In the first few weeks of 2023, some 69 people were killed in 39 separate mass shootings in this country. The shooters were ages 6 to 72.
The US had 648 mass shootings in 2022. All male. In more civilized countries it’s one and done.
When a British gunman killed 16 people in 1987, that country banned semiautomatic weapons.
When a shooter killed 35 people in Australia in 1996, the country instituted a gun buyback program that result in close to a million firearms being melted down.
When a shooter killed 50 Muslims in New Zealand in 2019, the country banned military-style assault weapons. Support for the ban was nearly universal. Even in gun sick America support for an assault weapon ban runs about 60 percent.
When a shooter killed 13 people in Nova Scotia in 2020, Canada banned more than 1,500 assault weapons.
It’s just a matter of time before it happens here in Maine.
Maine and New Hampshire have the lowest rates of firearm homicides in the country, but even they are five times higher than European countries. The US has become a third-world country comparable to Central and South America. Mass shootings have been normalized in this country.
If the U.S. were ever going to do anything serious about gun violence, it would have acted after the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, when a mentally ill young man slaughtered 20 little children and six of their teachers (as well as his own mother and himself) with a Bushmaster XM-15, a weapon originally developed and manufactured in Windham, Maine. But rather than enacting meaningful gun control, our sicko country just made it easier to buy and carry guns.
What we need to do to stem the gun violence in this country is pretty obvious. We need to ban assault weapons, large magazines, handmade ghost guns and bumpstocks that turn semiautomatic weapons into fully automatic weapons. We need to require universal background checks, gun owner education and gun insurance. We need to confiscate guns from abusive husbands, boyfriends and fathers. And, in a move that every gun nut fears most, we need a federal registry of all guns.
But we are not going to do any of these things. Why? Because the NRA, GOP and SCOTUS will do everything in their powers to prevent gun control.
Even the justices who call themselves originalists ignore the fact that the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was to arm citizens to defend the country. Now rightwing whackos argue that the 2nd Amendment exists so citizens can overthrow their own government.
Even relatively reasonable politicians are part of the problem of gun violence. Sen. Susan Collins was once virtually owned by the owner of Bushmaster. She was never going to enact real gun control. Sen. Angus King actually voted against restoring an assault weapon ban back in 2013. And the only reason Rep. Jared Golden is in office is that he is a combat veteran who votes against gun control.
It is simply no longer possible to enact reasonable laws because so many political and opinion leaders in this country twist the truth beyond recognition, liars like Donald Trump, George Santos and Alex Jones, the rightwing conspiracy nut who has been ordered to pay $1 billion to the parents of children killed at Sandy Hook for spreading the sick and vicious lie that Sandy Hook never happened.
Gun control? Never happened.
Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.