America’s gun culture through the eyes of Australian reporter & More Trending News

 

When the conflict escalated into an all-out brawl, one man sporting a “Bikers for Trump” vest uncovered a hid gun he was carrying and threatened to start out capturing except the indignant protesters circling him would “back the f–k off.”

I used to be standing just a few metres away, taking notes for an article. Needless to say, I backed away with out a second’s hesitation.

Since then, there’s been no scarcity of examples to remind me of the grim actuality of American gun culture.

The closest to dwelling occurred close to the doorstep of my condominium in Washington DC throughout final 12 months’s Juneteenth public vacation, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

It was a Sunday evening and the U Street Corridor the place I stay – one of the district’s hotspots for golf equipment, bars and eating places – was buzzing with folks when gunshots rang out.

Once the DC Metropolitan Police stopped issuing “active shooter” alerts, I went downstairs to see sections of my often protected road smeared with blood and cordoned off with police tape. Tragically, a 15-year-old boy was killed and three different folks had been injured that evening, together with a police officer. Also, as tragically, the perpetrator was only a child, additionally 15.

Figures from the Gun Violence Archive present there have been 44,290 firearm associated deaths final 12 months, together with 647 mass shootings. This 12 months, merely 25 days into January, there have already been 40 mass shootings.

While suicides symbolize greater than half of the nation’s whole gun deaths, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has warned the price of gun homicides has risen considerably, growing by 75 per cent over the previous decade and reaching a document excessive in 2020.

According to the CDC, components related to the pandemic, equivalent to job losses, social isolation and psychological stress, have contributed to the rise, significantly amongst minority communities.

“Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the substantial increase in the firearm homicide rate, along with notable increases in firearm suicide rates for some groups, has widened racial, ethnic, and other disparities,” the CDC wrote in a report launched final 12 months.

But whereas gun violence is a tragic fixture of American life, the perennial query is what may be completed to reverse the pattern in a rustic the place so many individuals fiercely defend the Second Amendment, which enshrines the proper to bear arms in the structure.

It’s a query that has come up repeatedly currently, significantly in California, the place 24 folks had been killed in three separate mass shootings in simply over per week.

The first was a suspected gang-related assault in Goshen on January 16 by which six folks died, together with a 17-year-old mom and her six-month-old child.

The second was Saturday evening’s rampage in the predominantly Asian neighbourhood of Monterey Park when 11 folks had been killed and 9 others injured after a gunman opened fireplace at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio.

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And the third occurred on Monday at a mushroom farm and close by web site in the coastal metropolis of Half Moon Bay. Seven folks had been slain in what authorities described as a tragic case of “workplace violence”.

While the circumstances could differ, the impression is the identical. Communities are left heartbroken and helpless, and a nation is left questioning: what is going to it take to cease the carnage?

One lady I met at the web site of the capturing in Monterey Park informed me that her nine-year-old son had began asking what it could be like “to live in a place that doesn’t have guns”. Another lady who got here to pay her respects that day stated she not felt protected even going to the gasoline station.

And California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom lamented America’s standing as an outlier relating to weapons, and he urged his federal colleagues to behave.

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“Only in America do we see this kind of carnage,” he informed reporters.

Newsom is true. The US is the solely nation in the world the place weapons outnumber its residents, with the newest figures suggesting there are an estimated 393.3 million firearms in the nation – about 120 weapons per 100 folks.

The Biden administration tweaked round the edges of reform final 12 months, passing a gun security invoice with the assist of 15 Senate Republicans, to strengthen background checks for would-be-gun patrons aged 18 to 21; limit entry to weapons by home violence offenders; and supply incentives for states to cross “red flag” legal guidelines that enable folks to petition courts to dam weapons from folks deemed a risk to themselves or others.

But a lot larger reforms, equivalent to banning assault weapons or introducing common background checks, have little probability in the present divided Congress.

Add to that the highly effective gun foyer headed by the National Rifle Association, which shapes political selections by funding and supporting (often conservative) candidates who’ve pledged opposition to gun management measures.

The NRA has been noticeably silent of late, however the group usually argues that tackling psychological well being, fixing the “revolving door” justice system and giving folks extra weapons to guard themselves – however with higher coaching – is the answer.

“Each individual is accountable for his actions,” NRA president Wayne LaPierre stated finally 12 months’s normal annual assembly in Texas, which occurred three days after the state’s worst faculty capturing in Uvalde.

“There can be no freedom, no security, no safety, without the rights of the law-abiding to bear arms for self-defence.”

Meanwhile, there could also be one other American mass capturing by the time you learn this. And with each terrible tragedy, I’m reminded how fortunate Australia is to not have the identical drawback.

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America’s gun culture through the eyes of Australian reporter

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