Gun Politics, POTUS and Sabika

By Maryam Iraj

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Sabika Sheikh, 17, a bright Pakistani girl on a scholarship of YES student exchange programme, was among the first few who were shot dead in the art class of Santa Fe High School, Texas.

Donald Trump who championed gun rights in his 2016 election campaign, sworn to take action to prevent school shootings after a gunman killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, by eliminating gun-free zones. That was his solution to allow more guns in the name of second amendment of the American constitution.

The second amendment reads, “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.” 

However, despite the pro-gun policies, Texas school shooting still took place just three months after the Parkland, Florida shooting incident, igniting  nationwide youth-led protests over gun-violence – and a similar debate over what changes could really make a difference.

The Florida shooting reignited the national debate over gun control. Students who survived the attack have pressurized the politicians to crack down on guns, and planned a march in Washington on March 24. But nothing could be realized to stop the Texas school shooting from happening.

Lately, Trump embraced suggestions to close escape hatches for gun buyers to implement a detailed  background check system, raise the age limit for buying rifles, and to find ways to temporarily seize guns from people reported to be dangerous. But this proposal was not appreciated by many of his fellow Republicans in Congress, as it was deemed an infringement on their constitutional right to own guns and to protect themselves.

Misconceptions creeping into the gun-politics debate spring up whenever a mass-shooting happens. But it is to be realized that more guns do not make you safer. It is something which Trump and his administration fail to understand that mass-shootings and gun ownership rates are highly correlated.

The number of mass shootings in the United States exceeds by a great number from the 25 countries where mass shooting took place from 1983-2003.

To this date, U.S. had 78 mass-shooting incidents over the period of 30-years.Second to U.S., is Germany – where seven mass-shootings took place. For the other 24 industrialized countries collectively, 41 mass-shooting incidents occurred.

So over all, the U.S. had nearly doubled the number of mass shootings in comparison with all other 24 countries combined in the same 30-year time-frame.

Another important point, Harvard Injury Control Research Center shows that the frequency of mass shooting is not only at the rise but this increasing trend is moving in the opposite direction of overall intentional homicide rates in the U.S..

Despite all these horrible figures, POTUS would never call mass-shooting an act of terror. It’s simply mass shooting as a form of social violence by a mentally disturbed person. Regardless of the terror it inflicts upon the masses, the majority of shooters are identified as mentally ill individuals who have no political message to put across or to challenge the legitimacy of the state. Either they are bullying or disgruntled people motivated by a variety of personal reasons.

For example, the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015 was a hate crime but was not ruled by the federal government as an act of terror. According to the shooter’s confession and from his Snapchat record, it was discovered that “he hated them enough to kill them.”

Dylann killed 17 people with the gun which was a gift from his father, and Pagourtzis killed 10 people in Texas two days ago with the licensed gun of his father. 

Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan, was among the first 10 victims identified at Texas high school shooting. Ten people were killed and 14 were seriously injured when a student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, opened fire. At the time of shooting, 1400 students were inside the school who ran for their lives.

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Those 10 victims who lost their lives to the lunatic school fellow on May 18, 2018.

The solution from President Trump to mass shooting incident was to train teachers in shooting.

Sabika Sheikh, a 17 year old young girl with a lot of dreams in her eyes, flew to America on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange & Study Abroad programme (YES). The programme ( YES) is run by the US state department, and was set up in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks to bring students from Muslim-majority nations to the US on a cultural exchange programme to promote cultural diversity and tolerance.

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Grieving father, Abdul Aziz, and grandmother of Sabika Sheikh, Karachi, Pakistan, 2018

Her parents, Abdul Aziz and Farah Sheikh, shattered and heartbroken came to know about the death of their elder one through television. They told the media that school authorities confirmed their daughter’s death within an hour of the shooting. Sabika was due to return to Pakistan on 9th June 2018, but now her lifeless body would reach her homeland in few days.

The murderer, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was arrested and charged with the murder of 17 people but terrorism charges have not been leveled against him so far. He allegedly used a licensed shotgun of his father to commit this crime. Students said the shooter entered an art class and opened fire shortly before 08:00 (13:00 GMT) on Friday.

He had plans to commit suicide in the end but could not muster up the courage.

The U.S. military might have a lot of guns, but not such a high number of non-combat causalities. America’s poor gun politics and abuse of 2nd amendment of American constitution led to such a massive loss of the lives of innocent people.

What sort of academic culture Trump and his administration is promoting by making teacher shooters carrying guns all the time in the company of young kids. These guards might be more dangerous on regular basis than the few random attacks.  Having more guns and trained shooters in the schools and on the streets would not lead to fewer shootings.

Problem is deeper, more complex and beyond the matrix of surface-level gun politics. There seems to be a huge gap in the social fabric of American culture which needs to be dealt with. These killers are not inherent monsters, they are brought up in specific ways to start thinking along those lines.

The problem starts from home where these kids are metamorphosed into lethal killers. Not only parents, but media, violence on internet, and pornography, are also responsible for such unfortunate circumstances.

This is the interview of Ted Bundy, a serial killer, rapist, and a necrophiliac, few hours before his electrocution on January 24, 1989 at the age of 42. Like many of the homicides, he shared the same childhood, exposure to pornography and violence, and easy access to weapons. He was a graduate of the University of Washington, went to law school, a very well-read man, seemingly law-abiding citizen hence took to the killing spree because nobody had an iota of doubt on his demeanor.

P.S.:To track the timeline of major mass shootings in U.S. since 2007 click here

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