Aafter a week of mass shootings, one after another after another, California is hit.
Firstly, six family members in the rural community of Glen Central in Co Goshan. Among the victims, shot in the head, was a sixteen-year-old and her infant child. Then, a gunman killed 11 people and injured nine others celebrating Chinese New Year at a dance studio in Monterey Park, near downtown Los Angeles. A day later, a disgruntled employee shot up two mushroom farms in a picturesque coastal town Half Moon Bay, barely half an hour out of San Francisco. Later that night, another gunshot killed one person and wounded seven others Oak Country.
Four mass shootings in a row, and this is in a state with some of the toughest gun laws in the country. California has universal background checks, laws aimed at taking guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence, red flag laws that allow police to confiscate weapons from those deemed a serious danger to themselves or for others, waiting periods for gun purchases, and a variety of other gun control measures.
Last year, the California legislature passed a bill, SB 1327, based on a Texas law that allowed private citizens to sue anyone who helped a woman obtain an abortion. California’s version allows private citizens to sue people involved in the manufacture and distribution of automatic weapons and ghost guns, both of which are banned in California. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in July.
This year, legislators pushing measures intended to make it easier to take guns away from those who pose a public risk, and to raise taxes on gun manufacturers.
After the shooting, Governor Newsom said that the fetishization of the Second Amendment was on the rise. “a suicide pact.” He is right. So, too, was Vice President Kamala Harriswhen she traveled to Monterey Park and asked Congress to enact an assault weapons ban.
But the current Supreme Court and the current GOP-majority House of Representatives—for all their lack of pro-life support—are less likely to give up even the smallest gun control laws. they are, say, supporting sweeping voting rights legislation or efforts to make it easier for workplaces to unionize.
Pro-gun extremists wasted no time in capitalizing on the latest wave of killings. Many immediately took to the airwaves to mock California and gun control advocates for trying to think that limiting certain types of gun ownership could save lives. But the arguments were completely mendacious. Indeed, despite the recent spate of mass shootings, According to the CDC, California has the seventh lowest gun death rate in the country, with 8.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. That compares to Texas, which has 14.2 gun deaths per 100,000; or Mississippi, which has 28.6 extraordinary gun deaths per 100,000; or Alabama, which has 23.6; or Louisiana, which has 26.3. In fact, almost every state that proclaims the sanctity of human life when it comes to abortion has such a lack of the most basic gun control laws that they willingly sacrifice thousands of lives a year to violence guns, and that they accept thousands more. shooters will be permanently damaged and condemned to live in pain and disability for the rest of their lives.
California’s gun control laws do work to limit the number of gun deaths each year, but even such a powerful state cannot make this particular rise alone. California’s efforts to limit the presence of weapons of war on its streets do not stop all acts of mass violence not because the laws are fundamentally flawed but because the political leadership of so much of the rest of the country, supported by conservative judges, idolizes ownership gun and makes it incredibly easy for anyone – including disgruntled, angry, violent, possibly mentally ill Californians – to go into gun stores and buy battlefield-type weapons that they can then return to their bloody home communities.
In 1971, the Uruguayan writer and voice of conscience Eduardo Galeano published Latin American Open Championships, in which he detailed centuries of exploitation and bloodshed by a ruthless elite who did not give a damn about the lives destroyed under their rule. What would Galeano, who died in 2015, make of this current moment in the US? What would he have written about a society of enormous wealth and resources whose political and judicial elites have not only turned a blind eye to the massive violence being perpetrated on their streets, but are now awakening and expanding a culture a gun guaranteed to make that violence worse?
What will the Galeanos of the future say about our present, when “pro-life” politicians propose draconian prison sentences for doctors who terminate the pregnancies of desperate women, but allow murderers to shoot themselves without so much? background check or waiting period or licensing requirement? What will religious scholars say hundreds of years from now about those who are preaching, in the name of God, against the right to privacy, against the right to sexual choice, against the right to reproductive freedom, but against the sacred right and impossible to buy weapons designed to speed up the mass killing process only?
Somehow, from here in California, after a week of mass shootings, the word “hypocrisy” seems woefully inadequate to describe the gun-toting, gun-worshiping politicians and judges whose lack of action on basic gun control measures is responsible for so much blame. These shootings, so horrific yet so common, are a symbol of America’s shame. We say we are exceptional. How right we are, at least when it comes to mass shootings. No other western democracy has such a crazy relationship with weapons, and, unsurprisingly, no other western democracy has ever had a mass spat. This is not rocket science. Simply put, inaction on gun control is an underpayment for further acts of wholesale destruction that are utterly senseless and unpreventable.