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American ‘wild, wild West’ needs taming, but politicizing cold-blooded murder is not the way

Robert Bridge
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. Former Editor-in-Chief of The Moscow News, he is author of the book, 'Midnight in the American Empire,' released in 2013.
American ‘wild, wild West’ needs taming, but politicizing cold-blooded murder is not the way
This weekend witnessed another politically-fueled hate-fest in the US as liberals raged against Donald Trump, blaming him for two mass shootings in as many days. Welcome to US election season.

Second only to the news of innocent people having their lives cut tragically short is the realization that there are individuals who would use those deaths to advance an agenda, invariably a political one. And so it happened with a mass shooting in El Paso on Saturday, followed up just hours later with another in Dayton, Ohio – another 29 Americans added to the growing list of victims in the most heavily armed nation in the world.

Yet the public response to those cold-blooded murders fell far short of the decorum the occasion required. Twitter, for example, our electronic town square for exchanging ideas and so much more, lit up like some kind of Stephen King amusement park where the evil clowns had locked the front gates and seized control. Thus, we were treated to a host of puerile, expletive-filled rants against Donald Trump, as if the 45th president of the United States himself had pulled the trigger in those savage attacks. Unfortunately, those sort of deranged opinions are par for the course. That’s the beauty of democracy; before you are able to hear from a single Nobel laureate you must deal with the opinions of 10,000 maniacs first.

Many of the most irresponsible comments, however, came from public officials who should know better. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, for example, took to Twitter not to promote the healing process of a country that is under siege, but rather to exacerbate the situation with a shout out to ‘white nationalist terrorism’.

Our country is under attack from white nationalist terrorism, inspiring murder on our soil and abetted by weak gun laws. If we are serious about national security, we must summon the courage to name and defeat this evil.”

That is quite a remarkable statement when you consider that no official investigation had even begun into what motivated the suspected killer, Patrick Crusius, 21, to walk into a Walmart store on a Saturday morning and indiscriminately shoot dozens of innocent shoppers, many of whom, incidentally, were white. Perhaps there really was some connection to ‘white nationalism’. Presently, however, all we have is a lot of red-hot media speculation.

One possible explanation, which the media never considers in such events, is that Patrick Crusius was a very disturbed white kid loaded up to the eyeballs on antidepressant medication, some of which have a host of dangerous side effects, including anxiety, aggression, and suicidal tendencies. Instead of asking if the shooter was being prescribed one of these powerful antidepressants, Buttigieg opted for the most explosive explanation, and one that divides the country at a time when what it really needs is healing.

The Democratic presidential wannabe would have provided a far more dutiful public service had he just extended his condolences to the family and friends of the victims and let the investigators make the final determination.

Amy Klobuchar, meanwhile, Democratic senator from Minnesota and another candidate for the Oval Office, told reporters in the aftermath of the carnage that Trump’s rhetoric about illegal immigrants entering the country “has fueled more hate in this country.” That is a highly debatable, subjective comment. After all, many Americans – not least of all those living near the Mexican border – have been increasingly frustrated with the daily specter of illegal immigrants streaming into the country unchecked. In fact, it was this long-simmering outrage and frustration that catapulted Donald Trump, who pledged to build a wall on the border with Mexico, into the White House.

Beto O’Rourke, meanwhile, another Democratic presidential super-dud, creeped out Democrats and Republicans alike after he let out the most ill-timed laugh in the history of ill-timed laughs during a press conference devoted to, yes, the shooting rampage. I’d pay good money to know what was going through O’Rourke’s mind that he found so hilarious at a time when the rest of the nation was in mourning. In any case, I’d say that weirdly misplaced laugh destroyed his presidential ambitions forever.

And then there was the glaring hypocrisy of the left-wing commentators. While the media is heaping attention on the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, indeed, as it should, why are Democrats not creating hashtags to the city of Chicago, for example, where 1,517 people have already been shot this year. This is no idle question.

Last month, two female members of a group called Mothers Against Senseless Killings were killed in a drive-by shooting on a Chicago street corner as they protested against – you guessed it – gun violence. 

The month of August has already witnessed seven shooting fatalities in America’s third-largest city.

Yet since Chicago is Democrat-controlled real estate, the left-leaning media is conspicuously quiet about this city’s relentless shooting violence. The reason for this reticence, however, goes deeper than just party affiliation. One of the seemingly inexplicable things about the gun debate is that some of the regions with the strictest gun laws, like the state of Illinois, actually have high rates of gun violence. That may seem counterintuitive since we have been taught to believe that more gun regulations will protect innocent people. 

This lends credence to the gun lobby’s popular mantra: ‘If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns.’ There may be some truth to that statement when it is remembered that there are 270 million guns on the mean streets of America. How do you get rid of them all? And if you do find a way to get rid of them, how will Americans protect themselves from the armed criminals who will certainly find a way to arm themselves? Has the country reached the tipping point when, like in the wild west of yesteryear, citizens will be required to wear a holstered gun in public to feel safe?    

While the Democrats are certainly correct in arguing that something needs to be done about the gun problem, simply blaming the Republicans every time a shooting spree occurs will not solve the problem. After all, what about ultra-violent Hollywood films, which beam thousands of gun deaths into American homes every year? Or violent video games, which many believe condition young minds to acts of cold-blooded violence? These are issues the liberal media tends to ignore. At the same time, Republicans need to be more compromising with gun legislation, ensuring that firearms do not end up in the wrong hands.

Also on rt.com American gun laws: Why the issues are not as clear-cut as they first appear

However, those only seem to be cosmetic changes to a problem that goes much deeper below the surface of American society. Underlying the Republicans’ refusal to submit to stricter gun laws is a fierce mistrust of government. After all, the primary reason for the Second Amendment as prescribed by the Founding Fathers is not deer hunting, but to help Americans protect themselves from some future tyrannical overlord, as was the case in the fight against the British Crown. Although it could be argued that the right to bear arms is a merely symbolic gesture in light of the government’s overwhelming ability to snuff out any civil uprising, it is a symbol that the right will not surrender anytime soon, at least without a major fight.

Meanwhile, liberals are of the opinion that the immediate risk to innocent life from some deranged gunman is simply not worth the risk of allowing Americans unlimited access to firearms. In other words, liberals are thinking short-term, while conservatives are looking down the road to some kind of theoretical domestic battle, like another civil war. 

It is this inherent mistrust from both sides that will continue, and it is hard to say exactly where and how it will end. But before we find out the hard way, the right and the left need to find a way to put aside their mutual antagonisms. Only then will Americans will be able to keep their constitutionally protected firearms without falling prey to them.

@Robert_Bridge

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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