Facts: “Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than many leading causes of death combined.” An average of 11,000 people in the United States succumb to the brutality of firearm assaults, each year.
The sobering statistics most likely don’t include the number of Black people who keep getting blasted to death by law enforcement on a weekly basis.
Nevertheless, the issue of gun violence and how it has become a normalized way of life for all Americans, to the point that even after the tyranny of the 2017 Las Vegas massacre, that depicted the scene of domestic terrorism with heightened potency — proves we’re still locked in the war of our lives.
Country music star and proud gun owner, Eric Church was one of the performers to take to the stage on that fateful night when sixty-four-year-old Stephen Paddock, positioned himself on the perch of a window at the Mandalay Bay Hotel — and proceeded to fire off more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition into the unsuspecting crowd of more than 20,000 concert goers.
The force of the blasts, coupled with furious rapidity, shocked the hell out of Church, who had to be there to truly appreciate the horror show that erupts when what starts off as a joyous and relaxing event, abruptly turns into a life and death emergency.
“As a gun guy, the number of rounds [the shooter] fired was un-f*cking-believable to me.” “I saw a video on YouTube from the police officer’s vest cam, and it sounded like an army was up there. I don’t think our forefathers ever thought the right to bear arms was that.”
Like many other activists who are fed up with the deadly antics of the NRA, Church is calling out the gun rights organization for its role in making sure our children are vulnerable to the possibility of being gunned down in classrooms, without a moment’s notice — all in the name of bartering precious lives in exchange for political power — that’s fed through the darkened tunnels of greed.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting was almost six years ago, and the graphic nature of that massacre was rooted in the portrait of unbelievably young victims, who were tragically old enough to be massacred.
Imagine the bullet-ridden bodies of six and seven year old children, creating a pile of twenty. Can you conceive of anything more abominable?
The blasphemous actions of Adam Lanza, who was a twenty-year-old, suffering from a host of mental deficiencies that armed him with the motive to perform what has been described as “the deadliest mass shooting at either a high school or grade school, in U.S. history,” has been neatly shelved as the consequence of an erratic mind — that was enhanced by “an atypical preoccupation with violence.”
There’s also the fact that Lanza had done quite a bit of research on mass shootings both at home and abroad. He also possessed a National Rifle Association certificate, which is readily awarded to anyone who successfully completes the training courses offered by qualified instructors.
It was also reported that the killer who ended up killing himself, was surrounded by an impressive array of weaponry, which was apparently an ode to his mother’s status as a gun enthusiast. Unfortunately, her hobby set the scene for her own death, as her son ended up shooting her to death, in their home, hours before he turned Sandy Hook into a personalized gun range.
When Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida fell under the attack of a merciless gunman, Nickolas Cruz, who was also a former student, the Valentine’s Day massacre pierced many hearts across the nation, as we were once again faced with the unfathomable.
The nineteen-year-old with “behavorial issues” took an Uber, and stormed the grounds with murderous rage, and the accompaniment of an AR-15 model gun that he unleashed with venom.
At the end of his bloody rampage, Cruz had amassed a death count of seventeen victims with ages that ranged from fourteen to forty-nine. He also managed to critically injure seventeen students and faculty members.
The investigation yielded similar fare that’s normally assigned to White males with strong tendencies towards domestic terrorism.
Cruz has been depicted as a lost soul, who fell under the spell of mental instability, that included anger issues that were never resolved. He was also prone to episodes of bad humor, that saw him publicly joking about guns and gun violence.
Aside from his fondness for guns, he was also a lover of swastikas, which was proven by the sight of the symbol on his backpack with the words “I hate niggers” blazed on it. Cruz was also quite active on Instagram, and used the platform as an outlet for his intense bigotry.
He detailed how keen he was on killing gays and Mexicans. He was also committed to the philosophy that would “keep Black people in chains.”
School shootings are outrageously rampant in a country that professes to value the safety and security of young minds that are essentially the future generation.
How is that ever going to manifest when we’re accommodating the reality of how we can’t seem to convince politicians to give up their summer homes in the Hamptons for the sake of ensuring that classrooms in America — won’t host another violent undertaking?
The streets are just as treacherously violent. The makeshift battlefield continues to overpower the vulnerability of people of color — who are reduced to human rubble by the murderous recklessness of thugs in uniform.
The language of the wild seems to be coded in the mantra of “kill or be killed,” and the moment we step outside — the game commences without our consent.
The recent hostage situation at a Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles that involved a twenty-eight-year-old gunman who eventually surrendered — several hours later — ended in the death of store manager — Melyda Corado.
The twenty-seven-year-old woman was exiting the store just as the suspect was making his way in, and officers on the scene made the decision to fire shots in an ill-advised effort to prevent the gunman’s entry. Unfortunately one of the shots hit an innocent woman who unknowingly stepped right into the line of fire.
Los Angeles Chief of Police, Michael Moore, released the standard statement of condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, while also defending the actions of the officers involved in the incident. It appears that it was worth the risk to fire at will with the hopes that the target would be disabled, even if it meant putting lives in direct danger.
As of now, the officers are awaiting their fate, but it’s highly unlikely that they will be disciplined for causing the shooting death of Corado.
The graphic headlines and shared videos have now become a normalized routine, that breeds very little empathy or attention as we settle into the hostility of our existence with wearied surrender.
And there’s no time that the terrifying thought of being randomly confronted by a gunman doesn’t cross my mind. I can’t remember when I took a walk in the great outdoors, without nervously surveying activity around me; scoping out suspicious trekkers who may be waiting for the right moment to strike.
Trump’s America has created the anthem for White America to proudly adhere to as the damning rhetoric that used to be issued in whispers, has now evolved into a resounding festival of bullets, bomb packages, and knifing sessions.
There’s no way to escape the truth of how domestic terrorism in America is rapidly rising with the encouragement of a president, who comprehends the power of his base, and is willing to assuage their fears of imminent extinction, by sticking to the script of publicly demonizing marginalized groups.
Even before Trump took the oath of office, his method of campaigning was transparently seeped in the well of practiced bigotry, as he callously referred to Mexicans as “murderers” and “rapists,” while condemning the drug trade that he cites as his reasoning behind the idea for a “beautiful” wall, that will keep the shitholes from infecting the purity of White America.
His electoral win may have stunned those of us who couldn’t conceive of his ascension into the realm of limitless power, but in actuality, his arrival was vital for the task of scrubbing away the mask of falsehood — that dared to downplay the level of hate White America harbors against the population that they view with unabashed disdain.
When President Trump expressed his solidarity with White supremacists who took over the town of Charlottesville, and initiated a climate of violence that expectedly snowballed into a national crisis of massive proportions, it was a stunning stance for the leader of the free world to take — in full view of the world.
It was also the endorsement that White America desperately craved, after eight godforsaken years under the strain of America’s first Black president, that brought the threat of unfamiliar pangs that signaled a downgraded status.
If the president is free to express his support of a group of racists who live by the very principles that dictate how Black lives don’t matter, why Muslims should be consistently harassed, and how Brown migrants aren’t human enough to be treated with dignity and respect at our borders — then it’s only fitting that the laws comply.
Police officers are carrying out the civic duty of keeping the streets clean from the infestation of Black people by purposefully shooting at Black boys who play in parks with toy guns, or young Black men who run for their lives — when faced with the realness of their mortality.
White citizens are preoccupied with performing the job of a lifetime, that instructs them to partner with lazy cops in an effort to lock up Black people in their midst.
The video footage captures the chaos that ensues once the cops arrive, and the assholish White dude casually explains why he’s concerned about the Black woman with her child — attempting to enter the same recreational facility that he was able to enjoy without interference.
Then there’s the deadly encounter, that showcases a White man who happens to reside in the state of Florida, which means that he can shoot and kill a Black man over a common parking space dispute, because of “stand your ground”.
This gives residents the right to use deadly force to “prevent imminent death or great bodily harm,” without considering the less drastic option of simply leaving the scene after assessing that the level of danger is relatively low.
Markeis McGlockton was shot and killed by Michael Drejka in front of his girlfriend, who he was trying to defend from the incensed White man, who was giving her hell over a minor disagreement.
While McGlockton was in the store, he must’ve noticed the very angry White man in his girl’s face and came out to investigate.
Once he entered the sweltering arena, things got even more heated. An eyewitness confirmed that Drejka had also directed his rage at him, prior to the deadly incident, over the same parking spot, and the insults were entrenched in racial slurs and threats of violence.
McGlockton pushed the White man to the ground, and then proceeded to walk away. Unfortunately, he didn’t get very far. He was struck with bullets from the gun of a White man, who had no qualms killing an unarmed Black man, as his five-year-son watched from the store’s window.
The State Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case in order to determine whether it falls “within the claims of self-defense,” but it’s almost a given that Michael Drejka will enjoy the same privileges that got Trayvon Martin’s killer acquitted — since both cases feature racists White males, who provoked Black men into situations that permitted their undeserved deaths.
If it had been a White man that was pummeled with gun shots at the hands of an enraged Black male with an intolerance for White people, who park their cars in undesignated spots, the law would work around the loopholes to guarantee that the murderer is persecuted for his crime.
But the system has been formulated to uphold the rights of White privilege with the supremacy that protects White people from the consequences of their actions; even when lives have been lost for reasons that never quite add up.
The epitome of gun violence goes against the law of nature and dehumanizes us into caricatures of a real life video game that nobody wins — no matter how well-versed the players prove to be.
We carry guns to for protection against intruders. We carry guns to wield as a threat to anyone who threatens. We carry guns as a sign of street cred in case shit hits the fan, and we have to become soldiers on the spot. We carry guns to do the work that Whiteness requires when the darkness from Blackness blocks the light. We carry guns because we can, and the American Way arms us with the power to initiate our own brand of justice.
But, there’s no justice in striking unarmed people with bullets from a gun that is symbolic of practiced hate, as opposed to the trusted mantra of self-defense. There’s no justice in the realization that not enough children have perished in classrooms to warrant the immediate revision of laws, that remain direly activated. There’s no justice in the fact that domestic terrorists who are driven by the wiles of their bigotry, and the medical conditions that can only be massaged with rounds of ammunition — are able to seamlessly acquire firearms without restrictions.
There’s no justice in the truth of how the NRA governs the statutes of an administration that swears allegiance to White supremacy, and the supplied weaponry, that is keeping them blissfully in business — with a partnership that’s too profitable to pause in response to a national emergency that’s growing urgent by the minute.
There’s just no justice.
And as long as evangelicals continue to praise God for the blessing of being able to pull the trigger at a towering Black male with claws, or pray for the White terrorists who know not what they do when they blast classrooms from top to bottom — the kingdom of heaven will have to wait.