Was the Orlando shooting worth it for the freedom to carry a gun? Many of my fellow Americans seem to think so

Nowhere else on Planet Earth would a mass shooting encourage scores of worried parents to stock up on shotguns from Walmart

Nash Riggins
Monday 13 June 2016 16:02
comments

It’s happened again – just like we all knew it would. Already, the drums of war are beating. Pig-headed sadists are pointing fingers at Islam, human rights activists are mournfully reminding us of deep-seeded sociological bigotry and ‘thoughts and prayers’ are kindly circulating from across the globe. But none of it means a damn thing.

Never mind hate crimes. Forget religious radicalisation, and stop with all the prayers. On Saturday night, 50 human beings were mercilessly gunned down in cold blood by one complete and utter lunatic. Plenty more are still fighting for their lives – and you know what? It was all totally preventable.

Growing up in America, I never really spared a thought for the dangers of gun ownership. After all, when you’re completely immersed in a culture that’s ingrained with such a foolish sense of entitlement, you don’t know any better. Yet as the world continues to shrink and I welcome my second child into the world, it makes me physically sick to watch politicians and everyday Americans try and repeatedly rationalise acts of mass murder.

Nowhere else on Planet Earth would a mass shooting encourage scores of worried parents to stock up on shotguns from Walmart. Nowhere else would it lead for calls to bomb another country, or declare war on an entire religion. But then again, nowhere else on the planet is it so frightfully simple for someone to legally purchase their own, little weapon of mass destruction.

And therein lies the problem.

It doesn’t matter if you’re purchasing a semi-automatic weapon with the best of intentions (whatever they may be), and it doesn’t matter if you’re doing it just to feel safe. Americans have got to realise that every time they actively perpetuate their country’s ridiculously skewed interpretation of an archaic, colonial-era document, they become part of the problem.

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution clearly outlines the right of all Americans to own a weapon. But that particular piece of legislature was created in a time of immense instability – when the country’s fragile new government needed to ensure that every man, woman and child would be free to defend American soil in the event of some sort of large-scale attack.

Fast-forward two centuries, and America has got the most powerful standing army on the planet. We don’t need bakers or child soldiers to take up arms and defend our farmland – so what in the name of hell are people doing now to vindicate their outdated constitutional right to blast each other into oblivion?

They go hunting four times a year. They drive out to Uncle Pete’s farm at the weekend to unload some shotgun shells, or hit a firing range to cool off after a tough day in the office. Maybe they just can’t soundly sleep at night without knowing there’s a rusty old revolver that they’ll never use buried somewhere in the bedroom closet.

Are those privileges really worth more than the lives of 50 innocent people? The disgusting thing is that a lot of Americans would tell you their constitutional right to bear arms is 100 per cent worth dying for. Well, those individuals are more than welcome to go off and die for it, but I’d rather not.

Because right now it’s everybody else who’s paying the price for this nonsensical, legislative defence of mass murder – and bullets don’t discriminate. Gay men, black churchgoers, white teenagers, famous singers, off-duty soldiers and regular Joes are all getting gunned down every single day. How many people are going to have to die before we finally admit this doesn’t quite add up? How long before we can raise our hands and admit the solution to this problem is crystal clear?

America needs to implement serious gun control measures. It’s time to drop this sick act of self-entitlement and do what’s right for future generations. It’s time to support human life over archaic legislature. But most important of all, it’s time for Americans to stand together and demand real change.

Until they do, this is going to keep happening – and it’s only going to get worse.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments