We know that the latest mass shooting in Parkland, Florida is not the last. It stands in an endless series of past and future massacres that will continue to plague this country as long as politicians are permitted to define “freedom” in the antiquated terms of the anachronistic Second Amendment. The so-called sacred “right to bear arms” is perverted to an infamous “imperative to get armed.”

A country like this, driven to its own downfall by the decadent impulses of capitalist impunities, is bound to distort freedom to unrestricted recklessness. The pathological urge for absolute self-protection is bred by the gluttonous promise that it be conducive to lucrative business.

Business let loose is lethal. It knows no ethics. Its love of money is brute immorality. Consequently, the “land of the free” swims in arms and drowns in the blood of its hapless victims. We have long reached the abysmal point where more arms can no longer satisfy the sick need for self-defense. The obsession with total security seeks “better” — deadlier — weapons. Semi-automatic assault weapons have replaced the handgun and hunting rifle.

The country lingers in a state of war.

Thus, the vicious circle of deadly violence keeps spinning out of control to the delight of the gun lobby and the politicians they pay to do their bidding. As the mass graves grow, so will the fear to fall into them. The fallout is an anxious desire for more madness. The addiction of America’s primal religion is displayed in the arms race on the business altars of the global and domestic economy.

Weapons are addictive and contagious. They trigger the need for more. We have reached the fateful juncture of anticipatory self-defense where the need for self-protection is tantamount to the readiness to imminent aggression. A country armed to its teeth is at war with itself. No one can be trusted, since everyone could be (h)armed. This dreadful suspicion is explosive. It eats up the nation’s soul.

If the only — wretched — response offered by politicians are hypocritical “thoughts and prayers” — a mindless mantra and devious rhetorical device for willful inaction — the latest mass shooting simply forebodes the next. Donald Trump and Congress are the accused, and in their irresponsible inaction rightfully so.

It takes the righteous anger of hapless students of a shattered high school to bring the truth of national guilt to the fore of a wounded nation. Donald Trump finds himself cornered against the wall of his irresponsible and reckless rhetorical actions. A 30-million-dollar puppet of the NRA, he has fought and eased gun restrictions for greater access to guns. He has openly contemplated killing journalists and hinted at the assassination of Hillary Clinton, should she, as president, restrict gun laws. His vainglorious words, where in his typical megalomania he boasted, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose voters,” are telling. Now that he is (still) “president” they are symptomatic of the decadent state of a desolate nation.

“Guns don’t kill people, people do,” shout the voices of depraved devils.

“Then don’t let them have guns. Abolish them. Guns don’t have human rights,” Reason responds.

But the question is not, “How can we prevent deranged people from getting their hands on guns?” The real question is, “Who in their right mind wants (anyone) to get their hands on weapons, such as an AR-15?”

The real madmen sit in Washington, their “leader” in the Oval Office.

As long as this enabler-in-chief, chief advocate and perpetrator of physical and sexual violence keeps occupying the White House, his Republican backers prove Trump right. He won’t lose the voters who to this bloody day still back him.

As for the rest, the vast majority, left out, left behind, victimized and traumatized by America’s gory politics, it means: this government is the enemy of the people.

Madmen do anything to stay in power. The blood of Las Vegas, Parkland, Orlando, San Bernardino, Newtown and countless other slaughterhouses is dripping from their hands.

“What shall we do?” the people asked John the Baptist.

The answer is as simple as it is urgent — then and now: “Political repentance.”

Vote and kick these madmen out before it’s too late lest one day worse happens — a mushroom cloud envelop planet Earth.

Madmen will do anything. They will wreck the planet just to save their bloodstained skin.

Joachim L. Oberst

UNM Faculty