It’s been at least 20 days since the massacre of 20 school children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
That’s enough time for the hysteria to have died down, at least somewhat, and enough time to talk about something OTHER than gun control.
The kneejerk response to the Newtown shooting has been repeated calls for gun control. CNN on-air personality Piers Morgan went above and beyond the call of duty in this, spending at least an entire week on a nightly anti-gun rant.
Morgan implied that some Americans value owning guns more than they value “protecting our children,” hinted that the Second Amendment should be repealed and said outright that he wanted every gun in America removed.
Other commentators didn’t froth at the mouth quite as much as CNN’s resident cheeky anchor, but none talked about the other issues surrounding Newtown that warranted serious discussion. And yes, race was one of them.
I’ll cut straight to the chase: 19 white kids and one young Latina being fatally shot in Newtown is indeed a tragedy of epic scope, but black kids in Chicago were getting shot throughout all of 2012.
Let me repeat that, for the benefit of Piers Morgan – who, to my knowledge, hasn’t done a single show about the Chicago Carnage of 2012 – BLACK KIDS IN CHICAGO WERE SHOT THROUGHOUT ALL OF 2012.
When 7-year-old Heaven Sutton was gunned down as she sold candy and snow cones on her Chicago block – a shooting that took her life – there were no clarion calls for more gun control laws from Morgan, President Obama or anyone else.
So it’s been business as usual in America in this respect: the shooting of white kids in affluent suburban areas induces hysteria and calls for more gun control; the shooting of black kids in inner-city Chicago is regarded as no big deal.
The racial disparity in the reaction is obvious; more insidious is the other matter that seems to be off the discussion table: class.
Anyone have any idea how much an AR-15 rifle like the one Adam Lanza allegedly used in the Newtown rampage costs?
I’ve heard a low estimate of $1,400, and a high one of $2,500.
Let me take a quick poll: BAW readers, how many of you, after paying rent or mortgage, utilities, the car note, car repairs, gasoline, food and household, medical bills and heaven knows what else have a spare $1,400-$2,500 in your bank account or just lying around your house to buy an assault rifle?
Yeah, I thought so.
Poor folks can’t afford assault rifles. Working class folks can’t either. Buying an assault rifle would be a strain even for some middle class families. So who’s buying these darned things?
Affluent people, it seems to me. And I’ll be even more specific: affluent white folks.
So rich white folks are buying most, if not all, of the assault rifles in America. Why are they buying them, and why have some ended up in the hands of young, white men in the 15 to 35 age range, who seem to be the ones kirking out and going on mass shooting rampages?
Yes, no one’s talked about the gender gap in mass shootings either. Oh, we’ve talked about how those who engage in mass shootings might be mentally ill, and they probably are.
But aren’t there women who are mentally ill? How come none of them grabs an assault rifle and goes on a mass killing spree?
It’s as if everyone in America – and damn it, I mean EVERYONE – has covered their eyes and refused to acknowledge the facts crammed in their faces.
Was Adam Lanza a male?
Was he young?
Was he white?
The answer to all three questions is a resounding HELL YES! Now, how come no one’s connecting the dots?
Let’s recap: we have a bunch of rich, white folks buying up thousands of assault rifles. We have young white boys snapping out, getting their hands on these rifles and then committing wholesale murder. See the problem?
The talking heads you’ve been watching on television and policy makers sure as heck don’t. They’ve not mentioned race, class or gender even once in discussing Newtown and other mass shootings.
It appears way too many people in America have been spending too much time swimming on a certain river that runs through Egypt.