After hearing about the Chicago shooting last week in which 13 were injured in Cornell Square Park, including a three-year-old, I and writer Mikki Kendall, both Chicago residents, had very different reactions. It’s “not just the park incident,” Kendall told me by email. “20 people were shot this weekend. People are being shot almost daily. And I have a 14 year-old son who can’t go to the McDonald’s in Hyde Park at lunch because the school has noticed an uptick in crime at that location.”
I was depressed and horrified, too — but depressed and horrified in the way that you are when you hear about gun violence anywhere. Unlike Kendall, I wasn’t directly concerned about the safety of my family.
Based on our reactions, you’d think that Kendall lived much closer to the shooting than I do. But that’s not the case. In fact, we’re both in Hyde Park, about 4 miles away from where it occurred on the city’s South Side. I can walk to the McDonald’s she mentioned.
So why does Kendall feel personally targeted and I don’t? Well, Kendall is black and grew up here; I’m white, and didn’t.
In other words, welcome to Chicago, where segregation is almost a civic art form.
Read more. [Image: stopchicago.org]
Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries; in every other country, the gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.
The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children. They have made a clear moral choice: that the comfort and emotional reassurance they take from the possession of guns is, placed in the balance even against the routine murder of innocent children, of supreme value. Whatever satisfaction gun owners take from their guns—we know for certain that there is no prudential value in them—is more important than children’s lives. Give them credit: life is making moral choices, and that’s a moral choice, clearly made.
All of that is a truth, plain and simple, and recognized throughout the world. At some point, this truth may become so bloody obvious that we will know it, too. Meanwhile, congratulate yourself on living in the child-gun-massacre capital of the known universe."
People argue that we obviously need better gun control. It’s hard to reasonably counter a statement like, “If fewer people had guns, there would be fewer people shooting them.” What if there were no guns? We’d find other ways to kill each other, sure, but the scope and scale would be different. But this is not a post about gun control, it’s about the hopelessness and powerlessness we feel in the wake of these instances. Guns are a means by which we make it easier to hurt each other. We should make it harder to hurt each other; we should also figure out why we do that stuff in the first place. That’s really difficult though, maybe impossible, so instead we rage about idiot legislation or lack thereof; we rage about the “politicizing” of issues that, of course, are political issues to start with. Pro-gun people become even more firmly entrenched and defensive and sure of “rights”; anti-gun people can’t understand why they don’t see what appears pure fact. Could we all just please stop shooting each other?
Read more. [Image: AP]
Having flattened so many laws (and a good many innocents) in pursuit of the terrorist, the American majority is naturally loath to focus its attention on a terrorist who looks, talks, and dresses as they do. It is particularly uncomfortable for those in the country who feel most reflexively safe when “an American” is beside them on a plane, instead of a bearded man with a turban. Watching Oak Creek, that subset of Americans was put in a position to realize that a day prior they’d have identified with the terrorist more than his victims.
And so they quickly looked away."
In 2008, the U.S. had over 12 thousandfirearm-related homicides. All of Japan experienced only 11, fewer than were killed at the Aurora shooting alone. And that was a big year: 2006 saw an astounding two, and when that number jumped to 22 in 2007, it became a national scandal. For each non-suicide, gun-related death in Japan, there are over 50 Americans killed by accidental discharge of a firearm.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
According to Germany’s Der Spiegel, German police shot only 85 bullets in all of 2011, a stark reminder that not every country is as gun-crazy as the U.S. of A. As Boing Boing translates, most of those shots weren’t even aimed anyone: “49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed.” […]
Meanwhile, in the U.S., where the population is little less than four times the size of Germany’s, well, we can get to 85 in just one sitting, thank you very much. 84 shots fired at one murder suspect in Harlem, another 90 shot at one fleeing unarmed man in Los Angeles. And that was just April.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]