Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
By Ken Okorie, attorney, is a member of the Editorial Board of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston
America’s streets, churches, shopping centers, indeed all public arenas, have become blossoming theaters of war. It is a war waged and facilitated by senseless gun laws and burnished with the blood of innocent citizens.
For example, on Saturday May 14 and Sunday, May 15, 2022 alone, the cities of Buffalo, New York and Laguna Beach, California, respectively, showcased new episodes of mass shootings that have become America’s madness. About a dozen killings resulted from the two mass shootings, and are only part of 327 gun violence incidents that claimed nearly 300 lives in the United States during one weekend.
Those events, among many others, indicate that America is at war with itself, at war with its reality, and is doing so at heavy cost. It is a war raging every day with bullets flying all over. Human life has become so trivialized and endangered in the United States that a child can no longer go for candy in a neighbor store, a mother to the grocery store, a student to school, or a parishioner to church, with a comforting expectation to safely return. Any time someone bids a loved one goodbye has real chance to be his last alive. These are self-evident. Every ear hears it, every eye sees it, but few heads are willing to grapple, much less deal reasonably, with this reality.
Yet government, in its varied elements, appears increasingly detached from the same reality and from the people it is intended to serve.
At the moment, the nation sits on edge, unsure if its Supreme Court will set doctors aside and allow governments to assume preeminence over the fundamental health choices and decisions usually made in the family by wives, daughters and sisters regarding their own bodies. In the event this uncertainty materializes, Big Daddy will practically take absolute control of spouses, lovers and relatives that are the source of life and the home we all hold sacred. The question is, what value will be a home, any home, when individuals and their families no longer have the right or power to the privacy that is its essence?
What the apex court does with Roe vs. Wade in its impending decision in the coming days will have implications far beyond what any mind can imagine or sensibilities envision. Overturning the landmark law on women’s reproductive rights will change America in ways no one can forecast at this point. But the consequences will be real.
It is beyond irony that a country that has poured approximately $500 billion, and counting, to secure democracy and freedom for people in Ukraine remains neck deep in political shuffling as nearly 46 million of its own citizens are economically stunted by $1.75 trillion student loan, most for life; over 60 million on Medicare can hardly afford medication that are critical to their survival. It is financial strangulation, a punishment not contemplated by the constitution, and not specified in any penal code. Yet is administered with fervor and every pretense of probity through policies that make little if any sense.
Governments, state and federal, consciously, perhaps unwittingly, have declared and/or facilitated this war on citizens through senseless laws and policies that make guns easily accessible with no questions allowed, no responsibility or accountability required, until the next mass shooting when the hearts of those in authority go out to families of victims and condolences pour. America glosses over 21,000 gun deaths that happened in 2021, which tragic toll 2022, in its fifth month, is already on track to surpass.
These statistics point to conflicts and inconsistencies that question America’s priority. How does a country that pretends to preserve life the moment a heartbeat is felt justify reckless interpretation and constitutional empowerment that allows killing at will? This is what the Second Amendment is in today’s America. The evening news on any local channel in Any City USA is nothing more than a crime log. Legally facilitated killing has become America’s favorite pastime.
If the justification to overturn Roe vs. Wade (and thereby take from women their right to decide when to carry a pregnancy to full term) is to preserve human life, and if that life is indeed precious, why is America unwilling to come to terms with gun control? What else do guns do other than kill? How can laws, like the Texas Open Carry, exist and society expects anything civilized will result? Where else in humanity does such insanity exist?
Politics has become an organized, corrupting, most destructive instrument against civility, order and even public safety. Politicians promise all manner of things to get elected but soon forget they should be about the business of solving problems that matter to the people. If preserving lives is not one of those things that matter, what is? Democrats mix up their of priorities to a scale of seeming oblivious to what actually matter to the electorate. Republicans are so deeply myopic and self-centered in their ideological convictions it matters not to them that the whole nation is up in smoke so long as they have power cornered and their hands in corporate tills. Election has been reduced to a season politicians see the ills of society, scream half-baked promises, all of which soon fade into smoke screen the moment the ballot is counted and victory is in the pocket. Thereafter they play along until the next ballot season.
It’s all a matter of priority. In so many ways, America plays God and does so to the detriment of its society and to pollution of the rest of the world. Identifying a single thing Washington does that benefits society has become an increasing rarity. America no longer leads by positive example. Yet the typical global mantra remains that if America does it, it must be right. And so the world imitates and deteriorates. But what is right or good about a system that has degenerated to organized wild kingdom, all by its making? What is civilized about such system?
A country with the power and influence of the United States has a duty to reconcile its priorities to the realities of its environment. It is a moral responsibility because doing so sets the pace for other nations. America cannot pretend to love freedom and democracy, and to invest vas sums propagating it, yet with fiat discountenance the rights, the liberties, and now the safety, of its citizens.
In the new era where fake news creates alternative facts to derogate truth and reality, this is assured to steer the country into a path of self-destruction. One cannot help being reminded that nothing lasts forever. The countryside of history is littered with effigies and carcasses of civilizations once believed to have it all, but lost everything for failure to manage patterns once deemed mundane or matter of course.