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Life Reflections

We mourn victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting

By June 5, 2022June 6th, 2023No Comments

June 3, 2022

Eleven days have passed and no outpouring of compassion seen in the African media.  Why, being a continent that has known misery in large quantities, haven’t we come out in big numbers to condole with Americans generally?

Most of us heard or watched the news of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, USA. Poor little souls, may they Rest In Eternal Peace!

Imagine it. Early in the morning, you prepare your little angel, 7-, 8-, 9-, or 10-year-old, send or take them to school expecting them back home later, as usual. Only to “later” hear that your little angel is no more. The immensity of this grief is indescribable.

Unfortunately, that’s not imagination for 19 parents of Robb Elementary School. The pain is real and deep and all of us, anywhere on this earth, being human and humane, feel their sorrow and empathise with them. As President Joe Biden said, it’s like a “piece of your soul ripped away.”

The bizarreness of it all. These little innocents were gunned down in broad daylight by a teenager run amok. How 18-year-old Salvador Ramos could buy two semi-automatic guns and rounds of ammunition, we on this continent cannot fathom. Worse still, even as we talk, there are congressmen/women and senators furiously defending the rationale of private gun ownership.

Whatever right of private gun tenure, at least those who sell them should alert security officials as to the kind of person purchasing these guns and the type of guns procured.

As newspapers have it, “more than 311,000 school children and students have experienced gun violence since Columbine”. Columbine having become a byword for school shootings after the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999 which was then the deadliest in US history.  There had been other school shootings before and there will likely be lots and lots more if nothing is done.

Now consider the ripple effect of these shootings and the depth of the trauma arising therefrom. There are school children/students bearing witness to this horror; bereaved families; relatives and friends of the families; communities in which the dreadfulness takes place or those the victims hailed from; parents scared of taking/sending their children/students to school in case; and more.

The trauma affects nearly all American citizens, not excluding those in defence of private gun possession. It’s no wonder President Biden cries in despair: “Where in God’s name is our backbone?”

But tell me, how powerful is this gun lobby that the US federal government cannot tackle and silence it? Why should every Tom, Dick and Harry have the right to own guns? Why should there be shops that sell guns to private individuals? The great US police force, what is it for?

If the status quo must be, the USA, with a budget of more than a trillion US dollars for the security of person, can afford to station one policeman/woman or more at every school. This can make a big difference because even if it came to exchanging fire, alone that can occasion immediate response from other security agents.

We say this of course knowing that Ramos’ shooting of his grandmother before the school incident did not raise any alarm. It’s a sad commentary on US security organs as well as the populace.

It’s said that on average there are forty school shootings every year; about three every month! Surely, all institutions in the country should pool their resources and wits to put a halt to this carnage. It’s in addition to multitudinous others outside schools, remember?

The US governance should take the lead on this and stop the meanderings in interminable debates that are the bane of the Western brand of democracy. A common understanding and joint decision-making can easily execute a ban on the individual right to own guns.

Speaking of which, the USA could pick a leaf from Rwanda, where this kind of goriness is unheard of. Here, none can imagine a lone gunslinger roaming, or driving around, with assault rifles ready to kill to their fancy. There are no gun shops and only security institutions can carry guns for keeping the peace.

Granted, crime occurs. But, if armed, it’ll be with a stolen pistol. And you can bet that it’ll be stopped dead in its tracks and the culprits will soon be facing the judge.

The governance of the country is such that especially the lawmakers will have come to a common understanding that they are here to all advance their country. For that, however divergent their beliefs and leanings, they must have a set of principles they agree upon.

Like Government being a consensual democracy; solutions through dialogue and consensus; deepening democracy, unity of Rwandans; integrity and security of the country; education to citizens to practice democratic political activities; gender equality; others.

Most pertinent here: security of person and property is inviolable. Strong, collaborative, and unbiased security forces and no gun in private hands ensure this.

That’s how in Rwanda there is a National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations.

The USA should try this consensus-building out. It’ll easily silence the gun lobby and bust the dangers posed by these rogue gun totters who’ve turned it into Wild West Crime-land. 

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