The White House: President Biden Announces Initial Steps To Reduce Gun Violence
Notes from Indian Country
It is long past time to end the gun madness in America
Thursday, April 22, 2021

We are reeling from the mass shootings that are almost becoming a daily affair. From Atlanta to Indianapolis, the mass killings go on and on.

The US policy of constantly endangering our children is enacted by a bought-and-paid-for Congress on behalf of 10 major gun manufacturers with an $8 billion industry. Most Americans don’t have or want a gun, and 50% of all guns in the US are owned by 3% of Americans, i.e. some 6 million people out of 320 million. That three percent would be just fine if they were subjected to better security checks and a ban on assault weapons. In 2019 (i.e. before the distorting pandemic) there were 413 mass shootings in the US.

Although guns in the hands of people with mental problems is the major cause of these mass shootings, the fact that the police are so quick to pull their guns and kill innocent people at minor traffic stops is also a huge problem for this country. The Black Lives Matter protests now taking place in Minnesota is clear evidence of that. Why do America’s police even have to carry guns?

In England, where police do not carry guns there were 33 gun homicides last year; while the US had 10,258.

marchforourlives
The March For Our Lives took place in Washington, D.C., on March 24, 2018, to call for gun reforms in the U.S. Photo: Phil Roeder

In fact, when a mass shooting was carried out, by a white nationalist terrorist at a mosque in New Zealand last March, 2019, the New Zealand government promptly banned semi-automatic assault weapons. It just took one (admittedly horrific) incident. In the US, hundreds of mass shootings a year don’t soften the hearts of our bought-and-paid-for legislators even a little bit.

Let me give you a personal example. My stepson, Earl, was having some mental problems. In Rapid City, even today, finding help for people with mental problems, is extremely hard. His mother and I took him to see more than one doctor and each doctor wrote him a prescription for pills. And that was about it. We knew Earl had problems because he had begun to talk to himself and he imagined that there were some bad guys at the Cornerstone Mission Shelter Home that wanted to kill his mother.

With that fear, and even though he had been to see a couple of doctors, he was still able to go into a pawn shop and buy a pistol. He went down to the Cornerstone Mission and slightly wounded a guy and when he was told by the police to put down the weapon he did not. But all it would have taken was for the policed to call us, his parents, and we would have been there in five minutes and we would have been able to get him to put the gun down. But that didn’t happen.

Instead a Rapid City Police Officer, from behind a tree, using a rifle, fired a bullet through Earl’s heart and killed him. Any teenager with a BB gun knows how to aim at a target and this officer should have shot him in the leg or shoulder. He did not need to shoot him through the heart. Earl would be alive today if the Rapid City Police Department knew how to deal with people with mental problems and weren’t so quick to kill.

But just take a look at all of the young black lives that have been taken by trigger happy police. Many that we have witnessed on the television news were totally unnecessary. After the last shooting incident by the police people were hollering to defund the police. No, they need to be disarmed not defunded. Why do they need guns anyhow? In 2019 English police shot only 3 people. 1,004 people were shot by US police in 2019 alone. The English police only use guns when they are assigned guns for special incidents. They do not carry guns as a rule.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members. Many of us thought that this would be the straw that broke the camel’s back and that Congress would finally do something to stop this madness. It did not. Mass shooting after mass shooting continued. And Congress still sat on its hands.

Nobody wants to take away your guns. We only want to introduce some simple solutions like background checks and the removal of assault weapons from the market. If these simple changes can help reduce or even eliminate these mass shootings why isn’t Congress acting on it? Once again, it is not a question of whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, it is a question of using common sense.

America has become a national disgrace when it comes to guns and that has to change.


Tim Giago (Oglala Lakota) is the founder of the Native American Journalists Association and of Indian Country Today. Contact him at najournalist1@gmail.com.

Note: Content © Tim Giago