The Deadly Epidemic of Mass Murders Spreading Across America

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This American society is in a state of distress. What is happening within America must stop; we must find the ways to bring an end to this succession of mass murders that are taking place across this country. How can a seemingly advanced society allow these acts of inhumanity to continue unabated?

Here are some shocking statistics citing the many school sites and other venues where these crimes against humanity have been committed. Check out this article from the LA Times which reports that “There have been 142 shootings in schools in the U.S. since 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012.”

While some of these cases involved only the discharge of a firearm, most of them were in schools that came under attack by some intruder armed with a high-powered weapon that resulted in the tragic deaths and wounding of children, as well as adults. See the map shown that indicates that no area of the country has been able to escape these tragedies.

I was shocked to hear that there have been 45 school shootings so far this year in America. And just as shocking, reports indicate that, since a 2011 shooting at an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, Nev., that left four people dead, a mass shooting has occurred somewhere in America on the average of once every 64 days.

What is happening in America today with these mass murders is simply incomprehensible; to think that such acts of barbarity are occurring with such frequency in this society is astounding. Watching this succession of mass shootings take place is like watching a horror movie time and again. This society seems increasingly conditioned to them. The typical scenario of such a tragedy goes something like this:

A mass shooting takes place somewhere in America, most of the time in a school or college as someone suddenly and unexpectedly enters the premises and guns down the kids in a rapid burst of gunfire. Terror reigns, chaos is everywhere as the kids try to escape the hail of bullets.

Shortly after that Americans hear the “breaking news” on the radio and TV as those covering it tell us of the gory, unspeakable details. Various experts appear to discuss the issue, hosts are horrified, and then the president appears and tells Americans that this societal madness must be stopped and that the Congress must act, even though he knows it won’t.

Then the perpetrator, in almost every case, is identified as some young white male who, after the act has been committed, is said to be greatly disturbed for some reason or other; and it’s inferred that all of this carnage is caused by out of control crazies. But after stressing the belief about mental illness being a great causal factor, little to no time is spent in discussing mental illness and the lack of proper funding in America. If this is the primary root cause then why isn’t addressing it a high priority on federal and state levels and why are many states actually reducing such funding?

The vast majority of the members of this pathetic Congress who have the power to deal with this situation remain silent making certain that they don’t in any way jeopardize the campaign contributions they receive from the NRA and gun manufacturers.

Along with these politicians who clearly have no intention of dealing with this problem there are also a great many Americans who, instead of showing their rage and outrage about these horrendous crimes involving so many of our helpless children, simply dismiss the gravity of the problem. This indifference was illustrated after the Roseburg, Oregon mass shooting by Jeb Bush who, when asked about this tragedy, actually said, “Stuff happens.” When he stooped that low he should have been immediately escorted off that set and out the door. Donald Trump has also been quoted as saying something to the effect that, “Things just happen.”

After one of these mass shootings and a steady repetition of the bloody event that took place is shown on our TVs, a couple of days pass by and then the media drops the matter, the American people forget about it and go about their business – and then 60-90 days later we hear of another mass shooting involving children or one in a mall, theater or some public place. And then the entire standard scenario described above plays out once again; only the names and the faces of those involved in the latest atrocity, plus the location, are different.

And around and around we go from one of these typical scenarios to the next one and then the next; these mass shootings are becoming commonplace and embedded in this society. This society and the government are proving to be totally incapable to deal with this terrible problem plaguing this society.

I saw the pictures of the students and some adults that lost their lives in that Roseburg, Oregon Community College, all of whom were gunned down by this young man, actually a student there, who had in his possession 5 pistols and 1 rifle. It’s more than tragic; it’s heartrending to see Americans’ lives snuffed out like that.

Here is a link to an article about the Brady Campaign, the organization that is promoting U.S. House bill HR3411 which strengthens background checks for gun purchases by extending them to gun shows and online sources. The article emphasizes that background checks have been the most effective method to prevent firearms sales to those whose history shows that they have a great potential to use them in violent ways. Why in the world have gun shows largely been exempted from these checks?

It is simply incomprehensible how the NRA and those who so strongly support its positions on this issue are fighting so strongly against reasonable, logical and effective ways to limit mass murders and other forms of violence involving guns. Those who are trying to come up with methods to help solve this problem have no intention of taking guns out of the hands of responsible gun owners; they want to prevent criminals and crazies from getting their hands on them. But putting all logic and reason aside we have this select group of Americans that refuses to cooperate in this critically important endeavor.

The greatly faulted notion that we as a society should continue to allow convicted felons and rapists, known child and domestic abusers, fugitives, and those with serious mental problems to buy these weapons because those in positions of power refuse to strengthen background checks is simply ludicrous. What kind of mental mindset do those who stand by this reckless, totally misguided attitude possess?

This is a terrible problem and a national disgrace. We know that there are many underlying causes that have brought us to this point and they all need to be addressed and solved. But the first thing we must do, and do it without fail, is to stop the bleeding of this self-inflicted wound. When national polls continually indicate that some 84% of Americans and 65% of NRA members feel that we must greatly strengthen the background checks for these firearms sales then the people have spoken and it must be done. It’s logical, reasonable and makes all the sense in the world.

The one major impediment to doing that lies with the craven, controlled politicians that refuse to accept the will of the people; those who are derelict in their duty to their country and who grovel at the feet of the NRA and the gun industry; they watch and do nothing as their fellow Americans are gunned down. They are morally reprehensible and we the people must identify every one of the worst offenders and see that they are expelled from this government.

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Michael Payne
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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