The senseless death of innocence! No, this is not a recently discovered poem by William Blake, or one of James Joyce’s lost novels. But how does the self-described avant-garde master of Western civilization, i.e., the most hierarchically-driven, dominion-focused, militarized nation on earth react to the incomprehensible violence of a schoolyard murder-suicide, where a lone young-adult shooter leaves two score of dead children and countless broken hearts or destroyed families in their wake? Of course, they call in the paramilitary State militia, the Swat team with semi-automatic weapons at the ready, fully locked and loaded, costumed in fatigues and riot gear. Is that really the way to deal with a domestic tragedy of this nature: with a show of militaristic force – a post-modern, post-mortem surge, if you will – in Newtown, Connecticut? A little too much swagger, and just a tad bit too late for those whose world ended far too early, earlier last week.
This scene alone would inspire a whole squad of domestic(ated) terrorists, patriotic psychopaths chasing down the dream or just disgusted with the entire game, just waiting for the end of the world and the chance to show us they have what it takes – “the right stuff.”
There is apparent escalation in the frequency and brutality of mass murders in this country, almost proportionate to the rather obvious increase and viciousness of natural disasters, all in lock-step with mounting war carnage and collateral damage brought to you courtesy of the US Military Inc. Look at the events just last week at the mall in Portland, Oregon, during an ordinary round of holiday consumption; but the seismic after-shock in Connecticut this week was substantially worse than the prior tremor. Perhaps this is what insurrection looks like in a “real” democracy; momentum building around all the edges until the center finally can no longer hold .
Let us swoon over and eulogize the fallen assassin from Seal Team 6 who was killed rescuing an American doctor last week in Afghanistan, let us sing a chorus of hallelujahs to the death of sundry enemies of our lavish lifestyle; but whatever we do, let’s make sure we keep fanning the flames of vengence, violence, death, and discontentment. Let us applaud the Israelis for their viciously patriotic stand against the boogeyman of “terror,” as they unleashed their own barrage of real terror on neighboring woman and children, and just as we here in the homeland foment violence elsewhere around the globe; let us torture those we mistrust or who mistrust us – whether in Quantico Virginia, Guantanamo Bay, or elsewhere in some undisclosed locations around the world; yet we will still scratch our heads and wonder why there is so much violence, so much death and destruction visited upon the homeland by our very own citizens. Well, when you feed your citizens on the meat and potatoes of competition, violence, and death in pursuit of some imaginary exclusivity or elusive promise of living the American dream, this is what you get; each disenchanted citizen looking to outdo the previous one in carnage and publicity. We learned from a very early age that Madison Avenue sells, that propaganda is the coin of the realm. So let’s go out with a big bang and that fifteen minutes of fame. Or maybe it is even simpler than that. Perhaps when you declare that your citizens can be assassinated at will by the regime, perhaps then life no longer means much to some of them.
Folks, when you set your foundations upon the moral necessity, indeed, the presumed righteousness of the American Way, upon uncompromising competitive advantage in a zero-sum game, until the other guy submits and cries uncle; when you recognize as god-like those diverse victors in competitive sport, business takeover, and imperial warfare; and, when you continue to militarize and securitize your own State, pitting person against person, citizen against the State, body politic against the regime, then the steam in the pressure-cooker is bound to expand, creating the perfect conditions for continual explosiveness, along with the normalization of death-dealing and murder in the homeland. When you struggle to maintain diverse wars – against a nation, terror, cancer, drugs, or the president’s new one – the war on ‘gun violence’; when you threaten your citizens with arrest, torture, or even assassination by drone, simply on a vague suspicion of aiding an ill-defined and elusive enemy, you breed the sort of contempt and viral energy that is now fully grown and living off its own host in the homeland.
We did not care so much that the Israeli military recently and callously exterminated hundreds of Palestinian children and other innocents in Gaza. Yet, we are in shock and horror over twenty dead ones here in the homeland. Why do we mourn our own, yet callously kill untold women and children abroad, cavalierly dismissing their deaths as collateral damage? What about the innocents in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, or elsewhere who have died as a result of our covert or direct support of regime change. Tell me, what is the difference between an afflicted twenty-year old running wildly around a schoolyard shooting up the place, and a barrage of bombs falling willy-nilly around Gaza, killing whomever might be accidentally at hand. Tell me, are these not senseless loses as well? And when one of our own allegedly sought to bring some of empire’s more recent warts and senseless carnage of innocence to light, he himself became the enemy, a victim to be abused, tortured, defamed, and possibly hung by the neck until dead. When will the carnage stop? When will this empire stop itself from engaging in acts of terror and death-dealing? I tell you; it will stop only when the last drop of oil is burned-up, the last tilled field has produced nothing edible, and the last man is standing looking for his next fix.
Shame on you America! Get over yourself! But I hear a faint chorus of retorts from the back-benchers: ‘How dare those Moslems come over here, terrorizing and killing our innocents, taking away our innocence. Let us just go over there and pay them back, terrorize and murder their innocents – show them we got what it takes.’ Recognize that you feed this virus daily with every vote you cast, with every tax dollar you donate, with your shameless and relentless consumption of frivolity and novelty, and yes, with your deafening silence in the face of genocide, assassination, and the public evisceration of your own Bill of Rights committed in your names by an immoral, impervious hegemony running your country, America. Wake up, folks; smell the stench of death. It is of your own making, and something to which you need to get accustomed, or reverse the entire direction of your current trajectory – as if mother nature, our rape of the earth, catastrophic resource depletion, and our increasing belligerence weren’t already taking care of that reversal for us.
Pit company against company, corporate raider against raider, captain of industry against captain of industry; congratulate those financial hooligans who run your banks and steal whatever they can hoist out of your paychecks and your pensions, and then reward them by giving them from the very public trust they pillaged. Glorify the assassination of an unarmed Osama bin Laden, and the special ops team that got him. Demonize Private Bradley Manning or Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange and criminalize protest; promote fake-reality TV shows to the unwashed masses for their entertainment and punch-drunk consumption. Then sit back and watch how life will imitate your art, how an increasing number of your citizens will act out belligerently and callously, perhaps less deftly then the professionals, but just as effectively making their case for “doing god’s work.” As we get closer to global collapse, the social, economic, and psychological indicators are going to go even more haywire, particularly as a population raised on the promise of “freedom and plenty” begins to wonder what those words really mean and how far they may be pushed: standby as we recognize that we can no longer control the vertical, no longer control the horizontal. They are controlling you.
The horrendously violent death of children in Newtown, Connecticut, is the darkest of tragedies. As a father of a young boy, those families’ losses cut deep into my soul. To say I feel their pain is fake; I can never feel their pain. But, to focus on the shooter, his family, his personal or psychological issues, is the eternal mistake of our society and its effete elites. To demand the suspension of gun sales, or the right to bear arms is only an answer if we also agree to disarm the military, the police, the national guard, the CIA, and homeland security. We are “not seeing the forest for the trees.” The problem is not crazy people with guns, it is a sickened Empire with an obsession for violence and conquest, still marching onward in the throes of its own death; it is a culture of excess – excessive security, excessive needs, excessive consumption, excessive expectations – bursting with excessive violence. It is a culture that self-righteously strikes out at anyone even tangentially in its way. It is this all-consuming selfishness that leads individuals in this culture to demand that their interests and their voices be heard, as they struggle to compete against all the noise that routinely and relentlessly bombards us all.
We have entered into the cyclone my friends, the course is already laid out, as we set sail. The beginning of the end, the long emergency, has already begun. Happy December 21st, 2012.