When a national disaster happens in a certain country, government leaders from all over the world call the head of state of that country to personally condole him/her and wish his/her fellow countrymen all the best with going through the painful mourning process.
This was exactly what happened in the aftermath of the MH17 disaster in The Netherlands and – a few weeks ago – after the Paris’ terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of about 130 people.
There are, however, a few countries for which the global government leaders don’t even bother to call anymore, when incidents with more than five or ten casualties occur.
Just for the simple reason that bloody incidents and mass shootings are an everyday reality in these countries. Calling after every bloody incident would simply mean that the global government leaders would need to have a 24x7 hotline with such countries, as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Honduras and... the United States.
While countries like the first five (i.e. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Honduras) have a extremely violent recent history of (civil) wars or drugs- and gang-related violence, the United States is a. “the policeman of the world” and b. one of the most successful, democratic and wealthy countries of the last 500 years.
Yet, there is a Second Civil War going on in the United States. A bloody war which claims thousands and thousands of victims annually each and every year: for instance in 2013 a total of 33,169 deaths related to firearms (excluding firearm deaths due to legal intervention).
The Second Civil War is a civil war between:
- Criminals and innocent citizens and/or law enforcement officers, who cross their path at the wrong time and place;
- Gang members and innocent children/teenagers, who just happen to live in the wrong ‘hood;
- Desperate or intrinsically violent husbands (wives) and their scared wives (husbands) and children;
- Serial killers and psychopats and their victims;
- Frustrated citizens and their adversaries of the moment;
- Motorgangs and other motorgangs;
- Adolescents ‘gone of the right path’ and their co-students, teachers and professors, who coincidentally go to the same school or university;
- 5 year old infants and 3 year old toddlers;
- 3 year old toddlers and 5 year old infants;
- Boys who play ‘cowboys and indians’ with real firearms, which were accidentally present and in loaded condition under the pillows of their parents’ bed;
- Semi-military and excessively armed law enforcement officers and everybody who stands in their way at the wrong moment;
- And sometimes even police agents and unarmed representatives of minorities.
And everytime when such a bloody incident with more than one casualty occurs, right-wing politicians are mumbling their steady, favorite mantras:”guns don’t kill people” or “this would not have happened when their victims would also have carried firearms”. Unless of course the shooter was a cop...
As if an average American university is the "OK Corral" and the average student is Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday, who wants to shoot himself a position in the national history books...
When the latter mantra would indeed be true, it would mean that there should be much more casualties during mass shootings in Europe.
Except... for the simple fact that there are much less “fruitcakes” carrying firearms in Europe, which consequently makes mass shootings in Europe an extremely rare phenomenon.
We have had Anders Breivik in Norway, as well as a certain number of other mass shootings on universities in Germany and Finland, plus – of course – our share of gang and drug-related violence, which is actually a global problem for which Europe is not immune at all.
Yet, in no European country the domestic situation with firearm-related violence is anywhere near the American situation. Really!
|Infographic of US mass shootings during 2015|
Picture courtesy of NRC
Click to enlarge
Of course, the United States’ citizens are fully entitled to practice their rights, administered to them on behalf of the Second Amendment. Be my guest!
Yet, they should understand that almost all Europeans look at all the US (mass) shootings in ‘shock and awe’, flabbergasted as they are out of sheer disbelief; both about the outrageous day-to-day violence on display and the total civic and political ignorance for it, with on top of that the publicly displayed allegiance to the Second Amendment that often accompanies such events.
Unless... the perpetrators of the gun-related violence are radicalized Muslims of course; like last week in San Bernardino. Then all the GOP-members and some Democrats – who firmly assumed the ostrich position during all the other (mass) shootings and firearm-related incidents – jump into action and set enhanced visa regulations for all visitors from ‘suspicious’ countries, while some others even try to prohibit all Muslims to enter the US.
The reason for this seemingly erratic behaviour is that there are clearly two categories of gun-related violence in the United States:
- Violence coming from domestic, ‘all-American’ sources, which supposedly is accepted by the average American citizen and should on top of it act as a ‘trigger’ for buying and carrying even more firearms than the average American already does (and with in average one handgun or rifle per American citizen, this is obviously quite a lot already);
- Violence coming from foreign or non-Christian, religious sources, which is called ‘terror’ and – as a consequence - scares everybody sh*tless and therefore calls for stringent counter-measures from both political sides of the spectrum.
But hey, this is actually quite normal, isn’t it?!
Of course, I am just a silly European who writes a crappy piece of article on a subject that Americans themselves know best. So please don’t take my word for it.
Yet, I don’t want to see those approximately 33,000 casualties again in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and in many other years in a row.
I don’t want to be a witness anymore in that Second Civil War in the United States that never seems to come to an end. I do care for all those people being murdered and I don’t want to see several hundreds of thousands of American lives being ended prematurely during the next twenty-odd years.
So, if you don’t want to waive your Second Amendment rights to carry firearms, please redeem us Europeans then from American footage of desperate and angry people and crying children in Detroit or crying students at schools and universities all over the United States, after their friends and/or relatives have been shot to death.
And redeem us from footage of universities which are better protected against gun-related violence than European prisons are.
Redeem us from the stories of toddlers and infants accidently shooting their brothers, sisters and parents.
Redeem us from trigger-happy police officers, who shoot black people ‘out of self-defence’ with at least 16 bullets, ‘because they did something very suspicious’...
And redeem us from the fairytale that ‘guns don’t kill people’.
We Europeans simply can’t stand it and we can’t understand it anymore...