U.S. mass shooting raises more gun violence questions

Second Amendment

TEHRAN- Another fatal act of gun violence in America has triggered more anger among anti-firearm advocates amid a lack of government action to deal with the national gun epidemic after a single shooting incident resulted in 16 casualties.

In the latest deadly violence, at least six people have been killed and 12 others injured in an early-morning shooting on a busy Sacramento street in California. 

The condition of the injuries has not been disclosed. In a video of the shooting spree that was aired on local media, more than 70 gunshots can be heard as people fled for their lives.

Police say there were “multiple shooters” during the violence and that they are searching for all the suspects.

Writing on social media, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said “words can’t express my shock and sadness this morning. The numbers of dead and wounded are difficult to comprehend … rising gun violence is the scourge of our city, state, and nation, and I support all actions to reduce it.”

Sacramento’s Police Chief Kathy Lester urged for the public’s help to help identify “the suspects in this and provide any information they can”

The term suspects has also raised questions as to why the perpetrators are not referred to as terrorists? And why these mass shooting incidents are not referred to as acts of terrorism? 

Others have argued the real suspects in the U.S. that should be labeled as terrorists in the country are American Presidents and other senior officials who have killed millions of innocent civilians by waging war after war. 

Gun culture in the U.S. certainly reflects America’s military adventurism overseas and the country’s development coming on the back of brutal civil wars. 

Back in Sacramento, family members were seen waiting outside police lines urgently seeking news about their missing loved ones. Footage has become a familiar site in American media. 

In a statement, police said that they had recovered “at least” one firearm at the scene and had located 12 victims “with varying degrees of injuries.”

Community activist, Berry Accius, is a member of the Voice of the Youth Leadership Program which is focusing on gun violence prevention. He says he rushed to the deadly scene shortly after the mass shooting.

“The first thing I saw was a young lady draped in her blood and others’ blood. She was just on the phone saying ‘My sister is dead! My sister is dead!'” Accius said. 

The violence occurred in an area that has just recently been revitalized as an entertainment center and also just blocks from the state’s capitol building;  highlighting just how no place is safe from the gun violence epidemic in the U.S. 

A separate shooting incident last month in the same city saw a man gun down four victims.

And in a separate shooting overnight in Dallas, Texas, a man was killed and eleven others sustained injuries after an individual opened fire into a crowd at a concert, Dallas police have said.

Gun violence is a leading cause of premature death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (America’s national health agency) in 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available: 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries. 

The figure means more Americans died of gun-related injuries in 2020 than in any other year on record. Complete data for 2021 has not been fully published yet but the chain of events and record firearm purchases last year means it could well override the 2020 death toll. 

Some analysts have suggested it’s not easy for congress to change the second amendment (which Americans claim gives them the legal right to carry arms) without a full-blown revolution in the country. 

As firearms kills some 45,000 people and injure double that number each year, advocates for gun violence prevention are calling for authorities to come up with different public health approaches to address the growing crisis.

The issue is complex and rooted so deeply in American culture to the extent that today there are more firearms than there are American citizens. According to the Swiss-based Small Arms Survey, no other country has more civilian guns than its total population. 

Easy access to guns, whether through legal or illegal means, is one of the main causes of gun violence.

Rights groups have long called for the U.S. to fulfill its obligations by introducing and implementing strict gun violence prevention laws and regulations. They say the U.S. has failed its obligation to protect human lives by creating a safe environment for ordinary people. 

Some analysts argue that the national rifle association (NRA), with its increasing record numbers of membership, is such a powerful lobby group in Congress that lawmakers are unable to change the regulations. The NRA is a gun rights advocacy group. 

The NRA and other gun-rights advocates claim the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individual gun ownership.

The Second Amendment reads: “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.” 

Those 27 words ratified on December 15, 1791, have been the subject of fierce debate for more than 250 years. 

Arguments have been made as to whether a well-regulated militia refers to individuals. Nobody appears to have the answer as the founding fathers have passed on. 

When the text was written, women were not allowed to vote and black slaves were considered the property of the white man. Many issues have been reformed since then, although black activists would argue black Americans are still the property of the white colonizer. 

But congress surely has the power to reform the centuries-old piece of paper with 27 words written on it? Apparently not. 

According to the NRA, guns are used for self-defense as the police cannot protect everyone all of the time, but the facts on the ground show firearms are rarely used for self-defense.

For example, between 2007 and 2011, there were 29,618,300 violent crimes committed, 0.79% of victims (235,700) protected themselves with a firearm. Official data shows that was the least-employed protective method. 

In 2010 there were 230 “justifiable homicides” in which an American used a firearm to kill a criminal in self-defense. That is in comparison to 8,275 murders by criminals using guns as their weapon of choice. 

Of the 84,495,500 property crimes committed between 2007 and 2011, 0.12% of victims (103,000) protected themselves with a gun.

In any case that is arguably a failure of the police who can not protect everyone, every time, everywhere, and also in every country; but not every country has allowed its citizens the legal right to carry guns. 

The reality points to the U.S. being the epicenter where gun manufacturers make a respectable profit from tens of thousands of Americans being shot dead on the streets every year.

In a similar fashion, U.S. arms manufacturers make huge profits from sending weapons to conflict zones leading to the death of millions of civilians in wars. 

The self-proclaimed flag bearer of human rights and democracy whose financial debt has reached trillions of dollars is making a massive profit from the death of civilians at home and abroad. 

But will it backfire domestically? The U.S. Department of homeland security has designated domestic violent extremism as a “national priority area”.

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