There are a few events that Americans can depend on happening on a regular basis in any given year. There is the National Football League’s annual Superbowl, a baseball World Series, Republicans creating a financial crisis and of course a couple of mass shootings. In fact, the mass shootings have become so much of a regular bi-annual American tradition that they hardly garner any media attention beyond one 24-hour news cycle. Perhaps if Americans knew that mass shootings are as frequent, and regular, as the Sun rising every day of the year, they would demand government action to reduce the daily incidents of 2nd Amendment violence committed by ‘real Americans‘ and their guns; not hammers. However, this is America and as a leading Mexico City newspaper noted after nine African Americans were slaughtered as they worshiped, “America has become a ‘structurally violent’ society;” a society that produces daily mass shootings under the guise of “exercising 2nd Amendment rights.”
The media’s definition of a “mass shooting” is one that relies on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s definition of a “mass murder” that is “generally described as a number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders.” A more apt, and generally accepted, definition is “two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period.” Under that definition, the recent killing of two Virginia television station employees is a mass shooting that became just another daily occurrence in “structurally violent” America.
The mass shooting in Virginia on the same day as an unreported mass shooting “during a Minneapolis home invasion” brought the number of mass shooting incidents in America in 2015 to 247 for the year on the 238th day of 2015. For arithmetic challenged Americans that works out to over one mass shooting per day; and to think that some Americans are reluctant to acknowledge American exceptionalism when no civilized society on Earth has a mass shooting every day.
It is criminal, really, that the FBI in particular, and criminal justice system in general, do not accurately report the more than daily occurrences of mass shootings in America. To make up for the likely deliberate underreporting of daily mass shootings, a ‘subreddit‘ group has taken it upon themselves to track and document the result of a heavily-armed population exercising their Constitutionally-protected 2nd Amendment rights on other innocent Americans. The group is “sarcastically named” GunsAreCool and it maintains a comprehensive record, replete with locations, dates, number of victims and fatalities, of daily mass shootings in America; something many Americans might regard as astonishing and tragic.
A couple of Americans actually called the shooting deaths of two Virginia journalists a real tragedy, likely because they were white and it was broadcast live. However, with over 300,000,000 guns in America and the National Rifle Association clamoring for more, gun zealots probably believe that two live gun deaths are nothing but a nice incentive for another gun sales campaign. With the media ignoring the daily mass shootings, gun fanatics can easily dismiss “one event” as an aberration because there were only two fatalities. but maybe if the public knew the real cost of gun proliferation they may demand action to slow the mass shooting pace to at least a monthly occurrence.
No doubt the 2nd Amendment advocates and NRA do everything in their power to keep it quiet that their handiwork has resulted in gun owners shooting 4.5 million Americans in 45 years, but only killed 1.34 million of them. It is probably a record worth celebrating for gun lovers, especially since the numbers of people being shot is rising (about 133,000) every year, or only 364 each day of every year. With mass shootings becoming such a regular event, one wonders why two journalists being gunned down while going about their jobs ever made the news in the first place. Obviously, it is because for a lot of Americans, they actually got to see, likely for the first time in their lives, the sheer terror of an innocent American on the receiving end of another “real American” exercising their precious 2nd Amendment rights; rights gun fanatics and the NRA assure Americans is exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind in creating a “structurally violent society” protected by the Constitution.
There was a relatively large amount of disbelief and outrage targeting a couple of news’ sources for putting up images of the shooting, both the broadcast news clip and the shooters’ “point of view” video of him gunning down the victims. The New York Daily News received grief for posting still shots of the shooter training his handgun on a young news reporter in total fright that she was the object of yet another “real American” enthusiastically exercising his dog-given and constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights. Television personality and anti-gun crusader Piers Morgan was the recipient of substantial criticism for calling for the shooting videos to be made available to the public to show them exactly what America’s lust for guns produces on a daily basis from the shooter’s point of view.
Morgan, of course, has exactly the right idea and the right motivation for demanding exposure of the most recent mass shooting video(s). All Americans should have the privilege to watch the singularly American occurrence of a gun zealot getting satisfaction from exercising their 2nd Amendment right to take human lives. That is why gun zealots like their guns; not because they use military assault rifles and handguns for hunting, or for home protection. If that was the only reason the 2nd Amendment crowd defended their “constitutional right” to possess firearms, they would not demand to carry them “locked and loaded” outside the home or in the pursuit of sustenance.
Every American should also have the unique experience of seeing the sheer terror, hear the screams, and watch bloodletting of innocent Americans being targeted and shot by a gun fanatic to really understand what kind of sick, twisted individuals, including Republicans, advocate for more maniacs exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Maybe if more Americans witnessed the 6-year-old children at Sandy Hook, families at theatres, or high school and college students as victims of some so-called ‘real American’ exercising their 2nd Amendment right, it is possible Americans would see some sane gun safety laws enacted; but that is never going to happen.
There are very few people who take notice of the Sun rising every day because it is a perfectly normal occurrence, and if they miss it today, it is a certainty they can see it rise tomorrow. Even fewer Americans take notice of the daily mass shootings in America because if they miss today’s 2nd Amendment exercise, there will certainly be another one tomorrow. It is pathetic, but that is what happens in a deliberately created “structurally violent society” with mass shootings every day; something all Americans should get to watch so they too can enjoy the true meaning of the 2nd Amendment.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.