US needs to acton killings

November 07, 2017

The sun sets behind 26 crosses placed in a field before a vigil for the victims of the First Baptist Church shooting Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Texas officials confirmed Devin Patrick Kelley as the shooter who killed 26 people and wounded about 20 others at the church. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Yesterday, news came out of the United States which has become all too familiar.

A gunman, wearing a bullet-proof vest, walked into a church in Texas and opened fire during what should have been a quiet Sunday morning service.

At least 26 people were killed in the carnage with 20 people receiving non-fatal injuries.

These numbers are shocking, but the truly terrible thing is that it will inevitably happen again.

The curse of gun violence across the US is at such a level it is almost impossible to comprehend.

This massacre was the 307th mass shooting in the US this year alone.

Not every mass shooting will make international news.

The definition of a mass shooting is an event where at least four people are shot and they are so common they can average more than one a day in some months.

The terrible news out of Sutherland Spring, Texas, comes barely a month after the horrific Las Vegas shooting, where 58 people were killed by Stephen Paddock.

That massacre should have been a call to action, but so should have the dozens of other mass shootings which resulted in needless death and carnage in the previous decades.

The US seems unable to come to a solution to what has become an epidemic.

The second amendment of the US protects the right to keep and bear arms, and this right has become so ingrained in the culture of the country any attempt to limit gun ownership is met with strong resistance.

In 2012, then president Barack Obama pushed for gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre.

At the time it was believed by many that the deadly shooting which took the lives of 28 people, including 20 children, would finally spur the government into action.

But planned legislation in response to the massacre to regulate the use of assault weapons and to expand background checks on gun purchases was defeated in congress.

And despite seemingly more horrific mass shootings every year, the push to bring some sanity to gun ownership has stalled.

In Australia, we faced the evil of mass shootings 21 years ago when 35 people were killed in Port Arthur, Tasmania.

There was resistance to Prime Minister John Howard’s gun buyback scheme, especially in regional Australia, but the community by and large accepted something needed to change.

Australia and the US are very different countries and the US needs to find its own courage to face this problem.

As fiercely-independent people, any move to regulate gun ownership is viewed with anger and suspicion in the US.

It is clear that something needs to change, but, sadly, it looks like the Texas church shooting will not be the last.

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