Thursday, December 3, 2015

Just Another Normal Massacre

So far, anyway (I'm writing this at 8:27 a.m.) the usual suspects of Xenophobistan are curiously mute about yesterday's mass shooting, allegedly committed by a husband (American) and wife (Pakistani) team who met in Saudi Arabia. Either it's to their credit that the warmongers of Congress and CNN are not screaming IsisIsisIsis! at the top of their lungs before seeing even a shred of evidence, or else they're afraid to offend their friends, the Saudis. Remember that the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 Commission Report allegedly show a Saudi royal connection to that terror attack. And Saudi Arabia, despite its sordid and brutal regime, is a close partner of the US as well as its largest arms customer. President Obama  brokered the latest multi-billion-dollar deal of high-tech weaponry just this past fall.

I think it's safe to assume that if the wife had hailed from Syria, the usual suspects would have been jockeying for anti-immigrant position before the crack of dawn.

So I'm not going to speculate on the motive* behind the latest shooting. But I think it's fair game to speculate on the motives of the speculators. I think it is fair, even desirable, to watch the Thoughts and Prayers hypocrite squad squirm in helpless silence. I think it's also fair to speculate on a correlation between the frequent mass shootings and the epidemic of human misery wrought by the financial crisis and all its unindicted economic terrorists.

It's true that mass murder by firearm is rapidly becoming the New Normal, with not even a week separating the California massacre and the atrocity at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado. These "incidents" are all melding into one sickening bloodbath. As the New York Times points out, there is, on average, one mass shooting in the United States every single day. Most of them are greeted by a giant group yawn. Most are simply not bloody enough or spectacular enough or politically co-optable enough to merit interruption by the mass media of its daily broadcasts of Donald Trump rallies.

From today's Times:
Including the worst mass shooting of the year, which unfolded horrifically on Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif., a total of 462 people have died and 1,314 have been wounded in such attacks this year, many of which occurred on streets or in public settings, the databases indicate.
It is impossible to know whether the number of such shootings has risen in recent years because the databases go back only a couple of years. More data is available for mass shootings calculated by a different standard, one used by congressional researchers and other experts who study mass killings: four or more dead. But experts fiercely debate whether mass shootings by that more deadly standard have remained level or ticked up slightly in recent years.
Still, say experts, there is no real way to measure whether mass shootings are truly on the upswing. The US has been a violent country ever since the Pilgrims landed and started exterminating the aboriginals. But what is truly on the upswing, says criminologist James Fox, is fear. “A lot of that has been because of the nature of media coverage," he told the Times. "In the ’70s and ’80s, we didn’t hear about it on the Internet — because there was no Internet — and we didn’t have cable news channels that would devote 24 hours of coverage.”

We didn't have 24/7 coverage of Donald Trump and his closest fascist rival, the truly awesomely scary Ted Cruz.

Meanwhile, the Scottsdale (AZ) Gun Club is going ahead with its annual Christmas family fun extravaganza. For only $15 ($10 for members) you get your choice of weapons to hold while posing for a picture with Santa himself. As a special added bonus, they'll take your kids' fingerprints, for free.... because, freedom. Because taking fingerprints is what passes for responsible gun safety in gun states. 

 And in case you were worried about President Obama's recent ban on the importation of Russian-made AK-47s (pictured above) in order to punish Vlad Putin over Crimea, don't be. Because now they're made in America. Whoever said offshoring is destroying good American jobs is nuts, especially since the slogan of the new company is "Russian heritage, American innovation."

Although the new American assault rifle company is headquartered in Pennsylvania, the CEO refuses, for some reason, to divulge the location of his physical factory. So, you might ask, how is he advertising for those great-paying new American manufacturing jobs? Well, I wouldn't be surprised if he is using robots instead of humans from the Rust Belt.

It's the American heritage and it's the American way: Ka-ching and Ka-boom.

* On second thought, I wouldn't be surprised if postpartum depressive psychosis turned out to be a contributing factor. Six months after the birth of her first child, the culture shock of moving from a repressive society, husband just returned to work after a pretty long parental leave by American standards... the timing is certainly right. The husband could have been the follower in this madness, which seems to be a hybrid of workplace violence and terror attack and suicide by cop. I'm sure we'll find out eventually. But at the end of the day, what difference does a motive make? People are dead because guns are rampant.


Will said...

Here's one man's response to the obligatory and utterly meaningless "thoughts and prayers" tweets from our representatives. Love it.

Karen Garcia said...

Will, thanks for sharing the tweets from the twerps. They don't even realize that they are parodies of themselves.

I often wonder what it would take for them to wean themselves from the NRA. Probably nothing, even the murder of a close family member. That is how depraved these people are. Their addiction to greed and violence is as deadly as heroin.

Meredith NYC said...

Karen.....The warped idea is that the more gun violence we have, the more we need guns. This works against any solution.

As you say--at the end of the day, what difference does a motive make? Rampant guns are the basis. The next shooter will have a different motive.

See front page of the NY Daily News, cited by the Washington Post, calling the NRA’s platform "Sick Jihad" and its leader "Jihadi Wayne"—(LaPierre)---pictured spectacularly. It has 2 front page stories calling out the NRA and its "gun-loving Gop cohorts" for opposing legislation that would block people on the terrorist watch-list from purchasing firearms."

Says "more than 2,000 terror suspects legally purchased guns in the US — and a bill to put an end to it has hit NRA resistance."

Our systems bring out some behaviors or tamp them down. A line of causation involves big money financing elections and with gun lobbies tethering our lawmakers.

As James Fox said, the 24/7 cable news and internet amplifies everything. Unstable, hostile people see constant news on our repeated gun massacres. Their demented minds, knowing they can get guns easily, or already stockpiling them, use prior massacres as a role model.

Cable TV and the web may end up being a negative influence on society. It’s a conduit of ever more commercial and political manipulation 24/7 and now with smart phones, influence people everywhere they go. This is not good.

Can you imagine if we still had only ½ hour of nightly news from Walter Cronkrite, reporting on our politics, Trump, Carson, guns etc, what would our news be like?

All the countries with strict gun laws, even accepted by their rw parties, also happen to have mostly public financing of elections.
Our gun lobbyists use our own Constitution and hyped ideas of big govt tyranny to spread poison and death through America. The NRA is like an enemy from within, operating behind smokescreens, misrepresenting itself like any dictatorship. Their sickness is infecting our society.

We need some ‘countervailing power’ to fight this epidemic. Start with overturning Citizens United as a basis of the fight.

Then use the media better. Get interviews with more than the usual gun control people by prominently featuring:
1. Gun owners who favor strict gun laws for all states.
2. Citizens who live or have lived in civilized countries with gun safety laws, accepted by rw parties. And also where they don’t try to destroy abortion rights. Explain their societies’ attitudes.

Other democracies know their freedom comes from their govt, they elect, not from hostility and distrust of it.

Jay–Ottawa said...

I've just read that gun sales go "vertical" after each massacre.

Which reminds me––people of goodwill are useless. Well, they do wring their hands more expertly than most people, but beyond that, they're useless in causes like gun control. Without a tough plan, people of goodwill are as effective as a Hallmark greeting card and about as hypocritical as "thoughts and prayers" politicians.

If you want to stop a wretched business like out-of-control gun sales, just take the money out of it. As in BDS––boycott, divestment, sanctions.

It's not rocket science. For example, if you aren't boycotting Walmart already (for other reasons), take a good look around next time you go discount shopping. In a far corner you'll find lots and lots of guns and ammo for sale. Real cheap. If only 10% of Walmart's regular shoppers observed a well-organized, well-advertised boycott, Walmart would cave and clear out its gun sales division in record time. Next target: Dick's Sporting Goods. Then maybe a local discount store that specializes in TVs, refrigerators, luggage and––huh?––yup, guns.

The reason this won't happen isn't because of the poor and near poor who must shop Walmart do so because they can't afford essentials at the classier, more expensive supermarket up the street. That I can understand. But what I don't understand, is the 10% who can well afford to boycott Walmart but won't. The difference in family grocery bills for them might be $10/week. But they won't give that up, which is for them only a fraction of their buying power. No matter how many massacres might unfold from now to doomsday.

I'm addressing this to the 10% who are presumably educated and not down to counting pennies to get by every month. Yuppies of the world, peace council members, labor organizers, letters-to-the-editor/congressperson crowd: Do not depend on legislators to pass laws signed by executives and enforced by nobody. Do not wait for God to reach down and stop bullets. Enough with the invocations for decency. Get real. Organize a boycott. Let it be known to sellers and consumers alike what you're up to. Then do it. Boycott gun sales at only one big chain, for starters, and you'll see the longed for turnaround in gun sales from that point.

The boycott worked for Chavez of the vineyards; but we had to walk past those mounds of big, beautiful seedless grapes at the market around Thanksgiving or in the middle of summer. Maybe simply not buying was doing something more purposeful than saying 'oh dear,' lighting candles and depositing bouquets upon the blood stains once again.

Meredith NYC said...

Did anyone watch on CSPAN the British debate on Syria air strikes in the House of Commons? See video. The longest debate I’ve ever seen, and most impressive, with both sides fully and intelligently explaining their views with nuance. What a role model for how debate should be conducted in a democracy. Our legislatures just give speeches and don’t engage each other.

With the Brits, and I guess other parliamentary systems, each side faces the other, with plenty of questions, give and take, and very noisy. The speaker has to quiet them down at times. To me, both Cameron and Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn were impressive, trying to explain their views in this very complicated situation. The Labour party is split on this.

The prime minister is really challenged by questions and must be ready. I wonder if these questions from the MPs are submitted to him in advance? Some of the MP’s speeches were very impressive, and showed that intelligent people can disagree where there are no easy answers. Wish I had a transcript.

I suppose the Canadian parliament is similar?

Pearl said...

Meredith: I think Jay could respond to your question about the Canadian Parliament as I follow U.S. news more closely. However, things could go either way here since the New Prime Minister has not been tested yet as to how to deal with issues when there are roadblocks ahead. And here is where the NDP will have some pressure put on them if things do not go well but unfortunately, not with too much strength after their loss.

One can only hope that the voters who put Justin Trudeau in power will be watching him closely and not hesitate to clearly object to any promises set aside ala Obama.

And Jay's column about boycotting products or stores is interesting. The divestment program in place against buying Israeli goods seems to be working but not without a lot of condemnation heaped on the heads of the Jewish voice for Peace group and others who have introduced this way of weakening an enemy's policies.

Meredith NYC said...

Pearl...thanks....I was wondering not so much about policies now, as about Canadian parliaments generally having weekly Prime Ministers Question time like the Brits, where he or she has to respond to members questions. They interact and each side tries to defend their views.
In our system, the president doesn't have to debate and answer questions from the Senate or House---on weekly TV. The Brit questions time is on cspan every sunday. Plus the special debate on Syria besides. The prime minister is really challenged--all televised for the public.

Pearl said...

Karen: terrific comment to Blow's pointed article about Rahm Emanuel. I was glad to see that the one person (Wallace) who was able to beat you to first place in the comment section, made a good case for reminding the public of Obama's close friendship with the likes of Rahm and his Chicago connection with him in the past.
I hope the anger of many commenters will force Rahm out of office and add to Obama's failing reputation.

The kettle seems to be coming to a boil more and more about this and many other issues in the news. Stay tuned.

Karen Garcia said...

Thanks,Pearl. I imagine Barack and Rahm are feeling mighty relieved that Terror is helping to sweep the Chicago scandal under the rug in the news, hopefully only temporarily. Was pleasantly surprised that Blow addressed this. At least one liberal Times pundit is allowing his conscience to overcome his partisan loyalty.

This does put quite a damper on the celebrations at Obama's Shrine, built on land that Rahm "appropriated" from the public sphere.

I'll be writing more about this terror once Terror dies down.

PEARL said...

Subject: Clinton says U.S. is 'not winning' the war against the Islamic State from The Washington Post