Open Season on:
Gun Violence in US
Kills Pakistani Exchange Student
Date line: May 18, 2018, Santa Fe, Texas.
Another day another mass shooting in the US, marking 101 mass shootings just this year alone. America has long been known for its affinity with guns, Guns in America is a topic of undying interest and the possibility of sacrificing many more innocent lives is real if the American political leaders continue to send their thoughts and prayers after each such tragedy and do nothing else. They will wait for the outrage to pass because it didn’t happen to their own children.
This time at least 10 people were killed, 10 are wounded, mostly high school kids. The irony here is a 17 year-old Pakistani exchange student, Sabika Sheikh who was among the 10 persons killed in this latest school massacre at Santa Fe, Texas. So, in coming to the US from Pakistan, Sabika did not experience any change in the chance she might be murdered. Let that sink in. She was no safer in the US than she was in Pakistan. School shootings are now treated as a structural part of American life.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald has captured a prickly point when he wrote “in the early stages of any mass shooting, ‘no signs of terrorism’ means: ‘shooter isn’t Muslim’.” And according to news reports; the Santa Fe killer is an alleged white terrorist, one who posed with Nazi and other extremist paraphernalia, and followed Trump and gun nut accounts on Instagram.
Americans of good will know that this tragic cycle can be broken, if the political will can be found. The facts speak for themselves: The United States is in the grip of an epidemic of gun violence unique in the developed world. It is standing by while its citizens, often its children, are slaughtered in batches.
To sum up the gun violence, some editorials from United States newspapers are reproduced here to reflect the anger and disappointment of the nation:
USA Today: “Let’s not mince words. Our nation is under attack. If terrorists were shooting up classrooms where our children huddle in fear, the U.S. military would have already launched airstrikes overseas in retaliation.
“But this attack is coming from within. At an appalling and ever quickening pace, growing numbers of Americans are being massacred at churches, concerts, nightclubs, shopping malls and classrooms, and we as a nation are doing virtually nothing to stop it… Now is the time for more than thoughts and prayers. It’s time for serious efforts to stop the madness.”
San Jose Mercury News: Will this nation ever unlock itself from the grip of the NRA, which has turned the Republican Party and the president into political pawns?”
Los Angeles Times: “We do not live in the Wild West. Our schools are not the O.K. Corral. Clint Eastwood isn’t in this movie. We are a violent, disjointed, gun-embracing culture…
“This is what America is today: bloody. This is us. Until we decide finally, forcefully, effectively, that it is not.”
New York Times: “The gun lobby’s stranglehold on our elected officials does not need to continue, if candidates stand up to the lobby and voters demand that they commit themselves to the sorts of changes that a vast majority of Americans want… Aggressive turnout by voters who believe this can defeat the NRA at the polls. Until then, the bloodshed will continue.”
Our heart goes out to Sabika Sheikh family in Pakistan and to the families of all those victims who died or were wounded in this attack.
* Javed Akbar
Javed Akbar is a free lance writer, his opinion columns have appeared in the Toronto Star. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org