Orlando Nightclub Shooting tragedy rips open 3 old wounds of America
New Jersey, June 14 : The massive gun shooting at a nightclub in the American city of Orlando has torn open three old wounds of the country: gun control, immigration, terrorism.
The shooting that killed 49 people and wounded 53 others marked the deadliest mass shooting ever in U.S. history. The bloodshed happened no more than 24 hours after singer Christina Grimmie was shot dead in the same city. Just hours after the nightclub shooting, a man with weapons and explosives was arrested in Los Angeles. The attack also reminded many Americans of the Dec. 2 San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people.
Facing such frequent shootings, Americans may have to accept the idea that shooting is “the new normal” in the country, since years of gun-control debate has not generated any pragmatic result so far.
Statistics show that in 2015 the country saw more than 50,000 shooting incidents, which claimed over 13,000 lives and over 26,000 injuries.
Omar Mateen, the lone gunman in the Orlando nightclub shooting, used legally purchased weapons, including an AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, which cost around 700 dollars and can be easily purchased online.
Consistently, the AR-15 rifle was favored by other mass shooters, including the ones in San Bernardino in December last year, the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
It is estimated that there are around 5 million to 10 million AR-15 rifles in the country. In the wake of mass shootings involving AR-15 rifles, Americans began to question whether such a military-style weapon is necessary for home use.
Gun control has long been a hotly debated and sensitive issue in American politics. The society is widely divided on the issue, between gun control advocates and gun rights supporters, between Democrats and Republicans, and between pro-gun control and gun lobby forces, for example the influential National Rifle Association.
The same debate goes on again and again after every massive shooting in the country, yet every time nothing changes.
Following the Orlando massacre, USA Today asked: “Does the debate on gun control ever actually change anything?”
The second wound is social inequality.
Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday called for an immigration ban after the Orlando shooting, since the gunman was born into an Afghan immigrant family.
America has long been called “a melting pot” as it is a country built by immigrants. However, Caucasians have been dominating the country’s politics, economy and the society from the very beginning. No wonder a survey by Pew Research Center found that the wealth of white house holds is 13 times that of black households and more than 10 times that of Hispanic households in 2013, compared with eight and nine times respectively in 2010.
The median income of minority households fell nine percent from its 2010 to 2013 surveys. The enlarging wealth gap between the whites and minorities also led to unequal opportunities, particularly in education and work, which made immigrants more isolated and harder to find their place in the American society.
The third is the failure of U.S. anti-terrorism policy.
President Barrack Obama called the Orlando shooting an “act of terror.” It’s been almost 15 years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, yet fear still haunts the American society.
America’s 15 years of counter-terrorism seems to have led to more terror. Americans now are facing new types of terrorism like homegrown and “lone wolf” attacks, which are hard to prevent.
The U.S. intervention in the Middle East has not brought peace and stability as expected, but caused turbulence in the region, and laid the soil for the rise of extremist and terrorist groups.
In that sense, the American government should readjust its foreign policy, and stop imposing its idealogy on others.