Tragedy in US

By NT Bureau Published on Nov 09, 2017 03:26 PM IST

Yet another mass shooting has taken place in America. This time in a small, rural Texas town of fewer than  900 people. And, more than two dozen innocent men, women and children got mowed down, that too when they were attending a prayer in a church.

And, yet again, a lone gunman is the perpetrator of this horrendous crime at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, 30 miles from San Antonio.

This gruesome act cannot be laid at the door of a terrorist or an undesirable immigrant; it is an unmistakable case of home-grown terror.

The mass murderer has been identified as a white male. The United States seems to have become helplessly vulnerable to a quintessential American sickness — dysfunctional individuals having easy and unlimited access to guns and assault rifles of all kinds.

This latest mass murder will once again ignite the ferocious but unsettled debate on the Americans’ right to bear arms. The anti-gun lobby will remind everyone of the danger of letting dangerous — perversely evil — people have access to deadly guns.

The argument would be contested by the powerfully networked gun lobby, with massive resources and a determined willingness to make a substantial difference to the outcome in very many congressional districts.

Despite the latest tragedy, nothing will change because there is an entrenched cynicism in the American political arrangements; enough noise is produced on both sides, a moral equivalence gets introduced even in the most black-and-white issues, and, the enormity of any tragedy gets drowned in partisan contestations.

Rural America is supposed to be a relatively compact community, taking legitimate pride in its social coherence and cultural equanimity. Even this world of presumed innocence is getting contaminated. The American democracy is looking inadequate, imperfect and uninspiring.

This at a time when the United States is positioning itself as an ideal democratic model, in a mortal combat with authoritarian regimes like North Korea or a theocratic state like Iran.

As it is, the presence of Donald Trump in the White House does not exactly buttress the American model’s saleability. Sutherland Springs will take a further toll on America’s global image.