Another day, another school shooting in America. On Tuesday morning, news hit that a gunman entered a school in Troutdale, OR, a suburb of Portland, and opened fire, killing one student. The gunman was also found dead, per Troutdale police. Information is still pending on the identity of the shooter and whether or not he was killed in a shootout with police. This incident marks the 74th school shooting that has occurred since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. On December 14th, 2012, Adam Lanza murdered 26 people at the school, after having killed his mother earlier, before taking his own life.
In the aftermath of Sandy Hook, the President promised action, and stated that he would push for common sense gun laws to be passed by Congress. Of course, as we all know, nothing got done, because Republicans in Congress are not going to cross the NRA. Therefore, outside of some executive orders, President Obama had his hands tied. Meanwhile, we’ve not only seen the continuation of school shootings, we’ve seen an increase in their frequency, which is embarrassing and tragic. At the same time, we’ve seen conservative legislatures in states across this nation push for relaxed restrictions on local and state gun laws, pushed forth by the NRA and the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.
Now, we are at the convergence of complete and utter insanity in this nation when it comes to guns. With no ability to pass any type of meaningful legislation at the federal level due to Republicans in both the House and Senate, as well as a handful of red state Democrats concerned about their NRA ratings, the NRA and ALEC have been emboldened to shoot for the moon in terms of creating a Wild West mindset in this country. Stand Your Ground laws are now converging with Open Carry laws, which will inevitably lead to showdowns on the street and idiotic shootings, all because one person holding a gun out in the open will pass by another gun nut, leading to one claiming that they needed to ‘stand their ground’ and shoot the other due to fear.
While dealing with the combined insanity of SYG and Open Carry, we’ve also seen access to guns and ammunition increase across the nation. Once again, this is a construct of NRA and ALEC, all for the benefit of gun and ammo manufacturers. Gun owners need to be able to buy more and more guns, and have access to more ammo than a military base, all so they can exercise their 2nd Amendment rights and protect them and their own. The NRA lobbied to make sure that the Center for Disease Control receives no funding to study gun violence. Obviously, it’s because they need to make sure that nobody has the faintest clue about the damage being caused by the laws being passed allowing for more unfettered access to firearms.
The fact is, the NRA has created, and is now appealing directly to, a fringe element of gun fetishists whose entire lives revolve around guns, ammo and making sure nobody takes away their freedom. These people tend to believe they are the ‘good guys with guns’ and they’ll stop the ‘bad guys with guns.’ Inevitably, though, many of these people tend to turn out to be the bad guys with guns, killing people with no guns. In today’s America, the percentage of households with guns is near an all-time low. A 2012 General Social Survey poll showed that only 34% of homes had a gun, down from over 50% in the 1970s. Yet, it is estimated we now have as many guns as people in this nation. Basically, if you own a gun, you likely own several.
Therefore, what we have here is a country where the majority of the population has no real use for guns and does not want them in their homes. However, because there is an industry which is seeing huge profits from the sale of guns and ammo to a minority of the population, it is imperative for the NRA to make sure that this group of people has the ability to continue to arm themselves to the teeth in the name of the Constitution and freedom, consequences be damned. Thus, the increased frequency of mass shootings, killings in public places and a general air of fear is a small price to pay for unregulated, rampant capitalism. Isn’t that the American way, after all?
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).