Republicans, Democrats 'collude' to indulge gun violence, 'manage rather than address' problem
Published: May 29, 2022 08:27 PM
People protest in support of gun control outside the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas on May 28,2022.Photo: AFP

People protest in support of gun control outside the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting at the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas on May 28,2022. Photo: AFP

As the US National Rifle Association's (NRA) annual convention concluded on Sunday in the wake of the two mass shootings taking place in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, within 10 days, remarks from speakers at the event were revealing enough that gun violence is a social plague indulged by both US parties, observers said. 

Both Republicans and Democrats used the topic to polarize the American society and consolidate their voter bases, while public opinion on gun control is also split with people reinforcing that polarization with their ballots, experts said.  

The NRA event was held in Houston, 430 kilometers from the Texas elementary school shooting which killed 19 children and two teachers. It is the 27th school shooting in the US since the beginning of 2022, according to the NPR on May 24.

Addressing the event on Friday, former US president Donald Trump called the school shooting a "hideous massacre," but backed up Republican calls to resist new gun restrictions and instead called for enhanced school security measures. 

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said at the NRA convention, "The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens. The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens."

US gun control Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

US gun control Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Democrats are in collusion with Republicans on this topic, Wei Nanzhi, a research fellow at the American Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Republicans seemingly represent the fundamental values of the US, including the Second Amendment, while receiving huge amounts of money from gun lobbyists, Wei said. 

Cruz's campaigns have received the most donations of any senator from gun lobbyists, at $442,000 over his span of career, according to an NPR report on Friday.

But Democrats' gun control calls are just slogans, as they find gun violence an ideal reason to attack their political opponents in the Republican camp. Trump said on Friday there is "familiar parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families to increase their own power and take away our constitutional rights," the Texas Tribune reported on Friday. 

The US political landscape and its "democratic" procedures decide that the topic of gun control continuously fuels battles in the US Congress and acts as vehicle for interest groups. The problem is fully discussed without any solutions, Wei said. 

Cruz walked away when he was pressed about reforming gun laws on Thursday, two days after the shooting, "a convenient way out of an uncomfortable conversation for which he has no good answers," as CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza was quoted as commenting.

Wei said the US system can "absorb" discontent, having stakeholders express their opinions and discuss topics fully without a way out. It is a system to "manage" problems rather than to address them. 

Wei said that public opinion diverges on gun control, and they express this at the ballot box.As long as the rules of US democracy are abided by, no individuals or organizations take responsibility for failing to solve a problem, Wei said. 

The same logic dominated the police actions during the Texas school shooting.

Police officers waited more than an hour to breach the classroom after following the gunman into the building where children were trapped with the shooter and a girl pleaded "send the police now." 

Local police acted in line with the law and their duty, no matter how public challenged the operation, which saved them from the responsibility of failing to protect and rescue the children, Wei said.

The expert also noted if one looks at the demographic distribution of mass shooting deaths, more frequently victims are vulnerable groups, highlighting the known-to-all social inequality and racial problems. 

The Texas school shooting victims were predominantly Latino while the Buffalo shooting in an African-American community was blatant white supremacism.  

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, commenting on the US human rights situation on Saturday, said that a report on racial discrimination and problems of law enforcement in countries including US and Europe has been presented to the Human Rights Council. 

In order to stop racist discrimination, countries need to look at the history of slavery and dismantle all systematic discrimination, if they really want to ensure the rights of minorities, Bachelet said.