There has been yet another school shooting in America. The multiple murders at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. mark the 18th school shooting in this nation since the beginning of the year. And once again the only response by elected officials has been to offer "thoughts and prayers" for the victims and their families.
News anchors and pundits scratch their heads and ask, "What can be done to fix this?" while ignoring the obvious answer - limit access to guns.
If this seems like madness, it's because it is. This country clearly has a gun problem, a problem that can be solved if we act, as so many countries around the world have done. But we choose not to.
Much of the blame for these killings is placed at the feet of the National Rifle Association, the political behemoth that slides dollars into the pockets of every conservative federal elected official and to many state politicians as well. These “bribes” ensure that conservative politicians will not enact any meaningful legislation that will stop or slow the flow of guns, even into the hands of the criminally insane. But the NRA could not exist without a culture in this country that places a higher priority on the right to gun ownership than on the lives of school children.
The main question then becomes, “How did this madness come to dictate America’s priorities?”
In attempting to answer this question, we cannot ignore the racial dynamic of America’s obsession with guns. White men can walk the streets with fully loaded automatic rifles and suffer no negative consequences, while people of color are shot dead for having a toy gun.
This is because the freedom of Americans to bears arms that is not the real issue here; it is the freedom of white Americans to arm themselves against people of color (who are perceived as a threat).
Even though the great majority of mass shooters are white, the perceived threat is the armed person of color. The psyches of many white Americans are tainted by a fear of retribution for past wrongs and injustices committed against people of color. This fear will not go away anytime soon because for as long as the injustices persist, the fear will persist and the gun culture will persist.
So, the mass killings will persist.
Typically, and ironically, the victims of American injustice are not doing the killing. A segment of the white populace that is armed to the teeth unleashes its murderous anxiety by firing assault weapons, killing the innocent. It may seem farfetched to quote a character from a “Star Wars” episode, but in this case, the warning by Master Jedi Yoda’s makes sense: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
To those whites prone to such behavior, Donald Trump has given license to openly fear and hate people of color. The resulting suffering has followed, as night follows the day.