USA- No time for politeness and civility when kids are massacred in school – By Mohamed Hamaludin


One complaint – sometimes made by this writer — is that we Americans are not polite enough, not civil enough, hence the divisiveness which exists. But the problem really is that too many of us are too polite and too civil and we allow greedy, selfish, power-hungry and plainly stupid people to get away with just about anything.

They say it is un-American to teach children and workers about slavery and about human sexuality. They appropriate electoral power. Their propaganda goon squads label those who do not walk lockstep with them as being unpatriotic, liberal, socialist, communist, sexual predators, devil-worshipers.     

And the object of ridicule seek comfort in the false presumption of the innate goodness and commonsense of Americans. They allow themselves to be depicted in an entirely false manner in a campaign that ascribes to the “enemy” their own vices. They do little to counter the propaganda and, probably in deference to former First Lady Michelle Obama, they try to go high when the others go low.

Take, for instance, the latest mass murder of the little ones, not yet 10 years old, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where funeral homes had to do facial reconstruction on some of them, because the law allowed an 18-year-old to buy two military-style weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition to kill 10 of them and two teachers.

The Washington Post noted school children were killed also at Santa Fe High (10), Columbine High (13) Marjory Stoneman Douglas High (17) and Sandy Hook Elementary (26). “Those tallies, however, do not begin to capture the true scope of this epidemic in the United States, where hundreds of thousands of children’s lives have been profoundly changed by school shootings,” The Post said. “There are the more than 360 kids and adults, including Noah, who have been injured on K-12 campuses since 1999. …And then there are the children who suffer no physical wounds at all but are still haunted for years by what they saw or heard or lost.”

The Post told the story of Noah Orona, a 10-year-old survivor, who still had not cried days afterwards: “One round struck Noah in the shoulder blade, carving a 10-inch gash through his back before popping out and spraying his right arm with shrapnel. He’d laid amid the blood and bodies of his dead friends for an hour, maybe more, waiting for help to come.” In hospital, Noah’s eyes were vacant but he was concerned, though, to tell his parents, “I think my clothes are ruined,” and, “I lost my glasses. I’m sorry.”

The Post added that “more than 311,00 students have experienced gun violence since Columbine.”

Overall, 22 mass shootings since 2012 killed 374 children and adults. The Guardian, citing the Gun Violence Archive, reported in 2017 that 1,516 mass shootings took place in 1,735 days, killing 1,719 children and adults and wounding 6,510 others. A mass shooting – in which four or more people are shot in one incident, not including the shooter – takes place every nine out of 10 days on average, the Gun Violence Archive reported.

You have to be a special breed of human beings if you are not moved to action by this horrific situation. And many are not moved, even knowing that it is just a matter of time before the next tragedy. There are still those who insist – yes, insist – that it is all due to mental health issues and that people kill people, not guns. They argue, with religious fervor, that the fact that there are more guns (400 million) in the hands of private individuals than there are people in America (330 million)and the ease of obtaining an assault rifle have nothing to do with the slaughter of the innocents.

Such callousness has sparked outrage but not enough to force action from the beneficiaries of National Rifle Association (NRA) largesse which flows from the coffers of the gun makers and sundry other outfits that hold 16,000 licenses to manufacture guns and accessories. Forbes reported back in 2018 that the gun industry is a $28 billion business. It has soared since then, along with the profits, each year. Last August, for example, net sales at Ruger rose $130 million or 51 percent over the same time in 2020, The Reload reported, with sales between April and June totaling nearly $200 million or 54 percent more than for the same period in 2020.

Massacres such as at Robb Elementary actually send gun makers’ stocks soaring as they cash in on the fear that gun control measure would affect sales. Not only was the NRA callous enough to hold its annual conference300 miles from Robb Elementary only days after the shootings but the salute to slaughter even included a14-acre exhibition of guns and related products. The NRA also went ahead with its 1999 meeting in Denver roughly a week after the Columbine killings.

The so-called “gun lobby” has no fear of political consequences because it owns the politicians. Gun-friendly lawmakers approved legislation that limit the ability of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to monitor gun stores; bar the ATF and other federal agencies from keeping centralized records of gun ownership and sales; halted a study started in 1993 showing the danger of having a gun in the home outweighs the protection it offers; choked off federal funding for studies on gun deaths; and, most significantly, shields gun makers from liability claims.

On the other hand, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom all passed strict rules on gun ownership, including banning assault-type rifles, after even one mass shooting, and the result has been almost an end to it. Canada is about to pass laws enforcing a buyback of assault-type weapons, banning new sales, imports or transfers of handguns, and requiring magazines for rifles to be permanently altered so they can take only up to five rounds.

“Other than using firearms for sport shooting and hunting, there is no reason anyone in Canada should need guns in their everyday lives,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “One Canadian killed by gun violence is one too many.”

So too for one American.

The NRA-funded politicians must be made to stop hiding behind the Second Amendment to the Constitution and the opinion of five members of the Supreme Court that the right to own a gun is absolute, even though the actual wording of the amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Exactly how that applies to 400 million guns in individual hands is not clear in a system in which teenagers can buy a military type weapon, enter a school and kill children.

Politeness and civility must give way to citizen outrage translated into a movement to confront and challenge the merchants of death and their lackeys once and for all.

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who worked for several years at The Guyana Chronicle in the 1970s and on publications in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating in 1984 to the United States, where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a column for The South Florida Times ( in which the above column first appeared. He may be reached at

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  • Peggy  On 06/02/2022 at 4:39 pm

    There are two extreme viewpoints in America and I think it is imperative that we listen both ways to form our opinions.
    I would not want my children to be taught at a very tender age about sexuality and to be asked what pronouns they wished to be called by.
    Illegal guns and crimes via knives, drugs and other weapons are much more prevalent than the few high profile but extremely sad incidents. Having said that, do I feel that guns ownership should be curtailed? Yes. This could be done in several ways which include more robust screening etc.
    Probing, analytical articles are informative and spur debate. I hate regurgitation of one-sided political views.

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