It sickens me to see congress, whose specialty is offering “thoughts and prayers” while taking NRA money, jumping all over Trump’s bloated ass for refusing to contextualize the shootings in Texas and Ohio as “white supremacist terrorism.”
But Trump and congress should not be the sole targets of our derision. Check out the failing fake news of record’s headlines today:
“Tragedy Strikes in El Paso and Ohio” – not, it was white supremacist terrorism you fucking cowardly excuse for an establishment mouthpiece!
It was not some kind of tragic accident. A tragedy is when some safety system fails and people die. A tragedy is when an airplane’s pilot makes a mistake and people die. A tragedy is when congress sits around and wrings their hands and people die. Cold-blooded murder and terrorism is when someone plans and executes an attack against people who are going about their lives, by walking into a place where they think “it’s going to be full of immigrants” and deliberately try to kill everyone in there.
The media have become meaningless score-keepers of empty, useless, scores:Do not attempt to bullshit me: I know the media understands what “terrorism” is and looks like. They got the story right when Charlie Hebdo was attacked; perhaps was that because it was a bunch of journalists who were killed? They even got the story right when Jamal Kashoggi was killed. Is there a pattern here?
Of course the NYT is hardly the worst of it. I did not watch the impressive democratic party debates because I was afraid it was going to break out into an episode of Dancing With The Stars instead of Game of Thrones. Did anyone ask any of the candidates about gun violence? Did anyone ask any of the candidates if they take money from the NRA? I bet that question would have been off the table, by agreement with Biden’s handlers, because during the great length of Biden’s political career he’s had a chance to take money from everyone including Napoleon Bonaparte, the CIA, and Marcus Licinius Crassus.*
There have been 22 school shootings in the US, so far this year. When the Scottish had one they acted decisively. Several things should jump out at you from this chart: [Firearms offenses in the UK, 1990 to 2009]You might notice that they had to add “imitation guns” to the chart in order to make things look worse than they are. I don’t know about you, but I don’t mind being shot with an airsoft, if the alternative is a .223. Maybe in the UK, it’s a big deal when someone points an airsoft at you, but out here in Pennsylvania that’s just a creative way for them to get killed. Unless they’re white, that is.
What you should have noticed is that the UK started with an already low number: around 250 at the worst, which is probably comparable to any given weekend in the USA. And, after they passed more “draconian” controls on guns, the death rate appears to have dropped to less than 1/3 of its already low rate. In other words, “holy shit, gun control seems to work!”
Right now, however, the US congress is busy trying to portray Antifa as a bunch of terrorists, and is turning the eye of the state, and its heinously expensive retro-scope toward discovering what Antifa is up to. Meanwhile, white supremacist terrorists are completely off their radar screen. The FBI is not backtracking firearms and ammunition purchases from white supremacists to see if they are maybe doing anything suspicious – but they sure as hell did that when the Black Panthers were rising to prominence.
Here’s a factoid about gun ownership that the FBI ought to be processing more carefully: 3% of Americans own 90% of the guns and they are mostly working/lower-class white people. Who are they preparing themselves to defend themselves from? Since the Indigenous Peoples have been mostly ethnically cleansed (by white American gun-owners) that leaves only two likely targets: black people, or cops. The cops ought to be worried but they’re not because they know what’s going on. Hell, they are part of it.
Back in 2016, this same month, I posted a piece called “From My Cold Dead Hands” [stderr] which offered a very simple, easily enforced, low-impact solution to America’s gun disease. It is not only practical, it’s possible – don’t bother me with nonsense about “the constitution” when the government is ignoring that piece of worthless paper every day. Anyone who wants to complain about the 2nd Amendment needs to stand up, first, and explain why they didn’t fight and die for the 4th or to stop the 16th or to defend the 26th.
To return to the main point, however: please stop complaining that Trump can’t call “terrorism” terrorism when it’s done by white people, especially if you’re a member of the press and you’re also whitewashing these horrible events. The New York Times has been dutifully mouth-breathing pruriently over Jeff Epstein (who appears to be a common-or-garden rich asshole creep pedophile) instead of talking about the obvious fact that we have a national white supremacy problem, aided and abetted at the highest level, including by the media. The fact that the media is not drawing a dotted line between creepy common-or-garden rich white supremacist Steven Miller and the actions of ICE, is a symptom of how complacent they have become. Start holding politicians’ feet to the fire, or get out of the way and collapse into being the “New York Edition of People Magazine” already.
* For a while I was afraid I was named after Crassus. My dad, the historian, named me after Aurelius, whose meditations he was reading at the time. Dad was, and remains, a stoic. When I discovered Nietzsche you can imagine the discussions we had. Anyhow, “Marcus” – “belonging to Mars” the god of war, was an odd name for a pacifist’s kid, and in my youth I tried to grow to fit those shoes.
There is a theory that the name “Marcus” might, rather than from a dedication to the god Mars (the more usual way to render that would have been Martialis), have derived from an Old Etruscan word. Possibly the word “mar”, meaning harvest. Difficult to tell, what with it going so far back beyond written record.
Mind you, the Romans had so few praenomina (we’re talking single figures) that a substantial fraction of the male population was called Marcus – including such luminaries as Cicero, Antony, Agrippa, Trajan, Brutus (the murderer of Caesar) and both Catones, as well as Crassus and Aurelius.
As for our inclusion of imitation guns, the reason is that the vast majority of firearms offenses in the UK involve someone using a gun merely to threaten, usually to facilitate robbery, and conclude without a shot being fired. Given that a realistic-looking replica gun is far easier to acquire here than a real one, and can have the same threat potential, it doesn’t really make sense to distinguish between robberies conducted with a weapon that poses a valid threat and robberies conducted with a successful bluff.
Which is not to say that we don’t have incidents of deadly violence. We do. But those tend to involve knives.
Paul Durrant says
“the death rate appears to have dropped to less than 1/3 of its already low rate.”
Note that the chart is firearms offences, not deaths from firearms.
Over the past five years there have been around 30 murders by shooting per year in the UK. That’s out of a total of around 600 murders per year.
Paul Durrant says
Whoops – England and Wales, not the UK.
I still shiver when I see Dunblaine on a road sign, I find it particularly poignant as it is always when going on a holiday or coming home from a holiday.
The American media do need to start calling it like it is, terrorism, the correct language is a prime tool in starting to help people see these massacres as something that can be changed, to see that they are not inevitable. It’s a small thing in comparison, but another thing that happened in the UK was the change in terminology regarding car crashes; they are no longer called Road Traffic Accidents or RTAs, they are called Road Traffic Collisions or RTCs and investigated as potential offences rather than something that just happened. That sort of change means both the police and people in general start thinking of all collisions as events where is is likely there is someone to blame, helped by a TV documentary series following the RTC investigation unit of a Welsh police force as they investigate collisions and highlight particular things, like talking on your phone or driving too fast for the road, that cause accidents. You have so far to go to fix your gun problem, but this would be a small step in the right direction and it is deplorable that your media do not take that step.
[Ummm … Scottish people or Scots – Scottish is an adjective.]
But this week – the park shooting and the two of the last 24 hours – the NRA have been amazingly quiet. Is it possible they have finally been silenced and a serious debate on gun control can finally being? We can hope.
Ideally, yes, but we’ll live with it as long as you don’t call us Scotch.
Today I have been listening to XTC’s marvellous 1982 album “English Settlement”, which has a number of very apposite things to say about racism and gun violence, including this: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eBGc5h1yWHQ
Marcus Ranum says
I’ll be more careful about The Scots; I promise.
There was an episode of On The Media about the difference between Jew and Jewish that made me reluctant to talk about ethnicity ever again. I should have stuck with that, but I feel The Scots deserve applause compared to the US particularly congress. New Zealanders too!
Marcus Ranum says
Melt the guns is what it says in my will.
There’s good steel in them, I wonder if I could make wootz from my .45 and some wrought iron. I suppose I could beat a firearm into a sword and leave the plowshares bit to some christian.
The graph shown isn’t for the whole UK, it’s for Scotland, and gun offenses doesn’t equal death rate. In other words, your point about them starting at a lower annual rate than our average weekend is even worse since their overall criminal use of guns at their worst was about the same as our gun fatality rate. I guess. I don’t have all the stats handy to know if that’s actually true.
Now watch as Trump ignores the white supremacists and focuses on Chicago’s crazy weekend (5 dead, 47 wounded, last I checked) so he can blame Democrats and black people. That place is now a tinderbox waiting to explode, and I expect him to try to light a match to it as soon as he pours some kerosene around. Martial law testing grounds?
Oops, there was only one reply when I first loaded the page, then went to sleep for several hours and didn’t refresh the page. Didn’t mean to hammer points already addressed.
The established media’s response seems to be expected really. Despite their claims otherwise, they are clearly the propaganda arm of the people who control both them and the government. Around here (Australia) they have been ignoring or actively encouraging human rights abuses for at least the last 20 years. Of course they are going to excuse white supremacist terrorism
anyway, please excuse me. I need to go adjust my tinfoil hat and sharpen the guillotine
Marcus Ranum says
We just had two Dunblaines back to back. Meanwhile law makers bought by NRA work to thwart any controls on weapons. Its unsustainable.
I’m also a Marcus. But I was named after a Maxi Priest song about Marcus Garvey that came out the year I was born. Which is rather odd for a white British family that doesn’t listen to a lot of reggae.
No. If it was things would have changed ages ago. Instead they’re getting worse and I shudder to think what the next stage after Trump will look like.