Emigrating to America? Beware, they like their guns

In the land of the free, you’re most likely to die from random gun violence than from an attack by an enemy nation.

It’s only four months into 2021, yet six mass shootings have already occurred including Thursday night’s incident at an Indianapolis FedEx facility.

On April 15, eight people were killed after 19-year-old Brandon Scot Hole opened fire at the FedEx facility where he used to work.

Four others who were shot and another who was injured were taken to hospitals. Hole was believed to have shot himself, making the hunt for his motive difficult.

At 19, his peers around the world are slugging it out through college, making Instagram videos or becoming TikTok stars.

The nature of these mass casualty events does not make anyone immune.

In January, the fuse blew up in 32-year-old Jason Nightengale’s head and he began a shooting rampage.

Read Also: Gender-based violence: Oyo records 692 cases, to scale up prosecution of offenders

He shot a man sitting inside a car in a parking garage in the Hyde Park neighbourhood of Chicago. 10 minutes later, he capped a security guard in a nearby apartment building, before shooting a 77-year-old woman in the head as she collected her mail. Then he stole a car at gunpoint, entered a store to rob it, and shot a 20-year-old man just for the heck of it.

The mass shootings this year mostly followed this pattern, wanton killings without rhyme or reason. In each case, the police struggle to find a discernible motive that raises the risk for everyone, both citizen and immigrant.

Last year alone, over 20,000 people were killed in gun violence in the United States.

To understand the implication of this data, consider that in the country’s longest-running war in Afghanistan, now in its second decade, only 2,300 soldiers have been killed.

To keep the world’s finest fighting force equipped, the United States spent a mind-boggling $721.5 billion last year – which is over 30 percent of the GDP of the entire 54 African countries – but hasn’t figured out a way to fund the programmes that would keep guns away from unstable people.

Last year, data by Gun Violence Archives, an online archive of gun violence incidents, showed that 24,156 people shot themselves to death. This brings the number of those who died by homicide, murder, unintentional shootings, suicide or by the hands of the police to over 43,549 in one calendar year.

The world’s most powerful nation has put a man on the moon, flown people across oceans in the first airplane, created the internet bringing worlds together, and brought the world a cell phone, but can’t figure out how to keep guns away from criminals and the mentally challenged.

The United States of America need not fight an enemy nation to record the number of casualties being reported – few nations can withstand its might. But Americans are doing the job far better than any enemy nation.

“It is a national embarrassment, what’s going on,” President Joe Biden said in a news conference on Friday.

The US president has called for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, urging Congress to pass bills that would end loopholes in background checks following the recent spate of shootings.

“And it’s not only these mass shootings that are occurring. Every single day, every single day, there’s a mass shooting in the United States if you count all those who are killed out on the streets of our cities and our rural areas. It’s a national embarrassment and must come to an end,” Biden said.

But this is not an easy task. The right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.

While Democrats have called for stricter gun control measures following these shootings, their Republican counterparts interpret any action to keep guns away from anyone as infringing on this constitutional right.

“The President has been an advocate for gun safety measures… and 90 percent of the public supports universal background checks; that’s something the Senate should be able to move forward on,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said.

A recent poll of more than 500 American adults by Ipsos on Friday and Saturday found that two-thirds of respondents said reducing gun violence by enacting new laws should be prioritized over protecting the right to own a “wide variety” of guns, but that includes more than 90 percent of Democrats and only one in three Republicans.