It does not matter how poor or rich a family may be, anywhere in the world: it is impossible not to derive great joy from watching and experiencing the love for life of 5- to 12-year-olds. This is the great age of discovery – at this age a child can talk, laugh, cry, sing, shout, scream, and above all, usually tell it as it is, to anyone! They play all the time!
Usually, at this age, most children love school. School is a place they go to play, and learn through playing, with their friends and teachers. Sadly, last Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States of America, 19 children and two teachers were shot dead, 17 other people were wounded, by 18-year-oldSalvador Ramos. I feel and suffer the pain with the parents in Uvalde who have so tragically lost their little ones and their two teachers.
It is said that Salvador Ramos, born in North Dakota, was bullied in school for a stutter and lisp, and he frequently got into fist fights with classmates. He apparently had few friends and kept to himself and often missed class. He made posts on social media about guns, including posting images of his two legally purchased semi-automatic rifles just three days before the attack on Robb Elementary. He first shot his grandmother before driving to the elementary school, where he committed the horror that will torture many for ever.
It is the unimaginable horror the children and their teachers endured during it all which is haunting me. I am struggling to push out the images and thoughts from my mind of what the little ones and their teachers experienced, during the horrific ordeal. Something inside me tells me it is wrong for me to struggle to force these images out of my mind: I must compel myself to imagine every second of the harrowing moments they all suffered, before the police shot dead the killer. I refuse to join the mass psychology that demands we all “recover quickly, forgive, and move on”. Why did it happen?
I want to understand what causes such bad things in the United States of America. I am not satisfied with the police, the politicians, the gun manufacturers, the gun lobby, and the psychologists and psychiatrists – all offering fragments of disjointed reasons, facts, and possible solutions from their standpoints to this kind of unique violence and of course usual condolences. Because this kind of horrific violence is endemic to the United States of America only, none of the explanations and possible solutions advanced so far are convincing.
Is gun control, better and more efficient policing, and lifting up the moral fibre of US society the set of solutions to this kind for violence? I don’t think so. Gun controls do exist in the US. The US already has one of the largest law enforcement and sophisticated crime surveillance apparatus of any country in the world, far superior than that of China in fact. Aided by advanced communication technologies, a vast network of universities, a large advanced private security sector and a federal government establishment with unlimited power to manufacture US dollars, none of the ideas and proposals on offer about how to tackle gun violence and mass shootings in the US seem to confront the real roots and causes of this kind of violence, in the US.
President of the US, Joe Biden, says “these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world.” He recognises that people in other countries “have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost,” somehow such killings “never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?” Many people in the whole world are asking the same question: “Why do such killings happen so frequently in the United States of America but not anywhere else?”
Estimates suggest 214 mass shootings have taken place during the first five months of this year. Nine of these shootings have taken place in the past twelve days in nine different states in the US. Across the US more than 17,000 people have died in incidents involving gun violence so far this year, from estimated 7, 600 homicides and 9, 600 suicides. The US seems to be a country at war with itself, using private firearms.
Joe Biden had barely landed from the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), (sometimes erroneously written QUAD despite not being an acronym) – a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States aimed at countering Chinese power and influence in the Pacific region. The “strategic security dialogue” is about military co-operation in the region between the four countries, against China. Biden made this trip shortly after boosting NATO and EU unity against what is increasingly becoming impossible to refute as the US war in Ukraine against Russia. In fact, the US is now considering arming Ukraine with lethal long range missile launchers, which Ukraine could easily use to target Russian territory.
At the beginning of this year the US withdrew rather very chaotically and in a most humiliating manner from Afghanistan, where it had been waging a war whose initial objectives for going to war were long. Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemeni are all theatres of war the US has poured billions of US dollars, guns, bombs and in which together more than a million people have died.
The pandemic has seen both the number and wealth of US billionaires grow quite massively, as millions of ordinary US citizens struggled with the virus, unemployment, hunger and general poverty. Inequalities grew, in the US and the pandemic has claimed more than a million lives. Drug overdose, mental illnesses and motor vehicle traffic accidents cause large numbers of deaths and leave behind trauma and long-term tragic impacts.
America is the land of the brave, a land of dreams and opportunity, for the individual willing, it seems, and not afraid, to pursue money, own and deploy the gun, unafraid of war; all in pursuit of private wealth, private profits. This potent combination of money, guns, war and capitalism has made America the current almost unchallenged world superpower. The right to bear arms is a constitutional right, for every American. Salvador Ramos, 18 years old, bought himself two powerful rifles for himself, as soon as he turned 18, the ripe age for owning a gun.
Could it just be possible that the gun violence at home in the US which is intrinsic to the individual struggle to compete and accumulate wealth, the same violence which the US exports abroad as war, contains the true solution to the mass shootings endemic only to the US? The origins and roots of the US lie not so deeply buried in the violent land expropriation and near extermination of the native populations and the slave trade in Africans the Europeans who fled Europe and settled in what today is the US carried out. The need to bear firearms in such a situation is self-evident. One has to protect his loot by whatever means available, including the death of a competitor.
More than 200 years after the gun aided violent creation of the US, the US has successfully exported its money, guns, wars and capitalism almost throughout the world. The soft hypocritical cover for the spread of the power of money, guns, wars and capitalism is that this is “liberty, democracy and freedom” – the freedom to bear arms in pursuit of wealth.
Each mass shooting has its own unique reasons for what triggers it. But, as Joe Biden, President of the US says, the US seems to be unique in having this frequency of mass shootings. It is time not only for the US but the whole world, to choose a new world without money, guns, wars and capitalism! All these four have not always existed. They have been created by human beings at a particular time, in human history. They can, and will, disappear.
Humanity owes it to the beautiful school children and their teachers of Uvalde in Taxes and all those before them all over the world who have lost their lives to guns and bombs, not to block out the mental visions of how the little ones suffered as they were shot at, until we truthfully answer Joe Biden’s question: “Why?”! To block this vision is to yield to the power of money, guns, war and capitalism.
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