“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”……the 2nd Amendment Rights of all Americans (part of the Bill of Rights) actually preceded the written constitution.

Current Context: drive-by shooting spree in Odessa and Midland, Texas, on August 31, with seven people (rose to 8) killed and 24 (one considered in a serious state) wounded. The gunman who also died in the incident was identified as Seth Ator, a single, white male, aged 36, who had two previous convictions. He was arrested for criminal trespass and evading arrest in 2001 both considered as misdemeanours. According to the Los Angeles Times (1 September 2019), no motive was given and an AR-Type weapon was used in the shooting

Historical Context: When the colonists in the thirteen Colonies rebelled against British control during the American Revolution, they cited (copied) the 1689, English Bill of Rights as legalistic and moral justification for their cause. This had its roots as a ”reactionary or defensive” piece of English legislation, because of the prior acts of the deposed Catholic King James II, who armed Catholics and disarmed Protestants, thus the Bill of Rights provision corrected that by simultaneously allowing for Protestants to arm themselves for defensive purposes.

The following cases all afforded legal and judicial gravitas to the 2nd Amendment Rights of all Americans as follows: the United States vs. Cruikshank (1876), Presser vs. Illinois (1886), the United States vs. Miller (1939) and as recently as 2008, in the landmark case, the District of Columbia vs. Miller. Sayoko Blodgett-Ford, a well-known intellectual property rights, transactions & data privacy and security in mergers and acquisitions attorney, notes a “non-military” usage of the phrase, cited from a well-known pamphlet that was circulated by a tiny minority at the time of the ratification of the American constitution in Philadelphia at the time.

As of August 31, 2019, 297 mass shootings have occurred in 2019. This averages out to 1.2 shootings per day. In these shootings, 1,219 people were injured and 335 died (for a total of 1,554 victims). 53 people died in mass-shootings in August 2019 alone with CBS News noting that “there have been more mass-shootings than days in 2019.” “Unfortunately, it is wishful thinking to believe that there is a simple set of warning signs, a phone app or a checklist which can be used to identify a mass shooter,” said Dr Deborah Weisbrot, director of the outpatient clinic of child and adolescent psychiatry at Stony Brook University. “There is no specific ‘profile’ of a shooter, as is still often sometimes assumed — there have been both male and female shooters, and different socioeconomic backgrounds,” she said.

I find it strange that the good doctor fails to mention that the shooters are overwhelmingly white males? Now before you go accusing me of “racialising the shootings” and not displaying enough empathy for the victims instead, I would respectfully argue differently. I would argue that the reasons behind black people and white people committing mass-murders are from two or more entirely different perspectives? In other words, I believe that ignoring that the killers are overwhelmingly white is to ignore an integral part of the pathology of mass-killings. I would further argue that the sociohistorical and psychohistorical contexts are critical to understanding motivations for the killings and its social contexts. 

The previous argument that the doctor offers is in my view analogous to saying that the use of automatic weapons aren’t really interpretive to the understanding of mass-shooting pathologies and by extension, the undue influence the NRA, the National Rifle Association exercises on the government to prevent the bannings of those weapons, but rather actively influences the increased sales of such WMD, weapons of mass destruction is a “side-issue?”

Perhaps an important clue may be found in the relatively unknown discipline of CRT, Critical Race Theory? A subset of Critical Legal Studies, which proposes that racism, is normative to past and contemporary American society. In other words, in order to understand American society one has to acknowledge its white supremacist roots, the on-going acts of racism by the authorities against black and brown people, actualised in a virtual declaration of war by the state on the marginalised and the sociopsychological effects whiteness has had, and continues to have on white people apropos, their day to day dealings with black people? This means that we should acknowledge that black and white lived experiences are completely different to each other, even if they were born and raised in the exact same neighbourhood, and this is borne out by having a simple conversation with either one folks, and that is a story for another day…….

“All other things being equal, the simplest answer is probably the correct one” – Occam’s Razor