Yes, Mass Shootings are a Uniquely American Phenomenon

Posted by

But so is the cultural and right-wing media obsession with guns

In 2008, during his rough and tumble presidential primary campaign against Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama got into some trouble at a fundraising event when he made these comments about working-class voters:

“They get bitter; they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Clinton, of course, nailed him for the comment, hoping to resurrect her campaign. And Republicans were all over him as well, but that’s no surprise. To them and Clinton at the time, it was a way to further the narrative that Obama was an out-of-touch elitist.

But rather than break down the quote word for word, which by the way is 100% accurate, for purposes of this post and the recent tragedies in the news, let’s focus on these four words: they cling to their guns.

Indeed they do. Some estimates put the entire quantity of guns Americans own at upwards of 350 million, which means there are several million more guns than if each American owned a gun per person. And yes, the mass shootings we keep experiencing, including the most recent in Atlanta and Boulder, are, without a doubt, a uniquely American phenomenon in the modern world.

We love our damn guns in this country. And it seems as though there’s a segment of society who think any possible attempt to regulate (isn’t that word in the Constitution?) their firearms is nothing but a plot by Democrats to seize them all. When a Democrat is elected, gun and ammunition sales skyrocket. Hell, soon we may get to 400 million in circulation. When will we get to 500 million? 600? Surely we’ll get there soon enough.

But while the mass shootings are certainly uniquely American, so is the obsession with guns in general and the cultural and political divide that drives it all. And nothing epitomizes the fixation more than how the right-wing echo chamber reports on gun violence. Once again, Fox News is leading the way in dividing, misleading, and gas-lighting the country.

As is usually the case, when it came to reporting on the Boulder shooting, you may not have gotten an accurate picture of what was happening depending on what news you were watching. When the news broke, MSNBC and CNN were reporting on the shooting non-stop. When law enforcement finally had a news conference in the early evening to update what happened, both of those networks carried it live.

Fox, on the other hand, had more important things to cover. Even after learning that ten people lost their lives, Laura Ingraham interviewed someone about the “farce” of social distancing. Later, Tucker Carlson talked about the beginning of the end for girls’ sports and Miami’s recent spring break melee. Talk about “Breaking News,” huh?

At the top of the hour after the news conference, Fox did do a quick update on the shooting, saying their thoughts and prayers were with the victims and would keep “monitoring” the situation as more facts became known.

Let’s face it. Fox didn’t want to cover the event because it goes against their far-right narrative; owning a gun is a God-given right. And it doesn’t play to their base of viewers either. It’s far better they change the subject to Democrats wanting to confiscate your guns rather than dig deep into what’s causing the mass shootings in the first place: There are too many freaking guns in America, and it’s too damn easy to buy one.

Time and again, we end up in the same place. Democrats in Congress demand we do something, anything, to try and reduce gun violence. Republicans say Democrats are playing politics and want to take your guns. Fox News and other outlets like them are more than happy to perpetuate that narrative.

In a sense, it’s the culture that drives Fox, and Fox helps drive the culture. It’s a symbiotic relationship we’ve seen throughout the pandemic as well. As I wrote in a previous piece, it’s become a toxic mix that has made America an even more dangerous place to live.

While the hosts on Fox regularly downplay the pandemic and wearing masks, they do not practice what they preach. Most, if not all, broadcast remotely and have been told it would be that way until September.

They tell their viewers Dr. Fauci is nothing but an incompetent scientist. They bring on quacks like Dr. “herd immunity” Scott Atlas to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories. But in the meantime, the hosts isolate themselves from the public and watch as those very same viewers refuse to wear masks and spread Covid throughout the communities in which they live.It’s shameful. Over half a million dead from COVID, thousands of others dead from guns every year, and Fox doesn’t give a crap about any of them. It’s as if the network itself is a death cult. Harsh? Yes, but what else are we left to determine?

It would be a dereliction in duty not to mention the other entity that’s become an even more lethal and existential threat than Fox News or the radical gun culture in America: The Republican Party. They’re worse because they control what policies are passed in Congress — or even worse — policies that are not.

Complete obstruction is all they have left these days. The only way any common-sense legislation on gun safety gets passed is if the Democrats develop a steel spine and do away with the filibuster. How many of us are skeptical that will happen?

Something may get done, but none of us should hold our breath. The Republican Party, Fox News, and the gun nuts of America will stand in the way of anything substantial. Not even a limited background check initiative stands much of a chance.

The real question all of us need to ask, though, is why? Why are they preventing lives from being saved by passing common-sense gun safety laws? Why the dangerous stance on vaccines, masks, and social distancing, all of which will help us get through this nightmare that’s plagued our society over the past year?

The complete disregard for human life is the hallmark of a death cult. Obama was right nearly 13 years ago when he said working-class voters cling to their guns. What’s even worse is that they’re more than willing to sacrifice lives to amass an armada of weapons even dictators like Hitler and Stalin would envy.

You’re damn right mass shootings are uniquely American. But so is the death cult, whose membership grew exponentially during the former guy’s term. What are we going to do about them?

38 comments

  1. For goodness how long, The British still in our imperial haze envisaged ‘The Arabs’ as all dressed like extras out of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (except for the women who all wore black burkas) while waving and shooting very long barrelled rifles in the air, we also ‘admired’ the various tribes from Afghanistan as noble warriors who did something similar (only their clothes were darker and more rugged). We were aware that American ‘cops’ carried guns, so did gangsters and Private Eyes. Other Americans had guns because they were farmers or when they went hunting, and that was the way of the world. And ‘everyone’ ‘knew’ the Kennedys had been shot by the Military/Intelligence services, while Wallace had it coming, but Reagan and Ford had been shot by ‘kooks’. And there had been Prohibition and The Wild West.
    That was in the long ago now as the number of mass killings mount and make headline news it has dawned upon the British public that there is this ‘gun culture’ in the USA and these folk are not like our regulated ‘Hunting, Shooting and Fishing’ folk but are folk who would make you want to buy a gun just in case one of them got too close to you.
    I have tried to engage with a couple over the media, but it is a one-way street; they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of fire arms (apparently Burford’s Cavalry at Gettysburg did not have carbines but something else- I couldn’t tell the difference) and do not exchange views They tell you theirs and that is that. And one admired the Native American for resisting the Government and dying noble deaths (who knew smallpox, TB and alcoholism were noble?).
    Who knows where it will lead. If they persist in their aggressive, tunnel vision way, the next path will be those who swore they would never carry guns start to, ‘just in case’. I understand there members of the LGBT community fed up of being harassed and threatened are starting to ‘pack’. Firearms unlike NRA folk are not one-way traffic. Of course lots of anti-gun folk could join the NRA and work from within (but that’s more a European infiltration style-might not work in America) .
    Take care you guys.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Roger for your usual wisdom on how things are over here. The NRA at one time, was basically a gun safety organization. They’d advertise it in their letters and publications. But that all changed in the 70s and 80s when they joined the gun manufacturers in a severely unholy alliance, which has infested our society ever since. Do you realize, Roger, that the NRA and Republican Party have successfully blocked any ability to study the long-term affects to public health that guns inflict on the streets of America? Our National Institutes of Health have wanted to study the issue for years, but Congress/Republicans have blocked the effort. That tells you all you need to know about the power of these people. It’s got to change Roger. Fast.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Firstly thanks Jeff.
        Y’know. Back in the 1950/60s transfer of decades I picked up on aspects American culture through TV programmes, comic books and American SF (British was too turgid and self-absorbed), then I was hooked on the music. From there I marvelled at the way such a large nation could hold itself together as a workable democracy and was fascinated at the balance between The Administration, The Legislative and the Judiciary. Yes there was lots which was not palatable, but what nation is pure, spotless and does not have an unpleasant side- none I have come across.
        For years and years I had constant run-ins with fellow brits of all political stripes who had, actually racist views on ‘Americans’ as one single group. I thought of the USA as my kind of adopted nation.
        Sadly no longer, I see a nation riven by many issues and a substantive portion of the populations who adhere to warped opinions like some Caucasian western and diluted version of ISIS.
        It is interesting that you mention that turn around in the 1970s & 1980s, as that would be the time the Religious Right rose lead by their hypocritical and very wealthy preacher caste, and all fed by characters given radio shows to spout even more division.
        Of course as far as minority groups are concerned this is business as usual, but the ranks of Hate, Intolerance and Fear have grown more confidence.
        I’ve been over this before, time and time again, but it bears repeating. No nation, ever has experienced total stability and many have fractured from greatness into bits. The path to the separation of the states in diverse nations is becoming more likely and this would not be pleasant and populations move from hostile places to more of their own (an old story in Europe and Asia).
        As you say, it has to change, and fast. But The How and The Why, now there’s the rub (Hamlet).
        Take care you guys. History is a bumpy and stormy ocean.

        Like

  2. This: any possible attempt to regulate … their firearms is nothing but a plot by Democrats to seize them all. is spot-on!

    Just yesterday, my other-half and I had a heated (on his side, anyway) discussion on gun control. Yes, he’s an avid –but VERY safe– gun owner. It’s like a hobby for him in that he has a sizeable collection of various styles and calibers — ALL of them stored in a gun safe!

    Nevertheless, the NRA has him all worked up related to this latest move by the Democrats and he is totally convinced it’s leading to a complete and total confiscation of ALL guns! (Talk about religious brainwashing!) It’s just so frustrating that reputable gun-owners seem unable to take themselves out of the picture and recognize that there are NUT-CASES running around killing people!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel for you Nan, having to have that discussion with your other half. It’s usually a no-win argument when it comes to guns for some people-most people on the right that is. They’re more than willing to be ok with sacrificing innocent people’s lives at the hands of deranged killers, rather than giving up any of their ‘God-given right’ to own a gun. It’s such a ridiculous argument. Hell, expanded background checks are supported by almost everyone in the country. But even that can’t get done. I hope this time will be different. I fear it’s same old same old though.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Our friend Jeff, like myself, is still reeling from the recent mass shootings. And, as our friend Keith so often reminds us, while the mass shootings get a ton of notice, many more die in other, less publicized shootings and suicides. I want guns gone, but realistically will have to settle for some sweeping gun legislation that reduces the number of incidents, injuries and deaths. Good post, Jeff … thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re the best Jill! Thank you! I’m with you. I wish we could do away with all of them. I know that’s not realistic though. But Jesus, can we at least get a freaking background check bill done? That’s something so minor, but the radical right Congress can’t even agree to it. So damn shameful!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awwww … thanks, Jeff! I had a very hateful comment on another post about guns tonight … the commenter, not a regular reader, said that I was insane, and that any and all gun laws were an infringement on his rights. I replied that his guns were an infringement on my right to life, and that my right to life came long before the 2nd Amendment. But, I also told him that I wished I had a magic button that would disable every form of weapon in the world. You’re right … the background checks are a no-brainer just as is a ban on assault weapons. Those were designed solely for military use! But now we can turn a crowd in a church, mall, or grocery store into shreds in under a minute … and this, to me, is indefensible!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, that person represents a minority-a sizable one at that-in this country who own their weapons of war like a badge of honor. I’m like you..wish we could disable every damn firearm in the world. So sick of the destruction.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. One acquaintance told me that ultimately I would be forced to own a gun to protect myself. As I told him, if that’s what it takes to “protect” myself, then I’ll just accept my fate and let someone rot in jail for killing me. I will never, as long as I live, own or touch a firearm. Period.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Btw, I shall respond to you tomorrow, instead. To your earlier email, that is. Thought I’d be able to today. But tomorrow for sure Jill….

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Trying to be objective, and aware of the dangers of commenting on another country’s culture, but you hit the question ‘why’ and I’m still puzzled. Mass shootings are not unique to the US, but you certainly seem to have more than anywhere else. I can’t imagine you have more nutters than anywhere else, so the obvious thing is to control the guns. The US has vast areas of wilderness that the UK doesn’t have; I can understand why, in some circumstances, it may be sensible to carry a weapon. But there has to be a reason for it. Guns are fascinating; I get that. But why would you want one that actually worked? I accept you can’t ban them; but why would any reasonable person object to making sure that guns are only legally sold to someone that a) Has a reason to have one and b) Is deemed mentally stable? Interesting that you link this issue with those who are against trying to defeat Covid and save lives; we have those too. We all value our freeedoms, but there’s a kind of playground mentality about these people; if it wasn’t so dangerous, life-threatening and selfish, it would be laughable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you are weighing in my friend. I value anyone’s opinion from across the pond. You speak eloquently about our problem and you’re spot on. Someone posted on Twitter the other day how Japan deals with guns. Talk about restrictive! But frankly, I wish we were even half as restrictive as they are. I believe we could save thousands of lives with just some common-sense legislation. But as you inferred with our massive ‘rural’ areas here, it’s a hard sell for some of these people. They really do love their guns. But the real issue more than anything else: why do we need these semi-automatic weapons in the hands of our citizens? Simple answer is, we do not. But banning them will take a minor miracle. Just one of many many problems were dealing with over here friend. Thanks for the insight though, and hope to hear from you again.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head when you spoke of culture. On various forums I’ve pointed out to anti-control types that various gun control laws work, and are proven to work, all around the world. From Japan’s zero-tolerance stance, to Germany’s allowance for firearms but only of certain types (along with regular evaluations), gun control laws work. Unfortunately, anti-control types are adamant that their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment means zero restrictions on guns in any way shape or form.

    They also refuse to see that the Constitution is not infallible – it has after all been amended before. Just because it’s ‘Constitutional’, it doesn’t mean it’s right/good, and vice-versa. May I have permission to reblog this (with the note that you may get a visit from a gun-nut who pesters one of my sites)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This comment of yours: Just because it’s ‘Constitutional’, it doesn’t mean it’s right/good, and vice-versa. seems to what many in today’s government believe as they are doing all they can to override the parts they don’t like.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I speak as an outsider. I’m from the UK, where we don’t have a Constitution per see. I can’t say I’m intimately familiar with the Constitution, but given when it was written, it is always entirely relevant to the here and now?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Undoubtedly there are parts of it that would benefit from some “tweaking,” but it is the standard that the U.S. long ago determined as the document to govern by. The problem that concerns many of us state-siders is there are individuals who don’t like some parts of it and have taken it upon themselves to “alter” it — NOT by overall public/national agreement, but by their personal actions as elected representatives.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks so much for the feedback and compliment. I don’t think I’ve seen you here before but regardless, welcome! And you most certainly can re-blog the post. I welcome any gun-nut who wants to spout off to me. I’m ready for him! If he gets to crazy I can always mute him. But I’d love to hear from him. These people are militant to the core about their ‘little toys.’ I’ve had enough of them to be honest. Regulations DO work. You and I know that it does because we actually look at the facts. 400 million plus guns in America is beyond insane. I’d love to throw all of them in a big ditch and let them rot forever. I realize it’s not going to happen. But, you get the idea of where I’m coming from.
      Once again, thanks my friend. Hope to hear from you again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are a damn fool who fantasizes bout killing all gun owners yet I am the insane one for owning guns and knowing how they are the best way to protect ones self

        Like

      2. Buy as many guns as you want friend. I guess that’s your 2nd Amendment right. I don’t fantasize about killing anyone, fyi. Maybe that’s just your paranoia taking over. Good luck. Thanks for responding

        Like

      3. “400 million plus guns in America is beyond insane. I’d love to throw all of them in a big ditch and let them rot forever” You saying this to me seems like you want to throw all gun owners dead in a ditch to rot . Or at least you wish some jack boot thugs would come along and kill theses people to steal their property to satisfy your sick fantasy . Guns used property are for defense be that of ones self ones family one home / property/ and on grand scale ones town / state or nation . Nothing is so evil as denying free people the right to defend themselves. I am willing to die to protect my rights are people like you willing to kill or die to take them?

        Like

      4. Criminals, rioters, misguided Antifa / BLM activists . would be tyrants / authoritarians, Pretty much anyone seeking to do harm . Hell even toss in wild animals as well. Guns are used properly are simply for defense of ones self one family ones property and or on a grand scale ones state / nation. Bad people exist restricting private law abiding citizens from have any means of self defense in my opinion is evil . I am pro 2a to the point of private citizens being allowed any arms the military has . That means full auto squad weapons SURPLUS Tanks APC’s hell even weaponized drones. If military has it pretty much citizens should be also allowed to buy it if they can afford it even fighter jets if they are licensed to fly and can afford to store them safely at a air port .

        Like

      5. I’m beginning to think there’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek going on here …

        However, if not then I truly feel sorry for you that you live in such a frightened state of mind, worrying that “bad people” are lurking around every corner ready to strike you and your loved ones dead. (BTW, what makes YOU so special (dangerous?) that “they” would zero in on you and yours?)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I do not live in fear simply owning a carrying a gun is not done out of fear it is out of knowing bad people do exist and that me being a white male who is more liberty / right wing minded means your side has a target on my back because I will not comply or shut up about your sides bullshit.

        Like

      7. I do not think I’ve heard a more paranoid bunch of BS in my life. My friend, I know you’re serious, and that’s what makes me cringe. There are many folks out there in America who feel exactly the way you do. And it’s why we’re heading quickly down the rabbit hole of hell in this country. I don’t know what it took for you to feel the way you do, but I’m sorry for whatever happened to you in this life. I wish you no ill-will at all. I just want a life where I do not have to fear some whack job with a military style weapon might blow be away while I’m drinking my coffee, buying groceries, or anything else I might do in public. I have just as much right to my freedom to move around my community without that fear, as you do to possess a firearm. 400-500 million guns circulating in this country isn’t enough for you huh? I’m frankly disgusted with your views and suggest some anger management classes. Thanks

        Like

      8. Yeah you do wish all American gun owners ill will you wish for their property to be stole by democrat government people. AND If they refuse you would say they should die. So no pal you do wish me ill will. I have grown up in some of the most restrictive gun control places in America and the over all gun issue is not legal gun owners . It is violent criminals who either stole their guns or bought them illegally . Sometimes background checks do not catch all the bad people due to enept record keeping or outdated records. You do not have to right to not be afraid me simply walking around with a pistol should not make you fear me unless you are doing shit you should be shot for . No 400 or 500 million is not enough no limit to how many would be enough long as we as free people have a right to bear arms.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s