American Violence: Umpqua is “Routine”?

After Umpqua, Obama decried the routines of mass killings. They will continue, nonetheless. His cries for a tweaking of gun control will not stop the killings, nor will the provision of more mental health services to crazies, nor more school/university security, etc. Elementary school children and church worshippers are slaughtered, as well as college students and others, yet these are not weird occurrences. They are the consequential outcome of what our society, or more correctly the 1%, does to us.

Thus what Obama didn’t and couldn’t say is that the daily bloodshed in his drone mass killings, and his and other presidents’ and societal leaders’ historical mass killings of Iraqis, Yemenis, Afghans, Libyans, Syrians, Vietnamese, Central Americans, etc., sets the frame of mind for violence at home when such chickens come home to roost, as Ward Churchill so aptly put it in regard to 9-11 and for which he was punished at the time. The U.S. was founded upon violence and is drenched in blood whether in regard to Native Americans, Blacks, Hispanics, poor whites and/or slaughtering other countries.

We have the highest level of inequality among industrialized nations and less income mobility than European and other countries, which directly leads to conflict in our society. European countries altogether have more population than we do and much less killings (so far, though austerity measures which they are copying from us may change that), or alternatively per capita also have less killings than we do, with apples to apples comparisons of the crime rate per 100,000 population. Who there is going to have the anxieties, stress, and strains we have, given their equality-minded free health care, free education, and other positives.

Thus unless we change our level of inequality, which will not occur in one day, nothing will change, mark my word. Other “solutions” to violence will not work, from the nonsensical counseling types (which O.J. Simpson was attending) to body cameras on police. In fact the only thing that cell phone camera technology did is make us aware, for example, of the extensive violence on Blacks and the poor in society, which said victims had always known for centuries. Rinky-dink band-aid approaches will not reduce the killings.

The push, front and center and now, needs to be for equality, while the 1% will undoubtedly push back on that. The latter will not give up what they have been getting illegally, unethically, by chance or by inheritance and marriage. The picture will likely get uglier before it gets prettier, but it needs to happen the sooner the better on the road to equality, or we of the 99% will continue to live with more bloodshed, violence, injustice, you name it.

Jose Martinez is a university professor.

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