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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Boardwalk to Umpqua


     Here is a short excerpt from a reprint of an article written by Jim Sleeper for the Huffington Post.  I found it on Alternet.org.

     "Once again, we've heard that the gunman was deranged.  Once again, we've heard that gun control is imperative.  What we aren't hearing is that Americans, for many more years and with greater intensity than inhabitants of other countries, have been groped and goosed and pummeled by a sophisticated, multi-trillion dollar drive to short-circuit deliberation and dialogue in order spur the self-centered impulse buying that is ruining our civil society.  This campaign isn't partisan or avowedly ideological.  It isn't malevolent as often as it's mindless in civic-republican, non-market terms...it's driven by fiduciaries and managers of anonymous, ever-shifting whorls of sharehoolders pursuing maximum profit and market share.  They're trading on fear and rage by pushing violent video games, guns, and devices to forestall armed home invasion, all in their increasingly financialized rush to bypass our brains and hearts on the way to our lower viscera and wallets.

     "What we also aren't hearing from political leaders or business leaders, let alone from our Supreme Court, especially since the disastrous Citizens United ruling, is that these anonymous whorls are overwhelming our already weakened capacity as citizens to deliberate about how best to regulate them.  Freedom of speech means little if the invaders have megaphones while most citizens have laryngitis from straining to be heard.  (Recall that Occupy protestors were denied megaphones and, soon enough, disbanded by militarized police).

     Growing numbers of Americans are responding to the unending tsunami of titillation, unsubtle intimidation, and destruction of their political and economic options with heartbreakingly impulsive, socially corrosive and self-destructive behavior that includes not only the shootings but road rage, sale-day rampages, gladatorialization in sports, degrading and sadistic entertainment, sexual assault, bullying, and, in futile response, the militarization of police, mass incarceration, intrusive surveillance, and new toleration of torture."

     For the rest..... http://www.alternet.org/culture/columbine-umpqua-its-not-just-bullets-were-dodging?akid=13545.76631.sFgUrJ&rd=1&src=newsletter1043461&t=14

      Recently my partner, on someone's recommendation, brought home the first four episodes of a made-for-tv series called Boardwalk Empire.   It was essentially a four scene movie, repeated endlessly in sequence.  In the first scene a bad guy is illegally and, usually forcibly, stealing large amounts of money.  In the second scene a different and competing gang of thugs are threatening, in the most explicity lurid and frightening language available to television how they will do in the first gang.  The third scene is filled with a varied number of characters inflicting upon each other the most violent harm the writers can invent.  In the fourth and final scene the bad guy still standing in bed degrading his beautiful and bare-breasted mistress who unfailingly seems conflicted about whether she loves it or hates it.  The filmakers are always careful to insert at least one small touch of humanity, such as tossing a pile of hundred dollar bills to a sweet and suffering unwed mother, so the viewer can justify that the violence and abuse is probably all good.  Each scene was about three or four minutes long and repeated itself for twelve solid hours. (I gave up after the first two).    Televisionland awarded the production 20 Emmys.

     Once we get to that point it really isn't as much of a leap as we think to satisfying our own anger with a gun.  All it takes is a cool, cold hard character.  A real man.  Just like in the movies.

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 #

The founder of civilization - It is what we are

Sigmund Freud is quoted as saying, "The first human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization."

It only got worse.
Violence in name or actions: It is what we are. And it cannot be stopped.

 
 #

Imagine

Yesterday I saw one of those "Imagine Peace" bumper stickers. Rather than just dismiss it as a saying, I tried to do what it suggested.

The first thing that happened was that budgets got rearranged. All the money that finances violence gets spent in new ways. Immediately after saying no to unnecessary military, money becomes available to help people live better lives. More money for education, health, jobs, and no more damaged vets returning after wars. Happier people all around, with even less need to be violent. The pendulum swings.

Media got rearranged, too. Violent movies and war films dropped away as being kinda gross and no longer of interest.

News, lacking violence and wars, had to restructure to report on what other things are going on.

And, about then, I couldn't really fool myself anymore.

One of the more interesting moments regarding this shooting for me was watching Obama react to it. He spoke about how someone was sick in the head for killing innocent people, and couldn't see how someone could do such a thing. He seemed oblivious to his role in all of this - using violence and killing innocent people on an almost regular basis throughout his presidency via drones - of solving problems with force rather than other means.

The disconnect was almost painful. He seemed genuinely bothered by the deaths of innocent people. He also saw nothing he could possibly do.

 
 #

Bravo Mr. G.

I can't imagine John Lennon imagining it any different than you have just done.

 
 #

and again

And, just days later, we see it again, in Arizona.

College seems to be becoming a place to go get killed.

More seriously, though, what's up with young white men?

 
 #

Over 10k This Year, So Far

Today the Guardian reports:

"The nonprofit Gun Violence Archive project put the total US gun deaths in 2015 at 10,249 as of Saturday night."

 

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