This week's Irish Voice editorial: "The ability of 18-year-olds to purchase killing machines must be ended."
Irish Voice Editorial
“Do something,” stricken citizens of Uvalde, Texas urged President Joe Biden as he met on Sunday with grieving families of the 21 who died in the latest killer gunman abomination.
Alas, easier said than done due to the callousness of the Republican Party in refusing to enact laws that would take automatic rifles away from Americans for once and for all, which is what any sane country would do.
Back in 1994, there was a ban on assault rifles that lasted for 10 years, and mass shootings such as the atrocities we’ve recently endured in Uvalde and Buffalo were way down.
But nonsensical Republicans ensured the ban would not be continued at the behest of the National Rifle Association (NRA), whose controversial CEO Wayne LaPierre has become infamous for, among other reasons, shooting and missing an injured elephant from feet away during a hunting trip to Africa in 2013.
As The New Yorker reported, “After LaPierre’s first shot wounded the elephant, guides brought him a short distance from the animal, which was lying on its side, immobilized. Firing from point-blank range, LaPierre shot the animal three times in the wrong place.”
This is the guy GOP leaders bow down to, a man lavishly compensated who couldn’t hit the largest land mammal with an assault rifle from 10 feet.
”Do something” is the same cry that was heard after the 2012 Sandy Hook slaughter when 20 first-graders and six adults were killed and, more recently, at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida in 2018 where 17 were killed, 14 high schoolers and three staff members.
There are striking similarities between all three shooters – Adam Lanza in Sandy Hook, Nikolas Cruz in Stoneman, and Salvador Ramos in Uvalde. All were loners, rejected by women, powerless young men who decided to carry out the outrageous act of killing school children in order to transmit their message of hate and utter indifference to human life.
All three had assault rifles with bullets capable of traveling three times the speed of sound and exploding when they hit soft tissue. They are battlefield weapons.
In two of the cases, Stoneman and Uvalde, the police and local authorities' actions received widespread scrutiny.
In Florida, the armed security guard stayed outside the building even when the shots were ringing out. The “Code Red” message was not broadcast to all pupils because staff could not decide who had the authority to issue it.
In Uvalde, a complete lack of leadership has become disgustingly apparent. A schoolteacher left a door unlocked.
The manual says you must pursue the shooter even if there are injured bodies lying about. Capturing or killing the perpetrator is the only priority.
Instead, 19 police officers in Uvalde waited for word that came far too late. There is no doubt kids died during the almost one hour that law enforcement dithered. The little girl who called 911 exhibited more bravery and awareness than any of the officers outside the door.
It all starts with social media. Each of the killers subscribed to sites that advocated violence.
The social media companies cannot hide anymore from their responsibilities. There should be massive monitoring of such sites and action taken if threats are issued.
The ability of 18-year-olds to purchase killing machines must be ended. Vice President Kamala Harris made an impassioned plea to restore the ban on selling AR-15s at the funeral of an 86-year-old Black woman in Buffalo where another shooter deliberately sought out Black people, killing 10 and injuring three.
A ban on sales of AR-15s is what any sensible government would do. Alas, we are not in that category in America.
Meanwhile, the blood of innocent children and civilians continues to be shed.
*This editorial first appeared in the June 1 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.