EDITORIAL: Maybe we're unwilling to prevent this?
There is a headline from The Onion that always gets recirculated following a all too frequent mass shooting.
‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens
When The Onion first published that article in July of 2014 after six people were killed and 14 injured at the University of California, Santa Barbara, it was a devastating take down of the gun culture that has infested the United States. Are we really that blind, deaf and dumb as the satirical newspaper suggests?
Since the 200-word story first appeared, there have been 145 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2016 and 331 in 2015, according to the website GunViolenceArchive.org, a data base on the mass shootings that seem to occur almost daily.
Not counted in these stats with the mass shootings are the eight people that were shot in York Thursday, June 9 or the two shooting incidents the following weekend that left one dead. As a comparison, only five people were reported to have been shot in Philadelphia from June 9 to 12, according to GunViolenceArchive.org.
The strange part is that the number of people being shot in York and Lancaster is just as numbing as reading about the epidemic of gun violence across the nation in cities like Chicago, New Orleans and Memphis, where the gun violence is equally out of proportion. It’s as if we expect to read about shootings in York, Lancaster, Chicago, New Orleans and Memphis just like we expect to see TV crews dispatched to Orlando or Blacksburg or Newtown or [INSERT NAME OF ANOTHER GUN MASSACRE].
We haven’t even gotten to the truly disturbing part about our numbness and apathy about gun violence, even when it’s in our own backyard.
China, Australia, Canada and most of the European Union (to name just a few) have issued travel warnings to citizens planning visits to the U.S. Tim Fischer, the former Australian deputy prime minister said, “a person is 15 times more likely to be shot dead in the United States than in Australia and that travel advice should reflect that.”
Actually, Fischer is wrong. A person is only 10 times more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. than in Australia based on the 2015 statistics.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has cited U.S. gun violence as a retort to its cited human rights violations. And just as the U.S. State Department issues warnings on travel to hot spots on the globe like Haiti, Iran, Libya, Syria, etc., other countries are issuing the same warnings about where we live.
In China, the official Xinhua News Agency compares American gun violence to the lawlessness in Somalia. In a 2015 editorial, U.S. gun violence was seen as something as common as bad air quality in Beijing.
And maybe that’s the way we see things, too. After all, it appears as if instead of working to stop gun violence, we simply are preparing for the seemingly inevitable moment when it happens to us. Even our local school districts and other public institutions hold fairly regular active shooter drills.
Perhaps in this age such a practice is a bit more worthwhile than the duck-and-cover drills to prepare for nuclear annihilation.
Besides, when satire becomes reality, maybe we all ought to duck and cover.