From: The Atlantic

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From: The Atlantic

Postby sparrow » Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:37 am

You people have a very large problem.


The Atlantic
The American Exception | Opinion
David Frum
1 hour ago
a close up of a gun© Reuters

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

There is one developed country—and only one—in which it is not only legal, but easy and convenient, to amass a private arsenal of mass slaughter. That country also happens to be the one—and the only one—regularly afflicted by mass slaughters perpetrated by aggrieved individuals.

You would not think this a complicated problem to puzzle out. Yet even as the casualties from gunfire mount, Americans express befuddlement, and compete to devise ever more far-fetched answers.

As far as anybody can ascertain, the deadliest mass shooter in American history had no specific political motive. Stephen Paddock apparently opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel room in October 2017, murdering 58 and wounding hundreds more, out of purely personal rage at the world

The second-deadliest mass shooter, Omar Mateen, espoused Islamist loyalties in his final messages to the world, before he attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando in June 2016, killing 49 and wounding 53.

The third and fourth deadliest—Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho and Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza—were both anti-social, and battled different mental-health issues. The fifth deadliest—Sutherland Springs church shooter Stephen Willeford—was a loudmouth atheist. The El Paso gunman ranks eighth; authorities are investigating whether he wrote a white-supremacist manifesto. The Islamic fanatics who killed at Fort Hood in 2011 and San Bernardino in 2015 are tied for 14th place.

A paranoid defense contractor carried out the Washington Navy Yard shooting that killed 12 people in 2013. We don’t yet know what motivated the gunman in Dayton, Ohio, to kill 9 and wound 27. But in 2014, a 24-year-old man named Elliot Rodger, killed six and wounded 14 in California, to express his rage at women for perceived sexual rebuffs.

This menu of atrocities offers a wide range of political points to score, if that is your wish. You will find here immigrants and natives; whites and non-whites; Muslims and Christians; right-wingers, left-wingers, and the non-political. There is even a woman, Tashfeen Malik, who, with her husband Syed Rizwan Farook, targeted a Christmas party sponsored by the Department of Public Health at which the husband worked.

Despite their diversity, all these killers had one thing in common: their uniquely American access to firearms. In turn, these killers unite the country in a uniquely American determination to ignore the obvious.

White nationalism is emerging as a deadly international terrorist movement. El Paso is only the latest in a line of killings. Yet only 48 hours before the El Paso mass shooting, the Italian interior minister erupted in a racist tiradeagainst Roma people. It was not a first offense from Matteo Salvini, an admirer of President Trump's. Italy has a lively far-right political movement, which stages public demonstrationsto honor Benito Mussolini. You know what it does not have? Mass shootings.

Like Islamic extremism, white nationalism is a dangerous internal political threat to democracy. Like Islamic extremism, white nationalism extends across borders, targeting isolated and angry young people for online radicalization. Like Islamic extremism, white nationalism can turn murderous even in countries—Norway, New Zealand—where guns are rationally regulated.

Like the threat of Islamic extremism, the specter of white nationalism summons Americans to defend their institutions and values against a repugnant, murderous ideology. But it is not because the U.S. is uniquely afflicted with either Islamic extremism or white nationalism that the U.S. suffers vastly more gun deaths than the rest of the developed world. America’s uniquely blood-stained record violence is a consequence of America’s uniquely reckless attitudes toward weapons of mass death.

More guns, more killing. Fewer guns, less killing. Everybody else has figured that out. Americans—and only Americans—refuse to do so.

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