Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Made in the USA

We are creating our own terrorists. Our natural resources have become homegrown assassins, grass roots mass murderers, and rank and file executioners. We have neither to import nor export our national product, we simply nurture and fester it. Indigenous Rage.

In Austin, Texas, a 53-year-old computer software engineer flies his small aircraft into an I.R.S. office, killing an innocent man as well as himself, injuring and traumatizing others and destroying federal property, because he’s angry—
really angry!—with the U.S. tax system. According to reports, he was also really angry about bank bailouts, big government, Catholics and unions. Prior to removing his hateful self from the earth he scorched, he burned his house down, rendering homeless a wife and daughter, whom, based on the evidence, ashes, must also have made him really angry.

In Wichita, Kansas, a 51-year-old airport shuttle driver, a born-again Christian, shoots a 67-year-old doctor who is serving as a church usher
because he performs abortions—not just any abortions, but third-semester! abortions. So much for the Sixth Commandment. At his trial, the “Army of God” soldier testified to planning the murder for 17 years, weighing pious deeds like opening fire on the doctor from his rooftop or chopping the doctor's hands off with a sword—the latter measure abandoned with unusual logic from a lunatic: because the maimed victim would still be capable of teaching others how to perform abortions. In the eyes of some abortion opponents, that “soldier” has risen to cult-hero heights.

And lest we forget, U.S. Army veteran Timothy McVeigh, recipient of the Bronze Star, had a grudge against U.S. domestic and foreign policy. He took it out on 168 strangers.

In each case, defense lawyers explained that their clients had grown frustrated.

When we were children in school, we learned about kamikaze pilots with incredulity. Now we find: kamikazis are us. At home we were taught to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Now, we have fellow citizens all too happy to kill to save life! We are a nation of sheep being led to slaughter OTHERS. What does it say about religion and politics in America—and Americans?

We are a nation of sheep being systematically shorn of our pride, our dignity, our civility. We are angry and hostile because we are prodded and pulled by forces we were brought up to believe in with blind faith and deeply want to trust. Clerics who do not practice or even mean what they preach. Politicians who divide and conquer the worst in us. Elected officials—elected to lead—who have so little respect for their followers they debase and demean them by assuming they have no intelligence at all and will believe anything they say, which they do!

Let’s not delude ourselves any more, that is, any more than we have—it isn’t going to get better until it gets worse, so much worse that political, clergical, business and civic leaders, talking heads and hate mongers, are forced to stop inciting the worst in human nature or face being devoured by it.


  1. I am reminded of Confederate Gen. Wise's words to Union Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain after the latter surprised both armies by "saluting the fallen South" during the Confederacy's formal surrender:

    “You may forgive us but we won't be forgiven. There is a rancor in hour hearts which you little dream of. We hate you, Sir."

    Hate... It is such an ugly word. It is a living Hell of this planet, and a cancer to our country. The Civil War has been over for so long, yet we are all still slave to the hate that made it happen.

    However, every chain has a weakest link, and that continues to give me hope because the minute that link is broken, I believe that we will be forever free.

  2. what an interesting quote Jacopo!
    and, Ray: I'm not sure the two things are connected - haven't there always been homicidal maniacs, and in every society?
    The US should mos def ban the right to bear arms, and crack down on black market arms running within its borders - but don't know that I'd blame the nation as a whole for the mental breakdown of the few...

  3. Moooooove on Elsie says:
    During an hourlong strategy session on Aug 6 2009 White House advisors David Axelrod and Jim Messina( referring to tea party people)told the assembled:

    "If you get hit, punch back twice as hard"

    Brilliant advice. The next day, Kenneth Gadney, a black man whose only crime was handing out Don't Tread on me Flags outside a Town Hall meeting, was beaten to within an inch of his life by a group of fair minded administration supporting SEIU members. As they pummeled him they joyfully handed out racial epithets none of us would ever think of using. Apparently it was their way of celebrating the legacy of Crispus Attucks.
    There are currently an estimated 16 million disaffected Americans who identify themselves as members of one "Tea" organization or another. Joe Stack it turns out was a registered Democrat. Isn't it inetresting that the people who decry violence so much are so willing to commit it? Perhaps what progressives need most is government run anger management no?

    We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.
    Abraham Lincoln

  4. Jacopo, girlontape, Elsie--I have such intelligent dissenters! I want to respond to all, but I have to start with:

    Dear, wise girlontape,

    Indisputably, homicidal maniacs have historically existed in every society. But, by and large, they have been individually maniacally homicidal, i.e., aberrations operating without the encouragement or, worse, enthusiastic endorsement of groups of people who have an agenda calculated to do ill and who relish surrogates, particularly homicidal maniacs, who will kill and maim for them and suffer the consequences, while the groups deny any complicity. “We didn’t tell him to do it,” they claim disingenuously, which may be literally true, but in fact they did and will continue to do their damndest. They would call what they call for from others the devil’s bidding. I’d say it’s the coward’s refuge. I’ll add that this is a good place to recall Samuel Johnson’s famous words, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

    We are a nation gone wild. Not just “a few.” While some mentally deficient puppet or Manchurian Candidate is racing toward the goal line, weapon of destruction raised high and ready, malcontents and militants are egging him on, cheering wildly from the sidelines, deafening his senses. If you look at the explosive anger a few months ago at, of all things, town hall meetings, you get more than an inkling of what the crowd is capable of. We are a nation divided—-by politics, religion, economics, culture and, possibly the most insurmountable of all, self-interest. I’d like to be as hopeful as Jacopo, but empirically speaking, I’m deeply afraid the worst may still be yet to come.

  5. Elsie,

    Since you’ve variously signed in and out as Elsie the Cow and die Kuh et al, I’ll begin by suggesting perhaps cows living in glass houses shouldn’t throw crud. But I take what you say at face value and don’t dismiss the disconcerting facts you’ve given today.

    My side: As I was writing “Made in the USA,” the New York Times was reporting that Virginia’s General Assembly “approved a bill… that allowed people to carry concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.” It gets worse. Virginia’s “House of Delegates voted to repeal a 17-year-old ban on buying more than one handgun a month.” Here’s the real kicker, Elsie: Virginia’s actions follow, in less than three years, the Virginia Tech shootings that took 33 lives and “prompted a major national push for increased gun control.” And now Arizona and Wyoming are considering even more extreme “pro-gun measures” on the heels—and I mean heels—of the reckless steps of Montana, Tennessee, Indiana and even the District of Columbia. It is no coincidence that Virginia’s change of heart came with its transition from Democratic governor to Republican governor. You’re good with facts—I’ll leave you to research the rest of the madness.

  6. Yes Ray you're right about the organized hate-mongering behind apparently individual acts of terrorism. I remember gynecologists being gunned down at their workplaces by Christian fundamentalists...

  7. Yet even more sad examples of one head of state or country undoing any progress made by the previous administration just because they happen to have been on the opposite end of the political spectrum. It's literally the case of taking one step forward and then two steps back...

  8. Criminologist Gary Kleck compared various survey and proxy measures and found no correlation between overall firearm ownership and gun violence. His research was cited in the Supreme Court's landmark District of Columbia v. Heller decision, which struck down the D.C. handgun ban and held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.

    The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible." - Senator Hubert H. Humprey (D-Minnesota)
    Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest. – Mahatma Gandhi
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military. – William S. Burroughs
    Gun bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans attract them. – Walter Mondale

    Just The Facts ma'am.- sgt Joe Friday

  9. A most curmudgeonly point of view, to be sure, Mr. Fox. :)

    You do make some valid points, however. In my opinion, no other country could have produced Ted Kaczynski, a government-hater if ever there was one. A brilliant mind turned pure evil with a heart as black as the typewriter ink on the manifesto he spewed out. In what other country could such a treacherous dichotomy have been spawned?

    And in what other country would the best of humanity reign as these terrorists, both from within and without, dared to destroy our way of life? Our "indigenous rage" is balanced by our limitless compassion and desire to do what is right and just.

    Only in America.