The Violent States of America

2014 has barely begun and it’s already become a milestone – in America, you risk being shot in pretty much any public venue.

Schools, malls, churches, workplaces, theaters, festivals, roads, sporting events, and now grocery stores – virtually anywhere there are people is a potential kill zone.

Last year, 11,419 people in America died in gun deaths.  Young and old, male and female, all colors.  According to the Washington Post, “whites are far more likely to shoot themselves, and African Americans are far more likely to be shot by someone else.”  They go on to quote one Daniel Webster, director of Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore, expressing alarm that suicide is largely absent from the discussion about guns.  Since suicide by gun is a male oriented method, I think the suicide angle is a straw man. (And don’tcha wonder at the idea of such a center at all and whom might fund it?)

Here in our little town, a gentleman who was exercising his right to open carry (laws passed courtesy of ALEC) was put on the ground by a police officer, who had his gun out and trained on the citizen.  The citizen was calmly talking to the officer, complying with every request, and quoting Michigan law to the cop.

The cop was politely explaining to the citizen that they were responding to concerned citizen calls that an armed man was walking around the vicinity of an elementary school.  The citizen acknowledged that he knew where he was.   The whole encounter is on video, and at some point, the cop asks the citizen what he’s so afraid of, to be carrying a gun around.  The citizen pointed out that crazy shit is happening every day and he wanted to be prepared.

Mr. Nobody and I are both gun owners.  We took a gun safety class (courtesy of the NRA), applied for and received permits at our local sheriffs office and purchased semi-automatic handguns.

I had, and still have, mixed feelings about my little weapon.  As we hope to move to a more rural area, I wanted something to scare off the varmints.  As I am female and aware that, in the US, a woman has a 1 in 5 chance of being assaulted/raped, the idea of personal protection for inside the house had some appeal.  My gun is locked up, but it is loaded, safety on, chamber empty.  If someone came into my house without my permission, I would not hesitate to use it.  But neither do I believe I have the right to take my gun with me everywhere I go.  I can’t even do that with my dog.

We are not members of the NRA.  A very small percentage of gun owners are – it’s around 4%.  Still, the NRA is a big organization, well-funded, and batshit crazy.  These people seriously believe that Stinger missiles and nuclear devices would be covered under the Second Amendment.

You’d think, in a sane world, that the National Rifle Association would be considered a terrorist organization.  You’d think, after Sandy Hook, that these batshit crazy bastards would be repudiated by anyone of sound mind.

You’d think, but you’d be wrong.

I have long since concluded that the powers that be don’t much care if we shoot each other.  Despite the pro-life bullshit, despite the pious Christian moaning of god moving in mysterious ways, these assholes don’t give a shit about gun violence. In fact, it benefits them.  Horizontal hostility always benefits the power elite.

In fact, I’ll go another step and say that the fact that absolutely nothing has changed since Sandy Hook is proof positive that the official rules of the game have changed.  Now, upper middle class children are on the approved menu for violence tolerated.  Naturally, this should concern upper middle class people with children, but trust me, it’s nothing new to anyone else living in America.

There is and always has been something seriously wrong with this country.   From “discovery” to today, it’s been about extraction.  From the moment white men set foot on this continent, they have been busy killing everything in their path.  They removed Native peoples from their land, by every means they could enact, then they removed trees, moved rivers, did any damn thing they wanted.  And pretty much haven’t stopped to draw a breath.

Any country where George Washington is known both as the Father of our Country and Town Destroyer is bound to be seriously fucked up.

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4 Responses to The Violent States of America

  1. This rant is not directed at you, but US culture generally. Americans really have GOT to get their heads out of their asses and start looking at other societies that DO NOT have this kind of violence. And I don’t mean far away, strange societies – I mean advanced, wealthy democracies like any number of European countries or even, ffs, the country RIGHT NEXT DOOR: Canada.
    The fact that Americans keep hand-wringing about gun violence like it’s all a goddamn mystery while not even noticing that OTHER COUNTRIES DON’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM makes them look like a bunch of morons. I know – “butbutbut American exceptionalism!” GET OVER IT.

    OK. Rant over. Thanks.

    • igotsomethin says:

      You calling me a moron? I’ve got a gun!

      Kidding. Of course we know that other countries don’t have our problem. That is precisely my point. America was built on genocide and slavery. We’re seriously fucked up and this benefits the elite, who control the laws and the politicians, so our laws reflect our insanity. And as the rage spreads, so will the death. It’s all inevitable. Just like CO2 emissions…..we know but don’t act, thus making us crazier and crazier so that we’ll watch the extinction of the world with no resistance at all.

      • Actually I don’t think most Americans *do* know how the USA compares to other countries. *You* do, but you are clued in to many issues. You are an exception.
        I’m going by the comments and debate on US gun violence that I see elsewhere in US media. The issue is very narrowly defined to begin with.

        The history of genocide and slavery isn’t the whole story. E.g. Australia has a very violent history with lots of racism – and brutal convict labour – and yet very little gun violence. Its gun laws are very strict and pretty much everyone agrees they should be.

        I think the reluctance to compare the USA to other countries has to do with not liking the solution that is bound to become apparent: less income inequality, a better social safety net, good schools, accessible health care, etc – all things that create citizens who are less likely to pick up a gun in the first place. That sort of thing is SO demonized in the USA that many people have simply closed their minds to it.

        Just my two cents.

  2. First Recruit says:

    “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning…”. But if I have a gun, well, you know, I’m gonna use it someday. God bless America. No wonder we have so many wars, police actions, and “peace-keeping” missions. We have guns and we need to use them.

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