By Bayo Oluwasanmi
There are different modes of being an American. America today evokes images of all sorts. Landing men on the moon. Jammed highways with scattered beautiful landscapes and polluted air.
Men and women working feverishly in the lab 24/7 to finding cure for cancer. The face of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The face of President John F. Kennedy.
The gift of the internet, Face book, iPod, iPad, iPhone. The unimaginable abundance of human intelligence and human endeavor in the history of man.
As one writer aptly observes “One recoils from the images of America and one is irresistibly drawn to them. Not only if one is American. The images of America are watched by the whole world.”
The quiet town of Newtown Connecticut of 27,000 people and the world were jolted with high voltage nightmare this past Friday when 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of five and 10 years old were massacred.
The American infatuation with guns took a sudden veer into Armageddon by the senseless killings of the little ones.
Twenty-year old Adam Lanza the identified gunman turned the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut into slaughter field by reducing the bodies of eight girls, 12 boys, and six adults into shards and shreds.
The weapons used in the execution style shootings were legally purchased and were registered to the gunman’s mother.
Two 9mm handguns that were used in the attack were recovered in the school. One AR-15-type rifle also was found at the scene.
Authorities confirmed that Lanza fatally shot his mother in the face, then drove to the Sandy Hook Elementary and unleashed torrential streams of bullets on students and staff before apparently taking his own life.
Tearful President Barack Obama with cracking voice said he reacted to the tragedy as a parent. “Our hearts are broken today,” he said. “The majority of those who died today were children. Beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old.”
New York City Mayor Bloomberg, a staunch advocate of strict gun control said “Not even kindergarteners learning their A, B, Cs are safe.”
Expressing his disappointment about the lax texture of US gun laws, he said: “We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws.”
“We heard it after Virginia Tech,” continued Mayor Bloomberg. “After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again,” he said.
The death toll is the highest shooting since a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. The latest Newtown gun-butchery is sad commentary on America which refused to learn from her past.
The grim epiphany in the indiscriminate gun killings signals a crippling erosion of civilization and humanity of America that is becoming a nation of guns and on the fast lane to devouring its young ones.
The kindergarteners of Sandy Hook Elementary learned early about evil, cruelty, and insanity of a world they once regard as the playful and joyful world of the Big Bird.
Hold your breath and consider the following school shootings:
January 16, 2002: Peter Odighizuwa, 43, an expelled law student at the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., shot and killed the dean of the school, a professor and a student, and injured three other people.
October 28, 2002: Robert S. Flores, 41, a student at the University Of Arizona College Of Nursing in Tuscon, Arizona, killed three people before turning the gun on himself.
March 21, 2005: On an Indian reservation in Red Lake, Minn., 16-year old Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend before driving to his high school, where he shot dead seven others.
October 2, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts IV shot 10 girls at West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., killing five.
February 14, 2008: Steven Kazmierczak returned to his former campus at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., where he killed five people before turning the gun on himself.
February 12, 2010: Three people were killed and three others wounded when Amy Bishop, a biology professor, opened fire at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
February 27, 2012: Thomas “T.J.” Lane, 17, shot five of his fellow students at a school in Chardon, Ohio. Three of them died within two days following the shooting.
April 2, 2012: Former student One L. Goh, 43, killed seven people at Oikos University, a private Korean Christian college in Oakland, California.
All these paled in comparison to the toll of the deadliest attack ever on a school in the US. On May18, 1927, 45 people, including 38 children, were killed when bombs planted by Andrew Kehoe, 55, ripped through the Bath School in Bath Township, Michigan, and exploded outside as rescuers arrived at the scene.
Who says guns do not kill?
The opium of defense for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its legion defenders of gun culture is the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment to the US Constitution is the part of the US Bill of Rights that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
The Second Amendment “protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and the use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”
The key word in the amendment is “…for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self defense in the home.” The law has been misinterpreted, misplaced, and misapplied by the NRA, gun addicts, and conscripted gun lobbyists.
The gunmen in the school shootings were not defending their lives against any present or imminent danger, or any home invasion from any intruder.
The NRA’s naked hatred and open hostility to gun control is not only morally insane, but barbaric.
Despite the body of evidence that gun is weapon of mass destruction, the NRA with evident pleasure and astonishment, boasts in the slogan “guns do not kill, people kill.”
The NRA with an air of portentous and conclusive wisdom regards supporter or supporters of strict gun control as wanting to take their guns away from them.
Attempts to enact strict gun control laws by the US Congress have been thwarted by the NRA. Both Republicans and Democrats seem helpless and impotent to tame the primitive lust of NRA for guns.
The NRA has been able to defy law makers because of its hefty campaign donations to the two parties. The politicians are hell scared to take on the NRA!
With NRA’s ad blitz spewed with babble and sinister media silliness of “guns do not kill,” the propaganda has bluffed die hard gun lovers and advocates into believing that people and not guns kill.
Misery and folly are part of the inevitable lot of men.
If human race with all its intelligence and civilization cannot unlock the chains of self-imposed tortures and terrors such as killings by guns, it will ultimately exterminate itself.
All who are not lunatics – except the NRA – will agree that it is better to be alive than dead.
If the killings of those babies and their teachers failed to spur America to enact the strictest gun control law in the world, nothing will.
The world extends its democratic sympathy to the grieving families. We share your outrage and anguish.
Like you, we have no more tears left to mourn the beautiful children and their beloved teachers.
May their souls rest in peace.