Is this what we’ve come to, America? Or should we take a painful look at what got us here?
Throughout history, there have been documented acts and untold stories of violence and terrorism by Americans against Americans rooted in hatred over race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, you name it. They represent attempts by those with perceived power, or those who feel threatened by a loss of power to control, divide, intimidate, or — in the crazy, deranged minds of some — to annihilate people they don’t like.
Last week, following a gunman’s reportedly failed attempt to enter a predominately Black church in Jefferson, Kentucky, he proceeded to a nearby Kroger supermarket, where he shot and killed two Black people — 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, a grandfather who was shopping with his 12-year-old grandson for school supplies, and 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones, a retired VA administrator, who was killed in the parking lot. Authorities spent hours looking for the victim’s 12-year-old grandson who ran for safety after witnessing the vicious assassination of his grandfather.
Days later, another gunman entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where he randomly shot and killed 11 Jewish people and injured six others while yelling anti-Semitic rants. Ironically, the gunman, who was also injured, was treated at a hospital run by a Jewish president while being cared for by a Jewish nurse.
Once again, the nation is in shock and in mourning over this devastating and heart-wrenching turn of events that symbolize Americans lust for guns. And, once again, President Trump responds: “If there were an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop them. Maybe there would have been nobody killed except for him, frankly.”
America is the world’s biggest exporter of weapons, followed by Russia, China, Germany and France. The deal Trump fretted over following the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi was for the sale of $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. Those arms are not only used in war, but they get into the hands of those who cause war in smaller third world countries and in urban communities including D.C.
Trump says guns create jobs, but guns also take away lives; and America is losing an extraordinary number of lives to gun violence. It is beyond time to shift our attention solely on the violent actors to the sellers and manufacturers that feed the violence we abhor.