Saturday, December 15, 2012

US: Making sense of a massacre

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey


Making sense of a massacre

You cannot make sense out of something that does not make sense, in any culture or any country or creed or part of the world. You cannot grand-stage or try to score political points from a massacre which involves children. However, if you have 61 massacres in 30 years, you have problems.

The most important thing to say at the start of a piece like this is that nobody in their right mind would even think about grand-staging such an event, would think about lumping all Americans together in a gratuitous anti-USA article, would entertain the notion of using such a horrendous event as a means of trying to place the blame for all the world's ills at the feet of the citizens of the United States of America.

Neither would anyone in their right mind use this outrage to foster their political-religious agenda, claiming that the end of the world is nigh and yes, let's all remember once and for all the Mayan prophecy for December 21 (which, sorry to spoil the fun, spoke of the end of a cycle, not of an era and the beginning of a new cycle, not a catastrophe).

What happened on December 14 in Connecticut will enter the annals of history for all the wrong reasons and these reasons, as many and as deep as they are, will not for a long time make part of any rational thought processes of the victims because they have lost far more than a historical statistic. They have lost part of their lives and in the case of the parents of the children who passed on today, they have lost, in some cases, a reason to get up tomorrow.

Hopefully counseling can enable them to come to terms with the tragedy and realize that they have far more to do. And counseling is part of the solution, if not the solution to the problem. And here we reach the crux of the question.

And the crux is this: the composition of the United States of America will continue to engender such outrages both domestically and around the world. Why? Because it is caught in the vortex between a country (a geo-political unit with a determined culture) and a collection of micro-states, loosely bound together (decreasingly) by language.

Washington is increasingly seen as a pariah and those who have managed the country's affairs over the last two centuries are regarded with suspicion. This is only natural for a nation so young, in which the county and the State may mean more for the average citizen than the Union.

Inside this vortex, it is not surprising that those who have always controlled the United States of America (the Establishment) which today includes Washington and Tel Aviv and AIPAC, have found the means to grow almost invisibly. So today while some troubled young man is shooting his parents and murdering dozens of young children, an act which has happened no less than sixty-one times in three decades, the armed forces of the United States of America are massacring civilians overseas, are raping women, sodomising detainees, using military hardware against civilian structures, and so on and so forth.

This does not mean that I intend to write an article forgetting the tremendous trauma the families of the deceased suffered today, neither does it mean that I am callous enough to grand-stage such an event taking it to a point where I make a gratuitous attack on the USA and its citizens.

What it does mean is that those who manage the affairs of the United States of America have a collective responsibility for their own subjects and also are accountable for their acts overseas, particularly when these breach international law, of which the cases abound in recent years.

The bottom line is, if those who govern the USA have not managed to rule their own affairs in the last three decades, and who have seen 31 massacres happen since 1982, then how the hell are they supposed to have the moral high ground to impose their values on the rest of the world?

What it does mean (and writing an opinion piece should be about providing solutions as well as criticizing) is that while the mentally ill have rights, and while care in the community may sound great as a sound-bite and save money for the corporations (which run the USA), the community also has rights to be protected against those who would destroy it.

Providing public services costs money, true; however let us investigate how much membership of NATO costs (and for what? Against an invasion from Saturn?), let us see how much has been spent in illegal wars (hundreds of billions of dollars) and then let us investigate how the same funds could have been employed better.

Until the USA takes a deep and honest look at itself and does something tangible about it, then unfortunately, such massacres are going to go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on and on...