President Donald Trump likes the word “amazing,” and for sure these are amazing and interesting times. Interesting because our neighbours are seeing so much happen at whirlwind speed. Amazing because so much of it makes no sense.
We always admired Americans for their ingenuity and for their drive for success, which empowered them to excel in all domains related to science, innovation, entrepreneurship, education, the arts and athleticism. Today we have to wonder how clued out they have become. All the present craziness has to come from somewhere.
How crazy is a county when a deeply troubled 18-year-old can buy assault weapons and all the ammunition he wants without a background check? No one asked a question. Even with the U.S. history of other horrific school killings, reports to authorities in Florida that a former angry student was on the verge of popping went unheeded.
There were countless attempts to get someone in authority to get the message that the troublemaker Nikolas Cruz was threatening crazy things online and that the school could be a target. But no one took the tips seriously. Not at the school. Not the local police headquarters. Not even at the FBI offices in Florida. It was a colossal multi-layered failure.
Daggers are being sharpened for the people at the FBI who blew it and for those armed deputies who stayed outside the school rather than entering to confront the killer. They may have feared their guns were no match for the killer’s machine gun, but no explanation will help. The drums calling them cowards are beating.
How crazy is a country when the 2012 mass murder of 20 six- and seven-year-old children at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut didn’t lead to making it harder for lunatics to get assault weapons? The Connecticut killer was another troubled young person. He also slaughtered with an assault weapon. How could another massacre happen in Florida more than five years later?
How crazy a country is it when the president says teachers need guns to protect the children? Even if you go down that road, the same problem pokes through. A hand gun is like a pea shooter compared to an assault weapon. Do teachers need assault weapons strung over their shoulders?
How crazy is a country when politicians – Republicans and Democrats – take so much money from the National Rifle Association? The gun lobby started to buy votes years ago. The power of the gun lobby was always seen as the reason why gun law changes couldn’t be rewritten in the United States, regardless of how many of their citizens of all ages are gunned down in their schools, movie theatres, workplaces and even a church.
Even in the aftermath of the recent string of mass murders, there is no assurance that, at a minimum, stringent background checks will be required before assault weapons are sold. Getting rid of assault weapons altogether remains a pipe dream. While there may be renewed hope on background checks, with American politics so polarized, every issue becomes a war. The rules of war mean all or nothing and nothing substantial looks more likely.
You could ask how crazy is a country that elects Donald Trump as president, but you can’t blame the guns on him. Firearms have a long history. Guns are as important to American life as apple pie used to be and how skull-crushing NFL football is now.
The America that Trump wants to make great again is one sick puppy. The mass murder of school children is a sick low point. There is no reason to be hopeful and every reason not to be.
The challenge in politics is to always move forward, but guns are extinguishing the unity required for the United States to make it back up any hill, let alone the hill called greatness.