Thursday, 10 April 2014
Is This America, their America, Civilized? By Rudolf Ogoo 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?”