America’s most recent mass murders have brought the usual reactions: sincerely motivated calls for more gun control and sincerely motivated calls for less gun control. We are the most sincerely well armed population in the world and while that hardly threatens our authoritarian democracy with armed insurrection or protects us from being robbed in the marketplace, it does menace us all. We’re in danger of being offed by well armed amateur criminals, family members , neighbors or lunatics whose only freedom seems to be the purchase and lethal use of a gun. The latest crimes have offered more opportunities for placing blame on individuals or minority groups for these outbursts of free market insanity, rarely looking to their root causes as being social rather than simply personal.
The murderer of innocent Sikhs attending a religious service was media-fied into an even greater menace than the murderer of innocent movie goers attending a more commercial service. The killer of twelve in Colorado was briefly probed and found to be intelligent and with some academic achievements to balance his visits to a therapist. But the murderer of six in Wisconsin provoked a frenzy of fear mongering over his being a member of a “white supremacist hate group”. That was more than enough info for servants of the 1% who do analysis to make sure that minority power and control is never questioned. Problems always originate from the lower depths of the 99%, never from above.
We can continue accepting conclusions about individual American nutcases if we want further alienation of more of our people. And when they are most socially estranged and dangerous, see to it that they can purchase weapons instead of offering them what they desperately need; economic security , political trust and the psychological comfort only possible – and even then hardly guaranteed – with at least a bit of inner peace.
The Wisconsin killer was analyzed to reveal his shocking racism and malevolent anger at government but hardly to learn why these may have developed. This nation has never experienced racial animosity among its people, nor has it ever murdered tens of thousands of darker skinned foreign people, all in pursuit of democracy and social justice. Americans unanimously love and trust their government and we are such devoted patriots that we never cheat on our taxes and whether liberal, fascist, conservative or socialist rarely take deductions to lower our tax bills in denial of our duties as citizens.
Now let’s wipe the drool from our chins and attempt a look at material reality.
What role might the Wisconsin man’s economic and social background have played in turning him into the white supremacist he became? Did his military experience have anything to do with it? Some hustlers who profit from these tragedies have charged the services with breeding such belief systems. Really? Long before but especially since 911, political, military and religious leaders have preached racial animosity, disrespect and hatred of “the other”, especially Muslims, so that our armed forces could invade foreign countries and murder the people we teach them are an evil menace to this society. You mean they might bring that kind of thinking home with them?
Those theorizing about the Wisconsin murderer after the fact are often far from the social realities and military experience that brings a level of violence most of us only live vicariously while fantasizing what we might like to do to our bosses, politicians or other drivers. The professionals who study these killers are rarely from backgrounds that might afford them gut level experience such as may have come to the person driven over the edge. In this case, the Wisconsin murderer’s service was in military psy-ops; “psychological operations” in which advertising and public relations propaganda techniques are developed and used to get people to believe what isn’t reality but what they should accept if things are to go the American way. Sound familiar? Ever watch TV news? So he may have been more sophisticated than many of his professional analysts might assume, but he was not so privileged as to be protected from having his home in foreclosure.
He was a truck driver, among the economic class that joins the military to find work or get an education, who lost his home to the bank or finance company. Hardly an atypical American story and not the mainstream middle class experience – increasingly revealed as a manifestation of corporate psy-ops – but surely not an excuse for committing murder . Yet this brief glance at material reality offers a potential framework beyond psycho-babble as reason for why a transformation of character and personality might have taken place.
His racism was said to have grown, if not originated, in the military, where he found it difficult to advance while he saw blacks achieving gains by virtue of affirmative action which benefitted them and not his white working class group. This attitude is hardly uncommon and too readily dismissed by people of far more privilege than those who express such alleged bigotry. The racism is often real but just as often provoked by the unfairness of market forces that have reduced some white workers to being less profitable commodities than other groups. Some who are racially hate driven but others who are reduced to such thinking by their material status in society become members of extremist religious or political groups, often because there are no others listening to, or dealing with, their problems. The most extreme are so-called supremacist groups which are often driven to acting supreme because they are treated like something much less.
How many suffering groups persecuted, abused and treated with disrespect, or sometimes believing they are persecuted. abused and treated with disrespect, rationalize their mistreatment by concluding that they are not only aggrieved, but actually superior to all those who abuse, persecute and disrespect them? Without such rationalization the Abrahamic faiths would not exist, to speak of only one of humanity’s methods of coping with the brutal suffering, injustice and awesome mystery of life itself. Analyses not rooted in the political economic status regime that benefits ruling power would reveal that all social divisions have nothing to do with human difference in essence – there are none, there is only one race – but only with a rich minority class and the ideas implanted among the people to keep it in power over divided majorities.
In a society based on the social misfortunes of some creating the personal fortunes of others, the responsibility for injustice can be made to seem the worker who advances beyond you despite your abilities, or the immigrant using social services you pay for with your taxes. Simply dismissing those who accept such notions as racist hate mongers only makes one thing certain. There will be many more of them and some will go over the edge, where they will be very well armed by the weapons marketplace. And all of us will pay a much heavier social price for acting so ignorantly, thoughtlessly and with such bigotry towards them.
The reckless disregard with which allegedly sophisticated people dismiss those they find their intellectual inferiors but who are in reality more often their economic tools, is a terrible shortcoming of otherwise good people who suffer from the same divisive policies of ruling powers acting through their servant class in the upper strata of the 99%.
Given that we spend trillions of dollars on weapons and war, more than any other nation on earth, the fact that we murder one another with more regularity than the people of any other nation should not be surprising. Are we deadly because we bomb cities, invade countries and murder tens of thousands in wars – all for good reason, of course, since they are our worst social enemies – or because we murder our neighbors, shoppers at the mall, gang bangers on the street or workers at the office – all for good reason, of course, since they are our worst personal enemies? Whether we perform as nutcase individuals possessed by Satan, capitalism, or terrorist fanaticism, or heroic servants to the cause possessed by patriotism, dedication to family, flag and nation, the end result is the same.
At least the individual nutcases were not “following orders”, except for voices within their heads which we judge as making them individually insane, even if they thought it was god. What is our social excuse? Why do we still hold Germans and Germany “guilty” for past wars while we laud our own mass murders as performance in the line of duty and following orders? That’s exactly what got quite a few Germans executed after WW2.
With the twisted nature of reality as it is presented to Americans, “authority” is rarely identified clearly and can be made to seem minorities (choose one, just keep us divided), the unemployed, seniors, youth, the poor, people of color, people of no color, and last but not least, the government. This godlike or satanic entity (choose one, just keep us divided) that works against most of us is a force identified by rulers as exercised by those with even less power than we. In short, rich people don’t have nearly enough, working people have too much, and poor people are just lolling about the projects, ghettos, in doorways and under bridges having the time of their squalid lives at our expense.
When guilty rather than responsible people look at the ugliness of historical and institutional racism in America, they too often conclude that there is something called “white privilege” that works across the board for all “white” people. This is exactly how rulers like their divide and conquer programs to work. Don’t look high above to see the flaws in your society, only look below or at those with just a bit more than you. People are easily motivated to respond in anger to those who use social services which they pay for, and resent those who are helped by divisive social policies – like affirmative action – which guarantee benefits to only a few while seeing to it that many pay the price. But certainly not the predominantly white minority at the top – now with a few multiculturally diverse assistants at their side –enjoying all of the benefits while absorbing none of the costs.
The next time you see a homeless white man panhandling or rummaging through a trash basket, ask him what he did with his “white privilege” and then think about what a great democracy we have with poverty and degradation coming to all races, creeds and nationalities, equally, without any distinction. Except personal bankroll.
Capitalist society is all about profits for some at the expense of most and it is in a state of crisis revealed more clearly every day. These mass murderers are not only manifestations of personal psychoses, but of social breakdowns kept from us by consciousness controllers . We won’t end seemingly senseless murders of Americans at home until we stop equally senseless disregard for life in foreign countries. Our problems cannot be solved with simply personal solutions for damaged individuals; we need social solutions that protect all of us in a terminally damaged culture. These involve radical restructuring of our political economy, ending the warfare state, the weapons market, fossil fuel as the staff of life, having full employment and health care for all and getting such things by controlling public wealth though public banks. Until, and unless, we affect such change, we will face more wars, more ecological and especially social breakdowns which will come to us in our places of worship, our shopping malls, our city centers, and in our homes. None of us will be safe until all of us can live in safety.