The year 2020 saw a big surge in gun sales in America.
Black Lives Matter, coupled with the uncertainties that accompanied the arrival of coronavirus, coupled with the prospect of curbs imposed by a new president, persuaded lots of people to buy lots of weapons.
Now, state capitols in all 50 of these formerly United States are under threat this weekend.
It’s worth reflecting on the fact that angry Trump supporters the length and breadth of this nation may turn up armed to the teeth.
This is scary stuff and the potential for a bloodbath somewhere cannot be ignored.
We Britons don’t really understand the American obsession with the right to carry guns.
However, we do know that massacres have been commonplace.
In October 2006, I covered one of the least reported of these mass shootings.
It happened in the Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
A gunman took over a one-room schoolhouse in West Nickel Mines and told all the boys to leave.
He then lined up the 11 remaining girls facing the blackboard. They were aged between six and 13. He shot eight of them, five of whom died. The gunman then took his own life.
I covered this story with my friend and colleague Mark Davey, now rightly being lauded for his terrific camerawork as a member of the only TV news crew to enter Congress alongside the pro-Trump marauders on January 6.
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Back in 2006, Mark, myself and our producer, were the only foreign journalists to attend a news conference organized by the Sheriff after the Amish massacre.
“What did the shooter have Sheriff?” asked one local reporter. I won’t pretend the Sheriff’s answer as written here is verbatim, but Wikipedia and my memory convey the gist of it.
“Well, he had a 9 millimetre semi-automatic pistol; a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun; a Ruger M77 bolt action rifle; a Taser; 20 feet of det cord; two cans of gunpowder and six hundred rounds of ammunition,” replied the officer.
“Thanks Sheriff. Any of that illegal?”
“Yep. The Taser.”
My jaw dropped. Not only was the only non-lethal weapon the only illegal piece of the arsenal, I was the only reporter shocked by that. The local journalists were non-plussed.
I’m worried about the weekend ahead.