The slaughter in Florida was enabled by elected US politicians, with assistace from the Supreme Court, writes
GWilliam Greider rieving over the Orlando massacre in Florida, US, will have little or no effect unless we mobilise our sorrows into rage that targets all of the political culprits. Americans must mobilise with a take-noprisoners political anger that overrides the usual lamentations and legalistic excuses from Democratic and Republican politicians.
Don’t just blame crazed bigots or foreign subversives. This slaughter was enabled by elected politicians, with assistance from the US Supreme Court. They should be the true target of our rage.
This is the dreadful reality that has led our country to its continuing sorrows. The government has failed to protect citizens from the random violence that is fast becoming a blood-soaked ritual. Politics has failed at every level – federal, state and local – and then politicians say that they are helpless to prevent the slaughter. People must not accept that legalistic dodge.
If the US can bomb other nations without a declaration of war, it can confiscate the high-powered military weapons that are routinely sold to the random madmen who are driven to violence by their own hateful political delusions.
We are confronted by a profound crisis of national security far more threatening than any of the far-flung wars the US has engaged in in the Middle East. I predict that if Washington will not act forcefully to halt the domestic violence, endangered citizens will feel compelled to take up their own self-defence.
The violence is a constitutional emergency subverting the civil order – a crisis the Supreme Court did not anticipate when it threw out the gun-control laws and rewrote the second amendment in the Constitution.
Chief Justice John Roberts has blood on his hands. So do his right wing associates who defended the “gun rights” trumpeted by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
If my accusation seems unfair, tell it to the scores of families whose innocent relatives were murdered. There will be many more victims – you can count on it – for as long as the Supreme Court puts guns beyond the reach of law.
The bloodbath in Orlando should profoundly alter the popular impatience with political gameplaying. If the Democrats wish to overcome the popular scepticism towards them, they will go to the barricades and stymie whatever legislative action the Senator Mitch McConnell crowd attempts in the next few months unless the Republicans accept rigorous new gun laws.
Don’t hold your breath. The NRA is powerful because, a generation ago, it targeted and defeated a handful of congressional members who did not vote its way. If the Democrats are unwilling to fight this fight, then popular anger must fight it for them. Pick a handful of Democrats and Republicans who vote “wrong” on guns and strip them of their power. That message will destroy the NRA’s political monopoly. Americans at large have “gun rights” too – the right not to be slaughtered by deranged marauders with 100 rounds of deadly force.
Whatever the politicians decide, this crisis also demands direct action that confronts disgusting contradictions the elected politicians have usually tolerated. Who sold the guns to the Orlando murderer? People should find the store and shut it down. The local prosecutor could name the owner as an unindicted co-conspirator. Such a move would make gun store owners vulnerable to civil lawsuits by families of victims.
And who made the guns that killed the innocent? Shame the factory too. Hold the executives to account.
And who elected the guys who enacted the laws that armed the deviant who killed so many people last Saturday night in Orlando?
Do not wait for political leaders to find their strategy. Put them face to face with their failure.
– The Nation, distributed by Agence Global
Greider is The Nation’s national affairs correspondent
What does the US need to do to stop the scourge of gun violence?
SMS us on 35697 using the keyword RAGE and tell us what you think. Please include your name and province. SMSes cost R1.50 Gunman Elliot Oliver Robertson Rodger kills six people and wounds 14 others in a drive-by shooting in the Isla Vista section of Santa Barbara, California, spraying bullets from his car until it crashes. He is found dead inside Omar Mateen shoots 49 people dead in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He is killed by police