Tag Archives: massacres

For gun massacres, it takes a village

<p>Friends and family members embrace outside the Orlando Police Headquarters during the investigation of a shooting at the Pulse night club, where as many as 20 people have been injured after a gunman opened fire, in Orlando, June 12, 2016. (REUTERS/Steve Nesius) </p>

Reuters photo

Distraught individuals comfort each other at the Orlando Police Department headquarters after the United States’ worst gun massacre in history at a gay nightclub early this morning in Orlando, Florida. Because most of the victims were gay men, whose lives are expendable, this latest gun massacre won’t be in the national discussion for very long, though, and this latest American massacre demonstrates that although same-sex couples’ constitutional right to marry finally was recognized a year ago this month, plenty of ignorance surrounding and hatred toward non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals remains.

What a quandary for American wingnuts and other homophobes! The largest slaughter of innocent Americans on American soil since 9/11 — perpetrated by a Muslim man, of course* — must be condemned, but at the same time, most if not all of the Muslim’s victims were queers!

Seriously — this is a conundrum, since most American haters of Muslims hate non-heterosexual and non-gender-conforming individuals, too; homophobia is something that fundamentalist Christians, Muslims and Jews all have in common.

I say this with confidence: Even though early this morning we saw the largest shooting massacre in American history (50 fatalities [including the gunman] at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida), we won’t talk about this gun massacre for nearly as long as we talked about the last gun massacre, the one in San Bernardino, California, in which 14 people were slaughtered by a Muslim man and his Muslim wife in December.**

And that’s because heterosexual (and gender-conforming) lives still are valued much more than are non-heterosexual (and non-gender-conforming) lives in the United States of America.

I’m confident that just as millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die of AIDS, millions of Americans (most of them self-identified “Christians”) believe that fags deserved to die in Orlando this morning. (These individuals of course would take issue with my use of the word “innocent” in the first paragraph.)

You know, though, even though I’m a gay man, I don’t feel a bunch of hatred toward the perpetrator, 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who was the son of immigrants from Afghanistan and a U.S. citizen (and who was shot dead by police after he’d committed his carnage).

Nor do I feel a generalized hatred toward Muslims, although I believe that their belief system, along with Christians’ and Jews’, is bullshit (with their “God” essentially being a Santa Claus figure on crack [He sees you when you’re sleeping/ He knows when you’re awake/ He knows if you’ve been bad or good/ So be good for goodness’ sake!]), and although I recognize that a relatively tiny percentage of them are capable of great evil (as is the case with all human beings).

I do, however, blame toxic, backasswards, patriarchal, misogynist and homophobic religion, with its hocus-pocus, bullshit beliefs, and I blame the fact that Omar Mateen was born and raised in a nation whose highest court not even a full year ago finally ruled that under the U.S. Constitution, non-heterosexual individuals have the same human and civil rights that heterosexuals do.

When it comes to massacres, it takes a village to make them happen, people.

We need to examine the village much more than we need to examine the perpetrators.*** They are the symptoms of the village that creates them.

*Actually, of course, it remains that case that a typical American is significantly more likely to be shot and killed in a mass shooting by a white person who considers himself to be a Christian than by a Muslim.

Um, yeah.

**The Los Angeles Times put out this graphic of past gun massacres in the United States:

Note that this latest gun massacre took a real leap in the body count from the previous record. The L.A. Times grimly keeps a growing, running roundup of gun massacres in the United States here.

***That said, I’m confident that Mateen was mentally ill (his ex-wife has said that he was) — you can’t massacre people unless you are mentally ill (and the mentally ill widely don’t get the help that they need in the United States) — spurred on by the ignorance and hatred within his environment (including, of course, the ignorance and hatred that routinely is spewed within religion in the name of “God”), and, of course, I have to wonder if he was battling with homosexual urges himself.

I mean, reportedly he went ballistic when he saw two men kissing in public in Miami recently.

Why? Why would that drive you to shoot up a gay nightclub, if you were heterosexual and comfortable with your heterosexuality?

It seems to me quite possible that the sick and twisted Mateen, by killing gay men who unabashedly were being who they are in public (at least in the nightclub), was trying to kill the homosexuality within himself.

Finally, I don’t wish to exclude lesbians from mention, but the official list of victims in the Orlando massacre that has been released thus far indicates that most of the victims were male and Latino. I don’t know if any lesbians were killed, too. I see one female name on the list, and I don’t know what her sexual orientation was, and of course not all of the males slaughtered there necessarily were gay, but, it being a gay nightclub, I’m guessing (safely, methinks) that most if not all of them were.

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We need to talk about Elliot

Twenty-two-year-old Elliot Rodger, who apparently slaughtered six college students and injured 13 other people near Santa Barbara before he shot himself dead in the head a few days ago, eerily reminds me of the titular character of the 2011 film “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” Not only is there at least a passing physical resemblance — here is an image of Rodger sporting a Wolverine-like ’do from Facebook:

UCSB-shooting-elliot-rodgers-11

and here is an image of the 21-year-old actor Ezra Miller as the character of Kevin:

— but the fictional Kevin’s and the real-life Elliot’s biographies seem at least somewhat similar, both with parents concerned about their son’s mental health and then the inevitable (?) massacre of the young man’s peers. (The fictional Kevin uses arrows; Elliot Rodgers apparently used a knife to kill three young men at his apartment and then bullets to kill two young women and another young man near the University of California at Santa Barbara campus.)

Rodger’s selfie-video complaint seems pathetic, probably, to most (so-called) adults. It is stilted and awkward — written and rehearsed, probably, and reportedly Rodger was somewhere on the autistic spectrum, which, if true, might explain that in part or in whole — and Rodgers’ central complaint does indeed seem to boil down to his claim that he was a 22-year-old virgin. His video begins:

Hi. Elliot Rodger here.

Well, this is my last video, it has all had to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution, the day in which I will have my revenge against humanity, against all of you. For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex and love to other men but never to me.

I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex and fun and pleasure. Within those years, I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair.

You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because … I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman. …

Supreme gentlemen probably don’t commit massacres, but we’re not exactly ladies and gentlemen, either.

If history is any guide — and history always is a reliable guide — we Americans won’t learn from this latest massacre, but we will put all of the blame on Rodger and go on with business as usual.

Rodger has been called all kinds of things, including “psycho virgin,” and, of course, “fag.”

And maybe he was gay. It’s certainly possible. It’s not awful to suggest that, unless by doing so you are implying (or even flat-out stating) other things, such as that the villain always, or at least almost always, is an evil gay person. (Which certainly isn’t true, of course; the clear majority of those who have gone on murderous rampages in the United States have been heterosexual males.)

Rodger was not physically unattractive, so, it seems to me, if none of his female cohorts had interest in him, possible reasons for that might have included that he was socially awkward (which, judging by his infamous YouTube video, anyway, he apparently was) and/or that they sensed that he was gay, if he was. (I wouldn’t blame a heterosexual woman for rejecting, as a sexual partner, a male who struck her as probably gay.)

Whatever Rodger’s sexual orientation was, it seems insane to most of us adults/adults” that a 22-year-old would find his persistent virginity to be cause to go on a murderous rampage, but one, I’m sure that there was a lot more than just Rodger’s virginity that was a problem for him, and two, we adults/adults” forget (or perhaps we’ve never known) how much high levels of the reproductive hormone in the bloodstream of the young person, coupled with youth and inexperience, affect his or her moods, thoughts and behaviors.

And we adults/adults” forget how strong can be a young person’s desire to couple — and how strong the social/peer pressure for a young person to couple can be — and how a breakup can make a still-quite-young person feel that his or her life is over.

Added to this mix is an overpopulated society in which for the most part, under the god of capitalism, it’s every individual out for him- or herself, in which human relationships are much more like business transactions than they are anything like actual human relationships, and under the god of war, weapons* are seen as the solution (perhaps the ultimate solution), to our conflicts and our problems. Might makes right — right?

The only way to prevent another Elliot Rodger from doing what Elliot Rodger did is to try on another Elliot Rodger’s shoes, and try to understand, instead of to judge. (And to try to understand is not necessarily to agree with or to condone.)

Indeed, the common reaction to Rodger in the aftermath of Rodger’s massacre only demonstrates the mean-spirited environment in which he was immersed that very apparently pushed him over the edge. Rodger killed because he felt no love. He felt no love because in the United States of America, for the most part, there is no love anywhere to be had.

Perhaps especially if you are somewhere on the autistic spectrum and/or have some type of mental illness to some degree, and/or if you are not heterosexual or if, regardless of your sexual orientation you come off to heterosexuals as perhaps not being heterosexual — if you are different or even just perceived as different — you most likely will not feel the warmth of the love that the majority of Americans steadfastly claim is there, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

*The father of one of Rodger’s victims, 20-year-old Christopher Michael-Martinez, whom Rodger apparently shot to death, according to Reuterssaid his son died because Congress had failed to act after a mentally ill gunman killed 26 people in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.”

Reuters quotes Michael-Martinez’s father, Richard Martinez, as having stated on CNN, “We’re all proud to be Americans. But what kind of message does it send to the world when we have such a rudderless bunch of idiots in government?”

Reuters notes that “[Federal legislation] after Sandy Hook to extend background checks for gun sales, ban assault weapons and limit magazines’ capacities failed to clear the [U.S.] Senate in April 2013. Gun-rights advocates strongly opposed the measures.”

Reuters further quotes Richard Martinez as having said, “These people are getting rich sitting in Congress. And what do they do? They don’t take care of our kids.”

That’s absolutely true — that we need stricter gun control and that the U.S. Congress has not been representative of us, the majority of the American people, for a long, long time now — but these things are only pieces of the larger puzzle.

Our larger, overarching national problems are our lovelessness, our selfishness, and our moral, ethical and intellectual laziness that allow such things as grotesque socioeconomic inequality, an unrepresentative federal government (including, of course, not just the worthless U.S. Congress but also the do-nothing, hopey-changey Barack Obama), and our national fetishization of weapons and of the military (I will note on this Memorial Day) to flourish at our own mass peril.

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Yet another massacre from which the sheeple won’t learn a thing

Well, the internet noticed too.

If this guy is elected (or allowed to steal office a la 2000) in November, there will be more massacres. (More Photoshop jobs on this theme here…)

The United States of America is one big dysfuckingfunctional family.

Every once in a while, one of us snaps and kills a lot of people. The rest of us then all act shocked and horrified and say how “senseless” it was (when really we’re primarily just celebrating the fact that we weren’t among the body count), and then we go back to our lives of self-centeredness and greed that will help create the next massacre.

Every time one of these massacres occurs, I write essentially the same blog piece, but fuck it, as long as it keeps happening, I’ll keep writing the same blog piece. So here goes:

James Eagen Holmes, the 24-year-old accused of having blown away 12 people and injuring 58 others at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, early this morning, did not — I repeat, DID NOT — develop within a fucking vacuum.

No, I promise you, he developed entirely within a social context.

My guess is that Holmes has some screws loose, but the fact of the matter is that Holmes is just one of millions of young Americans whose nation has failed them beyond miserably.

The Associated Press reports that according to a neighbor of Holmes, “Holmes struggled to find work after graduating with highest honors in the spring of 2010 with a neuroscience degree from the University of California, Riverside.”

Holmes isn’t a drop-out pothead. The AP also reports of Holmes that he “enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, said school officials, who didn’t provide a reason.”

Yes, Holmes was a Ph.D. candidate, one of our brightest young people. Neuroscience, for fuck’s sake. Sounds pretty close to a brain surgeon to me.

My guess is that like millions of his cohorts, and like millions of members of my generation (Gen X), Holmes graduated from college with a mountain of debt but with no good job prospects whatsofuckingever.

I, too, graduated (in 1990 — during the first George-Bush-induced recession) with a worthless bachelor’s degree but with student-loan debt, and I, too, initially returned to school (to get my master’s degree, which I ultimately didn’t get) because there were no jobs out there and I didn’t know what else to do. (At age 44, I still am a member of what my fellow Gen-X foaming-at-the-mouth leftist Ted Rall calls the “overeducated underclass.”)

Since the 1980s, under Ronald Reagan, who couldn’t blow the Wall Street weasels enough, our higher-education system stopped being about preparing students for good jobs. Those jobs, under the vulture capitalism that Mittens Romney and his ilk perpetrate, perpetuate and defend, have been evaporating from the United States these past few decades.*

The American higher-education system now is about, and for some decades now has been about, handing our young over to the student-loan sharks for their feeding frenzies. Our colleges don’t produce young people who are ready for the good jobs that await them — our colleges instead produce young people who start off in life neck-deep in debt to the student-loan sharks, struggling to survive by taking jobs that are way beneath their abilities.

Starting out like this, many if not most of them never even will catch up, but will lag behind for the rest of their days.

We lie to our youth about the importance of going to college and doing well so that they can get fulfilling, well-paying jobs — jobs that don’t fucking exist and haven’t for some decades now.

Our youth are punk’d royally, so of course they become angry and bitter.

True, not all of them shoot up a movie theater. They just become alcoholics and/or druggies and/or go on Big Pharma’s antidepressants and/or abuse those in their lives and/or immerse themselves in materialism and commercialism and/or become sex addicts or some other type of addicts and/or commit suicide.

Everything is connected, whether we want to acknowledge that fact or not. (And for the most part, we don’t. We prefer what we believe is the safety of our own little bubbles, even though are bubbles are not our own safe houses, but are our own fucking caskets.)

Blowhard Rush Limbaugh recently accused filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” the latest “Batman” trilogy, etc.) of, in Nolan’s current “Batman” movie, modeling (or at least naming) Batman’s enemy Bane after Mittens Romney’s vulture capitalism outfit Bain Capital — in order to make a political, anti-Mittens statement.

(Bain, Bane — apparently one-syllable homophones mesmerize great minds like Limbaugh’s.

Of course, the “Batman” comic-book character of Bane was created in 1993, well before Mittens ever decided to run for the White House, but mere facts never stop the likes of Grand Dragon Daddy Limbaugh and his fans.)

It was at a midnight showing of the latest “Batman” installment, “The Dark Knight Rises,” that James Eagen Holmes committed his massacre, and yes, it seems to me, there is a Bain connection here: It is vulture capitalism run amock that created the socioeconomic context within which this latest massacre occurred.

As insane income inequality grows, the pain and suffering of the poor and the middle class and the working class increases, and yes, some of the victims of vulture capitalism do snap and act out.

The only thing that’s shocking is that we don’t see a whole fucking lot more of it.

James Eagen Holmes very apparently snapped under the pressures of the oppressive socioeconomic system that not enough of us fight against. If enough of us did fight against it, our oppression at the hands of the filthy rich, treasonous few would stop.

Instead, way too fucking many of us, such as cops (the taxpayer-funded security guards of the plutocrats, who, of course, pay no taxes themselves) and members of the U.S. military (a.k.a. cannon fodder for Big Oil), and, of course, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors, insanely side with our oppressors instead of with their fellow oppressed.

Better to curry favor with the oppressors, the rich and the powerful, than to be one of their victims, right? Of course, cops and soldiers and “tea party” dipshits are just as much victims as are the rest of us. These fools are the plutocratic oppressors’ tools, whether they realize it or acknowledge it or not.

Of course I don’t advocate massacres in movie theaters — I see a lot of movies myself, including at the Century Theatres in my area** — but it nauseates me to hear the same old predictable bullshit that the American sheeple bleat when massacres (Columbine, 9/11, this morning’s, etc.) are in the news.

We don’t understaaaaaaand, the sheeple bleat.

Yes, the sheeple do understand, at least dimly, at least on some level.

It’s that they don’t fucking care.

If they did, they’d have to change.

And that might even mean — gasp!having to fight.

The sheeple secretly would prefer more massacres of other sheeple.

P.S. Of course the Mittens and President Hopey-Changey campaigns had to weigh in on today’s massacre. They have to pretend to care about us, you see.

Mittens’ statement was:

“Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 [sic] people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief.  We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”

“Senseless” violence. Right. A brilliant young man can’t find decent work in a nation that doesn’t give a flying fuck about him and sees no future for himself and so he snaps. “Senseless.” Makes no sense at all. None whatsofuckingever. Happened just out of the blue. Randomly. Just one of those things that no one possibly could even begin to explain.

Look how quickly Mittens was to pounce upon the idea of “justice” for the perpetrator.

It’s funny, because if those truly responsible for today’s terrible crime actually ever were brought to justice, Mittens and his treasonous, plutocratic ilk would be behind bars, where they belong.

But they can rest easy.

So-called “justice” is meted out only to the 99 percent of us, and almost never to the 1 percent.

If you kill a dozen people, like James Eagen Holmes apparently did today, and are a member of the 99 percent, you at least will go to prison.

But if you are a mass murderer and are among the 1 percent, like George W. Bush or Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice — or yes, like Barack Obama, who loves assassinations (with and without the use of drones) and who loves keeping the traitors who comprise the military-industrial complex happy with billions and billions of our tax dollars that aren’t going to the things that we need, such as job creation, education, health care, environmental protection and infrastructure improvements — you are allowed to run loose.

It’s not just within the arena of the military-industrial complex that mass murderers go free. Corporations’ profits-over-people practices routinely kill scores and scores of innocent people, yet the corporatocrats get off scot-free — even though corporations, according to the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, are “people.”

“Justice.”

Indeed.

Why would, how could, anyone snap in this oh-so-fair-and-just United States of America?

*The No. 1 goal of capitalism is not job creation, as the Repugnican Tea Party traitors among us proclaim. The No. 1 goal of capitalism is profiteering. Fucking duh.

Labor is expensive. Under American capitalism, if you can replace your American workers with machines or with other automated systems and/or outsource their jobs to sweatshops overseas, you do so in order to increase your profits.

The vulture capitalists are not job creators. They are wealth aggregators, as fucking evidenced by the fact that over the past several years the wealthiest have gotten even wealthier while the jobs have dried up and rest of us have gotten poorer.

If these treasonous plutocrats were job creators, there would be jobs.

There aren’t jobs because it isn’t about us. It’s all about them, the 1 percent.

**I will see “The Dark Knight Rises,” by the way. I love Anne Hathaway and the character of Catwoman, Nolan is a good director, and Tom Hardy is a hunk (OK, even though as Bane his face is obscured), so I’m there. I just generally avoid trying to see blockbusters on opening weekend.

You are much more likely to be killed in a car accident, or killed by a car while crossing the street, that you are to be shot dead in a movie theater.

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