Suicide By Capital Punishment
Kansas City Killer Kills 3 In KKK Play
Yet Another Pointed Victory For The NRA
The View From The Virgin Islands
By John McCarthy
I used to be a competitive tennis player.
The thing about tennis – being an individual sport – is that you are not only battling your opponent – but your own head – meaning your own desire to succeed.
I found that if you let up – even for just one point – a snowball effect of losing points was often the result – making the Sisyphean task of rolling the boulder up the mountain almost impossible.
Which brings us quite naturally to the hate crime in Kansas City.
My sense is that America has just given up when it comes to gun violence. Yet we haven’t tanked just one point – but the whole game, set and match. Before we even step onto the court – we have already lost.
The First Amendment allows all United States citizens to hate whomever they wish. That Frazier Glen Cross spent the first 73 years of his life hating people he considered different than him – then woke up one Sunday and decided to shoot three people in the upscale suburb of Overland Park – is almost incomprehensible.
As a member of the Ku Klux Klan, Cross professed to hate Jews and miscegenists, but after he allegedly killed one 14-year-old boy, one 53-year-old woman and one 69-year-old man outside a Kansas Jewish community center – it was later learned that none of the three murdered were Jewish.
In what might qualify as the first case of suicide by capital punishment, Cross had a right to bear arms and a grudge – law enforcement and the Southern Poverty Law Center had been keeping tabs on “aka Glenn Miller” but were hamstrung by the fact that he had never acted upon his racist rants.
In America it is easier to pull out a gun – than a cigarette. The Second Amendment was created by our Founding Fathers for a young nation that did not yet have a police force or an army – the right to bear arms was an insurance policy against tyranny – in the form of the British crown.
The real tragedy – besides the three innocent people whose lives were extinguished for no reason – is that the national discussion will not naturally shift to the 33 gun-related deaths that happen every day in the United States. If 2016 Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin could accuse President Obama of trying to “exploit” the tragedy of Sandy Hook to promote gun control – then the mini-massacre in Kansas is not likely to take her attention away from “Duck Dynasty.”
“Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.” So said British novelist Martin Amis who finds it strange that America was founded by Europeans, but when it established itself as an independent country it didn’t understand that one of the rules of nationhood is: the police and the military get the guns: not the people.
Even the Yakuza in Tokyo – the Japanese organized crime syndicate – don’t dare use a gun in that island nation of 127 million people. About as many people die from gun-related violence in Japan – on a yearly basis – as the number of people who die on a daily basis from gun violence in the United States.
Since 1968, more Americans have died from gun violence than all those who have died in our country’s wars. There have been 1.4 million firearm deaths compared to 1.2 million in war. (The number of gun-related deaths includes suicides.)
In football they used to tell us: “no pain, no gain.” In the Virgin Islands, they have a saying: “Who knows it feels it.” When it comes to gun violence in America – the question then becomes who is feeling the pain?
Certainly not the gun manufacturers who rack up $11.7 billion yearly ($993 million in profits) or the gun lobbies like the NRA that fight to ensure those manufacturers’ rights to make that big money. Make no mistake: the NRA is about the money.
Perhaps another British writer, William Shakespeare, said it best when he said: “Why so large a cost, having so short a lease, does thou upon your fading mansion spend?”
We only have one life to live – and with non-peace officers carrying death in their hands in the form of pistols, rifles and machine guns – the life we have to live may be shorter than we had planned.
You can foot fault in tennis and live to serve again – but a hand fault in illegitimate gun violence often brings a reckoning few bounce back from.
The question is: when did we stop playing points in favor of making points?
Thanks to the NRA, guns may always rule the roost in America – but it is a hollow-point victory.
© 2014 John Francis McCarthy/Secret Goldfish Publishing House, LLC
John McCarthy is an investigative reporter, artist and photojournalist based in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Please send questions and comments to: [email protected]