December 17, 2012
St Helena Free Press-Commentary
by Adrian Boutureira
We live in a society that glorifies and celebrates violence, It is justified and accepted in every aspect of our lives and it is exported to the rest of the world. As a friend said in another piece I read, some weep today for the atrocity in Connecticut, others wept three weeks ago when our tax dollar funded bombs were killing kids in Gaza, children just as beautiful as the kids who were murdered yesterday, and others wept last week when thirteen cops put over100 bullets into an unarmed black couple on a freeway overpass in Cleveland. How could one not weep for such atrocities?
Yet, we are a society, a nation, an economy built and sustained by the atrocities perpetrated by brutality and violence. The minds of our people are ill and poisoned far beyond our gun culture... We are ill because our illness is needed to sustain the madness of Empire. It always has depended on it, and as our civilization declines further and further into the pits of cultural self deception, political corruption, economic demise and social decadence, the consequences of having to maintain this permanent state of violent illness are bound to become more and more dire.
More than ever, we are today a culture where the line between imaginary and real death and destruction is intentionally being continuously linked, and made more and more blurred, not just by the media and entertainment industries, but by our government as well....Reality shows which are not real, video games which emulate war crimes, war crimes emulate video games, beautiful dead people walking, sexy FBI agents, death penalty prisoners given their death injections with sterilized needles, the deaths of countless thousands of innocent people a news blurb about collateral damage…real corpses or the suffering of surviving relatives ever seldom shown…Death is pretty, death does not exist, killing is sexy, the killers and the dead are too…
What is fighting for democracy, what is genocidal madness? What is reality and what is a pathetic spectacle of mass deception? We are all ill because we've allowed the madness of Empire to go on, we fuel it’s barbarites and its pathetic spectacle, so that we can continue to not think, or see, or feel, to live out the unsustainable destructive and selfish life style they've sold us for happiness...Or did we sell it to ourselves? Who is Empire? Who are Obama, or Chaney, or who was that Native American murdered, Andrew Jackson, if not really higher order executing exponents of the same sick and unsustainable culture and values we have too helped visualize, maintain and build?
The man who shot those children was as ill as he needed to be as a man growing up in this culture. If instead of crossing that now quickly disappearing social taboo line to commit an act of criminal madness in Connecticut, he had been ordered to do it in some village in Iraq to protect the interests of global capital, he would have been called a soldier following orders to protect democracy, and not a mad mass murderer...
He is, in a way, nothing more than a defective product. He's not supposed to really pop here as a civilian, but there, in uniform, and under orders. But he has to be prepared when prompted to pop and to see violence against anyone as a viable option to solve our personal, emotional and/or national conflicts, social, political, economic or otherwise... We've known all along this business of maintaining our youth always prepared to commit violence is a very dangerous game of Russian roulette. I simply don't get the sense of surprise.
What surprises me, and something which I consider a huge sign of hope and credit to our remaining collective humanity, is that it doesn't happen more often. We live in a country and a culture where people are intentionally being driven to madness, desensitized, humiliated, exploited...and given ready access to fire arms. That is not a safe combination.
Clearly, the roots of the cultural and social illness behind this and other similar acts, transcend the issues of gun control, or whatever one can fit on a meme. Guns remain killing objects, without a doubt. Yet, to skip addressing the root causes for how we’ve become such a psychopathic society and instead choose to focus solely on the question of gun control every time we go through something like this, simply seems like adding insult to our intelligence on top of the already egregious injury upon our humanity of the act itself.
Lightly Touching Upon the Question of Gun Control
The proliferation of guns is not the root cause of the insane madness in our society. Our institutionalized culture of violence is. In Switzerland, every adult male between the ages of 20 and 30 has a military issued weapon at home as part of that nation's standing militia...And? Do we see the same relationship to guns violence there that we do here? And, why not? Does Switzerland need to keep its population continuously mentally prepared to go kill and die in some distant land for some obscure reason, or to have to accept that our army just burned down a village full of civilians? What are the social values advanced in Swiss schools? That tie Swiss society together? How many countries is Switzerland occupying? How many wars is it fighting?
I am not glorifying Switzerland's system here in any way. Simply using it as a specific way to illustrate that looking first and foremost at the issue of lack of gun control to try to understand our now periodic horrendous murderous social flip-outs in the heartland of our murderous collapsing empire, is, at best, over simplistic; at worst, intentionally deceptive...
Gun control is an attempted short term solution for a deep rooted long term social ailment. A mere political band aid on what is nothing less than a cultural cancerous growth. It will resolve non of the real root causes in our society for the ongoing brutal manifestations of our political and cultural insanity. I additionally don't believe that while the capitalist police state is armed to its teeth and constantly prepared to murder civilians with those weapons, not just around the world, but in our own cities and communities, anyone can, in good faith, expect the civilian population to simply accept its own disarming or their lack of ability to arm. The very premise of that notion is frighteningly Orwellian.
Having said all that, it is critical to recognize also that when we speak of our capacity to be armed as a safeguard against state tyranny and oppression, we must understand that there is honestly very little one can do, as an isolated individual, against a truckload of swat police or a platoon of national guardsmen were we to find ourselves under some sort of direct armed conflict with the state. Thus the need to debunk the gun lobby fabricated myth in working class folk culture that one's expensive semi and two thousand rounds of prime ammo will safeguard our freedom from tyranny...For this to happen communities need to be politically and mutually educated, organized and consciously thinking and acting collectively around any such self defense plans against police state tyranny. That is not the reality for the vast majority of gun owners in the US today. We, as citizens, have completely surrendered our capacity to act as a moral check against the potential military belligerence of an oppressive government.
Addressing the above comments I've remembered two very interesting food for thought commentaries on the Second Amendment. The first by Joseph Story in his influential Commentaries on the Constitution. In his orthodox point of view the meaning of the Second Amendment was clear:
"The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them. And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights."
On the issue of the manipulation of laws to subvert the right of the people to bare arms , in his landmark text, A View of the Constitution of the United States of America, William Rawle condemned England's "arbitrary code for the preservation of game," portraying that country as one that "boasts so much of its freedom," yet provides a right to "protestant subjects only" that it "cautiously describes to be that of bearing arms for their defence" and reserves for "a very small proportion of the people." In contrast, Rawle characterizes the second clause of the Second Amendment, which he calls the corollary clause, as a general prohibition against such capricious abuse of government power, declaring bluntly:
No clause could by any rule of construction be conceived to give to congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretence by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.
As I said, all food for thought...