Murderous machismo

Texas. Source Pixabay, photo: David Mark

Vienna, Austria (Weltxpress). The horrific killing spree by a heavily armed 18-year-old youngster who shot dead 19 elementary school students and two teachers at an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde on Tuesday sent America into shock. Just ten days earlier, ten people were killed in a Buffalo supermarket. Though we share the outrage and horror of Americans, this one sounds hollow to outcry. Unfortunately, acts of blood like these are nothing new in the United States, where the gun lobby wields great power and has enjoyed a devastating resurgence under President Trump. In Texas, basketball coach Steve Kerr addressed the press ahead of the game against the Dallas Mavericks. Kerr had been campaigning for tougher gun laws for years. There are personal reasons for his involvement: in 1984 his father was shot dead by an assassin in Beirut. In a trembling voice, Kerr called out, “Enough! I’m tired of sitting here observing minutes of silence and offering my condolences to families! When do we change something?”

That is exactly the question. With poverty in American cities, the number of privately owned guns increases. Firearm homicides have increased dramatically. 100 people a day, around 40,000 a year, are killed by guns in America. Violence is a leitmotif in the social conflicts in the USA, wars and brutal police operations are increasingly causing people to take up arms. A lucrative market for domestic and foreign firearms manufacturers, such as the Carinthian pistol manufacturer Glock. Many Americans see gun ownership as a fundamental right; they cite the 1791 Amendment to the US Constitution, which, as part of the federal government’s Bill of Rights, prohibits restricting the right to own and bear arms. The credo is that owning a gun guarantees personal safety. But for many, the gun is simply a manifestation of masculinity and strength: machismo

In the meantime, however, a slim majority of Americans supports tightening gun laws. Donald Trump acted as the self-proclaimed patron of the National Rifle Association, founded in 1871. The Democrats are on the other side. President Biden speaks of a blot on the nation, a plague to be fought. In particular, he wants to get a legal handle on self-assembled “ghost weapons” without a serial number. But in Texas in particular, carrying firearms without a permit has been legal since the middle of last year – the loosest gun legislation in the USA.

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