A PRIMARY school in the most powerful nation on Earth was this week drenched in blood once more.
An armed-to-the-teeth teenage gunman strode into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and snuffed out the lives of 19 youngsters and two teachers.
My heart breaks for those poor, bereaved parents.
How could this happen again and again and again in the so-called land of the free?
Soon after the sound of gunfire abated, America was plunged into the same circular argument about gun ownership that leaves many on this side of the Pond baffled.
First are the expressions of sadness, anger and exasperation. Then the vows to act. But ultimately nothing changes. Then it happens again. And again. And again.
The teenager behind the latest tragedy, Salvador Ramos, had legally purchased two AR-15-style assault rifles shortly after his 18th birthday earlier this month — his first act of adulthood.
His deadly rampage ended when he was fatally shot by police, securing him a grim place in history as the perpetrator of the third-deadliest school shooting in the US, after the massacres at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.
Who knows what motivates a teenager to buy guns in order to kill innocent children?
There are reports that he was bullied at school. Perhaps he was angry, looking to settle a score, hurt, humiliated.
These are grievances that motivate people all over the world. But in the US, those feelings all too often result in shootings and mass murder.
Not that Texas Senator Ted Cruz agrees. He stormed out of an interview when asked why such mass shootings “only happen in America”, accusing the two journalists who repeatedly asked the question of being “propagandists”.
The response from Texas’s conservative leaders to this latest mass shooting — after sending “thoughts and prayers” — says it all. What people need, they say, is more, not fewer, guns in schools.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton quickly argued that the “best answer to the tragedy” was to arm teachers.
He said: “We can’t stop bad people from doing bad things . . .
“We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly.”
But US citizens don’t need thoughts and prayers. And they certainly don’t need more guns. They need change.
That won’t come easily. The right to bear arms is enshrined in the US Constitution under the Second Amendment, and fiercely patrolled by the increasingly powerful National Rifle Association. So having a gun is seen as a fundamental right for Americans.
Won’t change anything
As a result, around a third of American adults own a gun and 40 per cent say they live in a household with one.
More than 23million guns were sold in 2020.
In entirely connected news, just five months into this year the country has seen more than 17,000 people, including 650 children, shot and killed.
In the UK, getting a gun licence is extremely difficult. We have some of the toughest gun control laws in the world.
The logic is that if you own a gun, you’ll most likely use it.
As a result, gun crime is incredibly rare, with 30 homicides committed by shooting in England and Wales in the year ending March 31, 2020.
Meanwhile, in the US, where you can buy a gun in a supermarket, close to 53 people are killed by a firearm every day.
Yet American lawmakers still fiercely oppose any efforts to limit the rights of its citizens to arm themselves.
US President Joe Biden vowed to tackle America’s gun problem. He said: “We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”
But the sad truth is that, deep down, we all know he probably won’t be able to change anything.
Demands for action are inevitably derailed by Republicans in Congress, and so the cycle continues.
I would love to believe what happened in Texas was an aberration. But until guns are banned in the US, it is inevitable this will keep happening.
We know it’s just a matter of time until the next mass shooting. And that really is a tragedy.
Snout of this world
POTENTIAL dognappers would be in for a big surprise if they found themselves in the house of Japanese canine enthusiast Toko-san.
Because the four- legged animal who lives there isn’t a pooch – but Toko-san himself.
This chap recently fulfilled his life-long ambition of becoming a dog, forking out two million Yen (£12,500) on a remarkably realistic collie costume.
He now happily spends his days posting photos on social media of himself wearing it.
I’m not sure which is more disturbing – quite how lifelike his collie outfit looks, or the fact he would like to be a dog in the first place.
One thing I do know, though. The world’s gone barking mad.
Dress my age? Not any more, thanks to Madonna
IS there anyone else out there who, like me, has reached a certain age and ums and ahs about what to wear?
Whenever I get dressed, I find myself asking if my outfit is too fashionable, too short or too trendy for my age.
And then I look at photos of Madonna who.
On a night out with FKA Twigs in London, the singer managed to outdo her younger pop star pal.
She was dressed in a sheer white corset-style top, fishnet tights, a pleated white skirt, chunky black boots and bright red gloves.
All at the age of 63.
From now on, please may I suggest that we all take a leaf out of Madonna’s book.
And wear whatever we bloody well please!
Hol lot of woe
AIR travel can often be stressful but the ongoing airport chaos is making things so much worse.
Passengers were reportedly stuck in “apocalyptic” queues when hundreds of planes were grounded this week and more are predicted over the half-term holiday.
In Exeter, travellers waited 20 hours to board a TUI flight and those trying to join the queue for Manchester airport’s car park were advised to arrive three hours before departure.
Staff shortages seem to be the cause, amid warnings it could last the entire summer.
Flying anywhere now sounds like the opposite of a holiday.
Wrong to egg her on
WITHOUT wanting to sound completely cynical, I think I can see why Kris Jenner, the world’s most famous “momager”, is keen for her daughters to have babies.
After all, I guess the more little Kardashians there are running around, the more cash will be rolling in.
So although it was dressed up in humour, a scene in the latest episode of The Kardashians really stuck with me.
Kris tried to convince her daughter Kendall, who is 26, to take steps to have a baby. And after a call to her gynaecologist, Kris suggested Kendall freeze her eggs.
Her daughter momentarily choked on her coffee and pointed out: “It’s my life. I don’t know if I’m ready yet.”
It’s all very well for Kris, 66, and her gynaecologist to recommend a cycle of egg freezing.
But what about what Kendall wants? What if that does not ever include a baby?
Most of us don’t want our daughters to have babies until they are settled and ready. But I guess Kris is slightly addicted to her daughters reproducing.
After all, that is the best way to expand the increasing army of Kardashian-Jenners, who can then go on to have their own reality TV show and maintain the family name . . . and business.
Goldie lookin pain
I DID have a little chuckle reading about Jamie Goldie.
He’s a young man in Edinburgh who kindly posted a video on TikTok outlining his relationship rules. A sort of job description if you will, for the lucky lady he decides to settle down with.
The clip, titled “My rules as a boyfriend”, outlines that a potential girlfriend is not allowed to have any male pals.
They also have to keep their phone location on at all times so Jamie, right, can track them, I guess.
He’s pretty relaxed about passwords, saying: “I don’t really want your passwords to your social media stuff. But I would like to have the password for your phone . . . you never know, I might just have to have a look on your phone.”
How thoughtful you are, Jamie Goldie, to hang out such a vivid red flag to any potential girlfriend.
Now they are able to avoid you, and your unbelievably controlling rules, like the plague.
Source: The Sun