A man holds up a sign denouncing gun violence during a memorial for victims of a mass shooting at Monterey Park City Hall, California, the United States, Jan 23, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
Even though gun deaths are so common in the United States that people are becoming numb to them, the latest news of a 3-year-old girl in Texas who found a loaded gun in her home and unintentionally shot and killed her 4-year-old sister is still heartbreaking.
It is all the sadder that this is only the latest in a long litany of fatal shootings involving youngsters as either the perpetrators or the victims. Research published on March 8 on JAMA Network, a consortium of general medical and specialty publications, indicates that guns are already a main cause of youngsters' deaths in the US. While Gun Violence Archive, an online archive of gun violence incidents, recorded the deaths of 227 youngsters in the first two months of 2023. That's almost four a day.
The number of people shot on school property increased 46 percent in the US in 2022, with the number of incidents up 21 percent, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database.
When the founding fathers of the US passed the Second Amendment to the Constitution, they meant to protect US people's ability to resist any tyrant that might emerge. Two centuries later it is that Amendment itself that has become the tyrant. Its deliberate misreading by gun advocates has allowed firearms to proliferate in the US to such an extent that there are now more guns than people in the country.
Those promoting gun ownership disingenuously argue that guns make people safer. If that was the case then the US should be the world's safest country. That is palpably not the case. It is a damning indictment of the US that shootings are so frequent in the country that they are classified as mass incidents with four or more casualties or ordinary ones.
The US is a nation built on the myth of the gun. Guns are enshrined in the national psyche as the securers of the country's independence, the tamers of savages and the upholders of American values. It is a myth that demands regular sacrifices to the bullet. Sacrificial bloodlust that the arms producers and dealers deny they have any responsibility for.
Whether or not to support gun control is not about politics. It is about humanity and conscience. If there is a hell, Satan must be waving a JR-15 in one hand and an "On sale" tag in the other.