So here we go again. As of this writing, at least 26 people have been murdered at a school in Newtown, Conn. One shooter, a 20 year old is dead while another suspect who was found hiding in nearby woods is in custody. According to reports, the second man was wearing camouflage pants and claims he "didn't do it".
The White House has announced that "Now is not the day to discuss gun control". Today's massacre is the third deadliest school shooting in US history and no doubt all the familiar platitudes will be thrown out in response to yet another tragedy. The perpetrators were loners, dark, listened to this or that type of music. They are usually white males and from what we call here in the US "middle class" families.
There will be calls for more gun control as if there is not some deeper problem in US society than a person's access to firearms. The US has the highest gun ownership in the world, 88 for every hundred people yet the US is number 28, with a murder rate of 2.97 per 100,000 people.
All these issues will be discussed in the media, the perpetrators mental state, his (most likely a male) family life, his parents. Why did such a seemingly normal person go nuts? Or if he was already exhibiting failed mental capacity and a penchant for violence, why was nothing done about it?
This reminds me of the soldier that came back from Iraq and shot his pregnant wife, his three year old daughter, their dog and himself. When I first read about it I recall one of the first statements showed surprise as there seemed to be no issues of financial hardship or infidelity. There was no (at least initially) mention of Iraq and what he did to others or what others did to him in that madness. This should have been the first and most important issue.
A detailed and serious probe in to the sickness of US society will not take place because in a society of "free individuals" we all make choices we have to live with. We are all responsible human beings in control of our own destiny. There is no "society" no "system" that molds, creates or encourages a certain type of behavior.
In this Christmas season, that is supposed to be a season of goodwill and love (and a spiritual occasion) but is in actually a commercial holiday, a "realize profits holiday" the next one being New years and the one after that Valentine's Day, it has been impossible to avoid all the ads for seasonal movies. These trailers are filled with explosions, people being beaten, shot, killed. The way to solve a problem it to "kick ass". Then there is the regular programming. Go to Europe or other countries and see the difference, the amount of times guns are pointed at people on their TV shows compared to ours. I know there are statistics that confirm this.
Young people are surrounded by a climate of consumption and advertising tempting them with all the commodities that they should own if they want to be happy, be something, get the girl and many of them will never be able to get these things and many will find that they are no happier when they do have them, that the ideas that material possessions create happiness is a lie. The future for young people is bleak and they know it. Some of them are driven nuts by it but we all lose our humanity in this madness, this race to nowhere.
A Honda ad last night has some Santa Character driving along telling a prospective buyer, (and the audience) to go buy something that'll make you happy "all the time", that something being a Honda. It will not make them happy all the time of course, maybe for a superficial moment. Having a job and being productive not in the capitalist sense in that you produce profits for the bosses, but production as a human being in that your labor contributes to the well being of collective society this is a step towards being happier, more content. Having shelter, access to real education, health care and being part of the decision making process that makes society function is what happiness is, basic security.
The system, the society, in which we live, which is the soil that nurtures us, will not be questioned to any serious extent by their mass media. When we see a wilting flower we check the soil; that's the first place to start here.
Instead, the talk of gun control on the one hand and more guns on the other, more prisons and harsher sentences, these topics and the personal individual make up of the perpetrators will dominate the discourse. After a while it'll die down--------until the next one.
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