Stricter US gun regulation laws long overdue
The tragic incident in Las Vegas, in which 59 people have so far lost their lives, and over 500 are on the wounded list, some in critical condition, was the worst of its kind in US history, in a long and ever expanding list of similar events. The circumstances were chillingly familiar: a solitary gunman, one of those phantom figures that appear to inhabit US cities and concrete jungles, the ‘lone wolf’, usually a meek, average and withdrawn person (‘just a guy’) whom nobody gives a second glance, until he explodes in a deadly killing spree, but armed on this specific occasion with seventeen automatic weapons calculated to inflict maximum casualties. Looking down from the 32th floor of a hotel room overlooking a country music concert packed with 22,000 fans, the gunman just needed to aim and fire randomly into the panicked and stampeding crowd to extract his bloody toll before turning a gun on himself.
Once again, the usual questions are being asked,psychological ones about his personality and motives, past signs of deviation from normal behavior, and forensic ones, how he smuggled his arsenal in a hotel suite without any staff member noticing, despite being holed there for about three days before the shooting. Certainly there was method in his madness,for a lot of planning and thought must have gone into his despicable deed. And so the somber vigils for the victims multiply, even as their names, relationships, personalities and lives cut short are revealed to a shocked world.
The fault lies in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution that according to one interpretation gives every citizen the right to own and carry guns. That view is backed by one of the most powerful lobbies (after AIPAC of course) in the US, the National Rifle Association, which believes that guns increase the safety of private individuals while protecting society overall and wields decisive influence in Congress. Former President Obama called his failure to regulate gun laws the ‘greatest frustration of my Presidency’, and therein lies the crux of the problem.