FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Routinization of Mass Shootings in America

 What’s all the shootin’ for?

— George Michael Cohan, The Tavern

It was one of nine mass shootings that occurred that week. It might have surprised some people to see how much publicity it got.  None of the others got even a fraction of that. It was, of course, noteworthy, since it involved members of Congress and members of their staff. It took place on June 14, 2017, on a ball field in Alexandria, Virginia, and was prominently featured in news stories around the country.  No one was killed.  Rep. Steve Scalise (R. La.) was seriously wounded.

That same day there was another group shooting in the United States.  (Although shootings with only a few victims are referred to as “mass” shootings, it seems to this writer that that word should be reserved for shootings like those at Newtown or Orlando.) That group shooting took place in San Francisco in a United Parcel Service facility and got almost no media coverage. Three of the workers in that facility were killed.  The shooting was briefly noted in the Wall Street Journal. Names of the victims were not included in the description.  They were not well known, except to their families.

The day preceding the shooting in Alexandria, there were two group shootings in Baltimore.  Two people were killed in one shooting and two others injured, and two people were injured in the second.  There were many more “mass” or “group” shootings in June but none received the coverage given Rep. Scalise’s shooting. It attracted attention because of the prominence of its victims.

The Alexandria shooting was the 153d mass shooting in the first 165 days of 2017. Of all the victims of the shootings who were killed or seriously injured, only one of them was in a position to have done anything about it-Steve Scalise. Here’s what he had done.

In the 112th Congress that ended on January 2, 2013, Rep. Scalise introduced H.R. 58.  It was called the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act and would have updated certain procedures applicable to commerce in firearms and remove certain Federal restriction on interstate firearms transactions. In that same session he cosponsored H.R. 645, a bill to restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia, thus promoting the presence of guns in the District.  On the Congressional website that lists “Legislation Sponsored or Co-sponsored by Steve Scalise,” he is listed as one of the sponsors or cosponsors of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Acts of 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013, none of which became law.  Those bills would have ensured that a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon in his home state, could carry that weapon when travelling in other states that permitted concealed carry.

On January 3, 2017, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 was introduced, and although Rep. Scalise is not listed as a sponsor, that may have been an oversight.  (His office did not respond to a request for a reason for the non-sponsorship.) In addition to permitting a “qualified individual” to carry a concealed weapon into another state that permits “concealed carry,” it also specifies that “a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.” I leave it to others to explain the reasons for (1) and (2) in the preceding sentence.

The man who shot Rep. Scalise and his colleagues came from Illinois.  He was James T. Hodgkinson.  On his trip from Illinois to Virginia he was accompanied by a rifle and a handgun. He had a valid firearms identification card issued by Illinois.  He did not need a permit to bring his weapon from Illinois to Virginia. He had a history of violence and police encounters

Rep Scalise’s support for guns has garnered him an A+ from the National Rifle Association.  He is a member of the Congressional Second Amendment Task Force. Commenting on the shooting his colleague, Rep.  Tom Garrett (R. Va.)  observed that had it not been for the presence of a member of the House leadership at the Alexandria event, there would have been no police present, and the shooting could have been far more disastrous.  He has introduced legislation to eliminate the D.C. prohibition on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and to make it easier for residents and visitors to carry concealed firearms.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R. Al.) said of the Alexandria shooting: “As with any constitutional provision in the Bill of Rights, there are adverse aspects to each of those rights that we enjoy as people.  And what we just saw here is one of the bad side effects of someone not exercising those rights properly.”

Thus far in 2017, there have been 206 bad side effects, aka mass shootings, resulting in 290 deaths and 713 injuries.  None of those occurred because of the prevalence of guns in our society.  They all happened because a few people did not exercise their Second Amendment rights properly. What we obviously need is more instruction on the proper use of guns.  At least that’s what Rep. Brooks would have us believe.

More articles by:

December 17, 2018
Susan Abulhawa
Marc Lamont Hill’s Detractors are the True Anti-Semites
Jake Palmer
Viktor Orban, Trump and the Populist Battle Over Public Space
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Fights Proposal to Keep It From Looting Medicare
David Rosen
December 17th: International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers
Binoy Kampmark
The Case that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the Conviction of Cardinal Pell
Dave Lindorff
Making Trump and Other Climate Criminals Pay
Bill Martin
Seeing Yellow
Julian Vigo
The World Google Controls and Surveillance Capitalism
ANIS SHIVANI
What is Neoliberalism?
James Haught
Evangelicals Vote, “Nones” Falter
Martin Billheimer
Late Year’s Hits for the Hanging Sock
Weekend Edition
December 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
A Tale of Two Cities
Peter Linebaugh
The Significance of The Common Wind
Bruce E. Levine
The Ketamine Chorus: NYT Trumpets New Anti-Suicide Drug
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fathers and Sons, Bushes and Bin Ladens
Kathy Deacon
Coffee, Social Stratification and the Retail Sector in a Small Maritime Village
Nick Pemberton
Praise For America’s Second Leading Intellectual
Robert Hunziker
The Yellow Vest Insurgency – What’s Next?
Patrick Cockburn
The Yemeni Dead: Six Times Higher Than Previously Reported
Nick Alexandrov
George H. W. Bush: Another Eulogy
Brian Cloughley
Principles and Morality Versus Cash and Profit? No Contest
Michael F. Duggan
Climate Change and the Limits of Reason
Victor Grossman
Sighs of Relief in Germany
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Robert Fantina
What Does Beto Have Against the Palestinians?
Richard Falk – Daniel Falcone
Sartre, Said, Chomsky and the Meaning of the Public Intellectual
Andrew Glikson
Crimes Against the Earth
Robert Fisk
The Parasitic Relationship Between Power and the American Media
Stephen Cooper
When Will Journalism Grapple With the Ethics of Interviewing Mentally Ill Arrestees?
Jill Richardson
A War on Science, Morals and Law
Ron Jacobs
A Propagandist of Privatization
Evaggelos Vallianatos
It’s Not Easy Being Greek
Nomi Prins 
The Inequality Gap on a Planet Growing More Extreme
John W. Whitehead
Know Your Rights or You Will Lose Them
David Swanson
The Abolition of War Requires New Thoughts, Words, and Actions
J.P. Linstroth
Primates Are Us
Bill Willers
The War Against Cash
Jonah Raskin
Doris Lessing: What’s There to Celebrate?
Ralph Nader
Are the New Congressional Progressives Real? Use These Yardsticks to Find Out
Binoy Kampmark
William Blum: Anti-Imperial Advocate
Medea Benjamin – Alice Slater
Green New Deal Advocates Should Address Militarism
John Feffer
Review: Season 2 of Trump Presidency
Rich Whitney
General Motors’ Factories Should Not Be Closed. They Should Be Turned Over to the Workers
Christopher Brauchli
Deported for Christmas
Kerri Kennedy
This Holiday Season, I’m Standing With Migrants
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail