Please Read This
I have devoted this entire edition to the thorny issue of guns in American life. I hope you read my below comment on what guns are doing to society and the reputation of this country. There are almost 25 editorial cartoons in this diary and I’ll post at least another 15-20 in the comments section.
I will post Part 2 of this diary later tonight between 7:00-9:00 pm ET. It will have cartoons on the new overlords in the US House of Representatives, their poster boy, George Santos, police brutality, and other assorted issues. When the diary goes up, I’ll post the link here.
Thank you for your support. Remember to take the diary poll.
With Legislators Like These…
If Easy Access to Guns Results in Mass Killings, Why Don’t Rational People Acknowledge That and Do Something About it?
The Same Dance, Over and Over Again
In a country built on the principles of the Enlightenment, American and foreign editorial cartoonists hammered home the stark reality and easy availability of guns in American life during the past week. Following a spate of mass shootings in recent days, from expressing outrage at the National Rifle Association to criticizing gutless politicians to questioning the validity and interpretation of the Second Amendment by gun rights groups, their anger was evident. But there was also a sense of helplessness and political paralysis as these indiscriminate killings show no sign of slowing down.
As the Washington Post’s editorial cartoonist Ann Telnaes portrays in the cartoon at the very top, perhaps there will be discernible change if the perpetrators were women. Of course, she isn’t hoping that ought to be the case; it’s just a cry for help that something dramatic must happen or these nightmares will continue.
A Lot of Truth in This Editorial Cartoon
I fondly recall when I lived in England for my first grad school in the mid-1990s. Life was a kinder, gentler version of the harried, always-on-the-go lifestyle most of us experience whether we live in New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, or any other large city here in the United States.
By the time I went abroad, Washington, DC — a city with an awful crime problem in the 1970s and 1980s — had started to turn the corner. Downtown Washington, DC was experiencing a renaissance of sorts and becoming an attractive place for residents, suburbanites, and visitors alike. Even so, compared to DC, London had a different kind of vibe for me. It was a place where the police did not carry guns nor did the country’s laws allow mass ownership of guns by private citizens. During my stay, were there people in the UK who experienced periodic difficulties in their private lives? Did some of them get depressed from time to time and have mental issues? Did certain minority and marginalized groups feel that they had been wronged by society? Undoubtedly, that was true. But these people didn’t express their frustrations by randomly killing innocent people who had done nothing wrong. That is an “Only in America” story!
More than two decades later, the vast majority of police officers in the UK still do not carry firearms.
Out of a total police force in England and Wales of 123,171 in 2019, the Home Office previously reported that 6,653 were armed officers(circa: 5.4%).
Home Office figures show that police weapons were discharged 4 times in the year to March 2021, reflecting wider crime during the covid pandemic, this was down from 13 times in 2019…
Figures in the UK compare starkly to the United States where all officers were routinely armed, leading to there being 696,944 armed law enforcement officers. Nonetheless, the public and the police themselves remain largely opposed to the routine carrying of firearms. A 2003 Police Federation survey found 80 per cent of officers were opposed to the police being armed.
I distinctly recall walking late one night near Piccadilly Circus with several friends and one of my classmates — who also happened to be from Washington, DC — said to me, “As a female, I would never walk past a certain hour on any street in or near Downtown Washington, DC. Here in London, I feel perfectly safe and have no fear of being attacked, robbed, hurt, or worse.”
That remark has remained with me for a long time. Washington, DC has improved greatly since the mid-1990s but the present situation involving guns and violence is unbecoming of a country that lays claim to Superpower status. If effective gun reform entails curtailing the right to own weapons of destruction, penalizing gun manufacturers, and keeping groups like the NRA in check, why hasn’t any politician tried to do it? The country supports such measures and is looking for a sensible solution. Is it blind allegiance to an 18th-century constitution that, in this respect at least, has failed to serve the country well? Will someone, anyone, step forward to rescue the country? Or, in a largely capitalist country, will the profit motive and campaign donations always drive every political action? No one seems to have the answers.
No other democratic country tolerates this kind of barbaric behavior except the United States. We, as a country, have a long road to travel before we begin to collectively behave as a civilized one.
Note: There are many more cartoons in the diary. For some reason, I kept getting an error message, so I’ll add the remaining cartoons in a piecemeal fashion. When done, I’ll remove this message.
In the diary poll, I am asking you to choose the most effective way to curtail mass killings. Gun reform, by definition, involves multiple actions but you must choose one. Thanks.