The Enablers of Mass Shootings

The recent mass shooting in Orlando, Florida like other mass shootings before it offers society lessons about these horrific events.  Unfortunately, society ignores those lessons and instead focuses on issues that distort the real reasons why mass shootings are occurring so frequently.

What is disturbing about mass shootings is that we know the reasons why they occur, yet nothing is done to prevent them. The truth is that America has an obsession with guns that dates back to the beginning of the Republic.  This obsession is responsible for a gun culture that is reinforced by the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms. That right is fiercely protected by organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) and a powerful gun lobby. This culture and their gun rights advocates ensure that guns are easily accessible. Anyone can walk into a major retail store that sells guns or a gun show and purchase a handgun or an assault rifle.   MassShootingIllusR1

Mass shootings in America involve a dynamic process or cycle that includes various actors. At the hub of this cycle is the shooter and on the periphery are the enablers  – actors who allow assault rifles to get into the hands of the shooter ( a person who has one or more of the following conditions: a history of mental disorder, a strong grudge against some entity, racial hatred, or a terrorist sympathizer. The enablers include the gun manufacturer, politicians, gun retailers, and organizations that promote gun use (NRA and the gun lobby).

The inability of the government to implement effective gun control measures was seen again on Monday when the senate voted to block gun control measures. This failure is a reflection of how the NRA and the gun lobby influence the political process as noted in the following statement from the Associated Press article, “A divided Senate answers Orlando with gridlock on gun curbs,”

The stalemate underscored the pressure on each party to stand firm on the emotional gun issue going into November’s presidential and congressional elections. It also highlighted the potency of the National Rifle Association, which urged its huge and fiercely loyal membership to lobby senators to oppose the Democratic bills.

Mass shooters who have gun downed people in cold blood are not the only ones with blood on their hands.  The enablers also have blood on their hands because of the indirect role they play in allowing the shooter to possess a mass shooting weapon like the assault rifle (see illustration).

The carnage from mass shootings is not only immoral it is an evil and those who were previously identified as enablers are connected to this evil. Therefore, to wash their hands of this moral turpitude, they need to summon the courage to stand up against the NRA and the gun lobby. They can do this by implementing strict gun control measures like banning assault rifles – there is no justification for citizens to own assault rifles.

Politicizing gun violence and its extreme form of mass shootings is wrong because protecting the health and safety of the public should not be based on ideological positions. The excuse of using an ideology or belief that is enshrined in a document or book is also wrong. Society cannot continue to interpret the Second Amendment to suit their own selfish agenda. Yes, freedom is something that Americans cherish but the freedom to own a weapon that is only used in society to gun down people is not the type of freedom that should be embraced.  The time for political game must end and so must mass shootings.

To have a reasonable chance of eliminating ore deterring mass shooting, the enablers must be made to realize that for each mass shooting that occurs, they too have blood on their hands. The public can force them to come to this realization by demanding that they implement strict gun-control measures that include banning assault rifles.