Indeed, America’s ‘Chickens are Coming Home to Roost’
Originally posted to Intelligentaindigena 04.18.2007:
As the United States reels from yet another
mass shooting by yet another mentally unstable male assailant, the rest of the
intelligent world asks why Americans, no matter how much carnage firearms
cause, still refuse to give up gun ownership.
Why is always a matter of contentious debate? Could it be that Americans as a national
identity simply have a difficult time of it culturally when it comes to accepting
that their society, good aspects and negative, is nothing more than a reflection
of the people who comprise its populace.
Can the United
States ever come to
grips with subject matter relating to its own inherent psychosis without
resorting to fantasy in place of care self-examination? Is Cartesian
common sense in the U.S. vanishing into the ether of nationalist denial?
Illusion of Fear
Dozens of independent as well as government
approved and subsidised medical studies have proven repeatedly that marijuana
is not a harmful nor addictive substance that possesses multiple medical
applications that show promise of treating and curing many major diseases such
as cancer. Yet, draconian social attitudes
towards marijuana as a “gateway” drug, (disproved) that encourages anti-social
behaviours (such as interracial dating and listening to jazz) and anti-Anglo
violence from illegal immigrants, (Mexicans according to this theory, regularly
attack White women while experiencing the drugs effects) has managed to
maintain an unreasonable and quasi-legal environment that insists such “soft
stimulants” by kept out of the public sphere with laws in place to enforce the
There is no question that there exists immense
empirical scientific evidence that blatantly contradicts the syllogistic logic
passed off as factual information by the U.S.
legal and moral structure. But in spite
of this reality, Americans still, somewhat hypocritically, still deride
marijuana as a life-threatening dangerous intoxicant. Scientific medical evidence and the scholarly
examination of the social factors that blur discourse on the subject have literally
no effect in modifying the steadfastly jaundiced mainstream American public
The same selective judgement exists on the
subject of firearms in the United States.
This month, a student of Virginia Tech University
killed 33 people and wounded scores of others in a pistol-riot at one of America’s
most respected educational institutions.
This case of “contagious shooting” by a Korean-born immigrant has
already fuelled calls for violence against Asians and tougher restrictions on
immigration in the name of national security.
The NRA was swift to release the dogs and they began snapping at the
heels of the anti-gun folks by crying foul when gun control is raised as an
effective barrier to such heinous acts.
As with their infamous apathetic reaction
to the Columbine School killings, NRA’ers articulated the customary condolences and then immediately
launched into tirades condemning illegal immigration and the assumed inner-city
criminality that obliges every red-blooded American to own at least one
gun. And many, far too many Americans
feel virtuously patriotic to the max.
And among these flag-wavers, there are others who also subscribe to a
more ominous creed of belligerent retorts to personal intuitive instabilities.
The first American that would go down in
history for “mass murder” typified the model we generally recognise in the United States. A maladjusted White
Christian heterosexual male suffering from delusions of self-doubt and personal
inadequacy due to a rapidly changing social and economic landscape that the
protagonist believes unfairly penalises European males at the expense of women
and minorities. He began his day by killing
his mother and several others while en route to the University of Texas campus
to begin vomiting outbursts of randomised violence killing sixteen people and
wounding another 31 before authorities downed him nearly 90 minutes later. Thus, the angry White male at the end of his
rope archetype was born and nurtured as an illustration of what can happen if
social changes grow to turn its back on the American White man in favour of
ethnic and gender equality.
Then in 2002 this stereotype was challenged
by African radical John Allen Muhammad’s plan to inspire an African revolution
in the United States by instigating the Beltway Sniper attacks and instantly, such acts
of violence had a Black or Brown face.
The corporate news media rushed to highly inaccurate comparisons between
this case and the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting in which a Jamaican
immigrant in a fit of rage shot and killed six passengers and wounded nineteen
others before being apprehended by three men in the train’s car. The latter was a case of insanity brought on
by a variety of factors including Eurocentric ethnic bias. But clearly the Long Island incident differs
greatly from the Beltway shootings in that the perpetrators had a political
motive behind their actions, while the other was purely a case of one man’s
inability to cope with his reality.
In fact, all of the cases I mentioned, and
others I could not due to lack of space, could reasonably be seen within the
same light. The notion that some among us may decide for a variety of reasons
to injure or kill complete strangers because they themselves are in emotional
or psychic pain never really seems to factor into public discourse into why
such things occur. Even in the cases
where authorities manage to take the life of the killers before they can harm
larger numbers, typically these individuals take their own lives once they are
immediately confronted with the brutality of what they have done.
What does all of this have to do with guns? Quite a bit, actually. In a culture that ignores its genocidal
history and internal as well as external policy of violence while vociferously defending
it’s “right” to own and produce weapons of mass and minor destruction, is it
any real surprise when such extreme incidences occur? Only
in America it seems.
European nations were not at all surprised
when the German Rifle Clubs turned out to be the raw basis for the Third
Reich’s regeneration of the Bundeswehr.
In an attempt to skirt the Treaty of Versailles, the German government
promoted an ethic of “masculine sport” and along with this new drive came along
private gun ownership. Only they had
specific targets in mind. Americans see
Is the threat real? Apparently it is. Someone is always ready to point out some
peril that lurks just around the corner.
The paranoia is deep seated and can be historically noted since first
contact between Europeans and American Aboriginals and throughout
Reconstruction well into Jim Crow. The
paranoia at that time amongst Europeans used to marginalising and brutalising
Africans at will led them to form reactionary organisations such as the Ku Klux
Klan and the White Citizens Councils.
Today the threat level varies and the threat itself takes on morphing
forms shaping itself into whatever will serve the needs of the suspicious. The widespread and unrelenting violence that
occurred to Aboriginals and Africans remained in play clear up to the
Yet when discussions of
violence are entered to in the U.S.,
these histories rarely enter into consideration. Wounded
Knee is one, and White racist destruction
of Rosewood, Florida and Oklahoma’s “Black Wall
Street” are two others
intentionally forgotten in the scope of America’s
sordid history. In all three cases,
hundreds of helpless and in the case of Wounded
Knee, unarmed and defenceless human beings
were without hesitation, shot down in cold blood. Yet, when White people kill other White
people with guns, this, the nation wants us all to remember, is not the fault
of the gun.
The sudden shock of extreme violence, when
it occurs in European America anyway, nearly always engenders widespread confusion
as to how instead of why such acts could occur, “here.” “Here” generally meaning places where such
acts are not expected to occur such as middle to upper-middle class suburbs or
municipalities primarily populated by Christian Euro-Americans and
euphemistically referred to as the “Heartland.”
When such acts occur in the low-economic strata, inner-city ghettoes
advertised in popular culture and populated by non-Europeans, it comes as no
surprise, no shock and is accepted by the mainstream as “normal.”
We see the very same reasoning in how most
American policy makers as well as American citizens view the U.S.
occupation in Iraq. Random bombings,
assassinations, partisan and sectarian religious violence, abuse towards women,
children and prisoners and the extra-legal executions of non-combatants is, on
the other hand, routinely dismissed as “acceptable,” provided it occurs over
there. Even before the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the current looming shadow of a military conflict against Iran,
Americans are quite comfortable with violence provided it does not affect them
personally or directly. And when it
does, expect Americans whether from the more libertarian mode of thinking to
the unabashedly fascistic and narrow reactionary persuasion, to comprehend and
respond with chimeras rather than veracity.
The slogan, “Guns don’t kill people, people
kill people,” is one of these commonly accepted illusions. Guns indeed kill people, if this were not so,
no prosecutor anywhere is the United States would probably be able to
successfully win a case involving such weapons if the instrument used in the
course of the crime cannot be viewed as “guilty” or capable of performing its
Cases have been dismissed on the sole basis
of an un-working or unloaded firearm used in a suspected crime that made the
prosecution’s case inert. This phrase is
most often uttered by supporters of the American National Rifle Association and
habitually utilised by gun enthusiasts to quell any and all debate surrounding
private gun ownership. While no one in
the federal government has dared to buck the U.S. gun lobby to any appreciable
degree, private citizens have and continue to struggle for reasonable firearm
rights and proper checks on the firms that produce WmD’s, (Weapons of minor
Destruction) to prevent the unauthorised commerce of illegal firearms to
criminals and other individuals who probably shouldn’t even be allowed to own a
packet of matches. So the idea that
witty slogans can diffuse the reality of the issue is an old one and
inaccurate. But that does not mean that
Americans still have come to grips with their sinister love affair with the
Filmmakers such as Michael Moore and countless
television news programmes have asked the question of why so many Americans
feel the need to own a gun. The
responses range from hobbyists who enjoy developing and practising a skill to
individuals and groups seeking to enforce a variety of theological and
political agendas. But the most
mentioned reason for owning a firearm is fear.
Fear of home intruders, fear of personal attacks and fear of “them, that
ubiquitous them “they” always warn us about.
In a country that prides itself on rational
thought, this frequently expressed fear of the unknown has outside of extreme
circumstances of social instability, no basis in fact. But as mentioned copiously above, fact,
science and logic do not factor in American thinking. We can easily qualify this statement with the
current debate surrounding global warming.
The planet is slowly breaking down and the physical signs are all around
us, yet few people are willing in the United States to reduce the nation’s use of the fossil fuels driving the Earth’s
destruction. The President of the United States has unwaveringly voiced his support for big energy firms rather
than ensuring that humans will have a future on a habitable planet.
As the public in Nazi-controlled Germany
“allowed” their country to be swallowed whole by their latent hatreds and
irrational fears of a persistent and faceless menace, millions died as a world
watched in silence because they too feared this same nameless nuisance. At some point the negativity has to return to
its source. To paraphrase Malcolm X,
this is in my estimation, merely a case of “chickens coming home to roost.”
it was the ethnic, theological and political minorities. Today, it is the ethnic, theological and
political minorities. Both nations
actively promoted gun ownership. If the
reader cannot see the parallels between the two, then I dare suggest that the
dear reader is not looking. Ignorance
engenders fear. Fear in turn gives rise
to hostility and the American gun mythology in greater turn vigorously feeds
How much has really changed in the span of
time between 1938 and 2007? Nothing much
but the geographic locale.
- The Angryindian