Why do mass shootings garner the lead stories in the news cycle? Could it be the sudden cluster of deaths alone? Perhaps it is the public fascination over a shooter plotting evil or political theater where finger pointing, blaming far-right ideology, chalking it up to mental illness, or creating a stir over the demise of the 2nd Amendment and government taking our guns.
These narratives would seem too simplistic for well-educated lawmakers obfuscating their responsibility by playing into an uncompromising political base rather than demonstrating a bipartisan effort to problem solving. In retrospect, lawmakers might ponder one of Mother Teresa’s favorite texts in the Bible, which she often quoted to support her ministry, is “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.”
About 40% of Americans now own firearms. 18% of American households purchased a gun during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 5% of US adults bought a gun for the first time. With State AG’s allowing criminals to walk or no-bail for violent crimes only to reoffend and commit further harm and death, millions of illegal immigrants and drugs flowing across the southern border, and rioting with little to no police response to protect neighborhoods and businesses, Americans don’t feel safe. With gun violence at the highest rate in 30 years, they are now packing more than ever to protect their families in what may feel like a purge. So where is this violence coming from?
To avoid mudslinging over attempts to find common ground with political rivals or facing noisy cynicism that it is impossible to move the needle, lawmakers must courageously admit and understand the critical facts of gun violence to build trust across the aisle and adopt data-driven solutions. According to the data from the Gun Violence Archive (GVA), America is on track this year to be the second-highest year for mass shootings with 607 mass shootings through November 22 against a total of 690 in 2021 (GVA defines a mass shooting where at least four people are shot excluding the shooter).
While 637 deaths and 3,179 people shot in mass shootings so far in 2022 is abhorrent, there has been a stark total of 40,373-gun violence deaths in the US this year as of Nov. 29. A total of 21,978 of these deaths were suicides whereas 18,395 were homicides, unintentional, and defensive use. Many of these shootingS happen in Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, New York, and Detroit, where drug abuse exacerbates gun violence across the board.
So while gun control is not the solution, the Democrats can gain Republican support towards reducing guns in the wrong hands by working to stop the most glaring killer facing America. According to the CDC, fentanyl is now the leading cause of death among US adults (ages 18-45) – more than Covid-19. Fentanyl, the cheap-to-produce and easy-to-transport killer that is 100 times stronger than morphine, has seen deaths nearly double in two years from 32,754 in 2019 to 64,178 in 2021.
The cartels in Mexico producing the candy-colored drug in super labs purchase the ingredients and chemicals from China. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it is combating the problem – yet the substance continues to cross the porous border with Mexico, bringing cartel violence and its domino effects onto America’s streets. It is unconscionable that the Biden Administration does not use every tool to pressure China to stop the exports to the cartels and it is a crime by China who can lock down a population of over a billion people over Covid yet fail to prevent these shipments. China is an accomplice to drug deaths in the US.
No one person has the answers to nation-wide epidemics of gun violence and the fentanyl crisis. That is why the parties have to work together to solve both issues. By solving one they will make inroads to solving the other, as studies have shown that drugs and gun violence are related. First, it begins with leadership to turn off what seems to be an incurable pathology to assign blame. The unfounded white supremacy is divisive rhetoric while claiming the 2nd Amendment to bear arms is at risk. It is simply untrue. Progress will occur when small but loud voices are sidelined, contributions from influential lobbies are refused, and the media covers the big picture.
Politicians can no longer wait to act on comprehensive measures. Constituents want action on illegal guns and drugs — not defunding police or penalizing legal gun owners. The DEA needs to find a way to stop these fentanyl labs making the killer poison if Mexico won’t. America was built on compromise. And it’s time both the GOP and the DNC start working towards betterment for all rather than blaming each other. They might even be able to solve key issues they care about without trampling on their constituents’ rights.
Rich Berdan is a freelance writer based out of Detroit, MI.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.