After yet another senseless, appalling gun massacre in America, there are myriad people and entities at whom we could justly level an accusing finger.
There’s the shooter himself, obviously; a pathetic, spotty, bespectacled, anxious, friendless, screwed-up weirdo named…oh forget it, I won’t give this horrible little b*****d any more recognition.. who couldn’t get a girl, hated everyone, and LOVED guns.
We could blame his parents, who saw their son morph into a twisted, nervy loner with a penchant for camouflage pants, carrying his guns around, going to target shooting, and posting favourable social media comments about previous gun madmen – but never thought this might be a bit worrying.
We could blame the celebrity culture which made this shooter crave fame, even if it had to be earned through annihilating a classroom full of students. Andy Warhol was only half right when he said everyone would eventually be famous for 15 minutes. Many are now quite happy to settle for disgusting notoriety.
We could blame America’s chronic national mental health crisis, developed through decades of grotesque under-investment into treatment and massive over-production of pills which often simply add to the problem.
We could blame Hollywood for making ever more violently graphic movies and video games, which do nothing to dampen a depraved ardour for horrific gun violence in an already disturbed young mind.
We could blame the U.S. media for collectively failing to put enough pressure on legislators to do anything about such a catastrophic, ongoing epidemic of death and horror. In Britain, after the Dunblane school massacre in 1996, the media were instrumental in persuading politicians on all sides to come together and ban most guns from civilian hands.
I know, because I was running one of the newspapers, the Daily Mirror, at the time. Britain hasn’t had a single school shooting since that day. America, which did nothing after Sandy Hook, has endured 142 more school shootings since that horrible day alone.
We could blame clueless local law enforcement officers like Oregon sheriff John Hanlin, whose department responded to this outrage. He was the man who, after Sandy Hook, sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden demanding no new gun laws. ‘Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing crimes like school shootings,’ he wrote. ‘Any federal regulation enacted by Congress…shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies.’
Cut forward three years and we see the result of this mindless arrogance – right in this deluded clown’s own backyard.
We could blame religious leaders. Even the local Oregon pastor reacted by saying: ‘If the students had weapons, they could have fought back and protected themselves.’ Imagine that? A man of cloth, charged with spreading a message of peace to the world, actively demanding that every student in America carry a gun.
We could blame politicians in Washington. Frankly, a more cowardly, self-serving bunch of people it would be hard to find anywhere in the world when it comes to fighting this issue.
We could blame President Obama. A man who has now served for six years in the White House and who has made, by his own admission, public on-camera statements about 15 mass shootings in his tenure. Each time, Obama frowns, he scowls, he grits his teeth, he feigns a tear or two, and he bangs on about how America must do something to stop these massacres. But what has he actually achieved? Nothing.
Not one single new federal gun law has been passed to try and stop exactly the same thing happening again and again and again.
So forgive me if I don’t thank the President for his words of sympathy and call for action, because he’s done absolutely zilch about it. Oh, and spare me all the guff about how it’s not his fault, it’s all down to those beastly Republicans.
If Obama had really wanted new gun laws, he’d have prioritised it and got it done. Just as he did with the equally unpopular Obamacare. In his last State of the Union speech, he never once mentioned the word ‘gun’. This from a man who looked those Newtown parents in the eye and promised action.
So yes, there are a lot of people we could blame for what went down in Oregon at that community college.
But in the end, I know exactly who I blame most.
The National Rifle Association is responsible for America’s appalling culture of violence.
It is the most invidious, vile, greedy, callous, selfish, brutal, uncompromising and nasty lobby group on the planet.
The NRA doesn’t care how many people die, how many men, women and kids get blown to pieces.
It cares solely about selling guns and ammunition because it is directly financed by the billion-dollar gun manufacturers.
To understand just how pernicious the NRA has been, you need to understand the history of the fabled 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Before the late 1970s, courts from the Supreme Court down ruled that the 2ndAmendment conferred on state militias a right to bear arms but did not give individuals the right to own or carry a weapon.
But in 1977, the NRA, which had always been a reasonably non-political organisation, devoted in the main to striving for gun safety, was overtaken by a group of hard-core conservatives.
The NRA then launched a ferocious campaign for a new interpretation of the 2ndAmendment, one that gave individuals the right to bear arms, not just militias.
Its leadership hectored politicians, scientists, lawyers and academics for 30 years, gradually wearing down opposition to the plan.
In 2008, the NRA won.
The Supreme Court officially embraced the individual-rights view of the 2ndAmendment.
From that day, gun sales have rocketed to record levels and America has become the Wild West. A country where the gun is king, minor disputes quickly turn deadly, and everyone assumes everyone else is armed.
The biggest spikes in gun and ammo sales come in the immediate aftermath of a massacre.
Because the NRA, led by its sinister President, Wayne LaPierre, jumps up to tell everyone two things: 1) The Government will now try and ban guns, so buy them quick 2) The only way to stop mass shootings is for everyone else to have a gun too, so buy one quick.
It really is as cynical, and simple, as that.
The result of this is utter carnage on the streets of America.
There have been 264 mass shootings this year alone, by far a new record.
Every single day, 85 people are killed by guns.
President Obama urged the media last night to compare these statistics to the toll on Americans from terror attacks.
So it did. CNN calculated that in the last recordable decade, from 2004-2013, there have been 313 American deaths from terrorism and 316, 545 America deaths from guns.
Guns thus kill more than a thousand times as many Americans as terrorists.
Yet nothing is done to stop this mayhem.
Obama also directly addressed the NRA’s much-vaunted claim that ‘more guns’ is the only solution: ‘How can you, with a straight face, make the case that more guns will make us safer?’ he asked.
The truth is that the NRA doesn’t have a straight face.
It has a twisted, deviant face. One that cons and cajoles, bullies and threatens, lies and smears.
It has no interest in stopping gun massacres, because they are good for business. Very, very good for business.
The blood of those poor students in Oregon will mean yet more gun sales, yet more money pouring into the NRA and yet more massacres.
This sickening cycle will continue until enough decent Americans rise up and say: ENOUGH.
What the **** are you all waiting for?
By Piers Morgan October 2nd 2015