SAN DIEGO — Imagine you’re the parent of an 8- to 11-year-old elementary school child. A week ago, you were planning to visit a national park during summer vacation. But then your life was destroyed by a horrific act of violence. And now, instead, you plan to visit a local funeral home and pick out a miniature coffin.
This nightmare was brought to you by American gun culture, whose appetite for pain and loss is insatiable.
We Americans really love our guns, don’t we? In fact, with 77 children killed in school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012 – where 26 people were fatally shot, including 20 children aged 6 at 7 – you could say we love our guns to death.
All those boys and girls are gone. But do not worry. In this country of ours, the spirit of John Wayne lives on.
As the son of a cop, guns were part of my childhood. And when I grew up, I was never addicted. I never understood what I consider to be an unhealthy fascination with guns.
I know grown men who don’t pay child support, but they’ll buy an AR-15 military-style assault rifle for $1,200 – then come back a few weeks later and buy another one to complete the set.
You want to talk about mental illness. There is a psychosis in this country about how guns are viewed, and those who store them have misunderstood it.
Meanwhile, Mexican-Americans are so assimilated into the Yankee Doodle Dandy culture of the United States that some of them have also been swept up in this demented love affair.
But do we Americans love our guns more than we love our children? What about other people’s children?
People like the good people of Uvalde, Texas, a small town of about 16,000 people – 79% of whom are Latino – whose collective hearts are broken. This is where you’ll find Robb Elementary School, America’s newest mass crime scene. This is where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos – armed with an automatic handgun and a high-powered rifle – allegedly shot and killed 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday after allegedly shooting his own grandmother in the face .
Mark your calendars, friends. Something remarkable came from the tragedy.
Some of the right-wing media darlings – a cohort that likes to tell the rest of us to “get over it” and not be so easily offended – have found something they find offensive and can’t get over: the suggestion that their servitude devotion to the National Rifle Association makes them indifferent to the slaughter of children, if a high-impact firearm does the slaughter.
One conservative who was injured was podcaster and radio host Ben Shapiro. By the way, this is the same Ben Shapiro who likes to taunt his audience: “Facts don’t care about your feelings.”
On May 24, the day of the carnage, Shapiro posted a tweet calling it “morally wrong” the implication that those who oppose more gun laws are “somehow in favor of mass shootings”. The next day, in another tweet, Shapiro said it was “grossly dishonest” for anyone to say that those who oppose gun laws “don’t care enough about children being killed.”
Others on the right were sparked by President Joe Biden’s heartfelt remarks at the White House on Tuesday night, in which he tapped into his one and only superpower. As Empathizer-In-Chief, Biden feels the pain of the country. In this case, he knows what it’s like to be a member of that special club no one wants to join – parents who had to bury a child. Biden buried two children, daughter Naomi and son Beau.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson was so disturbed by Biden’s comments that he accused the president of “profaning the memory of recently murdered children with Democratic Party-weary talking points, dividing the country into a moment of deep pain rather than uniting”.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham was also injured. She called Biden’s remarks “despicable” and said they reflected “selfish” politics. Ingraham said the president was aiming “to exploit the slaughter of innocent little children in order to try to unseat (his) own sagging pollsters.”
Such lovely people. I certainly had no intention of hurting their feelings. Who even knew they had feelings to hurt?