United States : bearing arms is maybe a right, mostly a scourge

How many deadly shootings do we need before something is done to preserve the lives of the American people? May was terrible in the US with two shootings that sadly reminded America that the second amendment of the US constitution, enforced in 1791, is destroying lives much more than it is protecting them.

On May 14, a White supremacist boy was killing 10 people, mostly Black Americans, in a supermarket in Buffalo. Payton Gendron, barely 18 years old, had the great idea to broadcast his slaughter on social networks, a slaughter that was highly motivated by racist feelings he depicted in a manifesto before the shooting. 

Ten days later, on May 24 this time, another teenager was taking the lives of 21 people in Uvalde, Texas. Killed by the police, the 18-year-old murderer had previously been attending the school where he perpetrated the killing: 19 children under 10 years old and two adults were assassinated.

If you think this is nothing but a sad news among others, then take a look at what is written here: since the beginning of the year, more than 17 000 people were killed by firearms in the US, which means 119 dead per day. Between 2010 and 2020, more than 400 000 people found death in the USA due to firearms. This last figure should be relativized still, because 60% stand for suicides (244 000 ones). But 36% are homicides (145 000 casualties).

Still not satisfied? Between 1970 and 2022 in America, not less than 2 030 incidents which imply firearms took place in schools, meaning brief arguments with no casualty or deadly shootings. This led to 674 dead.

While 40 million firearms were sold in 2020 in the US, this is still not a big deal for most of the American people. According to a survey by Pew Research Center, 52% of Americans are convinced that the gun issue is not a big problem in America. Which can explain why you have a country with 370 million people and 400 million firearms. More weapons than inhabitants, but no real issue, right?

In 2012, the Sandy Hook shooting killed 28 people. The one that happened lately in Uvalde is thus the second most deadly shooting to occur in a school with 21 casualties. In 1999, 15 people died in Columbine.

Beyond figures, we are talking about real lives that disappear because some people who feel bad in their own boring and uninteresting lives suddenly decide to destroy the existence of the happy ones. Feeling bad in your own life does not give you the right to take the lives of innocent people. There will always be stupid people all over the world but giving them the possibility to buy a gun without any difficulty is, in a way, a crime. A crime guided by money, profit, and personal interest, but our beautiful world tends to accept that “big money” perspective more and more each day.

Former US presidents like Barack Obama tried to abolish that second amendment of the American constitution which allows American people the right to bear arms. But the road is tortuous. You first have to get the majority in Congress, which means a majority of votes in the House of representatives and the Senate at the same time. You then have to vote the law that abolishes the second amendment in each federal state. Beyond those who simply do not believe in taking back firearms (remember the 52%?) for historical and protective reasons, and who will thus never vote to abolish the second amendment, you have the big issue of the NRA as well.

The National Rifle Association, that American organization which defends the right to bear arms and communicates on the firearm safety, is a very powerful pressure group in the US. Supported by millions of Americans, it is also a huge financial machine that regularly backs up Republican candidates in the presidential election. Driven by self-interest, many political figures could potentially lose elections, votes, or money if the second amendment is abolished, because the NRA would logically retaliate. History, power, money: those are the main reasons why nothing has been done in the US so far. And unfortunately, there are few chances that something will be done in a very near future.

But we cannot end up this article on a negative trend. If we are realistic, we must notice that the current landscape is not very joyful: innocent people die, presidents cry and do speeches but nothing changes. History prevails, most American people are favorable to firearms and pressure groups do their job. You say you need a firearm to protect yourself, but against what? There is no civil war that undermines America. Why this need to buy rifles and pistols as a birthday gift to your 10-year-old child? That protection reason is not sufficient to justify such a massive amount of guns circulating in the country. In the 18th century, the second amendment was perhaps justified since the country was struggling for its independence in a context of civil war and fight for the freedom of Black slaves. We are in 2022, and circumstances are somewhat different.

Consciences, intelligences, and popular mobilization are the only way to find a solution to that scourge, because politics will do nothing unless the people stands up. The power of the people is the key. It is the power of the people that made the world aware of what was happening in America with those White policemen killing innocent Black people. Thanks to it, culprits got convicted, and Derek Chauvin is now spending his life in prison after having murdered George Floyd on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis. Do not neglect the power of the people. We cannot watch the ones we love get killed and do nothing. Life over greed.

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