One of the latest mass shooting took place only 20 minutes from where I've traveled many times.
A friend was on his way to meet a date at a bar on the Oregon District (where the shooting happened), but, in a blank moment of “highway hypnosis,” he missed his exit and showed up 5 minutes “late”... just after the shooting. And this was, of course, less than 24 hours from another shooting on the other side of the country.
Awful. Disgraceful. Disgusting. Sickening.
Yes. All of the above.
But quick jumps to scapegoating and knee-jerk reactions for the government to “do something,” of which are already emerging from all corners of the political and pundit class, are, and always have been, wrongheaded.
A Tale of Two Shooters
The Dayton shooter, as reported by Heavy.com, “was a self-described ‘leftist,’ who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, ‘I want socialism, and I'll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.’”
On the other end of the spectrum, the El Paso shooter was a Trump supporter who praised veterans, the wall, Christianity, and made fun of vegetarians for being “hipsters”.
Now, what’s important about the tweets and descriptions above is not that they are of any substance by themselves, nor are they very helpful predictors of potential mass shooters. (Even self-proclaimed satanists rarely ever shoot up public places.)
What’s important is how they’re being used now, predictably (though awkwardly), on both sides, as political vehicles; examples that the “other” is evil, and “we” are the innocent angels. (Yet, by nature of playing that game, they’re both wrong.)
As Paul Rosenberg of Freeman’s Perspective has written in the past:
Politics, as it exists today, never wastes a chance to make the beautiful ugly, and, even moreso, the ugly even uglier.
“Let’s be honest about something we see nonstop but seldom appreciate: Politics makes life ugly. Politics turns people you disagree with into twisted, cartoon images of what they really are, and it pushes you into degrading and hating them. In short, it’s vile, corrosive, and hate-filled.” At no time has this been more apparent than in the past 48 hours. And the endgame for both sides is always the same: the long arm of the law grows another finger.
Politics is Poison
You wouldn’t think it by the current hysteria, but violent crime in America today is sitting near an all-time low. Although we saw a minor uptick in 2015, over the past quarter-century, crime has been on the downslope.
Furthermore, for perspective, the eternal Neil deGrasse Tyson, who, perhaps, recently fired his publicist, wrote:
And yet, if you spend 5 minutes on Twitter, Facebook, or listening to the pundits, you’ll emerge convinced a new civil war is on the horizon.
Already, mainstream pundits are demanding “domestic terrorism laws” in America. Meanwhile, we’re having flashbacks of the Patriot Act.
You know, that thing that passed in the name of “security,” which ultimately made us less safe… eroded our civil liberties… expanded domestic spying programs… and militarized the police beyond anything we’ve ever seen, or would ever be appropriate.
We all MUST refuse to let the legacy media, once again, bully us with fear.
Americans Should be Very Skeptical Of Calls For New Terrorism Laws
Although Two mass shootings have rocked the United States in less than 24 hours, leaving dozens dead and many more wounded, MUCH THOUGHT needs to be given to these situations still.
The first in El Paso, Texas was allegedly perpetrated by a white supremacist whose racist motives are outlined in a rambling “manifesto”, the second allegedly by a self-described “leftist” whose motives, like the 2017 Las Vegas shooter, are presently unknown. These incidents occurred a week after another mass shooting in Gilroy, California.
All the usual US gun control debates have of course reignited, which is understandable ONLY to those NOT in the know. Alongside this debate, however, we are seeing another, far more pernicious agenda being raised that I would like to address here.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, notorious liar and propagandist Malcolm Nance claimed that existing laws aren’t sufficient for prosecuting the El Paso shooter, because there are no laws designating his act of mass murder as “domestic terrorism”.
“I think that Congress needs to take up right away a series of domestic terrorism laws,” Nance said. “It’d be very simple: just match them to the words ‘international terrorism’, so that a member of al-Qaeda and a member of a white nationalist terrorist cell or a militia that thinks they’re going to carry out international acts of terrorism are equal all the way around. Right now there are no laws called ‘domestic terrorism law’. They can get you for firearms, they get you for hate crimes, but you are not treated as a terrorist. This act in El Paso was clearly by all definitions a terrorist attack in the United States, but of course by the nature of the person being white and American he can’t be treated like a member of ISIS or al-Qaeda. He can’t even be detained, he can only be treated as a murderer.”
(The accused, for the record, is in fact under arrest currently, and prosecutors say that they are treating it as a domestic terrorism case for which they are seeking the death penalty. This is in Texas; he’ll be dead before the next Fast Furious movie. Nance’s notion that prosecutors’ hands are somehow tied here is silly.)
“But he’s a murderer with a political intent who is spreading an ideology,” Nance continued. “So Congress should take that up immediately. And let’s see if the White House won’t sign that legislation. That would be very revealing.”
In other words, shove the legislation through and call anyone who opposes it a Nazi lover.
Political commentary is flooded with the word “terrorism” today. People are demanding that the El Paso shooter in particular and white supremacists in general be labeled terrorists by the narrative-making commentariat, and you know what? I totally get it. The push since 9/11 to tar Muslims as “terrorists” has been extremely obnoxious and fueled by hate and bigotry, so it makes sense for progressive-minded people to push for the egalitarian usage of that term. But before doing so, please reflect on what lessons we learned from the post-9/11 “Islamic terrorism” scare, although Islamic global 'spread' IS in fact, VERY REAL!
“Years of misguided alarmism over ‘Islamic terrorism’ resulted in the erosion of civil liberties, militarization of police, and a host of other bad outcomes. Applying the same alarmist logic to ‘white nationalist terrorism’ is likely to produce a host of similarly bad outcomes, tweeted independent journalist Michael Tracey in response to the chatter.
“I am telling you now that the government will use the violence that Trump himself has rallied as an excuse for more militarization, more surveillance, more violations of civil liberties — and a lot of people are going to welcome these things because they are afraid, tweeted Truthout‘s Kelly Hayes. “I’m not guessing or being creative here.
This is about having a sense of history and a sense of how these systems function in the present. I would love to be wrong. I would celebrate being wrong. But I’m not.”
Indeed, it is an established fact that the US government will use the narrative about the need to fight terrorism to advance pre-existing agendas. The first draft of the massive USA Patriot Act was introduced a week after the 9/11 attacks, far too fast for anyone to have gathered the necessary information from all the relevant government bodies about what changes were necessary and typed out the hundreds of pages of the bill. Legislators later admitted that they didn’t even have time to read through the densely worded bill before passing it the next month, so to believe that it could have been written in a week would be childish.
In 2011 then-Congressman Ron Paul told Politico that “the Patriot Act was written many, many years before 9/11,” adding that the attacks simply provided “an opportunity for some people to do what they wanted to do.” Paul was serving in Congress when the Patriot Act was passed. The Act has since been used to erode human rights at home and abroad by destroying Fourth Amendment protections and legalizing Orwellian surveillance, and it’s safe to assume that the opaque and unaccountable government agencies who were greatly empowered by it had already wanted this to happen.
I have no easy answers for America’s mass shooting epidemic, and as an Australian I see the gun control debate as outside my sovereign territory. I will simply suggest, as I so often do, that if Americans really want to address the problem, then the best place to start is to do the first ever honest and in-depth study on the effects of domestic propaganda on the American mind; particularly war propaganda.
There are only so many times a certain type of mind can be told violence-glorifying lies before it snaps; if anyone researches mass shootings in the light of the constant psychological abuse that Americans suffer at the hands of their mass media, I guarantee they’ll find a connection. Americans are the most propagandized people on earth because of their proximity to the most strategically crucial part of the empire; it’s not a coincidence that they’re also by far the most prone to mass shootings.
One thing I can tell you won’t fix your problems, America, and that’s listening to the propagandists who want you to hand over even more control to a government that has already begun floating high-altitude surveillance balloons over your country without your permission.
Don’t let them bully you with fear and DON'T allow them to manipulate you like a puppeteer either.