By now, you will have been aware of the mass shooting in a club in Florida, USA. Not for the first time on this blog, I find myself writing about the crazy gun laws in America. Despite being on a government watch list, the murderer was able to legally acquire handguns and assault rifles. And this in a country that is no stranger to mass killings with similar weapons.
Because of his ethnic background, there was initially some speculation that religion might have been a motive. However, his family are sure that it was simply that he was homophobic, and disturbed by open displays of affection by gay men. Everyone seems to be asking the wrong question. It is immaterial what his motives were, what matters is how he was able to obtain the weapons used to carry out the killing.
Americans hold dear to their right to bear arms. They quote their constitution, and in some states, accumulate hundreds of weapons in otherwise perfectly ordinary households. They teach tiny children to shoot, and often carry weapons openly; worn in their belts, or attached to racks in pick-up trucks. They have a gun culture, deep within the soul of their nation. And they pay the price for it. Not only numerous mass killings, but armed gangsters, an inordinate amount of police officers shot dead in the line of duty, as well as countless bystanders caught in the regular crossfire.
Many US citizens claim their right to own firearms as a ‘freedom’.
What about the freedom of all those killed? That doesn’t matter, it seems.