US 'Addiction to Death at Highest Levels' Dooms Bid to Curb Gun Violence, Activist Says
23:45 GMT 25.05.2022 (Updated: 22:40 GMT 26.05.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The apathy to mass shootings institutionalized by the US government, which is addicted to death at the highest levels, will make it impossible to avoid incidents like this week's elementary school massacre in Texas, prominent gun violence prevention advocate, Pastor Mike McBride, told Sputnik.
During a televised press conference earlier in the day, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was interrupted by political rival Beta O’Rourke who accused the Republican governor of "doing nothing" on gun control and blamed him for the fact a disaffected 18-year-old entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday and shot and killed 19 children and two adults.
McBride expressed anger and frustration that despite the means to address these mass shootings, Congress and those in a position to effect policy are completely beholden to the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby.
"I feel a mixture of both outrage and heartbreak. This country is addicted to death at the highest levels of government. We’ve institutionalized apathy and politics for profit," said McBride, the Director of Faith in Action’s LIVE FREE gun violence prevention campaign and co-founder of the National Black Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium. "We know there are senators who skip voting on policies they know will save American lives but upset their donors. What kind of immoral leaders do we have in government who will allow weapons of mass destruction into communities they say they represent?"
Uvalde represents the deadliest school shooting since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012.
So far this year, there have been more than 200 mass shootings in the United States and 27 school shootings. In fact, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, gun violence is now the number one cause of death for children in the United States.
McBride - currently in Buffalo, New York, supporting the families of the 10 Black people gunned down ten days ago by a white supremacist with deep hatred for African Americans - said members of both political parties bear responsibility for their unwillingness to stem the tide of violence that continues to snatch innocent lives.
"I find Republicans to be morally repugnant and Democrats to be politically incompetent. And white evangelists are using, misusing and weaponizing sacred texts to support gun violence," said McBride, Founder and Lead Pastor of The Way Church in Berkeley, CA. "I have talked to white evangelists who tell me they don’t want to lose their congregations so they won’t talk about gun control. They’re afraid to tell the truth because they don’t want to lose their support. People in church are in plain view posting the most vile things on social media. They have private chat rooms and other spaces where they post these things and Facebook does nothing."
McBride said Americans must be honest about the intractability of the gun issue in the US Senate.
"We must remove the filibuster, even if just for this issue and voting rights," he said.
The Democratic-led House of Representatives has passed bills seeking to introduce gun control provisions like universal background checks and lengthening the waiting period for gun purchasers to allow the FBI additional time to investigate. But the bills have died in the Senate because of intense Republican opposition and use of the filibuster which requires 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to be considered for passage.
McBride said the filibuster is the reason why the Breaking the Cycle of Violence Act, a bill McBride and fellow activists co-wrote in 2019 has gone nowhere.
"There is outrage in our community. There’s a palpable level of anguish and anger," said McBride of the rash of killings and political inaction. "We are calling for mass vigils as Congress members come home for the Memorial Day break. We will be at airports and their offices as they come into their cities to tell them ‘No More.'"
McBride said they will not stop the violence and they have made no effort to assuage the trauma.
"That trauma will lead to the use of drugs, alcoholism, and people turning on each other. And the response will be more law enforcement and larger numbers of people put in jail or prison. It’s a terrible situation," he said.
Tuesday's attack in Uvalde also mirrors the 2018 school shootings in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas along with the 1999 Columbine, Colorado shooting.