And So It Goes, America

I don’t often do this, but I’m posting the Editor’s Column for the latest issue of The Week magazine. It resonated with me and I think it’s an important message about the state of gun violence in America today. It was written by William Falk, editor-in-chief of the magazine.

A motorcyclist was roaring in and out of highway lanes on I-35 in Fort Worth when he decided that an SUV changed lanes to block him. The enraged biker, 19, raced past other vehicles, stopped the bike to block all lanes of traffic, and approached the SUV with a drawn handgun. The SUV driver jumped out and said he had kids in his vehicle. But when the motorcyclist didn’t lower his gun, he raised his own and fired multiple shots, leaving the biker dying on the road.

This was just one of hundreds of gun deaths last week, as our nation continues to devolve into a heavily armed Wild West. In 2020, with the pandemic, protests, and a divisive election further weakening frayed social bonds, Americans purchased more than 23 million guns—a 66 percent increase over 2019. Up to 40 percent of new gun sales, the firearm industry estimates, went to first-time buyers—with sales jumping 50 percent among Black customers and 47 percent among Hispanics.

Jabril Battle, 28, an African-American account representative in Los Angeles, was one of the first-time buyers. He told The Washington Post he’d always hated “gun nuts” but was deeply unsettled by the pandemic’s apocalyptic, “Mad Max” feeling of anarchy. “I was like, Do I want to be a person who has a gun or doesn’t have a gun?” He bought two.

The fear of being outgunned feeds on itself: Americans now own an estimated 390 million guns—a per capita rate more than double that of any other country. Deadly weapons may make people feel safer, but they also serve as impulse amplifiers, transforming arguments into homicides, gang turf battles into firefights, disaffected young men into mass killers, depression into easy suicide, and police stops into tragic deaths.

As we celebrated our nation’s birth on the Fourth of July weekend, more than 230 Americans died by gun violence and 618 were wounded.

And so it goes.

18 thoughts on “And So It Goes, America

  1. Mister Bump UK July 18, 2021 / 12:30 pm

    Funnt he should mention 7/4. When I posted on that day, saying Americans had the freedom to shoot each other, one guy took exception.
    But how do you take that many guns out of circulation?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 18, 2021 / 1:11 pm

      That’s an excellent question. Maybe banning new sales of semiautomatic weapons, large capacity magazines, and bullets, and by offering buy-back options for existing weapons.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Mister Bump UK July 18, 2021 / 10:52 pm

        ban bullets would be a start. Make them impossible to get hold of. Basically any consumable you can think of. Make it so that even if someone owns a gun, it is unusable.
        The problem with this is the same as with the buyback schemes – most people will co-operate but a small percentage won’t. A small percentage will have stockpiled thousands of rounds of ammo.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Marilyn Armstrong July 18, 2021 / 12:33 pm

    “Like” seems the wrong sentiment, but I have to assume you know what I mean. I appreciate the article, but I hate that we are at that point. Tom Curley has been writing about this exact same things for YEARS. Each year, new tragedy, horrible new statistics. I’m sure that if Garry and I had guns, some of our arguments would have wound up with someone dead. Not because they were so important. They weren’t. In the end, they weren’t important at all. Someone was in a bad mood (work? traffic?) and someone pushed the other one’s buttons. Perfect for a shooting literally based on nothing that would otherwise have been forgotten in a matter of hours.

    To me, that is the ultimate tragedy, that stupid little things can so easily blow up into the ruination of multiple lives.

    But I’ll say it again for anyone who missed it: we have a HUGE gun industry in the U.S. It’s one of the few major industries that has not been outsourced and which — at least in the handgun department — draws its money from American buying an American product. I’m pretty sure that if other countries depended, as we do, on weapons for profits and employment, they would have been a lot less eager to do away with the business.

    When big money is involved, it gets very complicated very quickly.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Marlapaige July 18, 2021 / 12:49 pm

    “The fear of being outgunned feeds on itself” Those who say that history doesn’t repeat itself should really look up 1962, Robert McNamara, the Cold War, and the Doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. Then once they understand any one of those, immediately turn their guns in for destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. abigfatcanofworms July 18, 2021 / 3:05 pm

    It’s tragic. And I hope you don’t mind me saying, it has always made me a bit afraid of traveling in the US. That term “impulse amplifier” is so apt.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. bushboy July 18, 2021 / 3:41 pm

    As an Australian I feel for your country and it’s stupidity. Currently there are war games in Australia and the Americans are proudly trying to sell weapons of war. This is just a huge selling exercise, millions of dollars being exploded destroying the environment and contributing to climate change. Guns are madness

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 18, 2021 / 10:07 pm

      The ugly Americans and their war games. The American devotion to the almighty gun makes me embarrassed to be an American.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Taswegian1957 July 18, 2021 / 3:55 pm

    I can see how difficult it would be with the weapons industry in the USA and the enormous number of guns . I guess buy back would be at the discretion of the states which means some would not comply anyway. What really has to change is the mindset of the people who believe that they are entitled to use guns and take the law into their own hands. Sadly, I don’t know if that is possible any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marleen July 18, 2021 / 6:07 pm

    So . Very . Sad

    I also found out, very recently, that the young lady who (as a minor) took footage of the George Floyd murder “lost” her uncle in the same town — her uncle who had nothing to do with what the police officers were pursuing. There was a chase on, and police crashed into her uncle’s vehicle. Her uncle won’t be found; he’s dead. Authoritarianism is on the rise.

    Liked by 2 people

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