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Consistently Overlooked

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The US and other western news channels, that were not behind Indian ones in telecasting even the most horrific visuals of Covid deaths in India, completely sanitised coverage of the school shooting in Texas that took the lives of nineteen children and two adults on Tuesday. Distant visuals from drones were about all that were available and there were no heart-rending scenes from the hospital or of the family members of the victims. News readers pointedly mentioned the shooter’s name only once to maintain the distance from the event. The result, as before, of this hypocrisy will be that the general public will be as far removed emotionally as possible from the horror. All the rage and emotions visible were from politicians ranging from President Biden to the state’s Governor and local officials.

The reasons for this are many. The President belongs to the Democratic Party that has long supported gun control and other tight regulations but manages to achieve little in that direction when in power. Then, of course, the Gun Lobby is extremely powerful and has successfully staved off challenges to gun ownership, having turned the Second Amendment into basically a commandment of God.

As a democracy, the US has failed to resolve contentious issues such as this purely because of political reasons. While India is pilloried on international forums for its ‘human rights violations’, the gory truth of ‘mass’ killings in the US by gun-toting maniacs is deftly kept off the dashboard. Rather than depict the grim reality, events are sublimated to the level of discussions and symbolism, such as lowering flags to half-mast. In 2022, alone, there have been 27 school shootings in the US, claiming 140 lives. According to one report, in 2020, 45,222 people died of gun injuries in the US (including suicides).

Because of this unwillingness to show the truth in the proper perspective, public opinion fails to reach the critical level necessary to bring about change in the gun ownership laws. It is ridiculous that the eighteen year old involved in the Texas shooting could buy two assault type rifles and body armour without being ‘red-flagged’. The elementary school he attacked had armed guards but even these did not prove enough to save the children’s lives. Considered from the ‘international’ standards upheld by the United Nations and the ‘developed’ countries, this is a horrific situation, but the US has the freedom to be so idiosyncratic, while other countries are expected to conform. The plight of the innocent victims of such crimes, committed disproportionately against non-white races, should be raised by all right thinking people worldwide so that remedial action is speedily taken.