A new article in The Economist slams America’s gun violence problem as an “endemic local health hazard” comparable to China’s pollution problem that, unlike China, the US is “incapable of addressing.”
“Those who live in America, or visit it, might do best to regard them the way one regards air pollution in China: an endemic local health hazard which, for deep-rooted cultural, social, economic and political reasons, the country is incapable of addressing,” The Economist writes.
“This may, however, be a bit unfair,” it continues. “China seems to be making progress on pollution.”
The article comes in the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina church “that will certainly add to America’s growing racial tensions,” the Economist notes. The suspected shooter, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, is reportedly an avowed racist. All of his victims were black.
Mass shootings are on the rise, The Economist notes, but America’s gun policy remains unchanged.
“It has become clear since Sandy Hook that meaningful gun control is politically impossible in America,” the Economist writes.
“The regularity of mass killings breeds familiarity. The rhythms of grief and outrage that accompany them become — for those not directly affected by tragedy — ritualised and then blend into the background noise.”
Many lawmakers see Amercia’s flawed mental health system as the root its gun violence, The Economist notes, rather than the ease with which the mentally unstable can access these guns in the first place.
“While better mental health is a good thing in itself, it is unlikely to have a reliable impact in finding and stopping the small number of people who commit mass killings,” The Economist writes. “The gunman’s access to firearms was obviously a prerequisite for the killings.”
Roof bought the .45-calibre handgun last April that he used in the shooting at the historic African-American church, CNN reports, citing two law enforcement officials.
The article echoes sentiments expressed yesterday by President Obama in his statement on the Charleston shooting: “Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun,” Obama said.
“At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other developed countries.”
Obama has made this point before. But the recurrence of these mass shootings may have already begun an irreversible process of Amercians’ desensitization to violence, The Economist notes.
“Will mass killings someday be unremarkable enough in America that politicians feel comfortable ignoring them entirely?”
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