The shooting in South Carolina really should be no surprise to anyone. The event is remarkable and unremarkable at the same time. Shocking that a young man went into a South Carolina church in the black community and shot 9 people. It is remarkable in that it is a terrible human tragedy. Life lost, a community shattered. What is unremarkable is that this has happened before. Again and again and again. This point isn’t to diminish the tragedy of the lives lost, but to just iterate that we have been down this road before and still nothing is done about it.
Many comedians use their stage as a pulpit for change – point out the absurd reality, laugh at it, and send a message to the listener that something needs to change. Jon Stewart and his correspondents that work on the Daily show have brought many issues to the forefront including race relations, government expenditure, healthcare and gun control. For this last shooting Jon Stewart was relegated to be completely humorless in the tragedy. There is absolutely nothing absurd about what happened in South Carolina. Perhaps it’s because he is at the end of his tenure as host, or that he is just getting older and more cynical, Jon Stewart resides to the fact that shootings like these in United States of America are the norm.
The troubling thing, or should I say ONE of the troubling aspects, of this entire situation is it consistently reduced to whether or not mental illness played a part, the role of drugs, whether or not the shooter Dylann Roof was a racist or not, how the media would portray the shooter if he was a Muslim or a black American.
The focus should be on gun control. Or gun elimination. And yet, consistently, but not surprisingly, the message from the pro-gun side -like FOX News, NRA, etc. keep suggesting that more guns are the answer. More guns! More guns?
Even though an analysis (by Mother Jones) of all the mass shootings in the US has pointed out that no armed civilian has been able to stop a mass shooting from happening there is a strong push for more guns. Perhaps being Canadian I don’t fully understand Americans fascinations with guns, but I do think it really has to do with their personal freedoms as individuals. Meaning, it isn’t about the gun itself but the right to OWN the gun in the first place.
While I understand or at least try to understand people’s desire for freedom, at what cost do we allow those freedoms to exist? If you ever want a good laugh read the comments on some of the articles linked into this post (or go google some articles talking about gun control) to see people giving off stats of how many people die from bathtubs (why aren’t tubs banned) or vehicular deaths (why aren’t cars banned). Someone even wrote “Blaming guns for shootings is like blaming cameras for child pornography.”
People seem to make whatever argument necessary to keep their guns. Their semi-automatic, fully loaded, objects of death. And regardless of how many times you tell them “a bathtub, nor a camera, nor a car were designed to take a life, but guns are” you still won’t convince them. In fact according to the Backfire Effect you’ll just make them angrier and believe in their cause even more.
What shocks me as an outsider is regardless of how serious mass shootings are in America, and the issue of deaths related to guns are in America no REAL change is being made.
There was something I read once about Christopher Reeves involvement in spinal-cord research, or Michael J. Fox’s involvement in Parkinson’s disease that spoke to the fact that you aren’t interested in the cause until it effects you personally. So what needs to happen before some real change occurs? What rich, conservative, friend of Fox News, NRA card carrying white male needs to experience tragedy before gun control becomes a real issue for Americans?
More importantly, why are we waiting for that to happen?
Perhaps more frightening, it is just a matter of time before it does.
My condolences to the families of the 9 victims, and the community of Charleston, South Carolina.