Freedom of bearing arms dragging America into mire of tragedies
Over the last few days, the headline-grabbing mass shootings that occurred nearly back to back across the United States have once again cast doubt on the freedom of bearing arms, a controversial right that has been guarded by the U.S. constitution.
When lawmakers adopted the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1791, they might have not foreseen that more than 200 years later, what they treasured as fundamental individual freedom has become the main culprit in nationwide shooting crimes, with people killed and families broken on a daily basis.
The easy accessibility to fatal arms guaranteed by the amendment has also created such tragedies as a 4-year-old kid killing himself with a gun and a 3-year-old child shooting his brother dead by accident. It has even resulted in a horrible scene: arming the teachers to protect themselves against students who bear guns.
Since 1972, more than 80 people on average, including about 12 children, have been killed by gunshots per day in the United States, according to statistics.
The staggering figures can find their root causes in America's pervasive social problems. In recent years, the widening wealth gap and growing social division have prompted some marginalized groups to go to extremes and resort to violence.
The intensifying racial conflicts and rising living pressures resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak have also played their roles, causing a surge in violent crimes, especially shootings with racist tendencies.
It is a vicious circle that the freedom of owning arms fuels social violence, which in turn pushes people to buy more weapons. In the first quarter of the year, U.S. gun sales rose 18 percent year-on-year, without counting in underground transactions. It is estimated that the U.S. society as a whole has more than 400 million guns.
"Americans are in an arms race with themselves," said Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents South Los Angeles.
The recurrent shootings have laid bare the incompetence of the U.S. governance. Even though there are loud voices within the country opposing bearing arms, Washington has hardly taken a step forward on the issue.
Among the main obstacles to gun control efforts in the United States are influential interest groups. The production, sales and use of guns in America have formed a huge industrial chain that generates tremendous interests. Related interest groups have a sway over nearly every aspect of U.S. politics.
For example, the National Rifle Association of America, which has millions of members and includes powerful gun manufacturers and distributors, is able to influence general and local elections as well as the appointment of Supreme Court justices.
No wonder California Governor Gavin Newsom has grumbled that "our politics, stale rhetoric, finger-pointing, all the hand-wringing, consternation that produces nothing except more fury and frustration."
The so-called freedom of keeping arms has made increasing Americans feel despairing. Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action, once tweeted "This isn't freedom ... No other nation would tolerate this, and we don't have to either."
However, the urges have proven futile. In the United States, the gun control issue seems insoluble. Without some determined actions, America will only find itself mired deeper in more tragedies.