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It is time to slay the Death Beast called Gun Madness in the USA

A story on why this might be the time to hammer a stake through the heart of a beast of death that kills over 12,000 people in the USA every year
Dickson Igwe. Photo:supplied
By Dickson Igwe

Christmas was spoiled for many this December 2012. And for this lover of December, the news that innocent children continue to die at the hands of evil men has made this a month to reflect.

 It will not be the normative festive occasion for this connoisseur of all the veritable delights of the Christmas dining table. Yes, the roast pork, turkey, and beef; the tarts, mince pies, and puddings; all will give less pleasure. 

And an admonition goes out to all Virgin Islands leaders: political, judicial, social, and religious, to continue with the strong stance against illegal guns in this community. There can be no let up in the quest to free the Virgin Islands from the menace that is GUN VIOLENCE. Gun violence has robbed these islands of promising sons and daughters. Illegal guns fuel the crime problem. Guns are the tool of choice for the robber and murderer. But it is to the super power neighbour next door that this narrative focuses.

At approximately 12.15 pm, on Friday December 14, 2012, unimaginable evil visited Newtown, Connecticut. Newtown is a tiny community 60 miles from New York City in the United States. Twenty children of ages six and seven, and seven adults, were murdered in a most horrific fashion: children who had their whole lives ahead of them. Their sacred and precious lives, just beginning, were snuffed out by an evil beast.

This slaughter of the babies was as bad as the worst atrocity committed in any of the past wars of human history. The willful murder of 20 tiny innocents was a profound tragedy. It was a dagger plunged through the heart of the American conscience. The world was reminded that evil perpetrated against the most vulnerable did not take place in a war torn Syria alone. In a USA where guns are as freely available as toothpaste, murder and carnage can happen anywhere, and at anytime. In recent years, gun massacres have become a dark feature of the US culture.

At the Sandy Hook Elementary School, every parent’s worst nightmare and fear was realized. A 20 year old hate filled gunman shot his way into their child’s classroom, and systematically executed 20 little kids, including their own baby. The kids were shot at close range multiple times. Someone stated that a child is its parent’s heart beating outside their body. This single incident sent parents and siblings into a lifetime of previously unimaginable grief and sorrow. The loss of a child is a pain that never really goes away: it is a hole in the life of the mom and dad that never gets filled. The pain may recede, but it is life-long.

At a service held at the Newtown High School, on the night of Saturday December 16, 2012, President Barack Obama stated that regardless of the politics, it was time for the US to join together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies. This was essentially a declaration of war against the pro guns enthusiast, and the gun lobby. Already, parents and citizens have begun to organize for a ban against assault rifles.

Foolishly, thousands of Americans have been rushing into the stores to purchase these instruments of mass murder after Newtown: a realization that the end is near for the easy availability of this type of weapon. The President and his supporters must pass legislation making it illegal to even possess this type of gun. Let these people return their stockpiles of assault rifles to a dump to be destroyed.

The drumbeat of supporters of gun control, such as New York’s super wealthy Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and an organization called Mayors against Illegal Guns, will grow louder in the coming days, weeks, and months. The issue of gun control is now at the top of the political agenda in the USA, together with the fiscal cliff, pending public expenditure cuts, fair taxation, and related matters.

And make no mistake about it. The US President’s speech was as historic a speech as was Lyndon Baird Johnson’s declaration on Civil Rights after the assassination of John F Kennedy in November 1963. In that month and year, a newly sworn in President Johnson declared that he was going to get the Civil Rights Bill signed to ensure that Kennedy’s legacy did not die with the slain President. Barack Obama owes the dead children and their grieving parents the gift of comprehensive gun control in the USA.

Post Newtown Connecticut, the US Leader possesses the power to take on the deadly gun culture symbolized by the National Rifle Association and its high powered lobbyists. This is a power he did not possess in his previous term. Why? Because of the very reason he got re-elected in November 2012: a CHANGING US DEMOGRAPHIC. America’s changing population mural is to the benefit of the Democrats, and a growing gun control sentiment.

Political power in the nation has shifted from the South to the North East. The very constituencies the President will need, to push gun control legislation through Congress and the Senate, are the constituencies that placed the President back in the White House in November, 2012.

These are the white liberals, intellectual whites, women, blacks, Jews, Gays, Latinas, and Asians: voters not as enthusiastic about guns as their evangelical and white male southern counterparts. They may be more than willing to scalp the gun lobby, with the right motivation.

On the other hand, a significant number of white Evangelicals in the Southern states, and white blue collar males, with their love of guns, and a quasi paramilitary culture, are a critical constituency for the Republicans, and great supporters of the NRA.

Paradoxically, the very Evangelicals who love to proselytize that taking GOD out of schools is reason for social mayhem and madness, are some of the greatest lovers of this instrument of death. Theirs is a spurious and hypocritical assertion however. Some of the most peaceful communities on earth are non Christian. These self righteous Evangelicals should simply ZIP IT!

The Michael Huckabees of this world are just as bad as the global press machine. Men and women who have typically over reported this tragedy as they are paid to do, and who have as expected, simply increased the pain and sorrow of the grieving. In any event, and in the wake of Newtown Connecticut, the fangs of gun lovers have been blunted.

Fighting to protect the deathly gun culture, against a re energized gun control regime, over the coming months, will appear to be in very bad taste indeed. Like rich Republican lawmakers fighting against higher taxes for the very wealthy, it will not wash in the current political climate, especially in the aftermath of this horrific tragedy.

The main problem for the President will be Congress and its control by right wing Republicans. The President should paint the Tea Party Movement, members of Congress and the Senators who support ease of access to dangerous weapons into a tight political corner. Getting gun control legislation through, to a presidential signing, will not be easy. The gun lobby remains very powerful. But strong gun control legislation can get done.

One ray of light is a recent poll of US citizens that shows rising support for gun control in light of this latest massacre. Then a powerful pro guns Senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, was highlighted in a Reuters news story of December 17, 2012, ‘’ MORE US LAWMAKERS CONSIDER CURBING ASSAULT WEAPONS.’’

Manchin is a golden boy of the US gun industry, earning top marks as their man in the Senate. Post the Newtown, Massacre, even this gun enthusiast stated that, ‘’ the availability of high powered weapons does not make sense, ‘’ and called on the gun lobby to cooperate with a reform of the nation’s gun laws. This assertion coming from the mouth of a major and powerful supporter of the US gun culture was indeed an eye opener. Gun ownership is no longer as sexy as it once appeared. Yes, the MONSTER that is GUN MADNESS has been fed by the US gun culture for decades. On Friday December 14, 2012, it demonstrated its vile and evil nature by devouring America’s innocent children.

There could be a trickledown effect. Dealing with the powerful gun lobby could be the beginning of a greater war against illegal weapons. Illegal guns are the weapon of choice for the Black and Latina gangster and criminal. This has created a culture of death in United States inner city areas. One tragic example is Chicago. In that city, in the past 36 months, 270 children have been killed by guns, mostly black children.

But even in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, with scores of gun deaths every year, a new determination by US law enforcement to get these weapons off the streets will save lives. And this will be a boost to local Caribbean police forces that have to deal with the smuggling of illegal arms through highly porous borders by criminals and drug dealers.

Pearl Harbour was the catalyst that turned the tide in the Pacific in World War Two, ending with the smashing of the Japanese imperial war machine in 1945. In 1955, Rosa Park’s refusal to hand over her seat to a white was the beginning of Civil Rights for blacks in the US. September 911 began the US war against Moslem fundamentalist fanatics and terrorists, epitomized by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda in the Middle East and North Africa; a deadly conflict turning counter insurgency into a new military art, with the use of unmanned drones that penetrate the heart of a deadly foe, and powerful warriors who chameleon like meld with the enemy before slitting their throats.

NEWPORT CONNECTICUT marks another historical turning point. December 14, 2012, was a day of terrible tragedy that saw the murder of 20 innocent little children in their classroom in the United States. This was a narrative which stated publicly that no child is safe in the USA. It will mark the beginning of America’s determination to deal with the gun cancer devouring too many vulnerable citizens. Inevitably, a national memorial and shrine will be erected to these innocent victims. That structure will become the symbol of a new America: an America that has at last got over its foolish dalliance with death.

And if that is the case, the 26 will be true martyrs in the cause for a safer America. They will never be forgotten.

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