Waters: When will the U.S. act on gun control?

How many more people have to die to prompt politicians to act?

It’s a question that gets asked after every mass shooting in the U.S.—how many more people have to die before lawmakers there get serious about addressing the issue of gun control in their country?

While the United States is not the only country where mass shootings have occurred, the frequency with which they do occur there is frightening. Less than two full months into 2018, there have already been eight mass shootings.

The latest, at a high school in Parkland, Florida last week, claimed the lives of 17 people, many of whom were high school students.

But the public outrage one would expect from politicians, eager to tap into the well-documented support for at least some level of gun control by American voters, has not been evident. The vice-like grip of the National Rifle Association is strong.

And so is the the belief by millions of Americans that it’s their right to bear arms, and any move by lawmakers to curtail that is a direct threat to their independence.

But, in the words of one eloquent and passionate student from that Florida high school who spoke out on the weekend: “We call B.S.”

While keeping all guns out of the hands of crazies may be a pipe dream, the ease with which a person in many parts of the United States can get a gun is frightening. And it doesn’t help when the men and women who can do something about that are in the hip pocket of the gun industry, which provides millions of dollars of support to their political campaigns.

Other countries have figured out ways to address gun violence, why can’t the U.S.? It’s simple—there is no political will.

While some presidents in the past have tried, typically their successors—especially if they are of another party—have repealed any moves made. The vicious political circle continues and in the meantime people continue to die.

In the past, non-gun related events that have resulted in far less loss of life have led in drastic changes taken to protect people. But when it comes to guns, that has not been the case. And with guns, it doesn’t matter if it’s adults or children who are the victims.

Unfortunately Canadians cannot look south and say “not in our country.” We have had incidents and death as a result of mass shootings too. But nothing on the scale of what happens in the U.S. There, shootings have become common occurrences.

That alone should be impetus to act.

But once the horror of the Parkland, Florida shootings fades—just as it did with previous mass shooting from Columbine to Sandy Hook, from Virginia Tech to Las Vegas—the U.S. will recede back into its self-denial that the country has a problem with guns.

If children dying while at school is not enough to change minds of the people in power, what will?

Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.

Just Posted

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: the warm sun is sticking around

Environement Canada forcasts sun, no clouds for Wednesday

TKI Construction looks forward to being part of Rutland

The company is renovating the old AG Outdoor Superstore

Rockets’ tiebreaker for playoff berth a franchise first

The Rockets travel to Kamloops for a do-or-die match against the Blazers

‘Our sales are hurting’ Kelowna music hub takes hit after big competition moves in

Milkcrate Records still taking a hit after Sunrise Records moved into town 2 years ago

Construction set to begin on new roundabout in Lake Country

Construction is scheduled from April until July

The UBC Innovation Library has helped over 1,100 students since opening in 2015

Students across B.C. can access their academic resources at the UBC Innovation Library

Facebook to overhaul ad targeting to prevent discrimination

The company is also paying about $5 million to cover plaintiffs’ legal fees and other costs

B.C. mosque part of open-house effort launched in wake of New Zealand shootings

The ‘Visit a Mosque’ campaign aims to combat Islamophobia

‘That’s a load of crap’: Dog poop conspiracy spreads in White Rock

Allegation picked up steam through a Facebook page run by a city councillor

Explosives unit brought in after suspicious boxes left at B.C. RCMP detachment

Nanaimo RCMP issues all clear after packages were found on lawn earlier in the day

Avalanche control tomorrow on Highway 1

Expect closures of up to two hours east of Revelstoke

2019 BUDGET: As deficit grows, feds spend on job retraining, home incentives

Stronger economy last year delivered unexpected revenue bump of an extra $27.8 billion over six years

Newfoundland man caught after posting photo of himself drinking and driving

The 19-year-old took a photo of himself holding a beer bottle and cigarette while at the wheel

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

Most Read