On Wednesday Feb. 14, Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. He somehow had legally obtained an AR-15, despite making a threat about becoming a school shooter in September and having a history of mental illness, according to Digg.
Government officials were quick to send their condolences and prayers to the victims and their families through social media, yet they still refuse to pass a bill that would limit gun ownership or require an extensive background check for gun owners.
The cycle of dramatic shootings being followed by kind words is nothing new to Americans, but now, more than ever, government officials need to take steps to follow through on their promises to protect Americans and not fall to exploitation.
It is unacceptable that government officials place their own agendas and profits over the safety of citizens. This behavior is not only limited to gun violence, but also impacts other important political decisions.
Politicians will show their support for victims of these tragedies, as Florida Senator Marco Rubio did when tweeting after the Las Vegas shooting, “I’m praying for all the victims, their families, and our first responders in the #LasVegas #MandalayBay shooting.” Yet, Rubio failed to mention that his campaign received over $3.3 million dollars from the National Rifle Association, as reported by the Atlantic Journal-Constitution.
He and many other senators, like Richard Burr and Joni Ernst, oppose gun control while consistently taking money from the NRA. Burr received nearly $7 million while Ernst received $3.1 million from the NRA, according to The New York Times. Unfortunately, they are not the only government officials to act with such hypocrisy.
The government-run FDA has become a complete circus show thanks to Big Pharma’s control and government greed. The FDA is quick to approve unnecessary drugs that cause serious side effects, which are brushed off as normal. Still, around 128,000 hospitalized patients die annually from adverse drug reactions, as reported by FDA News.
This number has only been increasing since 2003. Pharmaceutical companies campaigned for the passing of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act in 1997, which only requires one clinical trial before a drug can be approved, according to The People’s Chemist. This is extremely dangerous as it allows for fast approval of drugs without the knowledge of the full side-effects. This explains the uptake in adverse drug reactions and unjustly puts individuals taking these medications in harms way.
In addition, over half of FDA employees hired to approve drugs have a direct financial relationship with the pharmaceutical companies. The U.S. treasury funded the FDA before 1992, but in 1992 and again in 1997, the Prescription Drug User Fee Act allowed the FDA to collect money from pharmaceutical companies to fund the approval process, as reported by The People’s Chemist.
This decision was detrimental, because it opened the doors for corruption on both ends. FDA employees could collect money to approve drugs, which would in turn make money for the pharmaceutical companies, allowing Big Pharma to puppeteer the FDA.
Oil and gas companies also pay off government officials to do their bidding. The House and Senate received over $30.6 million in 2016 from oil and gas companies with Republican candidates receiving over $26.6 million, according to Open Secrets.
In return, the candidates refuse to pass bills that would harm the companies’ profit, like an increase in environment regulations. When President Donald Trump was on the fence about pulling out of the Paris climate accord, Republican senators wrote him letters urging him to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement. What they failed to mention, however, was their steady income from oil, gas and coal companies.
The selfishness of both government officials and private companies has cost the American public honest laws and regulations. This corruption has led to thousands of deaths, caused by poor gun control and drug legislation.
The public needs to keep these politicians and employees honest about where their money comes from, because their paychecks have consequences. Stopping government corruption and prioritizing private privelage is essential to a better U.S.