootings have a "news consumer handbook," where the most helpful journalistic tool in covering a killing isn’t local sources so much as search-and-replace: Newsweek reporter Polly Mosendz keeps a pre-written mass shooter story fresh in her text editing files. "A mass shooting has been reported at TK, where TK people are believed to be dead and TK more are injured, according to TK police department," it says. "The gunman has/hasn't been apprehended."

America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It's one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, and presidential candidates in other nations don't cook bacon with guns. But America's relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent — in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms.

Yet, even as grief fills communities randomly victimized by mass shootings, the sales of weapons grow ever higher. Holiday shoppers set a record for Black Friday gun sales last week. They left the Federal Bureau of Investigation processing 185,345 firearm background checks, the most ever in a single day, topping the Black Friday gun buying binge after the shooting massacre of 26 people at a school in Newtown, Conn., three years ago. 

Over on Reddit, the Guns Are Cool community has compiled a list of every U.S. mass shooting this yearAccording to their count, Wednesday's burst of violence was the 355th this year.

Igor Volsky on Twitter:

Right now, during a current and active mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, there is an active and current movement responding to gun control opponents' tweets sending their "thoughts and prayers" to victims and their families. 
And they're exceptionally angry – perhaps because this mass shooting, which has left 14 people dead and another 17 people injured o far, is occurring just days after a mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood that left three people dead. 
Tweets are streaming in demanding action on gun control, chastising lawmakers who oppose gun control for sending tweets offering their "thoughts and prayers," and a refusal to observe the right's claim that "now is not the time to talk about gun control."

There may only have been two shooters, but there also may be more people who died. Otherwise, it's just another day in America, another day with another mass shooting, another day in which people decided to exercise their Second Amendment rights in very inconvenient ways. This is now two of these episodes in less than a week. We Americans have been very, very free this holiday season.

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