There wasn't much Christmas cheer in Chicago this year. Local media there reported that from last Friday through Sunday 61 people were shot. 11 of them were killed outright and another dozen are in critical condition.
It really shouldn't come as a surprise. So far this year 4,000 Chicagoans have been plugged and 700 have died. All of which means it is a hell of a lot safer for a U.S. service man, or woman to tool around Afghanistan than it is for him, or her to hang out on the south side of the Windy City.
It also means NRA types are running about claiming it is true that stricter gun laws don't stop people from using them. They love to point out that until a few months ago it was illegal to sell hand guns in Chicago. What they don't mention is all you needed to do in order to legally buy a pistol was simply step outside the Chicago city limits--which obviously--scads of people have done.
But, hey. It isn't all Chicago's fault. Politifact looked into the stats nationally. What it found is in the last 10 years 71 Americans have been killed because of acts of terrorism on U.S. soil. During the same time frame, 301,797 have been killed by gun violence. For those of you not up on your long division that is a little over 30,000 American citizens per year.
Of course we are so divided philosophically sometimes we can't even agree on what constitutes an act of terrorism as opposed to a good ol' all American mass shooting. A case in point is the late Omar Mateen.
He is the monster who entered a Florida nightclub last June armed with a Sig Sauer and a Glock. He had bought them two weeks prior to the massacre from a nearby sporting goods store. In the immediate aftermath all those xenophobes who voted for Don Trump ran around waving their arms screaming about unscreened terrorists waltzing across open borders with murder on their minds and in their hearts. Trump's call for a total ban on Muslim immigrants sounded like a perfect idea. Not to mention making the ones here register with the government and wear some sort of tracking chip.
The rest of us wondered how Mateen, who was born in the U.S. of A, but had been on and off the terrorist watch list could legally get his hands on two guns and a bucketful of ammunition. Much to our surprise it turns out the very same right wing slugs who howl for a ban on Muslim immigrants and the registration of the ones already here are all for allowing people on the watch list to buy as many fucking guns as they want.
As Barack Obama pointed out, "We can stop them from getting on a plane, but not from buying a gun."
So was Omar Mateen a crazy terrorist, or just a nut, ala Adam Lanza? Both. He was a terrorist--at least in his own twisted mind. And at the same time he was simply another in a long line of American lunatics who was able to procure the weapons he used as easily as he could a bunch of bananas.
Given the circumstances, it doesn't take much to figure out the pro gun organizations want to keep firearms readily available to everyone one, not for constitutional reasons, but because they actually like gun violence.
If you don't believe it consider this. In an attempt to slow the carnage, Chicago had passed a ban on the sale of handguns within its city limits. Recently a federal judge ruled the law, "unconstitutional." The NRA immediately issued a statement, "applauding," the ruling.
Yes, that's right, in a town with 700 homicides and counting, it just became easier to get your mitts on a weapon which has no other purpose than to kill, or wound another human being.
And the NRA applauded.
sic vita est