The Killing Spirit: Psycho Killers & Civil Evolution

It is not about blame.  We are all to blame and we are none.

It is not about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter or Sarah Palin.  They are not the cause of this disease; they are only symptoms.

It is about that part of ourselves we do not wish to see.  It is that part of our souls that we keep hidden in the shadows and refuse to acknowledge.  It has been with us and within us for thousands of years and it will be within us until the end of time.

It is the killing spirit, the spirit of vengeance, intolerance, greed and hatred.  Its antithesis is understanding, empathy, kindness and civility.  The one poisons the soul of humanity and the other heals.

So you still think it is a good idea to allow guns at political rallies?

So you still think possession of automatic assault weapons is a god-given right and not a privilege born of responsibility?

If the latest psycho killer to claim more than his share in the fifteen-minutes-of-fame game had been a member of a well-regulated militia, he would surely have lost his membership card long ago and with it his right to bear arms.

To those who have sold their souls to the National Rifle Association it does not matter.  No amount of bloodshed is sufficient to justify any infringement on the right to purchase deadly weapons and ammunition.

I do not wish in any way to diminish the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona.  It has touched the heart of the nation in a way that few events can.  We reach out to the fallen and the wounded.  We know their faces and stories and we share their grief.

But I cannot ignore the greater picture.  The same weekend as that horrific slaughter in the border town of Tucson, fifty-one people lost their lives to drug related violence south of the border, including fifteen decapitated bodies in Acapulco.  The death toll stands at 30,000 since Felipe Calderon became president four years ago.  The city of Juarez and its surrounding area resemble Fallujah at the height of the Iraq War:  an estimated 200,000 exiles and over 3,000 murders this year alone.

Where do they get their weapons?  Welcome to the USA where anyone from drug lords and criminals to terrorists and madmen can purchase weapons of mass destruction as long as you’ve got the cash.  We have so armed the drug lords that they typically outgun the police and the Mexican army.

I would not wish to diminish the tragedy in Mexico but even the killing fields of Ciudad Juarez demure when compared to the mass graves of modern Africa, whose often genocidal wars in Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia and Nigeria were all supplied with deadly weapons made in the USA.

We may have yielded manufacturing and industry to foreign markets where labor is cheaper than dirt but we remain the chief supplier of weaponry to the world at war where blood is cheaper than water.  What else can we do with yesterday’s killing machines?

How can we expect to close down Guns and Ammo shows when our nation supplies missiles to every dictator who comes looking?  How can we expect to ban cop-killer bullets when we sell Apache gunships to genocidal maniacs?

I make no bones:  I don’t believe in the individual right to carry arms and I don’t care what our founders said about it.

I believe that societies like species undergo a process of evolution.  At an advanced stage of civil society, government disavows the state’s right to kill.  At an advance stage, government delivers universal health care, ensures a minimum standard of living, provides security for the aged and infirm, and limits handguns and assault weapons to officers of the law.  At an advanced stage, nations will come together to ban the international weapons trade.

The world is perhaps half a century away from disarming its most dangerous members and the nation is likewise half a century away from civilized gun control.

The killing spirit will not be defeated in a day.  It will, from time to time, emerge from the shadows with acts that shock and appall us, like the murder of an innocent child or the attempted assassination of a promising leader.

The killing spirit can never be destroyed, not completely, for we cannot as a species survive without it, but those who believe in the better part of human nature must believe that it can and will be subdued.  It is the process of civilization that will ultimately defeat the killing spirit by nurturing the better part of our nature: the healing spirit.

There are many who would scorn or sneer at such a notion and I have walked among them long enough to learn that that collective cynicism, a cynicism often born of fear, may be as great a barrier to civil evolution as the intolerance and vitriol of politicians and talking heads.

We Americans like to consider ourselves the most advanced of nations but we are in this fundamental sense severely behind.  It is not a problem that religion or education can resolve; it is a problem of collective consciousness.  When we can envision a world in which violence is as rare as a lunar eclipse on winter solstice, we will have taken the first step toward fulfilling that vision.

Meantime, let us all share a moment of silent contemplation, remembrance and mourning.

Jack Random is the author of Ghost Dance Insurrection (Dry Bones Press) the Jazzman Chronicles, Volumes I and II (City Lights Books). The Chronicles have been published by Dissident Voice and others. Read other articles by Jack, or visit Jack's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. hayate said on January 17th, 2011 at 1:43pm #

    “It is not about Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter or Sarah Palin. They are not the cause of this disease; they are only symptoms.”

    No. They are the conduits for the disease. And the disease is not “killing spirit”, but control. The control of the many by the few. To accomplish this, the few promote all sorts of unnatural behaviours in the many and keep the many in the dark and at odds with each other.

    “or the attempted assassination of a promising leader.”

    She was fully insync with the israel lobby. That’s where her loyalties are. A promising leader for whom, one might ask? One should not use the crime done against gifford’s to make claims about her that are simply not true. We’ve seen how zionists did that with obama and we’ve seen the damage that has wrought.

  2. mary said on January 17th, 2011 at 1:46pm #

    I totally agree with the writer’s views on gun ownership.

  3. bozh said on January 17th, 2011 at 4:21pm #

    jack random:
    “It has been with us and within us for thousands of years and it will be within us until the end of time”.

    this is a conclusion and not a fact. and this conclusion or prediction is of negative nature.
    it bolsters clerico-noble class’ assertion that we r no good andthus need a good whipping now and then.

    i assert we were alway ok. we will always be ok. but only if we do not allowa the worst scoundrels to rule us like onagers! tnx

  4. marklar said on January 17th, 2011 at 6:58pm #

    Why blame political speech when actual murderous violence is commonplace. Police murder citizens in broad daylight with nearly complete immunity from prosecution on a weekly basis. Millions are murdered in psychotic wars of aggression. Special-op and CIA assassins roam the globe under US sanction dispensing death sentences without judicial process.

    Yes, must be those who speak who inspire such violence rather than those who murder and terrorize their way around the world. Makes sense,.. uh huh.

  5. joed said on January 17th, 2011 at 7:07pm #

    Mr. Random sir, you are way off on this one. I am not hiding a killing spirit from myself or anyone else. Everyone has the right to self-defence, ergo The Taliban. If a person is possessed of a critical selfconsciousness then the desire/will what have you will not be there. Perhaps most citizens of U S daily consider killing other humans but I don’t think they do. Even Ms. Palin, bless her, probably doesn’t want to kill others.
    No, most citizens of U S are happy to just watch tv and think about the next election and how the Dems will make real changes happen. You know, fatasyland sans disney.

  6. M Richards said on January 17th, 2011 at 11:57pm #

    Well, I, for one, cannot fathom why this line of argument is being contemplated. Firstly, it’s self-contradictory; secondly, it’s appeasing and not at all conciliatory albeit it seems conciliatory, and thirdly, it is self-effacing and emasculatory.

    Coulter, Limbaugh, et alia are most certainly not only to blame but materially at fault. They repeatedly urge the direction of and use of violence. They talk with violence. They are vicious, vicious people. Just because they go home and pet their dog, or are members of the foibled human race, does not exonerate them —or their ilk— from culpability. Yes: culpability. They are instigators. Fomenters.

    Next: If you want to self-flagellate, be my guest.

    Lastly: This is maudlin.

  7. M Richards said on January 18th, 2011 at 12:09am #

    I am most certainly NOT to blame, not humanly and not culturally. I reject your notion out of hand.

    I am not a violent person, but will not accept this utterly facile, deluded accusation — that “we” are “all” to blame. Potential is only that: potential. We have a brain. At least I do.

    I am not in the least averse to meting out violence against people who are themselves violent. If they can dish it out, let them find out who can dish it back. This is not in the least contradictory. A violent person *is* aggressive. A non-aggressive person indeed can, and should, return violence when necessary.

    I will not be shamed nor cajoled nor wheedled nor guilted into pretenses of nobleness that are utter fictions. It is no more noble to be non-violent than it is to be a wimp door mat. You’d damned well believe that I have all the potential to be violent. How I direct it, and toward whom, and when, is quite another matter.

    Don’t insult me. I urge, as well, to not insult yourself with this self-deprecating drivel.

  8. bozh said on January 18th, 2011 at 6:23am #

    yes, a number of contributors push the notion that we were not ever ok, we r not ok now, and never will be ok!

    and by saying this either explicitly or imply it, they support people who own us and command us to kill, lie, cheat, deceive, use, abuse, rob.

    and young people do not possess ability to espy an implication and thus be able to challenge it.
    challenge it for usefulness, veracity, trusting others and being trusted
    in turn, etc.

    i recall my own vast nescience and ignorance of own ignorance! tnx

  9. Don Hawkins said on January 18th, 2011 at 6:39am #

    I agree Bozh and yes try and do it as best I can. Maybe try harder or not try so hard probably the second.