CHARLOTTE, North Carolina—I had just barely arrived here and underwent the usual post cancer checkups when I got wind of news about the spate of mass shootings that occurred in the US, specifically in Dayton, Ohio where nine people died and 27 injured after the gunman was denied entry in a bar on a Sunday last Aug. 4.
The day before, on a Saturday, Aug. 3, about 22 people were shot down and died while 24 were injured outside a mall and the suspected perpetrator identified as Patrick Wood Crisius was arrested shortly after the incident. A Google search on these incidents showed that at least one mass shooting—defined by the non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive as an incident in which four or more people excluding the perpetrators are shot in one location at roughly the same time—had occurred in some parts of the US every day since last month.
The Dayton Ohio and El Paso mass shootings were particularly brutal and police investigation showed that the perpetrators, one of whom died during a shootout with police at Dayton, were somewhat politically motivated. Interestingly enough, the two gunmen involved in the shootouts were supposedly polar opposites as far as beliefs go.
The 24-year-old Dayton mass shooting suspect identified as Connor Stephen Betts is said to have described himself as a ‘leftist’ and repeatedly posted tweets opposing US President Donald Trump and favoring Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who recently announced her candidacy for next year’s presidential elections and called for, along with other presidential wannabes, an end to gun violence.
On the other hand, the 21-year-old suspect in the El Paso mass shooting tragedy identified as Patrick Wood Crisius, supposedly published a white nationalist, anti-immigrant manifesto on Twitter and voiced his support for the Christchurch mass shooting tragedy in New Zealand last March 19 this year. In both cases, the attacks stemmed from pure, unhinged hate towards either minorities or in the Dayton shooting case, identified rightwing supporters/advocates like Trump.
Frankly speaking, I am about as familiar with the US political landscape as a duck waddling into the waters of a stranger’s backyard pond. More often than not, I use as reference the viewpoints of my husband Ronnie along with fellow Filipino-American friends and families who have lived in this great country for decades and had made good in their lives here, no matter how small or big it may be.
I must state that I use their perspective as reference since I also do some research on my own thanks in no small part to my former career as a broadcaster and reporter back home in Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental province, northern Mindanao in the Philippines. And much as there had been growing criticism and clamor for gun control to defuse and perhaps end the violence, I do support stricter regulation of firearms so they won’t end up in the hands of those with violent tendencies.
For as much as the Democrats and their left-leaning friends don’t like to believe it and would much rather change the current status quo to one of imposing a nationwide gun ban, the right to bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution going back to the days when the country was still a bunch of colonies that owed their allegiance to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland before embarking on a war they eventually won for independence.
High profile talk show hosts have already used their programs as a platform to further mobilize public sentiment towards gun control and even a gun ban but to remind everyone who cared to listen, not even former US president Barack Obama took a public stand to call for a gun ban but rather for stricter gun control.
From the US, let’s take a look at the Philippine situation where drive-by shootings are becoming increasingly par for the course no thanks to the war on drugs waged by President Rodrigo Duterte. While President Duterte minces no words in insulting critics of his anti-drug war, he is lately kept busy trying to defend to an increasingly skeptical and distrustful Filipino public his seeming tolerance and litany of excuses for China’s continuing strong-arm tactics in the West Philippine Sea.
Though we don’t lack for public outrage, the President’s critics are being drowned out in either social media or at the mainstream public discourse by his cheering supporters as well as those who’ve lost loved ones to drug users, dealers and syndicates who still peddle their death trade despite this violent crackdown.
To wit, as former senator and Cagayan de Oro City mayor Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel Jr. said, it’s time for more people to speak up in social media or in whatever public forum against the violence done by either extremist left or right wing fanatics or by hired ski-mask wearing goons who shoot down unsuspecting drug targets like fish in a barrel.
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