No less than 43,000 people were killed in Britain during the blitz of World War II.
In the USA, in the last year alone, more than 15,000 people have died of gunshot wounds. A mini blitz. Each year. Every year. And still they do not act.
I spent much of the weekend in a state of shock. I was struggling to understand why a supposedly educated and progressive country could aid and abet the wholesale slaughter of its youth.
Another school massacre. The 18th this year alone. 18 school shootings in just 20 school days.
The United States of America where the star-spangled banner is once again stained with the blood of its children.
The United States of America, the self-proclaimed “land of the free and the home of the brave”.
But where the freedom being most furiously defended is the right to kill rather than the right to live, and where those brave enough to speak out are drowned out.
The United States of America where another atrocity has left a town in shock, and teenagers and teachers killed and maimed. And where the pro-gun lobby is spending millions of dollars defending the right to bear arms.
A country where 150,000 students attending 170 schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.
And where primary school children need to be taught what to do if a shooter enters the school because 91% of all the children in the world who have been killed by bullets, have lived and died in the USA.
The United States of America where, on average, 24 children are shot. Every single day.
A nation led by a president who tweets his sympathies and has his photo taken grinning and smiling with survivors and giving a thumbs-up for the camera.
But who rages against the FBI for not acting to stop the killer, yet refuses to disarm the population. Who blames the murderer’s mental health but has made it easier for such people to own semi-automatic killing machines.
A man who thinks the answer to more guns is, perversely, even more guns with armed teachers and janitors at every school.
Please, President Trump. Wake up and smell the cordite. Open your eyes and see the dead bodies. Open your heart and hear the plaintive cries of the grieving families. Look at your hands and see the blood on them.
And to the cowards of Congress who refuse to act: shame on you. There is blood on your hands too. In the Land of the Brave, you are the cowards who hide behind the second amendment.
But, in truth, you have been bought and owned by the National Rifle Association. You care more about your own coffers than you do about children’s coffins.
And yet, let’s demolish the fig leaf of the second amendment anyway.
It states: “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.”
This was written over 200 years ago when all males between the ages of 16 and 60 were required to be a part of the local militia.
These militias defended the communities against Native American raids and acted as a police force when it was needed.
In America, these rights are thought of by some as God-given rights. For them, the second amendment is just a reminder to the government that they should not try to stop people from having this right.
But to cling to this two centuries later is breathtakingly stupid. And breathtakingly dangerous.
The original intention of the law was to save lives and defend communities. It was written when guns were crude muskets. In a largely lawless land.
But this is now and the Constitution of the USA doesn’t save lives any more. It risks lives. It takes lives. It kills.
So to the people of the United States I ask this: surely the right to life is greater than the right to own the means of mass murder?
The United States of America. This is your chance to prove that the words to your anthem are more than just jingoistic bravado as you salute the Stars and Stripes.
If you truly are the land of the free and the home of the brave, then let that be the land of the freedom to live, and the home of those brave enough to make it so.
All across America, your children are dying because some of you keep defending an ancient right.
So if you want to send your sorrow and sympathies, then instead of having to send it
week after week after week to the victims of murder in your schools, how about this radical proposal:
Ban the guns. And send those who moan about losing the right to kill your sorrow and sympathy instead.
If such sentiment was good enough for the grieving friends and families of the massacred, then I’m damned sure it should be enough for them.