US turns into a “war zone” of gun violence. Cartoon: Vitaly Podvitski
The US is now stuck in a “doom loop,” when the sheer number of guns owned by Americans, and the violence and death they cause, is prompting still more Americans to buy more guns, leading to more violence and death, and so on, wrote a Los Angeles Times column on Sunday. On a political level, what drives such a “loop” is the US’ bipartisan moves to keep fooling the public on the issue of gun control.
The three-day annual convention of the US’ National Rifle Association (NRA) ended Sunday. Amid the event, a birthday party shooting in Dadeville, Alabama, on Saturday night local time that killed four and injured 28 shocked the country. This happened right after the recent mass shootings in Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee.
And unsurprisingly, US President Joe Biden made a statement to “grieve, pray and urge for gun safety reforms,” just like he already has done several times in the past months. But as the popular saying among Chinese netizens, “Free as the United States, gunshot every day,” manifests itself as an actual phenomenon repeatedly, it makes one wonder: Can Biden’s statement even keep up with the pace of the occurrence of US gun violence?
Washington’s repeated statements will not save American people, which have long been fed up with gun violence, from the “doom loop.”
US politicians appear to address the gun violence issue. On June 25, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), a legislation praised by US bipartisan lawmakers and mainstream media as “the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years.”
With such a “landmark legislation,” it is reasonable to assume that the situation of gun violence will improve. Yet, that’s not the case at all. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 162 mass shootings have occurred in the US in 2023 as of Sunday, 28 cases more than the same day last year. With such a record, the powerlessness of this law is evident.
Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times the BSCA emphasizes background checks for gun buyers and crisis intervention programs, such as children’s mental health. These are generalized control measures on the social level and cannot provide any substantive restrictions on easy access to guns and the arbitrariness of violent use of firearms.
In the US, gun violence has become a completely politicized issue. To champion gun rights or to support gun control has become a label that distinguishes the identity of Republicans and Democrats. Any weakening of the position on this issue will likely face resentment and attacks from within the party and from voters. Thus, there is no room for discussion or compromise for either party.
However, even though the problem is insoluble in the US, to pretend that they do listen to public concerns about gun violence and care about Americans, the Republicans and Democrats have found a way to fool the American people. While refusing to make concessions on key issues, such as the position on gun control, to secure votes, the two parties managed to find common ground on the relatively insignificant part of the issue, with each side taking what it needs through a political compromise.
As a result, the Democrats can show off BSCA as a political “achievement,” while a bill that does not have any substantive content on the essential parts of gun control is exactly what the Republican Party needs. The BSCA is a bipartisan effort to treat the public’s demands perfunctorily, and it is not even an exaggeration to call it a “bipartisan fraud,” noted Lü.
The Republican politicians who attended the NRA annual meeting and advocated gun rights without tackling the core issues of gun violence are certainly shameful. And it is ridiculous that the Biden-led Democratic administration that has repeatedly stressed its support for gun control appears merely to be “a dwarf of action.” But what is truly frightening is how the two parties’ politicians plot a lie and create a mirage about gun safety, putting their political interests above the Americans’ need for social stability and personal safety.
Every life lost to gun violence is a tragedy. And regretfully enough, more people will lose their lives under the nationwide “gun control fraud” of the US’ bipartisan system.