In the United States ‘respect for’ and ‘fidelity to’ a two hundred year document trumps common sense and respect for human life. Few people note that you cannot have freedom without responsibility. The ‘freedom’ to carry a gun was cleverly deduced by the firearms industry from the settlers’ commitment to defending themselves against any enemies ‘foreign or domestic’ — and later to prevent slaves from running away.
Similarly, the ‘needs’ and ‘rights’ of manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction take precedence over the ‘responsibility to protect’ civilians, regardless of pretense.
These ‘exceptional’ United States, founded to defend ‘freedom of conscience’, that is, the right to believe in God in one’s own way (the existence of God being uncontested), morphed, in the short span of two hundred years, into a land in which the salute to the flag and the national anthem, whether kneeling or standing, is inseparable from the ‘right’ to possess firearms of any and every caliber, an assumption that incidentally goes far toward explaining why, in the American mind, ‘foreigners’, being others with a capital O, are most often equated with ‘enemies’.
While sold under the pretense of ‘hunting’ or ‘self-defense’, firearms are increasingly used to express anger by taking the lives of strangers — ‘others’ with a small ‘o’ — as in church or school shootings — or even concerts — as in the Paris Bataclan nightclub or on the Las Vegas strip. (The Bataclan massacre was carried out by recognized terrorists, while ordinary Joe’s filled with their own hatreds have mental or emotional problems.)
‘Exceptional’ America cares mainly for white people, but will in the sacred spirit of equality massacre them when they mix with browns and blacks.
‘Exceptional’ America obeys the injunction to ‘buy more’ with fervor equal to that of its founders who prayed more. How an entire country travelled from one commitment to the other is for historians and psychologists to discern: television hosts, however generously rewarded, are clearly not up to the job.