The tears, prayers, and thoughts regarding mass shootings are sincerely expressed by most people. But hypocrisy and cynicism loom very large for Joe Biden and congress. They want us to believe that state violence is disconnected from violence carried out by individuals.
Speaking in the dimly lit Cross Hall in the White House, and flanked on either side by rows of candles and the soft lighting of the chandeliers and torchiere lamps above and behind him, Joe Biden conjured up his best human emotions to deliver an impassioned promise that he would do something about gun violence in this country.
"How much more carnage are we willing to accept?" Biden asked, demanding Republicans in particular end their blockade of gun control votes.
Since the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, Biden has been pressed to do something, which he promised he would do, but his speech was only tough talk to encourage Congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, to expand background check requirements for gun purchases, create new rules for safely storing weapons, enact new "red flag" laws that would prevent gun sales to those with criminal records, repeal liability shields for gun manufacturers and provide more mental health services for students.
None of which is going to happen in Congress, and let’s be real. You and I know this.
Whatever is going to be done legislatively regarding gun control is going to have to come from the states, and New York is already actually doing something by passing 10 gun safety laws, including a ban on the sale and purchase of body armor with exceptions for law enforcement, peace officers, military and others whose job requires a bulletproof vest (which makes complete sense because why would a regular person need a bulletproof vest), raise the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 and making large-capacity magazines illegal, as well as red flag laws and strengthening background checks.
But we need to be clear that background checks already exist for those purchasing a gun from a licensed gun seller. Private and online sellers have not had the same requirements, and have been the focus of calls for expanded background check legislation. Sandy Hook Promise notes that as of 2020, 21 states and Washington DC have passed legislation to extend the federal background check requirement to cover at least some forms of private sale.
As far as assault weapons are concerned, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that eight states - California, Connecticut, DC, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, new Jersey, and New York - already ban assault weapons, and that includes banning assault weapons by name or by specific features of the gun that make a gun an assault weapon. But it’s worth noting that all of the laws exempt possession of prohibited assault weapons prior to the ban going into effect. So nobody went and got assault weapons when these bans were passed in those eight states.
And while people being able to buy body armor may seem weird, now that I think about it, I remember a time when there were army surplus stores pretty much everywhere, and you could just walk in a buy all manner of military equipment - from camouflage gear like pants, jackets and hats, to camping gear like canteens and tents and such, to body armor, and more. In fact, these stores still exist, and you can still buy surplus military equipment including all manner of “tactical gear,” from boots to body armor, with many doing most of their business, you guessed it, online.
And doesn’t that make sense though, that you can easily purchase surplus military equipment and tactical gear for a reasonable fee plus shipping and handling in a country that has gotten rich and powerful off of war?
Here is Joseph Biden and the Congress he leads repeatedly approving hundreds of millions of dollars of weapons to be sent to Ukraine in a war that the US and their white supremacist international army NATO started with the sole purpose of provoking Russia.
The Biden Administration and everyone in Congress has approved military support to Ukraine repeatedly since February, seven times to be exact, on February 25, March 12, March 16, April 5, April 13, April 21, and April 24. The earlier military support packages averaged about $30 million a day and to be clear they did not include economic and humanitarian support and the costs of U.S. forces deployed to Europe to address the crisis. This current package increases the aid level to $135 million a day.
The defense contractors make millions from the US government ordering more weapons, and it does not matter to anyone in the defense industrial complex nor in Congress that many of the people who are receiving these weapons and other military aid are right-wing, neo-Nazi fanatics who just carried out an eight-year civil war against ethnic Russians in Donbas and Lugansk. In fact they KNOW who they are giving weapons to, and they continue to do it while telling you and me that it is PUTIN who needs to be stopped.
So who does Biden think he’s fooling standing behind a podium feigning outrage and invoking God in wondering when will the carnage on our streets end, when he is pouring carnage onto the streets of Ukraine to the tune of $135 million a day.
When the US stops enabling the carnage all over the world as a business model, maybe then we’ll stop seeing the blowback on our streets.
Jacqueline Luqman is co-host of By Any Means Necessary on Radio Sputnik. She is also a contributor to The Real News Network, Editor-In-Chief of the social media program Luqman Nation, and a contributor to Black Power Media. She has more than 20 years of activism in Washington, DC focusing on participating in and supporting community-level issues as well as regional and national issues that impact working-class, poor, and oppressed people in the US and abroad. She is a member of the Black Alliance for Peace, Pan-African Community Action, is a supporter of several other grassroots radical Black-focused and led organizations, and is an active member of the Board of Social Action in Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, a progressive church in Washington, DC.