In a gun-crazed culture fed by fear, any little action can trigger a tragedy

Concealed Carry

In a nation of emotionally fragile men armed to the teeth with weapons of war, merely existing in public has become a life-and-death gambit.

The most recent incident involving trigger-happy men incapable of controlling their rampant and overwhelming fear of everything in the world resulted in the shooting of a 14-year-old girl who made the mistake of playing hide-and-seek with friends in her local neighborhood.

On Sunday morning, a group of teenagers cast a shadow on David Doyle’s window in Starks, La. Doyle’s response was to immediately retrieve his gun.

As Doyle stepped outside, the teens were running away. They were presumably off on their next weekend adventure. Doyle, without provocation, under no immediate threat and without any knowledge of who was running from his yard, took aim and struck one of the teens in the back of the head.

The girl is expected to make a full recovery but the fact that she even found herself in this circumstance is a testament to the need for greater gun control in the United States.

In the past month, previously “responsible and law-abiding gun owners” have successfully taken aim at a 16-year-old Black child who rang the wrong doorbell while trying to retrieve his younger brothers from a playdate, a 20-year-old white woman who pulled into the wrong driveway and two cheerleaders in Texas who mistakenly tried to get into the wrong car in a store parking lot.

It was less than two weeks ago that parents and children in an exurb of Houston were executed for asking a neighbor to stop firing his AR-15 in his front yard because their baby was trying to sleep. That’s how prevalent guns are in America. Infants can’t sleep because the neighbor’s AR-15 is too loud.

While we don’t yet know all the circumstances surrounding Monday’s shooting of a campus safety monitor outside a middle school in North Las Vegas, Metro Police stated that the victim was hit by a “stray” bullet.Like a stray cat or dog, there are now “stray” bullets in our neighborhoods.

It’s bad enough that we must endure violence from white supremacist monsters like the man who killed eight people Saturday at a mall in Texas. Now Americans are being gunned down doing everyday things by panicked gun owners who fire at any shadow or because of the mildest stimulation. This is what a daily diet of fearmongering from right-wing TV and the internet will get you.

When will the American people say enough is enough!?

An overwhelming percentage of Americans support reasonable gun control such as basic educational and training requirements, universal background checks, waiting periods, safe storage requirements and bans on bump stocks and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Yet we have failed to exercise the political power of these majorities by voting National Rifle Association mouthpieces out of office.

Instead, we’ve allowed MAGA Republicans to return the United States to the violent and terror-filled era of Jim Crow. Nearly all of these bizarre shootings of people just going about daily life have happened in conservative states where gun laws and concealed carry laws are extremely loose. While Republicans chide the liberal “snowflakes” for being too sensitive, they’re the ones quite literally shooting people for ringing a doorbell.

Irrational fear and firearms are a deadly mix. They are also stock-in-trade for the conservative universe.

We have written about the need for reasonable gun control in the past and we will continue writing about it until politicians and voters alike take meaningful action. More than 20,000 Americans die each year from gun violence, not including suicide.

That’s more than the number of deaths that would occur if there were a 9/11-style terrorist attack every two months in the United States. Or approximately three times the number of U.S. soldiers killed during the entire combined 20-year span of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even in the deadliest year of the Afghan war, 2010, there were still 20 times more Americans killed by guns in the U.S. than American soldiers killed by the Taliban.

Think about that. It’s not hyperbole to say that the prevalence of guns has turned the streets of America into a war zone. It’s a statistically supported fact.

Yet Republican elected officials (and a handful of Democrats) continue to do nothing, effectively blocking progress that could save tens of thousands of lives every year.

Well, almost nothing. Hours before a key legislative deadline, two Republicans joined six Democrats as a Texas House committee passed a bill to raise the minimum age to purchase AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. The bill passed after months of lobbying by the families of victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde. The bill’s passage was a rare moment of progress from a small minority of Republican legislators who typically offer nothing more than thoughts and prayers while the rest of us bury our loved ones. They advocate that the solution to gun violence is more guns. And they trade the lives of children for campaign donations from gun manufacturers. They babble inanities about mental health.

In other words, they contribute to the problem so they can stay in power.

We’ll spare the reader from another invocation of the need for Americans to vote the irresponsible leaders out of office. Instead, we’ll speak directly to the politicians who refuse to protect our nation. Look yourself in the mirror. You will see blood on your hands. Look at your children’s faces. Are they too young to die? Because other children perish each week as a result of you caring more for the gun lobby than the lives of kids.

Is your career, dear politicians, more important than the lives of Americans? Spare us your empty thoughts and prayers. Instead, go to a few funerals. Sit with the devastated families. Listen to their anguished laments. Imagine the sight of parents throwing their bodies over their children to shield them from high-velocity bullets.

And then tell Americans that modest and reasonable gun laws are too burdensome. Tell us why we need to die, so gun manufacturers can thrive.

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