Shots fired, one, two, three, four, and so on. Another place another time and another and another and one after the other, sometimes simultaneously as people are felled everyday by gun violence. Regardless of the “man or woman behind the trigger” lives are lost senselessly each day around the world but no where quite as bad as the United States. In 2020 more than 45,000 people in the US died from firearm deaths between suicide and homicide. The US also takes the cake for the diversity of shooters, they run the gamut from domestic partners to police officers to armed adults and children. They are mostly white and black and Hispanic, sprinkled with a few Asians and indigenous people. The fear of bloodshed is hardly a deterrent, the sanctity of life baseless. Ironically the same people who shout the loudest against abortion as a means to kill also shout and advocate the loudest for the means to kill!
After a shooting here, you’d be sure to hear of another one or two shortly thereafter, like a cacophony of evil echoes, for which the root cause falls on deafened ears. America wakes up to news of death by gun violence literally every day. In 2022 so far, the US has experienced over 300 mass shootings and the year is just in its 3rd quartile! Make no mistake about it, gun violence is everywhere, it’s in Europe, in Africa, in Asia, South America, Australia, Middle East etc. However, outside of the US, it is mostly relegated to underground groups, militia, fascists, religious extremists, criminals and misfits. In the United States it is a mainstream “pastime”.
In Texas a heated argument between spouses may be settled with a shootout that results in serious injuries or death, in the flyover states of the Midwest, great plains and mountain states, gun possession starts at elementary stages, a simple dispute may result in the death of one party. Layered with racism if the victim is a black man, there is little to no investigation conducted, getting away with murder is the norm. The same is true with a routine traffic stop or investigation that involves police and the US black (particularly inner-city population) where unjustified and unprovoked police shootings are rampant and unchecked. Then slather that with shootings in some low-income neighborhoods where drugs, gang violence and criminality persist. Or the vigilante of white people seemingly killing jogging, walking, or driving blacks for simply being in a neighborhood they see as theirs, in America there is a term for those incidents that can cost a black person their lives it’s simply “driving, jogging, eating, pumping gas etc., while black – essentially living while black”. The flavors of gun violence are so many that it is hard to fully capture, they can be characterized by race, region, religion, politics, family dynamics, school incidences and so much more. Whether we go from the typical mass shoot perpetrated overwhelmingly by the white males tired of society or frustrated from a job loss that murders his family and then many others sometimes randomly, sometimes targeted. The school shootings by angry, bullied or “just because we can” entitled students buoyed by the access they have to automatic and semi-automatic weapons and ammunition.
We cannot forget the accidental shootings facilitated solely by access or the black-on-black shootings that occur in the many cities. What of domestic violence shootings that are race neutral equal opportunity tragedy, or the multiple murders that are covered up on our US military bases nearly all exclusively perpetrated with guns, and the countless suicides. The fact is that guns are at the root of many senseless deaths. There are hardly significant statistics of people using guns to deter break-ins, or some well planned out protective situation. Most gun deaths are criminal in nature even when the shooter has power and class on their side.
The truth is that guns are like gods to many, making those who have them have a false sense of security or power or both. Some execute their version of ill derived justice against a neighbor, for crimes as frivolous as parking too close to their property or throwing a ball into their yard, or the wacked sense of territorial superiority as in gangs or the desire to control through destruction as in mass shootings. Regardless of the logic behind the effect of guns the real issue is the indiscriminate presence of guns in the first place. Many people in the US and some elsewhere, argue that society should have the right to bear arms. In the US the bearing of arms is unqualified and available to anyone just about. In 2018 the US reported a global weapons revenue of $193B, while its domestic gun sales was $28B in the same year. So basically, if the US were deriving revenue from selling weapons at an equal rate to seven countries for all their wars, defense, reserves etc., the US domestic gun revenue would be nearly equivalent to that derived from each country. This is how lucrative the sector is. Now with ghost guns, you cannot even track all the money.
The US political machinery reclines on money and power both riding on the guard-rails of institutional racism that requires a permanent underclass to dampen internal competition. So, for serious issues like gun control, politicians turn a blind eye, tippy toe around it or turn to their most viable rhetoric on preserving the second amendment rights. This is in the face of countless deaths that is depleting a great nation of its humanity each day as generations die and countless lives are darkened each passing day.
So what can we do, when those who should fix it, refuse to do anything? When people come up with a ridiculous response that is built on the lie that guns don’t kill people, that mental health is the protagonist of this gun violence saga and good people with guns equals safety. Really? If that is the case, why don’t we suspend gun access for a year and see what happens. Why is the response to a shooter nearly always “ he was a good kid, they were such a good family, the officer felt threatened, the gun accidentally went off and countless of other excuses. When the answer is simple to derive; for starters 45,000 people and counting would stay alive, 300 plus mass murders would not take place, emergency rooms will deal with undeterrable emergencies, the streets, neighborhoods, homes, schools, roads, rivers, ponds, hideaway nooks and crannies, hidden, obvious, makeshift, and throwaway graves everywhere and every postmortem activity in between would not be blood stained. The national conscience of the United States would not be seared by indifference, or wary from hopelessness, completely free of blood guiltiness, its history atoned and forgiven, a new day dawned. Imagine such a society, what it can do with that currency of innocence devoid of incessant bloodletting derived from standing up against gun proliferation, banning assault weapons, rapidly retrieving and destroying deployed guns and punishing gun crimes across all groups from seller to user.
While we cannot change the past we can redeem the future, guns are dangerous, they delete lives and within seconds diminish a lifetime’s worth of work. They perpetrate poverty and extend racism; they divide people and rudely intrude on societal gains. Guns are tools of destruction that can bring about so much evil; because the truth is they were meant for only one reason to kill another human being. If they must be had, they should be reserved for offensive and defensive wars and battles, a special type to hunt reasonably for food; the rest of it banned, burned, destroyed. If not, they will continue to banish society to the uncertainty of a life span randomly determined by the number of guns in each area. While many get richer, many get bereft, and the exchange eventually wreaks a horror that is uncontainable. Eventually, many will leave.
For those who disagree, ask yourself as you purchase or handle your gun, for what purpose do you have that weapon other than to kill another human being. Things will change one way or another, one day the chickens will eventually come home to roost, and it will not be pretty for many. Matthew 26:52 says, “Put your sword back in its place, Jesus said to him for those who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
About Ngozi Bell
Take a listen to this podcast Say It Skillfully® OUR VOICES – Ngozi & Okezue Bell, Carpe Diem! Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (voiceamerica.com)
Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C.Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work
experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).