by Vanessa Z. Rivers
I am not surprised that something like the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas at the “Country Music” festival this past week hasn’t happened sooner. The week prior there was the “Life is Beautiful” music festival, on the “old strip”, and in June there was the “EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival)” out at the Las Vegas speedway, and on any given month there are too many outdoor events to even begin to count. Without a special event, just the tourists walking up and down the strip is moving targets to anyone who want to harm an indiscriminate amount of people from around the world. If death, destruction, and mayhem is on your mind, then there’s no better place than good ole Las Vegas Nevada, “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, right, but not this time. I am sure, to some, my statements appear to be uncaring, harsh, and cruel, but I am only stating the facts. If my approach makes just one person angry enough to listen, and then to act, “mission accomplished”.
Ok, ready for some more facts? Our fellow citizens continue to vote into office, local, state and federal legislating officials who refuse to at least TRY, to put safety nets and controls on guns. FYI, American’s are gun happy. The purchasing or owning of guns run the gamut in reasons, some are given as gifts, protection, hunting, and sports, which are all valid reasons, but the culture along with great shoves from gun manufactures, the NRA and a healthy dose of fear, has turned this country into an armed camp. After former president Obama was elected, there was a rush to buy up guns and ammunition because it was a widely held delusional lie, that this “black guy, who isn’t even an American citizen, with his Muslim hiding ass”, was going to take away our God given American right to own guns. As we all know, that did not happen because president Obama had read the Constitution once or twice, and he knew that this was a right of citizenship, and that his job was to ensure that all Americans were afforded all rights under the Constitution. There were no “gun registers” enacted to know who had guns, how many, and where, nothing like that happened, but that hasn’t deterred mainly white America to arm themselves to the hilt, in preparation of I don’t know what, maybe a “race war”. That phrase is bantered about a lot, and not just by the character “Cartman” on South Park, there seems to be this fascination, wait…, is there something we don’t know…, makes ya wonder, doesn’t it? Many states have passed laws prohibiting “gun control laws”, and we know that Congress, and now the president won’t enact anything resembling some sort of national gun registry or any controls on the number of guns, rifles and ammunition one person can own. The purpose would be a way of ensuring that all guns are registered, sold under legal circumstances, are not in the hands of people who are prohibited by law from gun ownership, and that those owning weapons are mentally and physically competent.
It’s just my opinion, but this sounds like a responsible way for the greatest country on this earth to put its citizens safety and welfare far above capitalism and fear. As former president Ronnie would say, “there you go again”. I keep forgetting that the “good people”, manufacturers, state and local governments along with Congress don’t give a “rats ass”, yes, I said it, about the lives of American citizens. We tend to overlook the daily shootings, the “black on black crime” that whites and the media love to throw up in black folks faces, the “domestic violence” incidents that results in someone being killed, usually the female, the “police who shoot unarmed people” who turn out to be disproportionately black, the twenty Veterans each day who take their own lives with a gun, and the “accidental shootings” which too often take the lives of children. There is no wall-to-wall coverage, no piffy segment titles, or nightly analysis by political “talking heads”, there are just the families left to pick up the pieces of their lives, and try to maintain some resemblance of sanity. I don’t know any of this first hand, just what I see on TV, and read online, but do we really need a personal tragedy to have empathy for these people, and to take some type of action?
The media keeps labeling this mass shooting as the worst killing in US history, well that’s not correct. This may be the worst in “recent” history, but the worst was in Tulsa, Oklahoma when police along with white citizens savagely murdered 300 plus black Americans without any accountability. It is astonishing how events and those who perpetrate them are labeled or identified. This mass shooter who was a white man, was referred to as “Mr.” and the new term, “sole aggressor”. His family, neighbors and friends were all interviewed at nauseum about what kind of nice guy he was, that he liked burritos, and that he was an avid gambler. The media painted such a rosy picture of this mass murderer, if you didn’t know what he had just done, you would have thought that he was getting some kind of “good guy award”. When I heard of what had happened, my first thoughts were, “please don’t let it be a black person or a Muslim”, because I knew there would have been mass hysteria. A black person would have been labeled an “N-word thug”, and a Muslim would have been “a radical Islamic terrorist”, and everyone I know would have “fit the description”. It has been almost four days since the shooting and I have yet to hear anyone call him a “terrorist, the very same man who “terrorized” men, women, and children as they ran for their lives at an outdoor concert.
I hear this on the lips of every GOP politician, and republican leaning news commentator, “we don’t need to politicize this tragedy, we just need to concentrate on the victims, first responders and heroes, this is not the time to talk about gun control”. Bravo…, nice try, but NOW is the time to talk about this. This is the time to finally collectively grow a pair and put laws into place that will limit, monitor and control the 3 hundred million guns in our country. I just knew, that after “Sandy Hook” where all those little white children were gunned down, America would say, “ENOUGH is ENOUGH”, and stop this madness, but once again I was wrong.
We don’t need anymore “moments of silence”, no more “hearings and studies to investigate the problem”, and no more “bewildered looks of shock and horror” during news conferences. What we do need to do as citizens, is to put pressure on Congress and the president to put an end to this sick relationship that America has with guns. What better time is there to save lives, than NOW!