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The Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords & The Industry Of Violence: What Democrats, Republicans & The American Media Are Not Saying

The mass shooting in Tuscon, Arizona on January 8, 2011 where Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and 14 others were wounded with another six dead, reminds us that America is possessed and haunted by the demons of violence.  

We should not be surprised by this unfortunate incident for it is a reflection of America’s failure to deal with its diseased inner soul.

While Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fights for her life, the response to this horrific incident amounts to nothing more but a series of  sincere but aimless emotional and calculated political partisan reactions which will do little to prevent another mass shooting from happening.

The presence of violence in American society is due to both major political parties as well as the general population’s obeisance to the paradigm of violence. Jared Lee Loughner is the latest high-profile disciple of America’s violent evangelicalism.

Violence declared H.Rap Brown is “American as cherry pie.” Any serious analysis of history proves H.Rap Brown who is now known as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin  is correct.  Violence is part and parcel of America’s and the so-called Western societies existence.

Without violence there would be no America or so-called Western industrial societies.

The ascendancy of European nationalism in 1492, simultaneously introduced mass scale violence as an organizing tool for acquiring power and maintaining the social order.

Violence was what started and maintained the chattel enslavement of African people as well as its evil twin colonialism, as America and Europe enriched itself from exploiting the labor and resources of the land they controlled in the Americas, Asia, the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa.

Violence on the part of the white ruling elite permeated every fabric of society including government, economics, education, media and religion. This addiction to violence was and is part of the economic engine of America and Western industrialized societies. The profit motive is inextricably intertwined with the violence paradigm, for in a capitalist society instruments of violence are big business, providing wealth for the few at the expense of the many.

While people now grieve for those adversely affected by the act of gunman Jared Lee Loughner the industry of violence continues to function without pause or any serious consideration to the injured and the deceased.

America’s failure to seriously address its violent nature against people of African ancestry and others nationalities has removed any illusionary protective walls against the force of  the violence the white ruling elite and their white middle class supporters falsely imagined existed.  

With four of its presidents assassinated while in office,  America finds herself as the leader in violent crimes of any of the so-called  industrial societies.  According to the website

“Homicide – US had been consistently high in homicide rates than most of the Western countries from 1980 – 2000. Though the rate was cut almost in half in the 90s, it is still higher than all nations without political and social turmoil with the 2000 rate of 5.5 homicides per 100,000 people. Countries entrenched in turmoil like Colombia and South Africa, had 63 homicides per 100,000 and 51, respectively.”
When we consider the impact of firearms ownership in American society, the Center of Disease Control & Prevention’s February 7, 1997 study revealed the following:

  1. The homicide rate for children in the United States was five times higher than that for children in the other 25 countries combined (2.57 per 100,000 compared with 0.51)
  2. The overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children aged less than 15 years was nearly 12 times higher than among children in the other 25 countries combined (1.66 compared with 0.14)
  3. The firearm-related homicide rate in the United States was nearly 16 times higher than that in all of the other countries combined (0.94 compared with 0.06); the firearm-related suicide rate was nearly 11 times higher (0.32 compared with 0.03); and the unintentional firearm-related death rate was nine times higher (0.36 compared with 0.04).
  4. For all countries, males accounted for most of the firearm-related homicides (67%), firearm-related suicides (77%), and unintentional firearm-related deaths (89%). The nonfirearm-related homicide rate in the United States was nearly four times the rate in all of the other countries (1.63 compared with 0.45), and nonfirearm-related suicide rates were similar in the United States and in all of the other countries combined (0.23 compared with 0.24).
  5. The rate for firearm-related deaths among children in the United States (1.66) was 2.7-fold greater than that in the country with the next highest rate (Finland, 0.62). Except for rates for firearm-related suicide in Northern Ireland and firearm-related fatalities of unknown intent in Austria, Belgium, and Israel, rates for all types of firearm-related deaths were higher in the United States than in the other countries. However, among all other countries, the impact of firearm-related deaths varied substantially.
  6. For example, five countries, including three of the four countries in Asia, reported no firearm-related deaths among children. In comparison, firearms were the primary cause of homicide in Finland, Israel, Australia, Italy, Germany, and England and Wales. Five countries (Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, and Taiwan) reported only unintentional firearm-related deaths.

The relationship  between gun violence and its impact on American society can be seen with the mass shooting incident that took place at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest weapons manufacturer, is located in Littleton, Colorado near where the Columbine mass shooting took place on April 20, 1999.

Focus has been on the vitriol spewed by the conservative right such as the Tea Party and the rhetoric of the Republicans. Former Alaskan Republican governor Sarah Palin’s website had targeted Democratic Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords for defeat by putting the Congresswoman in a rifle crosshairs graphic on her SarahPAC website.

Palin since the Tuscon, Arizona shooting has removed the graphic from her website but still encountered controversy for her failed public relations attempt with her “blood libel” comments. 

On June 2010, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ) Republican opponent Jesse Kelly had an event at which voters could shoot an assault rifle with the candidate:

“Get on Target for Victory in November Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M-16 with Jesse Kelly.”

While the conservative right, Sarah Palin and Republicans in particular may seem to be the obvious as well as the most visible group to blame, both political parties share in the responsibility of this recent events as well as similar ones in the past and regrettably those which will take place in the future.

In psychology, psycho-therapy and in the sacred art of exorcism there must be an admission of the problem by both the agent of destruction and/or the part of the person(s) carrying out the therapeutic healing.

When it comes to violence there has been no true admission on part of the agents of violence or on the part of those offering  so-called solutions who represent the interests of the ruling establishment.

Consider the violence executed in order to claim the Americas and maintain Western hegemony. This was done prior to and after the so-called Communist Revolution and its subsequent ideological struggle with the West known as the Cold War.

America before the Communist Revolution intervened in the affairs of other nations over 100 times.

Major General Smedley Butler stated  that he was as a gangster of America capital interests on three continents. 

President Dwight Eisenhower warned against over reliance on the Military Industrial Complex in 1961, where he expressed his concern with the following words:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.

Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.

The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.

We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.

Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” (Public Papers of the Presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960 p. 1035-1040, Emphasis Mine)

The Military Industrial Complex has grown immensely since Eisenhower spoke those telling words.

Many would consider it impossible for a nation to reduce or eliminate the proliferation of  arms but there is a historical precedent for such a change in a country’s behavior.  Japan during the 1800s after guns were introduced to their society implemented a ban against them.

Furthermore though not by choice, Japan’s lack of a significant military budget after their defeat in WWII has resulted in an overall better quality of life especially in the area of education compared to the United States. 

The recent speech by President Obama did not go enough to push the institutions of power and people in America to forego the paradigm of violence.

The best President Obama could do is to appeal to ideological sentimentalism capsulated in the part of his speech where he evoked the name of  Christina Taylor Green one of the six slain by Jared Lee Loughner.

President Obama in his “Arizona Memorial” speech at  at the McKale Memorial Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson on January 12, 2011 made a moving appeal for America to be a better nation:

“They believed — they believed, and I believe that we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved life here — they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another, that’s entirely up to us. (Applause.)Despite these powerful words, President Obama as an establishment politician can not be relied upon to shoulder the responsibility for true change.

And I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us. (Applause.)

That’s what I believe, in part because that’s what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. (Applause.)

Imagine — imagine for a moment, here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that some day she, too, might play a part in shaping her nation’s future. She had been elected to her student council. She saw public service as something exciting and hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.

I want to live up to her expectations. (Applause.) I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it. I want America to be as good as she imagined it. (Applause.) All of us — we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children’s expectations. (Applause.)

As has already been mentioned, Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a child’s life. “I hope you help those in need,” read one. “I hope you know all the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart.” (Applause.) “I hope you jump in rain puddles.”

If there are rain puddles in Heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. (Applause.) And here on this Earth — here on this Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and we commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.

May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in restful and eternal peace. May He love and watch over the survivors. And may He bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

If  he were to do so he would only become a martyr without a movement. America won’t change until the population at large becomes tired of war and its effects. With all due respect to those affected by this tradegy, at this time the violence paradigm reigns.

America is often referred to by many as a “Christian nation”.  In actuality America is more like the Roman government that administered the death of the Biblical Jesus.

For America to truly cease being a violent nation it has to confront its past as well as its current spiral on the path of death.

The following are some of the areas the people of America have to seriously address without reliance on President Obama or any other politician to lead the effort:

  1. The genocide against the Native American population.
  2. The chattel enslavement of people of African ancestry.
  3. The Lynching of people of African ancestry and the failure of the federal government to pass an anti-lynching law.
  4. Significant reduction of the Pentagon and other military related budgets. This will include a suspension of  funding for a period of time.
  5. Reparations for people of African ancestry who are direct descendants of those enslaved in America.
  6. The high rates of  domestic violence.
  7. The Criminal Justice System and the unjust high incarceration levels of people of African ancestry.
  8. Police Brutality and misconduct.
  9. Identify and make illegal all psycho-tropic drugs which makes individuals violent or susceptible to carry out violence.
  10. Identify and out law all “Manchurian Candidates” covert operations.
  11. A moratorium on television shows, movies, video games, which promote or reinforce violence behavior.
  12. Organized Crime and its impact on American society.
  13. Firearms manufacturers and how to phase them out of operation.

All of the above listed issues which must addressed in order to mount a serious initiative to eliminate the epidemic of violence are tied to the wealth of the white ruling elite. To deal with one of the items mentioned would invite vigorous resistance on the part of the wealth holders of this country.

The wise and wicked rulers of this country understand this and will not do anything to instigate critical thinking. Through their puppets such as the politicians in both the Democratic as well as the Republican parties and the media, the elite  misdirects America’s attention towards outlets of sentimental expression rather than concrete solutions, requiring SUSTAINED ACTION.

The entrenchment of the paridigm of violence in the psyche of the white elite is best expressed by military historian Victor Davis Hanson. Hanson on page 9 of his work “Caranage and Culture: Landmark Battles In The Rise Of Western Power” stated:

“There is also a cultural crystalization in battle, in which insidious and more subtle institutions that heretofore or were murky and undefined became stark and unforgiving in the finality of organized killing.

No other culture than the West could have brought such morale and sheer technological expertise to the art of killing than did the Europeans at the insanity of Verdun- a sustained industrial approach unlike the most horrific tribal slaughter.”

Hanson maintains:

 “Western values such as political freedom, capitalism, individualism, democracy, scientific inquiry, rationalism, and open debate form an especially lethal combination when applied to warfare. Non-Western societies can win the occasional victory when warring against a society with these Western values, writes Hanson, but the “Western way of war” will prevail in the long run. Hanson emphasizes that Western warfare is not necessarily more (or less) moral than war as practiced by other cultures; his argument is simply that the “Western way of war” is unequalled in its devastation and decisiveness.”

Suggested Reading

President Barack Obama: Arizona Memorial” speech at  at the McKale Memorial Center at the University of Arizona (January 12, 2011) *Available Free Online.

Victor David Hanson:  Caranage and Culture: Landmark Battles In The Rise Of Western Power (DoubleDay, 2001)

VisionThought Blog:

Maat, Imhotep & Rituals Of Peace: Authentic Models Of Conflict Resolution In African Society (September 20, 2010)

Christopher Columbus & The Genesis Of  The Maafa: The Arrival Of Isfet (October 11, 2010).

©VisionThought 2011. All Rights Reserved


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