Every time that someone with a firearm perpetrates a killing is an opportunity to discuss the outrageous politics surrounding guns, which combine dubious legal interpretations, the powerful industry’s lobby and a popular fascination with weapons that has already cost over 5,800 lives and injured over 11,500 people in the U.S. this year.
The tragedy in Charleston is no exception. President Obama addressed the topic at a national meeting of city mayors, who see first-hand the effects of the widespread use of firearms in their streets and in their constituents’ homes. During the gathering, the sense of horror caused by the massacre was followed by a sense of impotence over the futility of gun control efforts.
Attempts to better oversee gun permits failed after the Sandy Hook school massacre in spite of a temporary surge in support. That is why it is hard to think that the racially-motivated murders against 9 African-Americans in a church will give way to any changes in the law.
However, resignation does not mean accepting the barbaric comments that have been uttered about this incident in order to twist the facts. Most Republican candidates have chosen to focus on religious freedom instead of racism to avoid scaring off their prospective voters. Some of them have even addressed the events as drug-related, ignoring the evidence that racial hatred is clearly what motivated the crime.
Regarding guns, one argument defies all common sense: that there aren’t too many guns but too few, and that, if the pastor and churchgoers had been bearing arms themselves, they could have stopped Dylann Roof.
This type of bogus argument used to elude responsibility is all too well-known. For instance, the lack of immigration reform is attributed to the President’s executive actions, not the deadlock in the House of Representatives. Equally, the fact that judges are trying to eliminate Obamacare subsidies is hung on the “bad” quality of the health reform plan, not on those who boycott it and send it to court.
The appalling dishonesty and blatant manipulation of the Charleston tragedy shows once again incapacity to lead and cowardice that only insults the memory of the victims.