The Sunday Times: America’s blind political class has nurtured the homegrown terrorists

America’s blind political class has nurtured the homegrown terrorists

Photo: Gage Skidmore

THE term “American exceptionalism” took on a bleak cast last week. A shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado that left three people dead and nine injured was swiftly followed by the massacre of 14 local health department workers in San Bernardino, California.

Given how many mass shooting incidents there have been this year — 353 and counting — politicians couldn’t avoid saying something about America and gun violence. In truth, mass shootings account for less than 5% of all gun homicides a year. But it is the assumption that the percentage is far higher that fuelled the outpouring of statements by Republican and Democratic presidential candidates on the merits of gun control.

There is a great deal to be said about the consequences of mass gun ownership. According to the Brady Foundation, almost 90 Americans die from gunshot wounds every day. The Republican contenders are against further restrictions, the Democrats are for, with Hillary Clinton intent on making a crackdown on firearms one of the defining platforms of her campaign. Continue reading…

The Sunday Times: These shootings reveal an America still shackled to the ghosts of slavery

Photo: John Mark Arnold

Photo: John Mark Arnold

In 2009, a few months after President Barack Obama took office, Jiverly Wong shot dead 13 people at a community centre for immigrants and refugees. Later that year Nidal Hasan killed 13 soldiers in Fort Hood, Texas. In 2011, Jared Loughner shot dead six people outside a supermarket in Tucson, Arizona. The next year James Holmes killed 12 people in a cinema in Aurora, Colorado; followed by Michael Page who killed six in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin; followed by Adam Lanza who killed 26 people — 20 of them children — in a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. In 2013 Aaron Alexis killed 12 inside the Navy Yard in Washington.

The next year, Fort Hood was attacked again when Ivan Lopez killed three. This year, Craig Hicks killed three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and this month Dylann Roof shot dead nine members of a Bible study group at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina.

These are just the massacres that gained international attention. In fact, since the Sandy Hook Elementary School atrocity 2½ years ago, there have been 72 mass shootings — involving three or more people being shot — with at least 226 being killed.

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