It's long past time to start understanding the giant mass shootings that have become part of the new-normal fabric of life in the United States as terrorist attacks on the U.S. populace conducted by the nation's plutocracy through one of its key and rightward campaign funding, lobbying, and policy organizations -- the National Rifle Association (NRA).
We know the drill. The venues are different each time -- an elite private college campus in Virginia, a public university lecture hall in northern Illinois, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, an elementary school in Connecticut, a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina, a gay dance club in Orlando, and now an open-air concert in Las Vegas (site of the biggest single-gunman mass-shooting ever) -- but the story is always the same.
A demented male psychopath gathers ammunition and weaponry made available to him through loose gun laws passed by federal and state governments thanks to the deep pockets of the NRA. The shooter takes his NRA-sponsored weapons of mass destruction wreaks mass-murderous havoc on soft-target innocents. The incident usually includes the shooter's death (the Aurora and Charleston killings are exceptions), typically by suicide. The authorities interview the shooter's family members and associates. Local and federal police search his dwelling -- belongings, computer, online record, and history to determine his motives, how he planned the operation, where he got his weapons, if he had any partners, etc.
After the news of the big mass shooting hits the airwaves and the Internet, NRA-backed politicians resist the morally elementary notion that the latest huge gun massacre -- the most recent spectacular and concentrated example of an ongoing gun carnage that costs 33,000 U.S. lives per year -- compels us to revise our absurdly lax gun laws. It's time, pro-gun politicos say, for prayers, mourning and healing, not for "politicizing a great tragedy." They blame the carnage on sheer evil and madness -- the sinful and dark worst of human nature. They shrug off basic observations that the killer could not have scored such a terrible body count without the weapons and policies advanced by the gun makers and their NRA. This is what they are paid to say by the Gun Lobby.
The NRA, by the way, has been lobbying to make it so that Paddock could have equipped his rifles with silencers. He would have killed hundreds had he been so outfitted.
The vicious white-nationalist moron in the White House (who has been threatening thermonuclear genocide on the Korean peninsula) immediately attributed the Las Vegas massacre to "pure evil." His press secretary said it was "too early" to assess causation.
Bad people kill people, not bad guns, the line goes. "You can't legislate against evil," the "conservative" politicians say.
Meanwhile, we are asked yet again to believe that the U.S. Founders' desire to retain trained state militias to keep British Redcoats off the early republic's soils at the end of the 18th century makes it an unjust infringement of people's constitutional rights for 21st century America to try to stop freaks like Seung-Hi Cho (Virginia Tech), Steven Kazmierczak (Northern Illinois University), James Holmes (Aurora, Colorado), Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Elementary School), Omar Mateen (Orlando), and now Stephen Paddock (Las Vegas) from getting high-kill automatic weapons and ammunition to slaughter children, college students, movie-goers, dancers, and concert-goers en masse.
Liberals and decent media voices call for elementary restrictions like banning mass-kill assault weapons from sale in the United States or just the requirement of stringent background checks for gun purchasers.
Gun control advocates note that other rich nations do not experience the astronomically high gun violence and murder rates that plague the United States thanks in no small part to the very different and civilized gun laws they have in place.
But it's all to no avail. The NRA always wins. A momentary upsurge of domestic popular revulsion against U.S. gun madness gives way to the usual resignation and retreat. We return to we turn to our newly diminished lives, counting the days until the next giant mass shooting that everyone knows is coming.
Meanwhile, gun violence on a more limited incident scale continues to take 93 lives per day in the U.S. -- a nation with more guns than adults in circulation. Mass shootings, modestly defined as the killing of four people beyond the killer, are now absurdly common in the U.S. As The Guardian reports:
"...1,516 mass shootings in 1,735 days: The attack at a country music festival in Las Vegas that left at least 58 people dead is the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history -- but there were six other mass shootings in America this past week alone. No other developed nation comes close to the rate of gun violence in America. Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every adult. Data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive reveals a shocking human toll: there is a mass shooting -- defined as four or more people shot in one incident, not including the shooter -- every nine out of 10 days on average."
Read that again: there is a mass shooting in the U.S. now every 9 out of 10 days on average.