by Reverend Jesse L Jackson
In Highland Park, an upper-middle-class suburb of Chicago, the Fourth of July celebration parade turned into a mass shooting, as Robert E. And wounded more than 47 others. Twelve more mass shootings occurred elsewhere over the weekend, and they are part of more than 300 mass shootings that have occurred in America this year alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
This is not an anomaly. Mass shootings have become as American as apple pie. The United States has 4% of the world’s population, but 40% of guns are privately owned, roughly 400 million according to the 2018 Small Arms Survey. These include nearly 20 million assault weapons, which can be legally purchased in 43 state. Highland Park, Ovaldi, Tulsa – Every community in every state is at risk.
We do not have to live with this obvious and present terrorism and with this deadly reality. As Cardinal Blasey Kubisch, Archbishop of Chicago, said in his homily: “We must not make this so difficult. The right to bear arms does not infringe upon the right to life, or the right of all Americans to go on with their lives without fear of being torn apart by bullets in war at any time.” Moment “.
But this is what we came up with. As the Archbishop said: “Instead of fireworks, rapid fire filled the air. Instead of celebrating freedom and liberty, people fell victim to our nation’s enslavement of guns. Instead of a day to celebrate peace and freedom, the weapon of war and terror prevailed today.”
However, the massacre comes on the heels of a decision by six right-wing Supreme Court justices to overturn a century-old New York state law regulating the carrying of guns in public. It comes on the heels of Senate Republicans killing serious gun reforms with holdup, with only a few willing to sign the watered-down, bipartisan bill that essentially penalizes, giving states “incentives” to do better.
Most Americans understand and support the need for reasonable gun control. But the gun lobby has deep pockets and is ready to target any conservative lawmaker who strays. The resulting cowardice results from the stalemate in the Senate – and one mass murder a day across America.
Meanwhile, Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old black man, made the mistake of driving while black in Akron, Ohio. When the police tried to stop him for allegedly a traffic violation, he took off. After a violent chase, he abandoned his car and fled. At least eight officers made the chase.
Police stated that they found an empty handgun on the front seat of an abandoned Walker car. There are conflicting reports about whether Walker shot the police – which would have been difficult with an empty gun. Walker – who has no criminal record – was tracked down and shot 60 rounds, then turned over to the coroner with his hands tied behind his back.
Police violence – like mass shootings – happens every day in America. Black and brown young men are disproportionate targets. In 2020, a series of police killings led to the largest interracial protest marches in our nation’s history in cities across the country. Most Americans want the police to keep the streets safe, but they also want to be safe against the police themselves. Here, too, reasonable fixes have been proposed and thwarted. At the local level, police unions are powerful enemies of reform. Nationally, right-wing politicians are drawn to the “thin blue line,” unless it represents the police protecting the capital of the country that was attacked on January 6.
Two things are very clear. If nothing changes, mass shootings will continue – numbers will likely increase as casualties increase as the number of assault rifles in private hands rises and reasonable regulation of firearms is prohibited. If nothing changes, police violence – which disproportionately targets black and black men – will continue to claim lives and destroy trust.
At this point, only one thing can bring about change. The vast majority who want reasonable control of weapons and reasonable police reform should work. Politicians who stand in the way must be exposed and removed. Mayors and city council members who fear the political power of the police must feel the political power of the people. We can, I guess, go on without doing anything real, and live with the horror around us, but why in the world would we want that?
Reverend Jesse Lewis Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Alliance, is one of the most prominent figures in civil, religious, and political rights in America.