In the aftermath of the senseless mass shooting Sunday night at a country music festival in Las Vegas, you can bet your ass that the National Rifle Association will soon be assuring the nation that if only the concert-goers had been toting guns, fewer people would have gotten killed. The NRA will gloss over the whole “shooter was 32 floors above and well out of pistol range” thing.
Monday was just another morning in the NRA’s United States, and at least 59 people are dead and over 500 wounded in the worst mass shooting in American history.
The previous record-holder was a mere 477 days before the Las Vegas massacre — the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016, where a homophobic terrorist killed 49 and wounded 58 using, of course, a semi-automatic assault rifle of the type that should have been banned decades ago. By all accounts, Sunday night’s shooting in Nevada by 64-year-old rich white dude Stephen Paddock involved the use of fully-automatic machine guns, which also need to be banned but Congress and the states won’t do it because of the influence of the almighty NRA.
Fuck the NRA.
In between these two horrific slaughters, there were 519 mass shootings in the United States. Yes, you read that right. Counting Orlando and Las Vegas, America suffered 521 mass shootings between June 12, 2016 and October 1, 2017.
And Congress has taken no action to tighten access to these weapons of mass murder.
Those who support the right for all Americans to carry around guns designed to kill dozens of people at once are crying out that liberals like me are being unseemly for using this national tragedy to call for tougher controls over access to these military rifles. “It’s too soon. Now is not the time. Now is the time for coming together, not for politicizing a tragedy.”
But for the gun nuts and the NRA (did I mention fuck the NRA?), now is never the time for a debate on this question. Not today, not tomorrow, not next month, not next year.
America simply must throw off the shackles of the gun lobby and take reasonable steps to make it more difficult for someone like Stephen Paddock to own and tote 23 weapons into a hotel room without anyone noticing. We are dying, literally, for some bubba’s Second Amendment right to arm himself against imagined government tyranny.
Mass shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon, based on the unique American gun culture.
We cannot go on like this. Something must be done. At a minimum, assault rifles should be banned outright.
Without high capacity assault rifles, hundreds who died in 2016 and 2017 would be alive.
Think about that next time you hear the tired refrain “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” It turns out it is hard to kill or injure nearly 600 people from the 32nd floor without guns.
Lots of guns.