Habari Gani: A Focus on Recent Events
By Makheru Bradley
June 5, 2022 11:00PM
We titled this series Habari Gani, a Kiswahili term we use during Kwanzaa, translated as “What’s New”, or “What is the News?” Our intent is to cover recent events that impact Afrikan people.
Mass Shootings AmericaBetween the Buffalo Massacre on May 14, which left ten people dead and three wounded, and the Uvalde Massacre on May 24 at Robb Elementary School, resulting in 21 people being killed, including 19 children, and 17 others wounded, the Gun Violence Archive (GVA) counted 15 other mass shootings (4 or more people shot in one incident) in the United States. The 15 other shootings killed 12 and wounded 69 people. Per the GVA, there have been 230 mass shootings in the US so far in 2022. In 2021, the US had 693 mass shootings, compared to 611 in 2020, and 417 in 2019.
According to data collected from Gun Policy, the US leads the developed world in gun deaths, with about 12 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people. The people being killed by guns are getting younger and younger. The massacre in Uvalde took the lives of two 9-year-olds; fifteen 10-year-olds; and two 11-year-olds. In Monroe, NC, 4-month-old Da’mari McClendon was killed along with his father, Darion McClendon, 25, when someone opened fire at a family cookout on May 29. All signs point to a long bloody summer in 2022.
Per NPR: “In 2020, gun violence overtook car accidents to become the No. 1 cause of death for US children and adolescents. For years, researchers at the University of San Francisco and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have compared the rates of firearm deaths in the US and other populous, high-income countries — mostly nations in Europe.
Their most recent study, which looks at data from 2015, finds that the US accounts for the vast majority of firearm deaths among children. Across the 29 countries in the study, the US accounted for almost 97% of the firearm deaths among children 4 years old or younger, and 92% of firearm deaths for those between the ages of 5 and 14.
One factor in America's high level of gun deaths is the massive number of guns in the country: Civilians in the US own an estimated 393 million firearms, according to a 2018 study by the Small Arms Survey. That's nearly 46% of the estimated 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world. That's a striking proportion, when the US has just 4% of the world's population.”
The sale of assault rifles to the American public should be bannedMy father’s family in Western North Carolina hunted for food. As a child I remember visiting my grandparents and seeing rifles and shotguns throughout the home. They primarily hunted, quite successfully, with Winchester 30-30s, and Springfield 30.06s for deer, and with shotguns for rabbits and squirrels. Hunters do not need AR-15s to kill their prey, and certainly no one else needs such a weapon.
The Uvalde executioner, Salvador Ramos legally purchased two AR-15 rifles at a local federal firearms dealer on May 17 and May 20. He purchased 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18. On May 24, Ramos shot his grandmother in the head, and proceeded to Robb Elementary School, firing shots outside the school, before entering through an unlocked door. Once inside, Ramos fired over 100 rounds killing 21 people.
Unbelievably, the first officers entered the school more than one hour before Ramos was killed. We remember the Cleveland police, in 2015, killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who had been playing with a toy gun, within two seconds of arriving at the scene.
The Intercept reports: “It cannot be emphasized enough what the AR-15 is: It is a weapon of war. It was made to blow humans apart. It is successful in doing just that… During the Vietnam War, the U.S. conducted a survey into the impact of the AR-15 and its use on the battlefield. A copy of the survey, which was published in 2016, shows that Viet Cong fighters hit with the weapon were frequently decapitated and dismembered, many looking as though they had exploded.
It is hard to comprehend a weapon like this being used against small children in an elementary school. The impact of the AR-15, a tool designed not just for killing but for ripping apart adult human bodies in the most extreme manner, being turned on the small, delicate limbs and organs of young children does not need to be imagined.”
Some parents are said to be considering open casket funerals for their children, to show the damage done to their precious bodies by Ramos’ AR-15, just as Mamie Till did in 1955 to show the world what happened when her son Emmett was lynched. The public viewing of Emmett Till helped to spur people into action against American Apartheid. Perhaps a public viewing the murdered Uvalde children can spur people into action to end gun violence.
American children are under extreme duressHenry Giroux, writing in Counterpunch, made the following very insightful comments:
One of the most important registers in measuring the democratic health of a society can be found in how it treats its youth. By any current standard, which includes the quality of public schools to laws that protect the health and well-being of young people, the United States is failing miserably.
The more general response to the endless mass shootings in the U.S. and the needless killing and maiming of innocent children is that something is not working in American society. Actually, the system is working. Under neoliberalism, society has become criminogenic, elevating the accumulation of capital over human needs, and increasingly defining itself under the banners of white nationalism and white supremacy. This is a society that under the rubric of fascist politics revels in hate and racial cleansing; it is deeply anti-intellectual, and it thrives in a newfound cult of authoritarianism. At the core of this society is a form of necro-politics wedded to violence, death, greed, and hatred. Violence in this setting terrifies, terrorizes, distracts, and legitimates the putrid language of “law and order” and racial divisions. As the blood flows freely in Mosques, malls, churches, schools, supermarkets, and other places, the latter point not only to the abyss of senseless violence, but a society that uses it to define its core values, principles, and interests.
The country has blood on its hands, the bodies of children are piling up, and the legitimacy of the system can no longer be defended. Protective spaces, especially for young people are disappearing. Every space from schools to the streets has become militarized, a battleground, and target those who embrace the second amendment with religious fervor.
The good news is that many young people refuse to have their future cancelled out and are fighting back recognizing that without a struggle there is no future for them. Currently, many groups are now demonstrating across the country against gun violence. They are confronting the monsters and merchants of death with a new found sense of urgency. Hopefully, they will further organize to build a mass movement… before it is too late for the planet and democracy itself.
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