Monday, Oct 23, 2017 | Last Update : 01:43 PM IST

Will America ever say ‘no’ to guns?

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 4, 2017, 12:43 am IST
Updated : Oct 4, 2017, 12:44 am IST

How unsafe life becomes even in the most modern era when you allow everyone to be armed is a conundrum for the United States to unravel.

People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: AFP)
 People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo: AFP)

Rampant gun violence is a uniquely American problem. But even by US standards, the Las Vegas massacre was at a new, horrifying level. The death of at least 59 people and injuries and trauma inflicted on over 500 others who were enjoying an open-air concert on the famous “Strip” opposite Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino made it the worst in modern American history. It takes just one deranged person — who may lose his mental balance and control over his trigger finger for a variety of reasons — to cause mayhem as Nevada resident Craig Paddock did. It’s the easy access to guns that’s at the heart of the problem, but every time a despicable event like a mass shooting erupts, many in America seem to accept that nothing can be done, except to offer prayers for the victims and try to console their loved ones.

The Las Vegas massacre should reignite the gun control debate in a major way. If that doesn’t happen, though, it will be because there is a classic pattern to American reactions, more to do with how the Second Amendment is inviolate and how the right to possess firearms is deemed to be every citizen’s inalienable right. US President Donald Trump strangely conveyed his “warmest condolences”, whatever that means, before going on to visit Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory that was recently devastated by a natural tragedy. While seasonal hurricanes take their severe toll in the Atlantic, the US gun industry remains the biggest stumbling block to peace in society. So complete is its hold on America, particularly on Republican legislators, that there has never been known to be a positive policy response. That is the tragedy of American society.

What happened in Vegas shouldn’t stay in Vegas this time. Security in America’s “Sin City”, famous for its 24-hour revelry that feeds the gambling industry and funds the entertainment industry, is non-existent, which is clear from the shooter checking into a hotel with 23 firearms, including two automatics with scopes he set up on stands by the broken windows in his room. As the US comes to terms with a man-made tragedy of this scale wrecking the lives of thousands of innocent people, the gun lobby brazenly promotes its interests. Amid the inability to clamp down on public places with security measures comes the news that the National Rifle Association would like buying of silencers to be made simpler. Defiant Second Amendment proponents are also thinking up ways to manufacture ghost guns that will escape the prying eyes of security barriers. How unsafe life becomes even in the most modern era when you allow everyone to be armed is a conundrum for the United States to unravel. Let Vegas be the most serious warning yet for American society.

Tags: las vegas, donald trump, las vegas shooting