Two Mass Shootings Per Day

Two Mass Shootings Per Day January 23, 2023

Two Mass Shootings Per Day

Arrest of Zhao Chunli near Half Moon Bay for killing seven in two mass shootings on Janurary 23, 2023.

Two mass shootings per day. That’s what I’m thinkikng about.

I am writing this post in northern California. I glance occasionally at the TV screen over my right shoulder. There I see that San Mateo police have just handcuffed a mass shooter–Zhao Chunli–near two coastal mushroom farms near Half Moon Bay. Seven dead so far. I write as he’s being taken in a squad car to jail.

Yesterday was a bountiful day for murder too. The event is being called, “The Lunar New Year Massacre.” The annual Monterey Park Lunar New Year Festival, one of the largest in California, was in full swing. Bent on murder, Huu Can Tran walked into the Star Dance Studio about 10:30 pm. He bullet sprayed the crowd, firing a modified pistol with a high capacity magazine. As of this writing, the death toll is eleven. The shooter, Tran, shot himself dead as well.

This is what happened today and yesterday in my home state. What will happen tomorrow? I forecast somebody will die. Through 2022 and now into 2023 America witnesses two mass shootings per day.

Perhaps there is a Chinese factor involved in these two California killings within 48 hours. A Chinese shooter shot Chinese victims. But, in the same period similar shootings also took place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Robinsville, Mississippi,;and Chicago, Illinois. Ethnicity does not seem to be a factor in keeping up the rate of two mass shootings per day.

Gun Deaths in Ukraine at War compared with the US at Peace

In a recent Patheos article, Gun Deaths in Ukraine and the US , I compared deaths by gun in war torn Ukraine with nation-at-peace America. Yes, we Americans kill one another on the streets at a higher rate than Russians kills their enemies on the battlefield.

Russia invades Ukraine 2022

I noted how public outrage over mass shootings indirectly leads to increased profits for those invested in the gun industry. NRA policy is to interpret such two mass shootings per day as evidence that we need to arm teachers and all the rest of us for self-defense. Imagine this: we should arm persons who go to movie theaters, state fairs, church for worship, and lunar new year festivals. The promise of increased sales of guns and ammunition makes sugar plum fairies dance in the dreams of NRA supporters.

Oh, yes, the shooter in each mass shooting case is to blame. Even so, we must admit: what drives mass shootings is burning money fueled by greed. According to Forbes, the gun business fueled by gun violence in the news is now $28 billion in the US. This dwarfs the $2.8 billion per year spent on hospitals. Follow the money, not the self-justification. Until we understand this, we will not understand America.

To compare gun deaths in Ukraine with those in the US helps tell us something important about America. Attorney Eric Gorovitz interprets the battle of  profiteering versus protecting as a battle for America’s very soul. America’s soul is being sold. What’s the price? Count the bodies.

A Billion Bucks for Bullets and Blood

In another Patheos article,  A Billion Bucks for Bullets and Blood, I tried to follow the money. A billion bucks in gunmaker profits over the last decade were made from the sale of AR-15 style assault rifles in America. That’s what a U.S. House of Representatives investigation uncovered. “In total, five gun manufacturers collected more than $1bn from the sale of assault rifles over the last decade, the investigation found,” reports the Guardian. NPR puts the figure at $3 billion.

Daniel Defense advertisement. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Bucks for bullets and blood has been the concern of Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. Maloney chairs the investigation committee. She wants to make transparent how profiteering on mass murder perpetuates the never-ending stream of deaths. “These rifles are the weapon of choice for mass murderers who have terrorized and slaughtered young children at school, worshippers at churches and synagogues, and families celebrating the Fourth of July,” she is quoted by NBC News.

Christopher Killoy, president and CEO of Sturm, Ruger & Co, defended the firearms industry. He told committee members, “A firearm, any firearm, can be used for good or evil. The difference is in the intent of the individual possessing it.” Yes, that’s correct. And, the greedy individuals who manufacture, sell, and profit are included with the shooters in the ranks of using such weapons for “evil.”

H.R. 1808 the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022 is one attempt by conscientious legislators. But, how can integrity and compassion fight bucks and bullets?

Two Mass Shootings Per Day? How should we understand this?

Does America sponsor a gun culture? Like cigarettes and drugs, are we becoming addicted to the romance of weaponry? Nine year old Reynold and I shoot nerf darts at the wall with this imaginary AR-15.

Now, the spilled human blood is not even dry from these two new mass shootings. It’s perhaps gauche for me to start whining about the flood of guns with the cascade of gun profits. I dare not trivialize  politically this moment of terror, grief, and sadness. Our attention belongs to the dead and their loved ones.

Yet, as a public theologian, I want to ponder human nature as it expresses itself in American culture. What has become clear to everyone is that our society loves guns so much that we are willing to tolerate two mass shootings per day in order to keep the gun manufacturers in business and to support private amories for adolescents, hobbyists, hunters, gang bangers, and private militias. America’s gun culture has chosen to abide with two mass shootings per day.

We must grant that guns attract little boys like ice cream attracts tongues. Could guns be genetic? Probably a gene promoter on the Y chromosome.

Even so, there is no gene that prompts us to delight in ramdom death from two mass shootings per day. Society must intervene between gene expression and our social contract to protect us from two mass shootings per day. American society, inexplicably, lacks that social intervention. Who turned off our self-protection gene?

Conclusion

“The Moon Turns to Blood.” For more on this book, click here.

I actually do suspect there is a genetic component to human violence in general and gun violence in particular. Be that as it may, I do not plan on following where this hypotheis might lead. At least not here.

In my Leona Foxx fictional espionage thriller series, my heroine espouses Leona’s Law of Evil: you know it’s the voice of Satan when you hear the call to shed innocent blood. Because I’m not close enough to these brand new cases to gather empirical evidence, I hesitate to invoke Leona’s law. Yet, we see clearly that innocent lives are lost in large numbers. So, even though it gives us pause to look in Satan’s direction, I don’t wish to travel this road either.

Rather, I simply want to take the occasion of two mass shootings per day to remind us that tolerating death at this high a rate has been a choice American society has made. I wish we could unmake this choice.

Ted Peters, “The Voice of Public Theology.” Hot off the press.

Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor an emeritus professor at the Graduate Theological Union. He co-edits the journal, Theology and Science, with Robert John Russell on behalf of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, in Berkeley, California, USA. His single volume systematic theology, God—The World’s Future, is now in the 3rd edition. He has also authored God as Trinity plus Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society as well as Sin Boldly: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls. See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com.

He has just published a new 2023 book, The Voice of Public Theology, to be published by ATF Press.

 

 

 

 

 

About Ted Peters
Ted Peters is a Lutheran pastor an emeritus professor at the Graduate Theological Union. He co-edits the journal, Theology and Science, with Robert John Russell on behalf of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, in Berkeley, California, USA. His single volume systematic theology, God—The World’s Future, is now in the 3rd edition. He has also authored God as Trinity plus Sin: Radical Evil in Soul and Society as well as Sin Boldly: Justifying Faith for Fragile and Broken Souls. See his website: TedsTimelyTake.com. He has just published a new 2023 book, The Voice of Public Theology, to be published by ATF Press. You can read more about the author here.

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