By Paolo von Schirach
August 7, 2012
WASHINGTON – Regarding the Aurora movie theatre massacre, I wrote just a few days ago (see above link to story) that, given how easy it is for practically anybody to purchase weapons here in America, we cannot be surprised when some deranged individuals buy guns to engage in mass killings. While nobody is openly encouraging mass murders, certainly our laws do not place too many obstacles on getting the necessary tools.
It will happen again
I predicted then that, after a brief period of collective mourning for the victims, we would carry on just as usual. I also predicted that events such as the Aurora massacre would happen again, since we have no intention of touching the sacred Second Amendment. I ended by saying that we should not act surprised when they would occur. This was my conclusion:
“But nothing –repeat, nothing– will be done regarding the most obvious issue: serious gun control. Americans have a fetish about guns. It goes way beyond having guns for self-defense. It is almost a religion. Alright, if this is the way we want it, if we really want to make it so easy for practically anyone to acquire several guns and mountains of ammunition, then we have to accept that large scale massacres just like this one in Aurora will happen again. And when they do happen, please do not act surprised.”
Of course I had no idea that another deranged individual, this time Wade Michael Page, a veteran with white supremacist leanings, would target a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Whatever his ideology or goals, (the authorities call this an incident of “domestic terrorism”), Page managed to kill a number of worshippers before he was shot dead by the police.
This time the death toll (five men, one woman) was not as terrible as in Aurora, but it was still pretty high. Different crazy person, probably different “ideas” in his head, different place and different targets. But the common feature linking Aurora to this massacre is an easily obtained weapon legally purchased by a would be assassin with a crazy plan.
We cannot catch all the deranged persons before they do harm
It is obvious that society cannot catch all the non diagnosed deranged individuals and lock them up before they do something terrible. Again, just like James Holmes, the Aurora killer, Page was not a recognized menace to society. He had had his problems and had a minor legal record; but nothing shocking; and nothing that would prevent him from legally buying a weapon.
We want to forget as soon as possible
And so here we have it: just days after the first one, massacre number two. And I promise you that after a few days this will also be forgotten. I should add that in this case it will be more easily forgotten because the victims are not mainstream Americans. They are Indian immigrants who belong to a religion nobody knows anything about, (meaning they are not Christians). Men wear funny headgear and grow beards. A lot easier to forget about them. Yes, this implies that the relatively low key media coverage of massacre number two is due to some subtle racist bias. I believe that it is so.
(In contrast, imagine for a moment a different scenario. The same Wade Michael Page, allegedly a white supremacist, therefore a racist, rather than picking a Sikh temple had attacked instead a Black Church killing women and children. Had this been the target, I suspect that editors would not have been able to quickly relegate the story to some remote corner on page 11).
Still, major media coverage or scant coverage, America does not intend to change its guns laws. As for massacres like Aurora and now the Sikh temple, the unspoken wish is that we want to forget about them as soon as possible.Print This Post