Twin tragedies in 24 hours and America’s haunting relationship with guns plays out in the grimly familiar fashion I have sadly come to expect covering the United States.
I was in Orlando, Florida, when 49 people were killed in a gay nightclub. I interviewed the gunman’s father.
In Parkland, I spoke with terrified friends of the 17 students and staff members who died after a young man opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who died.
LIVE: Ohio gunman named after 29 killed in US mass shootings
At least nine people have been shot dead outside a bar in Ohio, just hours after 20 people were killed in a shooting at a Walmart in Texas
In Las Vegas, I sat down with family members of some of the 58 people who were killed. And in Dallas, I met those taking up arms in response to five police officers who were fatally shot in the line of duty. The list goes on.
Mass shootings are now so commonplace in news coverage that we have to decide which ones we travel to report on.
As a team you find yourself having to decide on a bar. Are there more than 10 dead? Is there a motivation emerging? Are there broader issues at play that it speaks to?
The last time I was in El Paso, I interviewed the mayor, Dee Margo, for a film about Donald Trump’s border wall.
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I witnessed the high number of immigrants going through the courts in the border city. It is a place full of hope and despair.
Mr Margo was articulate and proud of the diversity of his city, despite the challenges. On Saturday afternoon, I’m listening to his voice breaking as he discusses the shock of what’s unfolded. I instantly wonder if immigration has a part to play in the story. It now appears it did.
Walmart has its own curious part to play in this dark tale – one that illustrates just how mainstream and monetised America’s gun culture is. The outlet is often referred to as the world’s largest gun retailer.
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, opened his flagship shop in Bentonville, Arkansas, specifically so he could be close to his in-laws’ quail hunting ranch.
The shooting in El Paso is the second to take place in one of its shops in just a week.
With the country still grieving, Dayton’s mayor Nan Whaley made a point of noting that their’s was just the latest. She said her city was the 250th to experience a mass shooting this year.
The places change and so do the numbers, but for those who want to kill a lot of people, guns are often the weapon of choice.
After the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, the worst in this country’s history, there was bi-partisan support for background checks. That bill would prevent people who have been convicted of abusive behaviour from buying or owning firearms.
But as presidential candidate Amy Klobochaur pointed out, “that bill is sitting on Mitch McConnell’s doorstep because of the money and the power of the NRA [National Rifle Association]”.
The Democratic contenders for president are largely in agreement on the need for greater gun restrictions.
Almost every candidate in the field supports universal background checks and bringing back a ban on the sale of “assault” weapons like the one that expired in 2004.
But President Trump and Mike Pence stopped short of calling for action on gun violence and many of their supporters will be relieved.
I’m still on a plane flying to El Paso, but I’m already confident there won’t be any significant change. If Sandy Hook wasn’t enough to inspire change, whatever will be? I dearly hope I’m wrong.
SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/will-latest-us-mass-shootings-inspire-change-i-dont-think-so-11777518