By Alex P. Vidal
“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.”— Pythagoras
THE title of this article can best describe what any normal American can grotesquely feel and express instantly in a nutshell each time a gun-toting maniac has opened fire in a crowded place—grocery store, subway, synagogue, theater, shopping mall, or school—and kill innocent people, including children, women and elderly.
We Are Dead Again because death—in the number that defies the logic of murder—has been happening on a regular basis, rampage after rampage, state after state, with no apparent provocation and almost endless and routinely. Life in America.
Yesterday (May 24), authorities confirmed 21 died again, including the gunman, a teacher, and 19 other students in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, roughly 80 miles west of San Antonio.
The latest macabre killings occurred a week after radio RMN Iloilo in the Philippines reached me via social media to share what I learned about the mass murder inside a Buffalo supermarket in New York State that killed 10 people in a racially motivated attack.
I mentioned during the “live” conversation with RMN anchors Novie Guazo and Regan Arlos that the Buffalo massacre “might not be the last” even if I further elucidated that Americans, unlike the Filipinos in the Philippines, are allowed to carry firearms under the Second Amendment in the U.S. Constitution, thus violence is always inevitable.
In a shocking coincidence, I mentioned Texas as the state with the most number of incidents of gun violence and with the highest number of firearms in the hands of civilians where the possibility of another mass murder might occur.
Both the gunmen in Buffalo and Uvalde were 18-year-olds, armed to the teeth, motivated by unexplained animus, and extremely dangerous.
The gunman in Uvalde, identified by officials as Salvador Ramos, was himself killed dead and believed to have acted alone. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said confirmed the murderer had attended Uvalde High School.
It was the deadliest shooting at an elementary school since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut that left 26 people dead, including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old, according to reports.
Will the mass murder in the land of milk and honey and endless economic opportunities end? I don’t see it ending in Uvalde.
In fact, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S. in 2020, the most recent year for which complete data is available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The figure includes gun murders and gun suicides, along with three other, less common types of gun-related deaths tracked by the CDC: those that were unintentional, those that involved law enforcement and those whose circumstances could not be determined.
The total excludes deaths in which gunshot injuries played a contributing, but not principal, role.
CDC’s fatality statistics are reportedly based on information contained in official death certificates, which identify a single cause of death.
We further learned from CDC that the 45,222 total gun deaths in 2020 were by far the most on record, representing a 14 percent increase from the year before, a 25 percent increase from five years earlier and a 43 percent increase from a decade prior.
CDC said gun murders, in particular, have climbed sharply in recent years.
The 19,384 gun murders that took place in 2020 were the most since at least 1968, exceeding the previous peak of 18,253 recorded by the CDC in 1993.
The 2020 total represented a 34 percent increase from the year before, a 49 percent increase over five years and a 75 percent increase over 10 years.
The number of gun suicides, CDC said, has also risen in recent years – climbing 10 percent over five years and 25 percent over 10 years – and is near its highest point on record.
The 24,292 gun suicides that took place in 2020 were reportedly the most in any year except 2018, when there were 24,432.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)