The New York Times published a poignant op-ed, call-to-action piece on Friday, End the Gun Epidemic in America, summarizing the thoughts of millions of Americans who have become increasingly disgusted with the lack of gun control in the U.S. Gun control has indeed become a “moral outrage and national disgrace,” as most conservative lawmakers continue to interpret the US Constitution as if King George III were still a tyrant threat.
One message within NYT‘s op-ed struck me as particularly powerful, given the recent string of mass shootings in Paris, San Bernardino, and Oregon, among far too many attacks this year.
America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing… they distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
As we watch these mass-murder atrocities unfold from afar, both government officials and the media are quick to label these events as acts of terrorism. And while many events are closely aligned with terroristic causes, as defined by the term’s most basic meaning – the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims – it’s completely unacceptable for lawmakers to allow these type of mass murders to regularly occur nationwide, shrug their shoulders at the notion of further regulating firearm access, and ultimately blame it as yet another act of terrorism.
Terrorism isn’t anything new – political groups have long been inflicting violence on opposing groups for centuries. One could argue that the Inquisition and the Holocaust were mass-orchestrated genocidal acts of terrorism. To that degree, by today’s standards, it seems that once an organization and/or individual inflicts violence against another group and/or individual, regardless of casualties, and they somehow justify their malevolant actions with some political agenda, that act can then be explained as yet another act of terror.
In recent years, the term terrorism has seemingly evolved from categorizing elaborately planned massacres such as 9/11, to including most, if not all, mass shootings. By labeling these senseless acts of violence as “acts of terror,” elected officials are simply inspiring more loonies to take advantage of nonexistent gun control regulations, and acting on their sick homicidal fantasies.
As long as buying a machine gun is slightly more complicated than picking up a carton of milk, we will continue to victimize ourselves to these tragic events. By labeling senseless acts of violence as acts of terror, we’re distracting ourselves from the real problem at hand in this nation: an utter lack of sensible gun control.