While America’s attention was focused on Trump’s partial defeat in the midterm referendum on his leadership, yet another mass shooting took place. It has become almost a daily ritual: 13 dead in a shooting spree perpetrated by a former Marine at a bar in Los Angeles, to the sound of country music.
This Wild West climate—a bipartisan creation, as Democratic presidents have been complicit as well—is now being fueled even more by the business mogul currently occupying the White House, who is, as always, firmly on the side of the gun lobby.
There are around 310 million guns and rifles in the hands of American citizens, and Trump is pushing for measures for even wider gun access and for abolishing “gun free zones,” turning a deaf ear to the movement organized by young people—who are themselves the targets in mass school shootings—saying no to guns. Trump’s idea is to give guns to everybody in society who might find themselves in the middle of a mass shooting at some point: teachers, rabbis, priests, pilots. He frames it all as being part of the right to self-defense, a powerful historical legacy of the United States from the frontier times.
The very same trigger-happy agenda of making it easy to carry guns and allowing one to shoot first in “self-defense”—together with indiscriminate use of that great invention, the Taser—is now being imported to Italy via the yellow-green government, after becoming a part of the government deal with the imprimatur of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Lega party (and of racists everywhere).
But we should think long and hard about that. And remember that in 2016 alone, 38,000 Americans died in what amounts to an ongoing nationwide gun massacre: 60 percent suicides and 36 percent murder victims, the latter amounting to 11,000 killed. Over the past decade, over 300,000 people have died by gunfire in the US.
Guns kill many more people than terrorism does, as Obama pointed out. Only something on the scale of Sept. 11 can be counted as an exception. The figures almost seem to suggest something like a slow-moving civil war, as if the many “little wars” going on everywhere today were heralding an imminent Third World War to come.
But it’s actually nothing like a civil war at all. Not only because the Civil War in the United States was fought on a much larger scale, with two million dead, but also because it was fought—as a pretext, at least—for the “noble” cause of states’ rights. What the country is facing now is just the barbaric degeneration of do-it-yourself vigilante justice, ultimately supported by the ruling ideology of security and the ideological construction of an “enemy.”
This time, the barbarism is entirely Western: terror is no longer a result of Jihadism. Instead, the ultimate cause of what unleashes terror nowadays is the alienation of everyday life, which plays itself out in mindless consumption, the irresponsible promises of new technology and degraded human relationships.