The Tucson massacre yielded the media and politicians weeks of fodder for their nattering mills. Yes, Americans hate violence and love guns, just as we stand for peace and practice non-stop war. It’s not hypocrisy. We are two nations–at least–living under one crowded flag.
Does anyone think Americans have a gene that produces more mass killers than other nations? When was the last time Portugal, Norway or New Zealand had a gun-driven massacre? In this country we have yearly mass killings–with guns.
Hours after Congresswoman Gifford took a bullet, some Tea Partiers began blaming the victim for “lax security.” Sarah Palin’s speechwriters turned the former Alaska governor into the victim: the media had practiced “blood libel” on her. (The media as Jews using her blood–well, words–to conduct a ritual before making matzo?)
Why did no reporter ask her: “How’s that locky-loady thing workin’ fer ya now?”
In U.S. politics aspirants’ ambitions often surpasses–by many points–their intellect. Politics is less about issues than name-recognition, or symbolism. “She can’t speak a correct English sentence just like me so I kinda feel she sorta represents me.”
Republicans have built their Party on such pablum and finding candidates with name recognition who can pass the new patriotic tests: love guns, hate taxes on the rich and espouse Christian principles: “Abortion is a sin. So is welfare.”
What did Jesus teach that relates to American reality?
“Screw your neighbor after he gets foreclosed and thrown into the street; don’t share any of your hard-earned (or inherited or stolen) money with him.”
The “good” Republican dismisses talk about high unemployment as liberal myth. The lazy bums should find jobs instead of waiting for the government to give him hard-earned tax money to pay his bills.” That’s what the Bible teaches or should teach.
Listening to angry rhetoric about government pissing away our money on welfare cheats who should be working to pay their mortgages, one might forget that in the killing fields of Arizona, “one in every 17 households got a foreclosure filing last year” compared to the national average of “one in every 45 U.S. households.”
In 2010, almost 3 million Americans got eviction notices, “up 1.67 percent from 2009.” In 2010, banks reclaimed about 1 million homes. Many more are in litigation. (Janna Herron, AP Jan 13, 2011)
The Tucson shooting served as temporary cover for more important issues and nastier villains–like bankers who have assumed again their Scrooge positions, preparing to repossess a record number of homes in 2011. Maybe this knowledge would provoke American gun owners to rally against banks: to protect their homesteads? Am I dreaming?
Some 5 million “home-owners” have fallen two or more months behind on mortgage payments. Unemployed people pay the monthlies, and the assessed value of homes has dropped–often below the size of the loan.
Last September the bankers got exposed for the true perverts they are. Lawyers hired by those targeted for eviction showed courts the flaws in the banks’ “legal” papers. But bank lawyers “remedied” those legal failings. Bankers have now returned to their foreclosure stampede.
Residents of states where bankers promoted housing booms will suffer most. Over half the foreclosures occurred in Arizona, Florida and California–some 1.5 million households received “get out” papers–along with Michigan and Illinois, hit hardest by the recession.
In 2010, one in every 11 Nevada households “received a foreclosure filing last year.” And that was lower than the 2009 rate of repossessions. (Herron)
The media doesn’t chin wag on possible relationships between growing poverty, misery and homicidal madness. Instead, the media speculates about events in Tucson, not foreclosures, rising unemployment or rapidly dwindling public services. A barely reported story indicates some U.S. cities are quickly falling into anarchy.
Congress allocates hundreds of billions for futile wars with little result while Camden, New Jersey (population 80,000), “one of the nation’s most impoverished and crime-ridden cities,” had to lay off half its cops and a third of its fire fighters.
In 2009, CQ Press used FBI figures to rate Camden, “the nation’s second-most dangerous” city with, “2,380 violent crimes–more than five times the national average.” The police union warned in a full-page ad that the lay-offs would make Camden a “living hell.” (Geoff Mulvihill AP January 18, 2011) Does Camden loom as a future scenario for other former industrial cities?
Yes, guns don’t kill people, only criminals with guns do that–as well as fanatics, trigger-happy “property defenders,” large corporations that make poisonous products and the U.S. military and drones–yawn!
Welcome to Clockwork Orange America–two nations living in fear, one happy and rich, the other poor and suffering, and both in denial.
Saul Landau’s new film “Will the Real Terrorist Please Stand Up” premiered at the Havana Film Festival last month. He is a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.