People bow their heads during a moment of prayer during a vigil to mourn the eight murdered FedEx Ground employees at Krannert Park on April 17, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Photo: AFP
A gunman on Thursday killed eight people at a FedEx warehouse facility near Indianapolis airport in the US state of Indiana before killing himself. When reporting it was at least the 45th mass shooting in the US since March 16, CNN wrote, “Stunning, right? Sad, right? Outrageous, right?” It is reported so far, mass shootings in the US have increased nearly 73 percent from the same period last year.
Even among Western countries that allow legal civilian gun ownership, the frequency of gun violence in the US is startling. It seems that ubiquitous domestic terrorism is increasingly threatening the safety of ordinary Americans.
The root cause of the rise in mass shootings in the US is the growing discontent among the middle- and lower-classes, Yuan Zheng, deputy director and senior fellow of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened. Amid the COVID-19 epidemic, due to shortage of funds, the poor are unable to get sufficient healthcare, which leads to a high mortality among the group. The Trump administration’s attempts to push an anti-immigration agenda have fueled Americans’ hostile sentiment toward ethnic minority groups, especially toward Asian-Americans. Furthermore, political polarization and social divisions are two other factors leading more Americans to become dissatisfied with their current situation.
Even in the context of rising mass shootings, gun researchers point out little has been done to prevent the next one from happening.
But this is not unexpected. After all, what US politicians attempt to pursue is to get elected and serve their own interests. Their moves and policies are constrained by interest groups.
Media report that the US National Rifle Association has spent huge sums to lobby members of the House and Senate against laws that would enact stricter background checks for people looking to buy guns. Against this background, how can we expect lawmakers to contribute to gun control?
Democrats’ manner toward gun control seems to be more positive in comparison to that of the Republicans. In the wake of every mass shooting, Democratic leaders would call for gun control. But as Yuan commented, it will likely turn into a case of much talk but little action. Following the mass shooting at Colorado supermarket in March, US Democratic President Joe Biden said, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future.” But a month has passed with little substantial process being made, and tragedies come one after another. The Indianapolis tragedy will not be the last in the US.
In the aftermath of the Colorado mass shooting, Biden acknowledged that passing a massive new infrastructure plan – and not new gun laws – is his top legislative priority, according to media reports. This fully illustrates that from the perspective of US politicians, great power competition, safeguarding US global hegemony and maintaining the vested interests of various groups are far more significant than protecting the physical safety of the general public in the US.
The US, which always boasts it is a “beacon of democracy,” is not truly interested in protecting the lives of ordinary people from the threats of gun violence. Ironically, such a country continues to act as the “policeman of the world,” constantly pointing fingers at the “human rights” and “democracy” of other countries and making up all kinds of lies to demonize its competitors. Is the country truly qualified to play that “police” role?