« Phoenix rail: Next steps | Main | Republicans in retreat? »

December 16, 2012

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00e54fdb30b98834017c34a608fe970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Empire of violence:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jon, This is not just a fine piece. But a great writing. I sent it off to a bunch of folks I know.
Thank you.

It seems we often try to neatly categorize why some individuals act violently. We point to new things that didn't exist when someone was young. Too many movies, electronics, hip hop, and bad fashion statements. But that is all an excuse in my opinion. Adolescents and young adults in Europe and Asia are as connected, in some nations more so, to electronics and the internet. They listen to the same hip hop and rap found on American airwaves and can be downloaded from iTunes or viewed on YouTube. Often fashion is shared across the world; especially urban fashion as I found out in recent travels. Many of my friends in Spain and Germany watch as much American TV and movies as I do. I don't think this explains it.

I think what does explain the violence in America is the access to weapons that deranged and dangerous individuals have in this country: in Europe and Asia similar individuals are unable to gain access to similarly dangerous weapons. Communities are closer and people pay more attention to each other. In this instance, the American form of new suburbia does play a part in allowing certain individuals to go unnoticed and slip further into isolation and desperation...but not always. Looking at the national map with locations of mass shootings there doesn't seem to be one easy answer. Washington State has had more mass murders and shootings than Arizona...Chicago has not gotten enough attention for the mass killings of young adults and adolescents, yet Chicago is a great city with great neighborhoods and a sense of community.

These facts complicate the "why" in these scenarios. Perhaps it is the endless wars our nation has endured...but yet, most of the nation is detached from military service. Only a fraction of the population serves. For me it boils down to a few things: 1)Easy access to weapons (especially assault weapons). 2)Complacency in society; we seemed surprised it can happen "here". We don't pay enough attention to each other and our political polarization shares some blame 3) Our social institutions aren't being funded properly, including access to healthcare (and mental/behavioral health) and education.

No, we cannot expect individuals that need mental help to seek it out themselves; however, with better funding at schools, giving teachers smaller classrooms and allowing for better interaction with children, we are more likely to intervene in a young person's life before they commit an act of violence. With better funding of healthcare after those individuals are identified we can provide services even if they are too poor or their parents too indebted to pay for services themselves.

I know I have missed some points and may be missing something in my analysis...ultimately, I think this recent serial shooting will resonate and a national dialogue about gun violence and laws will happen.

PhxSunfan, I like your comments and analysis however I don't share your optimism. Hope your right about a dialogue.

"It's telling that wealthy Republican Sen. John Sidney McCain III, R-Fox News, is the biggest individual beneficiary of NRA campaign contributions."

Do you have a reference for this?

An assault rifle, similar to those used by US troops in Afghanistan.

Bullets designed to disintegrate on entry and cause maximum damage.

Said bullets ripping into tiny bodies in a kindergarten class.

And you refer to the response as "Liberal hysteria"?

Your use of this phrase detracted greatly from what otherwise would have been an excellent article.

Yes that phrase "liberal hysteria" detracted from the piece as did the misty nostalgia about women needing to civilize men. I believe in responsible gun ownership for hunting. Automatic weaponry? No. Hell no. Americans have shown ourselves unable to take on the responsibilities of far-reaching gun "rights."

Perhaps the best damn column you've ever written, Jon.

Thane:

http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2009/07/gun-amendment-supporters-backe.html

I didn't even notice the "liberal hysteria" in the opening sentence probably because that's just background noise I hear everyday in the Kookacracy. Really, it should be "national outrage" but the lines are already drawn and the result will be the same -- status quo. DD'A is absolutely right that we are unable to be responsible or civilized.

My take on it is that if this was an inner city school (read, nonwhite and poor) the outrage would be over hip-hop and drugs rather than violent video games and movies/TV. Listening to the morning talkingheads they all seemed more interested in regulating media rather than guns. So obviously, it's all the fault of the Hollywood liberals (heavy dose of sarcasm here, just in case anyone misunderstands).

I'm with Diane. The notion that women must "civilize" men has been used to justify limiting our freedom and opportunity throughout history. It was pretty much the go-to argument against suffrage. Also, the hand-wringing about coarse language and lack of decorum detracted from the piece. I'm okay with a society where f-bombs are tolerated but bigoted slurs are not. I'm not longing for a return to the Mad Men era because it really wasn't a good time for people who weren't white dudes.

Pissing everybody off today. Putting the rogue in Rogue Columnist.

Pissing everybody off today. Putting the rogue in Rogue Columnist.

And so, I join in (written before everyone else weighed in, but I've just got it up):

A (largely) great rant, but I was moved to break it down a bit at my place:

It is quite a salad, with lots of nutrition to be found, but garnished with a such an array of spices and condiments to render it somewhat hard to digest, at least for my delicate constitution.

Sandy Oh Sandy= Rorschach Vulgarity (And A Critique)

I hope you don't mind too terribly.

Petro,

WOW !!

Double WOW !!!

I give you credit for at least trying to examine these shootings in a cultural context but I see you blaming everything for it but the most obvious proximate cultural factor the recent spate of shootings(apart from, duh, gun nuttery). And that is that white men are having a massive hissyfit over their perceived declining status. It's been nonstop and over-the-top since Obama's election.

I mean, my lord, I should think it's at least as plausible a contributing factor as too much swearing and people not dressing up for the theater and ladies these days failing in their civic responsibility to turn functionally illiterate sad sacks into productive, upstanding gentlemen.

Donna, I hope you know that I am not supporting the Angry White Men meme.

I can only speak from personal experience, where most of my friends were women -- accomplished, strong willed, "liberated" -- and they helped open a wider and more decent world for me. The whole man-cave macho NASCAR sports never-read-a-book insular male culture is not good. Neither is total isolation.

I don't think you support that meme at all. I just find you not mentioning the explosion of white male anger over a changing culture in your piece analyzing what is a mostly white male phenomenon of mass shootings to be startling.

Donna I agree with your take on white men. Since the election of a Black Man, gun sales have gone out of sight.

Regarding public schools, I was once or twice married to a lady cop that had a lot to do with the establishment of a full time cop on campus program. I thought for the "money" it was a good program. However between cities and school administrators this program has got cut way back.

I have a lot of difficulty with arming teachers and I think there are a lot of teachers that would have a problem with such. Maybe private schools might have a different slant on arming teachers.

A friends Montessori school in Ahwatukee today had an armed and in full uniform "ICE" agent out front as the kids arrived?

Jon, it was a great column and my take is if you are not "pissing" someone off you not doing your job.

The only thing I take issue is, I aint wearing no suit and drinking martinis. After it's because of me that Phoenix cops do not have to wear ties.

Club members got Petro wound up over coffee at Urban Bean a couple of days a go. When you do a column on "Truth" Petro will be the dude to go to.

I went back in and tried to make that point clearer.

I enjoy watching folks that are finely dressed, "to the nines". Makes the mystery last longer as they take it off.
And I love those leather pants with the dual crotch holsters for your Pythons.

But the Sahuaros I hang out with prefer jeans and t-shirts.

I don't completely agree with the "angry white man" cliche here. Angry "white people" might work better in the national context today (e.g. Jan Brewer, Michele Bachmann, Lori Klein - the AZ State Senator who read the hoax racist letter in the State House).

In the case of recent mass shootings, although there does seem to be a rash of angry white men perpetrating the crime, it is hardly due to their declining social status. Jared Loughner was angry, but he didn't understand his rage. And it seems that Alex Lanza wasn't concerned with societal issues...instead he didn't understand social interaction.

phxsunfan, I know we hang in different crowds but I know a number of old white men right here in Phoenix, that are really angry that a black man is president of the US of A. In one case a guys wife refuses to let her husband, a retired medical professional, have a gun, because his hatred scares her.

and I personally know old white guys that are filling their closets with as many guns as they can afford, "just for that day."

Kunstler blames lack of male role models, others angry white men, and yet others a lack of feminine interaction and no girlfriends...such neat little theoretical boxes. I still say it is much more complicated. There are murderous rampages and assaults in other countries (most recently China, where a knife wielding man injured 23 children http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/17/china-school-attack-doomsday-rumors_n_2313876.html?utm_hp_ref=world ), but the difference is those angry individuals didn't have easy access to an assault rifle. So while angry people with little social skills come out of every culture, not every culture is as gun happy as the U.S.

Cal, I am sure there are more angry white men, statistically speaking, but women aren't immune. Ann Coulter comes to mind as well...doesn't help when the female equivalent to Rush Limbaugh is just as virulent.

U sure Ann is a wo man

And Rush has got a big mouth, no brain but in my book he is a WUSS.

Some of these folks collecting guns, got brains, background and enough hate to start a war.

Perhaps enough guns to start a war in their neighborhood or head, but hardly enough to effectively fight modern police forces or even a small National Guard regiment; let's not float their crazy boat...

A lot of fine observations here, Mr. Talton.

The first thing I wanted to establish was the extent to which this is a statistical aberration or a real trend. It might also help to break out the data (mass murders, rampage killings, workplace massacres, and, most relevant to the current thread, schoolplace massacres).

Wikipedia has assembled some lists that helped greatly, which can be organized by world geographic region, by type of mass murder, and by year. Also shown are weapons used (e.g., whether or not firearms were used).

The first thing that I noticed is that school massacres are both comparatively rare and primarily a modern phenomenon. The United States saw just one such event prior to 1966. Within the United States, by decade:

1960s: 1

1970s: 1

1980s: 2

1990s: 4

2000s: 6

2010 to present: 2

There does seem to be a gradual increase in the number of such incidents, but since they are very rare it's difficult to say to what degree this reflects a cultural phenomenon or, by contrast, to what degree this reflects chance (or more specifically, a number of individual-specific factors influencing individual events).

In China, school massacres seem to explode in the 1990s and 2000s. In 2010 alone in China, five different such massacres occurred. All involved "melee weapons" (e.g., knives) not firearms.

I agree that American mass media has become terribly debased since the 1960s, particularly in regard to what is accepted as mainstream. That entire franchises of sadistic serial killer movies like "Saw" and "Hostel" are considered acceptable to make and market to mass youth audiences, much less that they are tremendously popular (and they wouldn't keep getting made if they didn't provide a substantial return on investment), does say something about the culture.

Still, we are talking at the moment about school massacres, not serial torture-killers. There hasn't been anything glorifying or revelling in school massacres in the media, that I am aware of. So far as I am aware, guns are no more available now than they were in the 1980s. So perhaps, another factor that has to be considered is the possibility that simple news coverage spawns imitators. According to this theory, a chance concatenation of massacres within a relatively short period, combined with intensive news coverage, incentivizes the behavior, among a very small number of amoral individuals for whom media stardom is an end in itself and who have little hope of drawing major national or world attention to themselves except through highly inflammatory crimes. The attention received by other perpetrators provides additional motivation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rampage_killers:_School_massacres

(To order by year, click on the "Year" header at the top of the list. Note that the age of the killer is also given, which is relevant to the issue of school/university massacres.)

If we consider the more general category of rampage killers (which excludes schoolyard and workplace massacres as well as hate crimes and domestic-related mass murders, but includes mass murders at theaters, malls, and the like), there were a fair number of such incidents in the United States prior to the 1960s, many of them crowded into the first two decades of the 20th century (17, or about one per year, from 1900 through 1916 alone); the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1960s each saw 4-5 per decade; while in the 1950s there was only one (Starkweather). Within the U.S., by decade:

1960s: 4

1970s: 10

1980s: 15

1990s: 11

2000s: 14

2010 to present: 5

If we extrapolate the trend over the last three years, we get a projected 16-17 for the 2010s decade.

So, while the decade-long averages are significantly higher from the 1970s onward than they were during the period from the 1920s through the 1960s, there doesn't seem to be a consistent trend of increase in this average from the 1970s through today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rampage_killers:_Americas

(This list is restricted to the Americas. Again, click on "Year" to order the list chronologically.)

That should read, "...in their neighborhood or in their own head..."

Rush may be a wuss but he has a lot of influence on the Sun City type whose efficacy at the polls comes through more than a theoretical army of blue haired folk ever would.

So far as I am aware, guns are no more available now than they were in the 1980s." -Emil

Except for the fact that the Federal Assaults Weapons Ban was lifted in 2004...and since then a record number of firearms have made their way into American homes: meaning that guns are more available now due to sheer numbers.

From an article on the 1966 Texas Tower shooting.

"So it is difficult for us to understand the horror to which Americans were introduced by Charles Whitman on August 1, 1966. Until Whitman undertook his shooting spree in Austin, Texas, public space felt safe and most citizens were utterly convinced they were comfortably removed from brutality and terror. After August 1, 1966, things would never be the same."

The dialogue goes on?

Correction: in 2004 the Federal Assault Weapons Ban wasn't "lifted", instead it was allowed to expire.

My High School had a modest clock tower.

I remember that after particularly brutal year of bullying, I fantasized about climbing that clock tower and evening things up with my tormentor.

Of course, I was a committed, one could say doctrinal, pacifist and so the little shit was never seriously in danger.

But it was Charles Whitman who provided the script for my fantasy.

Lurker, thank you

Petro, I went to your blog, great meaness. I really liked it, particularly the religious and dress code stuff.
but

But can you explain this "Rorschach Vulgarity"
and you said
"I don't know what else to say about this, other than to remind everyone that the '50's wasn't really like "Happy Days". That would be television."

I got to tell you the 50's were the best part of my life with out a doubt. Nothing before or since has equaled the great 50's I enjoyed.
cal

Thanks, cal - I answered you over there.

Thank you as well, Reb.

Like Petro, I had my own diatribe that focused on Jon’s words “mediating institutions”. My lament hinted at over population and included some stuff about meat packing slaughter houses. However, my diatribe rambled on, much as Jon’s piece does. So I won’t.

I will contribute this thought by a forensic psychologist Paul Mullen. He calls it a culture bound syndrome, or Malaysian amok (as in ‘run amok’). What I thought unusual is that none of you mentioned drugs in your list of ills that face males in their 20’s who kill. Dr. Mullen explains Interestingly, they’re not like many offenders, they don’t tend to have problems with alcohol and drugs. They’re certainly not impulsive, quite the reverse. These are rather rigid, obsessional individuals who plan everything extremely carefully. And most of these massacres have been planned for days, weeks, sometimes months ahead.
The other thing about them is that they are angry and resentful at the world, they blame the world for not having recognised their qualities, for having mistreated them and misused them. Resentment is central to their personalities.

http://blogs.plos.org/neuroanthropology/2012/07/24/inside-the-minds-of-mass-killers/

Resentment is a special form of paranoia.

In all fairness, that NY Times article focuses on the efficacy of screening mental illness for gun ownership, and as it successfully argues, that's sketchy at best.

I'd also like to say that there is a focus on specific, clinical descriptions of mental illness... from within a culture that is fundamentally mentally ill, in ways that are oft-discussed here, on this blog.

There's a bit of "log-in-the-eye" going on with that.

Good points Suzanne.
Petro, was the "efficacy" the log in the eye?

Talton, as the year of your lord 2012 closes out, I await the great number 13 wondering if I will see 73, without a dog. I would like to thank you for years of service to all us out here in the wilderness of Cacti. My new year’s resolution is to plant more Sajuaros. There has been a huge amount of chaos on this great planet, eearth, mostly at the hands of the Violent Empire of pestilent humans that inhabit it. Serious chaos indeed with mass killings and an angry planet striking back at us with tidal waves of destruction.
I consider The Rogue Columnist and your writing and reader comments as first, my best form of entertainment and secondly a place to hang out that lets one glimpse electronically into the lives of others. I guess that’s kind of like a peeping tom. And thirdly because your Rougeness pisses off a lot of people that certainly have been culturally induced to be intolerant Kooks.
I look forward to another great year of The Rouge, Detective Mapstone and Cincinnati novels.

Confession: I hate guns.

I hate how they look, how they smell, how they sound and what they do. My friend Donnie accidentally shot and killed his brother when we were 7. The teacher explained that there had been an "accident" and he wouldn't be in school for a while. He's carried this with him for almost 70 years.

In recent years, two of my very close friends have taken their own lives and one of their sons just did likewise a few weeks ago.

Back in the day, as the #1 gun retailer presiding over general merchandise for a series of AZ supermarkets, I agreed to close the department down because of increasing blowback from our customers . . many of whom who had lost friends and family to self-inflicted gunshots. And on and on.

Strangely, I don't remember reading posts from folks who might have attended any of these awful funerals and have been left to reflect on what might have been.

And of the Krupps?
Morecleanair

Petro, was the "efficacy" the log in the eye?

No - the-log-in-the eye is a fundamentally insane culture setting the standard for who is insane within that culture.

I'm not being completely tongue-in-cheek - if you peruse any of Thom Hartmann's work with autistic children he has some pointed things to say about what our artificial (industrial) culture does to the natural (hunter/gatherer) brain.

It's been awhile since I've gone to his material, so I'm sure I'm oversimplifying it a bit.

Sorry, it's ADHD he's worked with, not autism.

I think "The Hunger Games" is working on that issue

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban wasn't signed into law until 1994. So the fact that it was allowed to lapse in 2004 doesn't change the fact that guns are generally no more available now in the United States than they were in the 1980s when crime rates were much higher.

Also, most firearms related crimes do not involve assault weapons. None of this is, of course, an argument against placing reasonable limitations upon either assault weapons or other firearms.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"In the 1960s, liberal sociologists explained rising crime as the outgrowth of "the sick society." Then it included racism and lack of economic opportunity for minorities and many lower-class Americans. But that society was healthy compared with today's."

I really think that both liberals and conservatives are going to be terribly disappointed when it comes to pet theories regarding crime. The longer I look at it, the simpler it seems.

On the liberal side, I don't want to suggest poverty is irrelevant to crime, but at the same time, consider that poverty in a post-Great Society era is not the same as it once was, even if crime rates are higher.

Nearly everyone who has a home has air-conditioning and heating, for example. Television, once considered a luxury, is now ubiquitous. Medicaid, whatever its defects (and they are VAST since the program was returned largely to the discretion of individual states in the 1990s) was once non-existent; despite that, crime rates were far lower in the early 1960s than they have been since.

On the conservative side, while I don't want to suggest that social mores, cultural values, and family structure is irrelevant to crime, we live in an ever more socially permissive time, with ever more single parents, and yet crime rates (violent and property total) now are far lower than they were at any time since 1967.

Scroll down to the bottom to get U.S. crime RATES per 100,000 inhabitants:

http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm

It seems therefore that something far more fundamental might be at work. Something spanning many decades.

Well, ask yourself: who commits most crimes? The elderly? No. The middle-aged? No. Infants, toddlers, and grade-school students? No.

Obviously, most crimes are committed by young adults, broadly defined; and most especially by young men (though the gender gap is beginning to narrow). Youth can be impetuous and arrogant.

So, one would expect that whenever young adults make up a larger percentage of the population, one might see an increase in crime rates; and conversely, when young adults decrease as a percentage of the population, one might see a decline in crime rates.

The Baby Boom generation includes those born from 1946 through 1964.

The Uniform Crime Report statistics linked to above only go back to 1960, but it is generally understood that crime rates shot up in the mid to late 1960s relative to immediately earlier decades, and certainly one sees a dramatic and continuous increase in total crime rates nationally from 1964 through 1991, after which a long decline in crime rates begins (subject to year-to-year fluctuations but fairly consistent).

Now, in 1964 the first first year of Baby Boomers was 18. Every year after that the number of Baby Boomers entering adulthood increases, mathematically. In 1991 the first year of Baby Boomers was 45, firmly entering middle-age. Every year after that the number of Baby Boomers entering middle-age grew larger.

P.S. When I said "scroll down to the bottom to get crime RATES" it is because the top table is mislabled: the header says crime "rates" but ought to say crime figures since the numbers provided are absolute, rather than rates reflecting crimes per 100,000 residents (the relevant figure for comparison purposes, since the population grows over time and therefore the absolute numbers only go up and up, whereas the rates do not); however, the bottom table DOES provide crime RATES.

Note: the following table shows that the ratio of workers to retirees has been stable since 1975; however, there is a difference between "young adults" and "workers".

http://www.ssa.gov/history/ratios.html

Note: the following table shows that the ratio of workers to retirees has been stable since 1975; however, there is a difference between "young adults" as a percentage of the population and "workers" as the dividend in a ratio of workers to retirees.

http://www.ssa.gov/history/ratios.html

On the liberal side, I don't want to suggest poverty is irrelevant to crime, but at the same time, consider that poverty in a post-Great Society era is not the same as it once was, even if crime rates are higher.

Nearly everyone who has a home has air-conditioning and heating, for example. Television, once considered a luxury, is now ubiquitous...

Small point: I think we perceive poverty/wealth on a relative scale. When you come down from a height, no matter how high the ledge is upon which you land, it's the distance of the fall that matters - and also how you perceive your place in relation to others.

The context provided by the wealth gap has more of an effect than just a simple appraisal.

Sometimes we talk past one another. This is such a time I believe. My "I hate guns" comment might have actually been met with a reply from those who have personal experiences with guns. Are they being strangely silent, or is this intended to be more of a theoretical/professorial discussion?

Morecleanair, good point. Jon covered my experience somewhat. When and where I was born if you could not knock a bird out of the sky or pull fish from the river you went hungry. The first gun I was provided was done with the intention that I had to bring something back to eat.
It was a single shot 22 rifle that someone had knocked the front sight off of. I got good enough with it to bring down a flying bird, a running rabbit or a tree climbing squirrel. Later I was allowed to hunt with a 16 gauge "Long Tom" shotgun. Now high flying ducks and geese were in my range. At 19 in Arizona with a job and the existence of grocery stores I quit hunting as I never considered it a Sport. Later I turned to the hunting of humans but never found a need for the gun I was provided by the police department, as I learned my best weapon was to "keep talking."

Talking I think is what we are not doing not about guns but the culture of guns whether they be real guns in your possession or guns controlled by your computer mouse. And the conversation has to include that we now put military people in a secluded location and allow them to kill people with a drone thousands of miles away.
Like climate control I do not hold out much hope for their ever to be meaningful conversation.

Again I refer you back to when man picked up that first bone, examined it, smiled and beat to death his competing food scavenging hunter, now defined as the "enemy."

morecleanair, here's a talking point about the Krupp's of today's world

"Under a controversial law Congress passed seven years ago at the urging of the National Rifle Association, gun manufacturers are explicitly shielded from lawsuits that would seek to hold them liable for crimes committed with weapons they sold.

The 2005 law has drawn attacks from gun control advocates and constitutional scholars, who portray it as a powerful insulator for gun manufacturers, protecting them from the consequences of their lethal products. Why should gun manufacturers, they ask, enjoy a special liability protection not available to other companies that make potentially lethal products?"

I think that rather than trying to make violent crime look like one big picture, we need to break it down. A mentally ill apparently intelligent teenager killing 28 people including 22 young children is not the same picture as a drug dealer killing another drug dealer. One is about mental illness the other is about economics. The drunk beating his wife to death is not the same as the stoning of a young girl in an “honor killing.” Statistically you can lay a lot of violence using age grouping statistics on “young men.” Once you do that then you need to decide how to approach the problem. Violence and young men is an ongoing study as it should be.

In my opinion legalizing currently illegal drugs would reduce killing world- wide, particularly in Mexico.
And using the statistical methods I think we should take a look at the age group most likely to commit the world wide out of control white collar crime problem.
Maddox the financial con man was old.

morecleanair, I forgot to mention guns and my today. Always got one handy even when I sleep. I do take it out from under the pillow and put it in the drawer when the girlfriend stays. Old habits are hard to beak.

Unlike Edward Abbey I am not an NRA member as I think "current" NRA folks are part of the "culture" problem.

morecleanair, We only use our .22 to put our dogs down. It is fast, maybe too fast, and the bullet leaves a lot of damage. I rationalize it as a mercy killing, although I often wonder if it would be better to let the animals suffer through a few more months. I have never known someone who committed suicide. I have never known anyone who was wounded or killed by a gun.

morecleanair,

Many people hate guns and it's understandable. I was raised with responsible gun use, so my outlook is different.

On the ambulance, I went on hundreds of suicide calls. People used all manner of self-destruction. I was also shot at numerous times: No fun.

Might you explain how you "hate" guns.
Is that like I hate "waffles?"
Do you hate a large thigh bone?
None are weapons of mass destruction without human involvement.
Again this discussion in my opinion is about culture not inanimate objects.

Suzanne, there are also such persons known as veterinarians that can do it humanely and without all the carnage...just FYI.

"I'm pro-gun, but I think it's important for people to recognize the history of our armed population and honestly reckon with it -- that is, to ask why exactly we have a heavily-armed population in the first place. It's not to be a check against the government, it's to reinforce the government.

I'm looking back in time to try to find a an instance where the gun-owning population has risen up for something that wasn't reactionary. I suppose the BLA and the rioters in the 60's might be a notable exception -- and maybe the Pine Ridge standoff -- but basically when we're talking about gun-owners rising up in US history we're talking about the Klan and white settlers. That's the history.

This is a settler nation and as such it requires a heavily-armed white population. Essentially gun-owners act as an adjunct of the government, reinforcing this racist, settler system. Guns were a central part of white citizenship in the US because whites were expected to defend slavery and to expand the colonization of the West, essentially to attack indigenous peoples and to defend land theft and the expansion of markets. In my opinion, even as someone who is pro-gun, most gun owners have not come to terms with that legacy and you see it reflected in the rest of their politics.

So knowing that, I am not exactly interested in seeing gun owners rise up, despite their claims to be a hedge against government tyranny. If they do, as things stand, they will almost surely be coming for me as well."

-Tyburn Gallows

Nice post krazy bill. From the Quarterly Jacobin:

http://jacobinmag.com/2012/12/guns-and-the-pain-economy/

Personnally I don't hate guns, but I don't like them pointed at me and I don't see the need for automatic weapons. Its so out of hand that the Kooks think arming teachers is a good thing. For me its just a sympton of our disfunctional nation, "free" enterprise (read corporate cronyism), our lack of regard for other humans (especially if they are not "like" us), the lack of real purpose in our daily lives -- nothing to do, nothing to make, nothing to feel but fear and rage.

The article on drone operators at Spiegel was particulary bone-chilling.

Don't forget to load up your Piper!...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Austin_suicide_attack

cal: Please don't trivialize what I'm sharing. Other than the damage they did and the friends they took during my lifetime, being a firearms retailer for 6-7 years exposed me to the bad and ugly aspects of the business itself . . from marginal profitability to often disagreeable customers who would wax rhapsodic over whatever was the latest and greatest. But all this took place in a family environment where many customers resented the presence of a gun business and the guy (me) who tried to run it responsibly. It was 10% of the volume and easily 90% of the aggravation.


My apologizes morecleanair did not occur to me that I was trivializing.

phxSUNSfan,
Yes, of course you are correct and I do believe that is the road I will follow the next time; Not because my loved animal suffered after the trigger pulled, but because I did. Sometimes ‘mediating institution’ can remove us from the “carnage”.

From the article in the Quarterly Jacobin
But still. Let us also ask the obvious question. Why do these young white male people whom we routinely characterize as crazy—as exceptions to the rules of civilized comportment and moral choice—always rehearse and recite the same script? If each killer is so deviant, so inexplicable, so exceptional, why does the apocalyptic ending never vary?

I wonder if there is a genetic component and a test. (?)

morecleanair wrote:

"My "I hate guns" comment might have actually been met with a reply from those who have personal experiences with guns. Are they being strangely silent, or is this intended to be more of a theoretical/professorial discussion?"

I think it's intended to be a discussion of the big issues (i.e., crime causes and trends) rather than personal trivia. At least, I hope so.

At the end of the day, isolated personal anecdotes do not address, much less attempt to resolve, these issues. You tell a story about hating guns because of a tragic accidental shooting; if someone else claims to love guns because Daddy took a shotgun to an intruder who was menacing his mother and sisters, where are we then? Do we add up the number of pro/con comments in two columns and vote a winner?

For what it's worth, I hate meatloaf. Also, a dog once bit me; strangely, I do not hate dogs.

I don't know - encouraging dispassionate analysis of tragedies far removed is all that is expected of us in this culture. That very disconnectedness is not exactly working out for us too well, so I think there is some appeal in sharing one's personal encounters and feelings.

Tends to bring people closer (or centrifuge them apart, but the passion's the thing, I guess.) :)

Emil: Please read my posts. There's a lot more behind them than a single "tragic accidental shooting". Fine to examine macro causes but quite another thing to have a series of firsthand gut-wrenching experiences.

Petro wrote:

"I don't know - encouraging dispassionate analysis of tragedies far removed is all that is expected of us in this culture."

Not in my universe.

In order to solve a problem one must first determine what the problem is. The newspapers are full of passion but mostly the passion is for asserting the truth of some dogma and the foolishness of those who doubt it.

I liked Mr. Talton's blog on this subject. He started from a nuanced position despite the fact that this might alienate readers expecting the typical "liberal anti-gun rant".

I also found many (not all) of his cultural observations to be accurate as well as amusing, even when they were not specifically relevant to the school massacre. (Why do cashiers, clerks, and random strangers address me as "Boss", as though they were inmates in Cool Hand Luke and I were their warder? Why is everything (skin, clothing, backpacks, shoes, earphones) decorated with sinister-looking skulls? What does this express?)

I also liked Robert Robb's column today. Dispassionate, yes, but sometimes you need to take a deep breath and try to see things for what they are.

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/opinions/articles/2012/12/18/20121218robb-solving-gun-violence-issue-not-simple-seems.html

Great piece. You've addressed it before, but the commercialization of angry, paranoid, mass media must be a big difference between this country and other similar, less violent, cultures. It enables the unholy oligarchy-theocracy axis. Where's the public interest in that?

And no getting around all the weapons laying around, literally.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Your email address:


Powered by FeedBlitz