Is This America, their America, Civilized? By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

President Barack Obama
Columnist: 
By Rudolph Okonkwo

I have two kids in an elementary school, less than 60 miles from Newtown, Connecticut. They had a half day yesterday. When I went to pick them up at 11.30 am, I did not know that over 20 parents like me, in a town just one hour away, would not be able to pick up the children they dropped off at school. Never!

My kids jumped into the car and immediately our chat turned into what we should do this second to the last weekend before Christmas. We talked about what they wanted from Santa. What they looked forward to seeing under the Christmas tree.

Unknown to me, some kids up I-95 N who had decorated their Christmas trees and were behaving well so that Santa would be kind to them would not be around to open their Christmas gifts.

All because of what?

That is the question that once again confronts millions of Americans today.

One person dies from gun violence every 17 minutes in America.

A mass shooting occurs every 5 days in America.

There are over 300 million guns in America. By some estimate, America has more guns than people.

Every year, an average of 35,000 people die from gun violence in the United States.

That is 674 people every week.

If a plane carrying 674 people clashes every week in America, the whole American aviation industry would be grounded until something is done to stop it.

To understand the degree of the crisis, in ten years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, America has so far lost just about 5,000 people.

In twenty years of war in Vietnam, America lost 47,000 soldiers.

But in the last ten years, over 300,000 people have died in America from gun violence. And yet, America is so helpless about it.

On Monday, November 26, 2012, New York City celebrated a day without a murder. For the first time in living memory, nobody was killed in New York City.  The city of Chicago has not been that lucky this year.

Meanwhile, the average murder rate in a typical European country is about 40 a year. Including Switzerland, a country where 3 million out of its 8 million citizens own a gun.

What is wrong with America?

The pro-gun group said it was the founding fathers who wrote in the 2nd Amendment that every American has the right to bear arms.  They say that guns do not kill people but that it is people that do.

Will people without gun kill at this rate?

Some gun enthusiasts say they need all the guns they can get to protect themselves from a U.S. government that could take away their liberty and property and their rights to pursue happiness. Obviously, they have never seen their government drone in action.

The nuts amongst them say they are arming themselves for an inevitable war against the United Nation troops that are already camped somewhere in America.

Since Obama won reelection in November, gun sales has jumped by over 40%

As the shootings continue, what are we going to tell our children? Are we condemned to the logic some founding father had over 250 years ago?

In the last 20 years, more Americans have died from gun violence than the 620,000 Americans who died in the American civil war. Is America engulfed in a civil war that America does not know about?

Is this America, their America, civilized?

We won’t provide Americans access to healthcare at taxpayers’ cost but they can have access to all the guns they want. When they shoot up another, we call in the helicopter and airlift them to a hospital for treatment at tax payers’ cost.

Is this America, their America, civilized?

I have two kids in elementary school who are looking forward to Christmas, a New Year, snow fall, Spring break, summer holidays etc. Some parents had theirs kids just yesterday. Today, they don’t.

Nothing can be more heart breaking. Nothing!

We know it is going to happen again. The only thing we do not know is whether, next time, it will be you or me.

In Meditation (17) XVII, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls.”

It tolls for you.

Is this America, our America, civilized?”

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Ђ☺ώ many wuld d man at china

Ђ☺ώ many wuld d man at china av killed if he had access 2 a gun...60? Or even more

This is the US!!

My country the US, is one of the most violent nations on the planet. We have started more wars than most countries in the history of mankind. War and violence are profitable to our economy. Money rules our country and our people. To live in the US without violence, guns and other madness, is to move to Canada or the Caribbean. Violence is as American as Apple Pie. Sad but true.

Okonkwo diasporitic

is now repatriating his kids to Naija, isn't 'im ???

a very bad satirist-opportunist, sorry to - have to - say so !!!

Prof-of-penkele-truds

but_

Sahara will edit this out, censor it away, into oblivion ...

I DO understand, though, that 'im has to make a livin wid his sub-standard satire (???)

Ken S-W and Segun Olusola will neva forgive 'im the moment he arrives up there.

No: they are in heaven whereas O.O. wil have to rot in in you-know-where 'cos of sub-standard,
but SAHARA will - agin - edit this out !!!

Sahara sure will !!!

I can understand having a

I can understand having a hand gun to protect oneself,I can understand a hunting rifle even a shotgun but, can anyone honestly explain to me why anyone,apart from the military, wants to or needs to own a weapon that can fire more than 6 rounds without reloading.
Life is not a computer game,you can't kill 20 or 30 people today and switch off, than tomorrow switch your computer on and the same people will be there ready to MURDER for a second time.

"The right to bear arms" how does that work?
You own a gun that can fire 50 rounds a minute,you show it to your neighbor,he goes and buys a gun that fires 100 round a minute, where does it end? you have a tank and your neighbor has a nuclear weapon.
I respect your right to own a gun,honest I do,but I was raised being told that only bad men and gentlemen own guns, thankfully the UK seems to still live by this.

My thoughts are with you at this time, "please put down the bullet"

There you go....

Oh fine! We admit things ain't fine in Nigeria being a developing country but the sabotage of a guilt free set of kids in a fully developed nation is absolutely....
Well, you and i know and can feel the pain in the heart of those parent who suddenly became childless still yet we're cropped up in a series of unsensitive accusation and sentiment.

Ayo Turton, the egbe omoist, again!?

@Ayo Turton a.k.a. ethnic jingoist, pls leave Akpos1 alone. We know u as a yoruba attack dog who go sniffing out wherever u perceive ur race undermined, just like in akpos1's comment, then u attack. A person like u can never be rid of objective-deficiency for a dark, tribal wool beclouds ur sense of reasoning. We, the illuminat(i)ed youths of naija, are against all forms of tribalism et al. The change has begun!

Are You Serious?

Have you even looked around at your own failing country before pointing fingers to the US of A? Nigeria? What a disaster? Kids go to 'school' and are 'taught' by uneducated and unqualified teachers...girls, if they're lucky enough to get to university, end up sleeping with their professors for passing grades...men running around on their wives like it's their God-given right...Criminality galore, corruption of enormous proportions...sexual pervertism as you put it...what about all the kids that are killed so some filthy worthless person can perform some juju ritual to get more money? You think that's normal? Nudity? Have you checked your Nollywood 'stars'? Drug abuse...you think it doesn't exist in Nigeria? Give your head a shake! Your country is a mess. Even with all the problems in the US, I'd live there before ever staying another minute in this mess of hellhole!

pastors are engine room of corruption&ors

where do we start?in greed to make desperate money.pastors subject dir poor followers 2mental torture by inciting fear on dem.dey went as far as planting juju in pples compound&charge money for digging it out.separating homes wt false prophesy.fuckin poor pples wife ind name of deliverance.durin d time of thxgiving dey post pastor out of dir zone&hire a specialist who can extort pple properly.homo sexual&lesbianism is like satchet water in churches now.followers are collectin bribes in dir offices just to meetup pastors demand is now a sacriment.abortion is now legalize in oda to put on beautiful dress b4 pastor.retaining virginity is no longer in vogue.dey now threaten pple to pay up dir tight.pulpit is now campaign ground 4 dirty politcian. apart from oil&gas.church is next money spining bizness.all dis ind name of innocent GOD?kidnappers shd go after dem as a measure of recovering all dis looted money from dis criminal wtout conscience.pls watch an indian movie titled'OH MY GOD'

GUN CONTROL OR MADNESS CONTROL?? CONTD...

Evil has always existed, in various forms, and will always exist. Mental disorder has always existed, and always will. As societies develop, and the stimulus for evil and mental disorder continue to rise, so will crimes committed by people susceptible to giving in to the madness of mental disorder and evil. What I would support, rather than further gun control, is a proactive identification and forced isolation and treatment of people who show signs of this madness. Unfortunately, this is where America falls short, because such a strategy would require a solid healthcare system as a foundation!

GUN CONTROL OR MADNESS CONTROL??

Nicely written Sir, but I respectfully disagree with some of your opinions. This was probably from a more emotional than logical mindset, understandably. In my humble opinion, guns are not the problem. Granted, the easy access to guns makes it easier for a person bent on evil to perpetrate such evil. However, what explanation would you proffer for countries with stricter access to guns, in which heinous crimes and mass murders still occur? What about the man in China, who killed 20 children with a knife, on the same day as the Connecticut event? Shall we ban all knives too? What about Boko Haram in Nigeria with locally made bombs, shall we also ban all readily available items required to create such a weapon pf mass terror?

Democracy should be blame for that

Rudolf, your statistics and cry is very much right but democracy should be held responsible for what is happening in America. When I think of the figures you just mentioned I quickly reflect back to Africa where democracy has gone no where but the ugly face of dictator who keep on hanging on power and killing more than what civilized people do in America yearly.
However, I believe that before Africa gets to the level where America finds her self now the policy makers would not push them selves to such a heart breaking situation.

Africa, ur Africa!

U folks dat ran to America, ''God's own Country", thinking it's safe from boko haram, kidnaping etc need to have a rethink. Even if u and ur family survive gun violence, how can ur kids escape picking up imoral habits e.g. sodomy (well u wdn't mind this, since u once wrote in its defence), gansterism, nudity, drug abuse, atheism, sexual pervertism and many ills, in which dat country is so rich, which, ultimately, are harbingers of heinous crimes?

Is this still God's Own Country?

This is entirely saddening and disastrous. I hope the superpower American society will wake up to her responsibilities ASAP. All these otiose killings must STOP. My condolence to the bereaved families in particular and the country in general.

Long Live America!

It is beter to own a bomb & defend yourself when oppressed! hmm.

Does it also make sense to hold a bomb to defend yourself against perceived oppressors?

Christian, Muslim and Atheist are not saint afterall!

This could just be another population balancing factor for USA. I am a Christian, but one question runs through my mind in view of this onslaught. is this young man a Christian, Muslim or atheist. if he is a muslim or atheist, then the obvious is known, but if he and his folks are christians it means we are not saint afterall. we are all mother fuckers!

Re: It is better to own a gun & defend yourself when attacked

@Abpos1 that is a good thought put forward by you but you seems to think within the box. Possibly 15 parents out of the 20 that died own a gun but were they able to protect their vulnerable children? Even the killer was able to exercise the massacres because he has access to his mother's gun. America is a civilised and developed society they can't continue to live in the shadow of their father's dreams.
If you think every Nigerian should own or have access to gun then is a good thought to de-populate the over crowded country. If you ever lose a darling to unwarranted violence you will know is better to prevent than to console or even compensate. I pray the deceased parents will be comforted. This shouldn't happen in the spirit of this season.

america is still the most civilized nation i know

my heart goes out to all the familys of the victim of the said school. Having said this, let us ask our self one question was it actually the gun that killed this children or men of flesh and blood, little wonder the holy book said the heart of man is wicked and all he thinks is evil continously. America as it is today have a constitution that is binding on all be u who ever that my friend i call been civilized. Yes they have much gun in there cuntry than any nation of the earth but they are still able to tell u and i hw many guns they have in their country and evenwhen this shootings happened they have agencies in place to deal with it. That i call been civilized. Killings can be pepetrated by anyone with any weapon in as much as he or she takes it as a mission...

What more can you get from a

What more can you get from a society where civilization has over the basic and fundamental process of child training.Honestly, if this is not checkmated I really wonder what would become of Africa since we are good in copying.
Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo, well said and thank you this eye opener

violence only beget only violence

@ akpos1! I wander wat has made you so angry that you are losing your good sense of judgement bcos i can tell from your statement that you are a good man.from time immemorial christains have never wage war woith physical warfare. Look at a scene where every churchgoer carry's arm, will it truly protect thier lives, will they never die again, will it provide peaceful co-existance witin brothers, even with arms will you not still be killed? The problems with humans is that we dont learn frm history

It is heart wrenching.

Rudolph,
Thanks for this great analysis and perspective. The question is succinctly put: Is America really civilized?

@Akpos1, I think it is something about your name and stupidity that walks hand in hand. How much has the guns been able to save their innocent kids in school and even shopping malls.

The truth is that guns kill and more guns will kill more.

So how many people are being

So how many people are being killed in Nigeria by the second? Last year when 5 gun men held AK-47 against my skull in P/H - how I wished Nigeria has the right to bear arms enshrined in it's constitution.

Mr. Rudolf, as a Nigerian who lives in the United States of America - taking advantage of all the benefits and privileges of being part of the American society and yet you have the effrontery to come online and ask "Is this America, their America, civilized?" - pack your things then and go back to your country Nigeria and leave America. The United States of America and her loyal citizens doesn't need you.

If you can't do that, then shut up with such questions if you have nothing better to contribute to the discourse at hand on gun control and rights of the American citizens.

Rudolf I believe you are one

Rudolf I believe you are one in a Million that Notice what is happening to the American Society. I hope our Africans would stop copying from them instead they should focust on the brighter side of their cultures in helping their fellows.

It is better to own a gun & defend yourself when attacked

Rudolf, no matter your permutations, I disagree with you on this. Every man should have at least 2 guns in his pocket as he moves around. In a place like continent Nigeria, I will suggest that a powerful cluster grenade be added to the kit especially for those living in the Northern countries controlled by BH.

...a man should be able to defend himself at any cost & by any means he deems fit when attacked or threatened. This is what the US believe & those who wrote the constitution. They are right.

...I ask you, If BH knows that every church member including the Pastor & security men have a bomb an AK-47, will they come shooting every Sunday? Will the church shootings in Kogi, BUK, Mubi & elsewhere have happened unchallenged? Certainly not.

Rudolf, pls stop thinking like a Yoruba man.

Long live the United States of the SS&SE

This unfortunate incident

This unfortunate incident reminds me of the Nigeria home movie "American Dollar". This is sickening.

UNTIL THE WHOLE OF NORTH

UNTIL THE WHOLE OF NORTH AMERICA, TELL THEIR SELF THE TRUTH, AND MAKE LAW AGAINST THE PRIVATE OWNERSHIP OF FIRE ARMS, THIS WILL CONTINUE TO HAPPEN.

America is only civilized in

America is only civilized in theory but in practice,its a barbaric nation.

This is internal terrorism!

Like the holy book says, see ye remove the stick in your eyes before ye remove the log of wood from your neighbours eyes. Like the Barcelona team that plays all attacking football but have the poorest of defence. The American Govt has concentrated all her effort in waging war outside the shores of her country up to the point that they have forgotten the internal war back home. Tell the Americans to come back home for ones.

Heart Wrenching

Thanks, Rudolf. My heart sank yesterday because I have never seen such evil visited on innocent, defenceless kids in my life before. And, yes, God watched it happen!

As you rightly stated: "Every year, an average of 35,000 people die from gun violence in the United States. That is 674 people every week. If a plane carrying 674 people clashes every week in America, the whole American aviation industry would be grounded until something is done to stop it."

America can do something about this mess but will they? Only time will tell. Yes, "it's not my portion" today but what about tomorrow?

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