‘Another mass shooting, this time by an 18 year old killing 19 fourth graders and two adults in an elementary school in a small border town in Texas. Only a week after a massacre in a grocery store in Buffalo, killing ten innocent shoppers. How can anybody think this is not about guns?’ Camp said, looking sad and upset.
‘Yes, only in the USA is this possible. Both killers were teenagers wielding military grade assault rifles, the kind used in wars, as in the Ukraine.’
‘How can teenagers be allowed to purchase and own such destructive weapons and tactical assault gear? It defies any kind of reason and common sense.’
‘And yet, politicians like Ted Cruz want more guns in the hands of Americans, even teachers, in order to protect themselves. If guns make everybody safer, the US would be the safest country on earth. I never heard of these protection rifles. They’re called assault rifles,’ I said.
‘Protect from whom? Only themselves,’ Camp said. ‘45’000 gun-deaths each year is a catastrophic record for a country claiming to be civilized and law abiding. Over half of them are suicides. Nobody can prevent a massacre when the perpetrator starts shooting. In Buffalo as in Uvalde armed security guards couldn’t prevent the mayhem. So the argument that armed guards can prevent such incidents is mute. A fully automatic M16 or AR-15 can fire 100 shots in 8 seconds or about 850 rounds per minute. Each victim is not only shot once but riddled with multiple bullets. Total carnage is the result.’
‘The US is a country unwilling to protect and care for its women, racial minorities and its children and according to the CDC guns are now officially a public health crisis, much like the opioid and pandemic crisis.
‘I want to believe that most Americans, even Republicans and Christians, cannot tolerate these abhorrent conditions when every parent sends their kids to school fearing such random killing sprees. Yet nobody is willing or able to stand up to the gun lobby and the NRA. How sick is that?’
‘I remember the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania where a lone gunman killed 35 people with an AR-15. The consequence was a sweeping package of gun reforms and until today there were no other mass shootings in Australia.’
‘These senseless killings are not only frustrating parents, law enforcement and legislators but they are heart breaking, devasting and worst of all, preventable,’ I lamented.
‘What to do in a country where close to 400 million guns are held by civilians, half of the worldwide total; about 120 firearms for every 100 residents?’
‘Force the NRA and weapons manufacturers to buy back those guns. Guns for cash. Maybe that would take some weapons off the streets.‘
‘Dream on, not in the USA, the land of the armed and dangerous and mentally unstable gun owners and teenagers armed with automatic assault weapons. All of them men, I might add.’
‘It’s a country bent on self-destruction with half the population on the spectrum, believing in angels and demons, with God on their side and prayer as an answer to everything.’
‘Change is not coming to the USA unless there is a miracle and all those Republicans are voted out of office in November.’
‘Not in this decade with women’s rights disappearing, a dysfunctional supreme court and a legislature ruled by angry white men,’ Camp said. ‘It’s getting worse, not better and I hate to be a Cassandra but the future looks bleak.’
‘You two talking about this horrible school massacre?’ Vicky said, ‘I can only weep and feel sorry for all of those impacted. You’re not drinking your beers?’
‘It’s depressing to watch these senseless killings from Ukraine to Texas. What is wrong with us humans? No other species is as destructive and crazy as us.’
‘I can’t argue with you on that,’ Vicky said, ‘but I’m counting on you two for some sanity. In other words, enjoy your beers and the fact that summer is coming.’
‘You’re right,’ Camp nodded, ‘the bees and the birds are out in full force, living normal, natural lives.’
‘Just like you two should,’ Vicky said, giving us one of her big-hearted smiles.
Benevolent misanthropy is difficult to maintain, but I’m trying.