UNLV killings show US is better at shooting people than hoops

The United States set a grim record over the weekend with two mass shootings occurring on Sunday, bringing the total number of mass killings in 2023 to 37 and 38. With 24 days still remaining in the year, the previous record of 36 mass killings in 2022 has already been surpassed. As the nation grapples with yet another tragic event, the NBA is scheduled to hold its In-Season Tournament semifinal games in Las Vegas today, but it will begin with a moment of silence to honor the victims of the recent shooting.

The frequency of mass shootings in the United States has become an alarming trend. It has become almost routine for Americans to mourn, offer thoughts and prayers, witness statements from political leaders, and then watch as the affected communities struggle to recover from the devastation caused by these senseless acts of violence.

In terms of land area, the United States ranks third largest in the world. Unfortunately, it also has one of the highest rates of gun violence deaths among developed nations. Only Brazil, a country with comparable size and population, surpasses the U.S. in terms of firearm homicide rates. Additionally, the U.S. leads the world in civilian gun ownership. According to data from Johns Hopkins, there were 48,830 firearm-related deaths in 2021, marking the highest total on record. This represents a 45 percent increase in firearm homicides compared to 2019. States with more relaxed gun laws and higher rates of gun ownership tend to have higher firearm fatality rates. Permitless carry is allowed in 30 states, including Texas, which passed this law in 2021.

In November, the United States Supreme Court heard a case involving Zackey Rahimi, who claimed that his Second Amendment rights were violated. Rahimi had been issued a restraining order in February 2020 due to domestic violence, which prohibited him from owning firearms. Despite this, Rahimi went on a shooting spree later that year, injuring multiple people. He argues that the prohibition on firearm ownership violated his constitutional rights. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in his favor.

This ruling highlights the precarious state of safety in the United States, where individuals with a history of violence can still legally possess firearms. It is a concerning situation where the rights of citizens to safety, especially women, are being jeopardized.

As the NBA games commence in Las Vegas on Thursday, it is important to acknowledge that basketball, a sport invented in America, is something the country excels at. However, it is disheartening to acknowledge that the United States is far more successful at shooting people than basketballs. The 39th mass killing of the year, which occurred between San Antonio and Austin on Tuesday, further highlights the ongoing issue of gun violence in the country. While this particular incident may not technically meet the definition of a mass killing, which requires four or more people to be killed, it is nonetheless a tragic event that adds to the growing toll of gun violence.

As Americans enjoy the display of basketball excellence in Las Vegas, it is crucial to address and actively work towards resolving the issue of gun violence that plagues the nation. The United States must prioritize the safety of its citizens and take concrete steps to address the root causes of these recurring acts of violence.

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