I woke up this morning to the news that another psycho with a gun had gone mad and killed ten people (and wounded many others) on a college campus in America. I get most of my news in 140 characters on Twitter, and this time I didn’t even go to an article to find out the details of what had happened. Even on Twitter there were pics of crying, shocked and grieving people, who had either been on the scene or had lost someone they loved. The responses were identical to the ones before; just different people having them. Even Obama looked and sounded like a broken record. I feel for him. He keeps saying that the only way to lessen or prevent these terrible crimes is for there to be stricter gun control. And yet, there aren’t. And yet, people claim that this is not the case, and yet, people are utterly surprised when the lunatic takes out the semi-automatic that he managed to get hold of and shoot a whole bunch of people dead.
Now, this does come in the week that the crime stats were released here, in South Africa, and we have more murders a day than hours in a day. Just think about that slowly. It is almost beyond comprehension. And it is obviously really easy to get a stolen gun here, to do the crimes. So, I am not for a moment suggesting we don’t have huge gun problems of our own here. And maybe the reason why we aren’t surprised at the crime and violence anymore is because it is so terribly, numbingly commonplace. My friend was at a coffee shop that was robbed in Jozi yesterday. A few blocks away from my house there was a hijacking at gunpoint today. So, we have similar problems, no doubt, but, America, what I don’t understand in your case, is how surprised everyone is that this happens. It feels like you have become better and better at being at tragedies; doing the vigils, and flowers and candles and TV interviews, and talk shows, and on scene reporting and psychological breakdowns with experts, and commentary and breaking news, and rustling up of mothers and fathers and best friends and witnesses and witnesses of witnesses. It feels like you are getting good at having them, and that no evidence or proof will convince you that gun control laws are what you need.
Watching this from the outside makes me feel schizophrenic. How can you not get this? How is it that I get those ‘not again’ feelings, when you seem, as an entire nation, to not believe it has happened again. Honestly, I am curious, in that watching an accident kind of way. What will it take for you to see? Or don’t you want to?