“His best friend was the robber, And his wife was a thief, All the children were killers, They couldn’t get no relief” Neil Young
Violence has always been engrained in the fundamental fabric of the United States. But things are different now and unless we make significant changes America will implode.
I woke up today and the first thing I saw on Facebook is that eight people were killed in a synagogue in Pittsburgh. This tragedy follows the announcement of the capture of a man who allegedly sent ‘pipe bombs’ to prominent Democratic or ‘liberal’ political figures. From the best estimate, I can gather is that there have been 154 mass shootings in America this year so far. That’s about one every two days. To put that in perspective there were a total of eight people killed from mass shootings in 1982.
The United States was founded on violence. The theft of the land from the indigenous peoples was a very violent ordeal. Furthermore, both slavery and oppressive work conditions operated under the threat of violence. That is if the slave or the worker refused to work under the conditions dictated they would be met with violence. Slaves could be killed or badly beaten. Workers forming unions and going on strike were met with goons and troops.
As far as externally the United States has been at war 222 of its 239 years of existence. America has an infatuation with war. You can see it in the movies and television shows. There is an endless stream of movies that borderline on propaganda that promotes war. In history class, I was taught that the United States had never lost a war and it was implied that was something I should have been proud of. Nevermind that Vietnam was clearly a loss and Korea a draw. Presently the United States is bombing seven Muslim nations. We have troops stationed all over the world. This is in addition to covert agents conjuring up their clandestine evil.
The adverse effects of this violence are readily seen in the fact that over twenty veterans commit suicide every day. War is something contradictory to human nature. We aren’t born with a desire to slaughter our fellow human beings with the brutality of scientific precision. The warping of the mind that makes a person zealous to kill severely damages their humanity. Add to the equation the number of weapons available in the United States. Anybody with some cash to spare can readily gain access to a lethal weapon.
The government has long been practicing violence against segments of the population. Young black men are being gunned down on a regular basis. The massive incarceration rates are another indication of the prevalent violence. Jail is a violent institution as it is enforced by the threat of force and force. The atmosphere in jail is a constant state of agitation. These present-day realities are a continuation of lynchings and the plantation life.
The violent rhetoric of President Trump has to be factored in as well. His speeches incite violence. In fairness people on the left also advocate violence as well. The reason that Trump’s actions are more significant is that everything he says is broadcast on the news. While some fuming member of Antifa might want to act violently and advocate so his message, for the most part, is lost in obscurity. But when Trump incites violent actions he is heard by millions.
In the United States there existed a relative civility between the Democrats and Republicans. I recall after the presidential elections how the losing side will always concede to the winner. Trump advocated the imprisonment of his political opponents. ‘Crooked Hillary’ was going to be locked. Trump’s followers were so excited about this that they would gleefully chant “Lock her up” repeatedly. The polarization of our two parties is creating an ‘us and them’ mentality. We become Democrats or Republicans before we are Americans.
Social media has brought us closer together. Daily we are exposed to hostile rhetoric from all extremes. People are emboldened by the anonymity of Facebook. I can say whatever I want and the worst repression I will suffer is an antagonistic post in return. So things that normally wouldn’t be said are flaunted inflaming others.
To resort to an act of violence takes a disconnect on the perpetrator. First of all, some sense of desperation must motivate the killer to be to act. If an individual could achieve their goals by some other method then violence it seems to me that route would be taken. This tenet is definitely not true in the United State’s foreign policy as to where war is often our first choice. But domestically, as far as citizens go, I believe violence is prompted by desperation. Many of the killers commit suicide where taking their own lives is an integral part of the plan. We have created a long list of self-made martyrs of murder.
The emphasis must be put on that ‘we’ as that we are all collectively responsible for what ‘our’ country does. Recognizing that individuals need to do something is the first step to recovery. But I would be amiss if I did not point out that there are segments of our society that are creating this violent atmosphere. What is going on is being done by design. There are those who will profit greatly by the unraveling of the United States.
If you want to read something to brighten up your day I suggest my poetry book “A Day’s Weather”. It is a very pleasant exploration of life at a very low price. https://amzn.to/2JjQJiG
Photos by Defence Images,