The butchery in Virginia, USA, has been a devastating rampage on the beach.
A citizen, believed to be law-abiding, went on a killing spree, gunning down no fewer than 12 people in a horrific instance of mass shooting. From that moment, Dewayne Craddock, the assailant who was killed in a shootout with security, had ceased to be “law-abiding” and the country’s Department of Homeland Security ought now to change its readymade perception.
It would be tempting to describe the outrage as the hideous manifestation of an extreme form of mental aberration. Prima facie, the prognosis can be accepted with a modified “yes”.
As with almost every shootout in the United States of America ~ during the regimes of both Donald Trump and Barack Obama ~ the killings are almost invariably rooted in the culture of the gun, embedded in the Second Amendment which gives every person the right to buy a gun for personal protection. Blurred is the line that demarcates the right to life from the monstrous power to kill, born out of the right to bear arms. Each of the 12 victims had the right to life.
The gun industry, whose operations remain unchecked, is believed to have manufactured the weapon for millions of “law-abiding” citizens. However, at the point of sale, there is no way to ascertain if the buyer is on a short fuse, has little or no control over impulse, or suffers from such psychic disorders as “anger management” or is seething with resentment.
The gun industry was always a mortal enterprise; its excesses are reaching ordinary Americans in increasing numbers. For all that, gun violence has not figured as prominently as it ought to have in the national discourse. The mass shootings from San Bernadino in California to Virginia, it is the American, quiet or otherwise, who is safe no more.
Even innocent colleagues can be vulnerable. The discourse in the rarefied ambience of the White House has never been riveted to the easy gun access that has enabled killers to commit swift and horrific slaughter of innocents. Underlying the hesitant approach of successive dispensations is the overriding anxiety not to rock the applecart of the gun industry and its political lobby.
It is, therefore, a lethal cocktail of a thriving enterprise, political clout, and indecisive Presidents. Successive administrations are yet to face up to gun violence, which kills hundreds of Americans every year.
President Trump must reflect on the hideous scenario at home, rather than bat for Boris Johnson as Britain’s next Prime Minister before stepping into Buckingham Palace. The US President can spare himself such trans-Atlantic contretemps. He should take a leaf out of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s book.