Since Monday morning’s mass killing in Las Vegas, with 59 people slain and hundreds wounded by a single shooter armed with fully-automatic rifles, I have spoken with a series of BBC TV and radio outlets about the incident and the wider political context.
Put bluntly, the Las Vegas deaths — now the single-largest mass killing in US history, following the deaths in an Orlando nightclub in June 2016 — will not change a thing about America’s lack of gun control. Donald Trump, who loudly campaigned to erase the limited regulations that exist, will blame the “sick” and “demented” shooter to avoid any confrontation with the issue. Congress, many of whose members are beholden to money from the National Rifle Association or to the misguided myth of a Second Amendment guaranteeing a person’s right to bear arms, will take no action. In a polarized US society further damaged by the Groundshog Days of these killings, many Americans will cling to the shallow ideology of individualism and the diversions that a car can be just as deadly as an assault rifle or that guns somehow limit the carnage.
A selection of interviews from Tuesday and Wednesday:
Nothing will be done after this mass killing, just as nothing was done after Orlando, just as nothing was done after the Sandy Hook shootings where teachers and children were killed, just as nothing was done after the Virginia Tech mass killings….
The fundamental problem lies in a culture where many people mistakenly invoke the idea that we have a God-given right and a legal right to unrestricted use of guns and where we have a lack of political will to deal with the issue.
Trump, who was vehement in his campaign that he would not only oppose gun control but would remove any restrictions that were already on the books and has done so — he and his Administration are trying to keep this conversation away from any type of legislation after Las Vegas.