Myth of the Great Equalizer

October 22, 2013

guns-cartoon-US-map-smallerAnother school-shooting horror yesterday in Sparks, Nevada, and once again no one can figure it out.
Via the Seattle Times: “Everybody wants to know why — that’s the big question,” Sparks Deputy Police Chief Tom Miller said. “The answer is, we don’t know right now.”
Indeed, why would a 12-year-old boy bring a Ruger 9mm handgun to school, shoot and kill a teacher, seriously wound two other children, and then shoot himself in the head.

A familiar motif of the nowadays — why?

(Illustration found here).

Apparently, the kid got the gun at home and the parents are cooperating with authorities, but they could later be charged. A pretty sad episode of America’s current handling of the great equalizer. The instrument to right any wrong.
Math teacher and former Marine Michael Landsberry was shot with his hands up.
Eighth-grader Angelo Ferro: “The whole time I was hoping Mr. L was OK, we’d all get through it, it was a bad dream.”

From all indications, the kid had been bullied at school and was responding.
From Raw Story:

“I saw him getting bullied a couple of times,” Sparks Middle School student Amaya Newton told Morgan Monday night.
“I think he took out his bullying on [the school].”
Newton’s mother, Tabitha Newton, corroborated her story, telling Morgan she knew the gunman personally and that she had told him about his being bullied.
“He was really a nice kid,” Amaya Newton told Morgan.
“He would make you smile when you were having a bad day.
He’d just ask you if he could buy you something. He was just really a nice kid.”
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that between 20 and 30 students witnessed the attack.
Another witness, Michelle Hernandez, was quoted as saying she heard the gunman asking, “Why you people making fun of me? Why you laughing at me?”

A most-incredibly sad story.
And it’s just one of a humongous bunch — via the New York Times today:

In the 10 months since the Newtown massacre, several schools have experienced the trauma of a shooting: last week, a student at a high school in Austin, Tex., killed himself in front of other students.
In August, a student at a high school in Winston-Salem, N.C., shot another student in the neck.
In January, a 16-year-old boy who’d been bullied because of his red hair walked into his Taft, Calif., high school with a shotgun and 20 rounds of ammunition and seriously wounded a student before he surrendered.

Just to name a view. And AG Eric Holder remarked yesterday about the surge in what cops call “active-shooter incidents,” (a shooter in a confined, populated area). Between 2000 and 2008, the US averaged five such episodes a year: “Alarmingly, since 2009, this annual average has tripled. We’ve seen at least 12 active shooter situations so far in 2013.”

Guns and more guns — the American way. In the time since Sandy Hook Elementary, about 28,000 people have been killed via guns in the US.
From a most-fascinating article on America’s phoney love of guns, aptly titled, “Why Americans Love Guns,” and in 2013, the reason is just bullshit — Bob Boze Bell, the executive editor of “True West” magazine:

“There are a thousand movies made about them, so you’d think that there were gunfights every day,” Bell says.
“And when you read the diaries or you talk to the old-timers, they’ll say things like, ‘Why, I never saw anybody pull a gun in anger, and I lived on the range for 40 years.’
Did most people settle their differences in court? Yeah, probably.
Did they use their fists more than their guns? Yes.
Were there a lot of deaths from shooting in saloons? Oh yeah. It was a wild time.
It’s safe to say that the West had its moments.
And what we celebrate in legend are those dramatic moments.
They weren’t all the time, and they were not like Hollywood portrays, but if you portrayed it real, nobody would go see the movie.”

And the lie of the great equalizer.

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