Living in the Wild, Wild West

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wild-west-shoot-out-iiNews flash: It’s 2015. The last American frontier has been settled, the territories annexed and made states. The rule of law is supposed to prevail. Yet when I read the news, our country resembles the Wild West I’ve seen in old movies.

With open carry gun laws sweeping the nation, armed citizens roam the streets with their AK-47s. They follow Muslims outside of mosques just to intimidate them. One fatally shoots a waitress who dared to tell him to stop smoking in the restaurant. Got a history of domestic abuse? No problem. You can still get a gun and let that bitch know who’s boss. And for kids, there’s the excitement of finding a real gun to play cowboys and Indians with. Sure, you may accidentally kill your brother or best friend. But that’s life in the Wild West.

At least we have police that will keep everything under control, right? Maybe not. When it comes to black suspects, police officers’ motto seems to come right out of a Clint Eastwood movie: Shoot first, and ask questions later. Today’s Chicago Tribune featured two stories of videos that show Chicago cops fatally shooting suspects without provocation. By now everyone knows about the LaQuan McDonald shooting. But 8 days after an officer emptied 16 rounds into McDonald, another black man named Ronald Johnson III was shot five times while running away from police. The police claim he was armed and had threatened them, but the video apparently tells a different story. Chicago will get a new “sheriff,” since Mayor Emmanuel made police chief Garry McCarthy his sacrificial lamb. But not much will change in the Wild West.

School shootings, reporters gunned down, guns accidentally discharging in homes, stores, and medical facilities. A crazy man shouting, “No more baby parts,” killing police and civilians in a Planned Parenthood facility. A different deranged man slaughtering moviegoers at a showing of Batman. An innocent family at the park gunned down for no reason. And we call the members of ISIS barbarians?

Americans are so worried about international terrorism when domestic terrorism is a much bigger threat. The rampant and uncontrolled gun violence in the United States should make us ashamed as a nation. It’s time for us to stop playing cowboy and return to some sense of order and civilization.

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