Horrific Events in America

There are two errors in response to shocking events; rushing to apply a single analysis to complex events is one of them but not talking about them at all is another.

But right now this is too much for me to process – there are too many elements from institutional racism, militarised/aggressive policing, unresolved historical injustices, gun ownership, the notion that guns are a form of self-defence, the impact of violence and all of the previous elements on core freedoms (e.g. the freedom to protest or just the freedom for a person to go about their business without fear) but also how technology can make what might have been an impersonal statistic to most of the world into a personal connection to a distraught woman facing a shocking act of violence.

Gun control won’t solve police brutality, nor will it prevent violence against the police. It won’t stop institutional racism nor will it address centuries of social and economic discrimination. A focus on guns might even hide issues on police violence and deaths in custody that don’t necessarily involve guns.

BUT, in all of the above the addition of readily available firearms and unquestioned belief that possessing a gun make an individual safer, only makes the deeper issues worse and makes resolving those issues harder.

The US is not unique in the Anglophone world. Recent events in the UK have shown xenophobic violence increase. Nor is police violence uniquely American, nor is policing that impacts on particular sections of society disproportionately. Indigenous men in Australia have a disproportionate chance of dying in custody for example http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-24/sharp-rise-in-number-of-aboriginal-deaths-in-custody/4711764 not always from overt violence but from lack of care. However, high levels of gun availability only add to intensity and complexity of these issues in America.

Looking away from the police; violent crime is not a uniquely American issue. Anti-police violence is not a uniquely American issue. Political violence is not a uniquely American issue. But again easy availability of guns can only exacerbate those issues and the chance of fatalities.

Societies work on trust. Violence is by definition an attack on an individual but it is also an attack on the trust that societies need to function. Carrying a gun for personal defence is a statement of mistrust – it asserts that the gun carry does not trust those about them not to be violent and it asserts a willingness to kill people around them. The threat of violence is a threat towards all other liberties and it is a threat towards a functional society. That doesn’t mean armed people are monsters or inherently aggressive or that they INTEND to express mistrust by carrying a gun – whether they are a police officer or an ordinary person with legitimate concerns for their safety. Meaning isn’t purely what a person intends by what they say or do – it rests in how a society reacts to words, symbols and actions. Regardless of what a person carrying a gun intends, the net effect is to create barriers against trust whether conscious or subconscious.

But people have been fed a lie – police and ordinary people – that carrying a gun is a reasonable method of self-defence. It is a plausible lie and one that it is easy for intelligent people to believe but a lie nonetheless.

Meanwhile…

As the person who volunteered to read Vox Day’s obnoxiousness so everybody else doesn’t have to, it isn’t surprising to find he has posts on the events in Dallas. Nor is it surprising to find him saying things like “it is becoming increasingly obvious that those terrible racist Southern segregationists were correct all along”. https://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/the-predictive-model.html

However, I note some surprise from others to his first post on the shootings in Dallas which contains sentiments that people might find surprising from the right:

Is it a tragedy? Of course. Even worse, it is an unnecessary one. Did these specific police officers deserve to die? Almost certainly not. But no amount of moral posturing or striking ferocious pro-police poses is going to change the fact that the only way to avoid more attacks like this is for the police departments of America to stop pretending that being scared is sufficient justification for shooting a member of the public and start holding their killer cops fully accountable for their actions every single time an unarmed or non-aggressive person is shot. https://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2016/07/4gw-in-dallas.html

As I’ve pointed out previously, Day (and the alt-right in general) will attack conservative using arguments that appear to be those of the left as well as arguments that are extreme right. With the attacks in Dallas, he is doing both by pitching pro-segregationist arguments, anti-BLM rhetoric but also anti-police militarisation arguments (even though greater gun-control for the police will enable greater gun control for society overall).

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23 comments

  1. KR

    This is all very well said and I agree wholeheartedly. It’s like we’ve entered some portal of accelerating awfulness in 2016.

    Your use of Truth and Lie here reminded me of the Cuban film La Ultima Cena/ The Last Supper about a slaveowner who decides to re-enact the Last Supper with 12 of his slaves (spoiler alert: mistake! they get a different message than he intends!). The main character = a rebellious enslaved man called Sebastián has one single powerful soliloquy and it’s a parable about truth and lies. I’ve been thinking about that particular film today because artfully connects all the things: race, racialized labour systems, class, capitalism, community, violence, surveillance and authority, liberty, and the stories we tell ourselves to get through this thing called life. It’s really good and dense and fun to talk about, that film. His speech goes like this:

    Sebastián: “When Olofi made the word, he made it complete. He made day and night. He made pretty things and ugly thing. He made good things and bad things. He made Truth, and also made the Lie. He made the Truth very, very pretty. The Lie wasn’t pretty. The Lie was ugly, skinny, as if sick. Olofi was sorry for the lie, gave it a machete to defend itself. In time, everyone wanted to go with Truth. Nobody wanted to go with the Lie. One day, Truth and the Lie met and had a fight. Truth was stronger than the Lie, but the Lie had the sharp machete that Olofi had given it. And when the Truth was off guard, the Lie, CHOP, cut off Truth’s head. So truth had no eyes and felt around with its hands for its head until it touched the head of the Lie and it wrenched off the Lie’s head and put it in place of its own. Since then, Truth has traveled the world deceiving all people, the body of Truth with the head of the Lie.”

    Also, nice work on the periodical proxy Vox digest. Much appreciated.

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  2. thephantom182

    In case you were wondering what all this US violence shit is actually about, the President told you today.
    1) civilian disarmament.
    2) a -national- police force.

    That’s it.

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      • thephantom182

        Or you could just connect the dots. Heaven knows there’s lots of ’em out there.

        Why is the US government looking at the moribund -white- supremacist and anti-government militia movements, who are shedding adherents every year? And are a bunch of sad sacks as well.

        Why is the US government creating a truly massive national police infrastructure? MRAP armored vehicles, billions of rounds of ammunition purchased for federal agencies like Fish & Wildlife, the Dept. of Education has a SWAT team, and so forth. There’s lots of it going on these last eight years.

        Why does Facebook and Twitter keep #BlackLivesMatter at the top of the “trending” charts when it isn’t even in the top 100 most of the time? Also, why do the heads of Facebook, Twitter and Google spend so much time at the White House?
        Why did Obama say, after the Dallas shooting that there needs to be civilian disarmament and a national police force. Why is it that every time some criminal gets shot, it’s front page news fort a month if he’s black, and it’s page 5 for a day if he’s any other colour? (I suggest you do a little research on that one before you call me a liar.)

        Unlike some, I just go by what people actually do and remember what they actually say. This is what the Obama Admin has been doing and saying. Also, lest you try to smear me with some partisan label, Bush is the one that created the Department of Homeland Security in the first place, and it has been an Orwellian monster since the start.

        And I will take the time to note here, rather than leaving it to you to notice, that none of the above has anything to do with -race-. This is all to do with a concerted, decade long propaganda campaign to stir up hatred. As we can see, propaganda works pretty good when you control the airwaves.

        Why do you think we contest the Hugos? There’s another dot for you. Why’s NK Jemsin a Wunderkind, and Neal Asher not? COLOUR, is why. Skin colour. Everyone on the CHORF side is very vocal in -demanding- that the skin colour and personal plumbing of the author is important and must be taken into consideration. Why, exactly?

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      • camestrosfelapton

        “Why is the US government looking at the moribund -white- supremacist and anti-government militia movements”

        The ‘moribund’ white supremacists that the apparent Republican candidate for president keeps re-tweeting?

        I think the word you are looking for is ‘growing in influence on the right’ rather than ‘moribund’. Heck you are even repeating some of their talking points even though you are clearly not one of them.

        ‘Why is the US government creating a truly massive national police infrastructure?’

        You answered your own question. Indeed, if you remember, only a few weeks ago you were claiming America was at war with Islamic terrorism. You are a part of that hyperbole.

        ‘Why is it that every time some criminal gets shot, it’s front page news fort a month if he’s black, and it’s page 5 for a day if he’s any other colour?’

        Well firstly it isn’t just criminals and secondly because of the disproportionate amount of violence directed at one section of the US population. Thirdly I must note that the notion of responding to perceived threats with an armed response is one you advocate. I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

        ‘Also, lest you try to smear me with some partisan label, Bush is the one that created the Department of Homeland Security in the first place, and it has been an Orwellian monster since the start.’

        And you’ve been an active cheerleader for the attitude that feeds into that monster.

        ‘Why do you think we contest the Hugos? There’s another dot for you. Why’s NK Jemsin a Wunderkind, and Neal Asher not? COLOUR, is why. Skin colour.’

        Well unless you want to call me a liar then I know for a fact that the reason why I think The Fifth Season is probably a work that will be regarded as one of the classics of SF in the future is not because of N.K.Jemisin’s skin colour. It is because of its clever plotting, well developed structure, adept use of plot-twists and mystery, deep characterization and well explored themes.

        ‘Everyone on the CHORF side is very vocal in -demanding- that the skin colour and personal plumbing of the author is important and must be taken into consideration. Why, exactly?’

        No, everybody on my ‘side’ is keen to point out that if people were genuinely neutral about such things we’d have a different demographic spread than we do.

        Recognizing the fact that racism and sexism exist is just common sense. Pretending that they don’t is absurd.

        Liked by 1 person

      • KR

        Welcome to the Sunday edition of “America’s Got Paranoia”. Tonight’s worthy contestant: The Phantom!

        Let’s hear from the experts. Judges?

        GLENN BECK: [takes glasses off, weeps uncontrollably] That was beautiful, just beautiful. It’s all so clear now.

        RICHARD J. HOFSTADTER: Most interesting. This worthy example seems to prove the thesis of my famous 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” that psychological projection is an essential feature of this tendency. Feels persecuted? Check. Fears conspiracies? Check. Tendency to quick aggression? Check.

        DISEMBODIED VOICE OF L. RON HUBBARD: Contestant, my trusty Mark VIII Ultra E-meter indicates dangerous levels of engrams present. I recommend an eighteen-part course of personal audits; you can’t put a price on immortality. Report to SeaOrg immediately. Tell no one. Bring your wallet.

        KATY PERRY: Needz moar Illuminati.

        “OK, a lot of agreement there. Now it’s your turn to have your say. Audience? Audience?”

        ** no one replies. Disinterested crowd has wandered off to catch Pokeymons.**
        ______________

        Having said that, it’s Garchomp all the way for me – the happy combination of jet plane and shark! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark

        Welp, I’m not jumping down Phantom’s rabbithole, but I’ll note that I’ve thought Jemisin was great since The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I picked up sight-unseen in a paperback edition without a bio at the front, so I literally didn’t know her nationality, race, gender, or favorite colour when I decided she was a writer to watch.

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      • thephantom182

        Well Camestros, when the President of the USA comes out and says he wants a National Police Force, I’d say ignore that at your peril. But I’m just a paranoid, right?

        Right winger militias dangerous? Tell me, how many people have been killed by right winger militia nutcases in the last eight years? I mean, including all those rancher standoffs and everything, right? Let’s compare and contrast with #Islamists and oh wait #Blacklivesmatter! One of those things is not like the others, as they say. And it has been this way since the start. Remember the “Beer Summit?” What was that about? Why did a US President stick his nose in a local police case in support of an -obviously- guilty defendant? How does the president come out against his own government? Propaganda, you think?

        I’m not blaming the ills of the world on Muslims and black people, contrary to your constant, incessant, never-ending carping. I’m directing your tiny little attention to the large, very well funded and horribly obvious media campaign to demonize one group of idiots who never do -anything-, while remaining silent about another bunch who kill people all over the place, and actively demanding people not mention the depredations of a third bunch because RAAAACISM!!!1!

        So when an -obviously- corrupt government starts pointing at groups who kill nobody, and ignore groups who kill lots of people every year, to me that seems like cause for concern.

        As to “The Fifth Season is probably a work that will be regarded as one of the classics of SF…” tastes vary. The Witches of Karres is a classic. Fifth Season? Root canal. But then I’ve never been fond of ‘classic’ Ray Bradbury either, so there’s that. Grapes of Wrath, they say it’s a classic. I got the Cliff Notes review, I’m not reading it.

        Mark said: “I’ve thought Jemisin was great since The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms…”

        Good for you, Mark. But you’re out of the loop with the QUILTBAG lovers at TOR.com. And you know it. Jemsin is black first and writer second with that bunch, they never shut up about it.

        For my part I had no idea Octavia Butler was black, I just thought her stories were kinda weird and a bit boring. I still wouldn’t know Jemsin’s race but for the big huge noise all the Lefties keep making about it. All I know is I’d sooner have a root canal than read it. Not my thing. Steven Barnes? Cool stories. Oh he’s a black guy? That’s nice, whatever.

        Is Neal Asher black? Don’t know, and I’ve been making a concerted effort not to find out about that or his politics. I like the stories, I don’t want to find out he’s some kind of raging fruitbat like Stross or Scalzi.

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      • RDF

        Phantom

        Right winger militias dangerous? Tell me, how many people have been killed by right winger militia nutcases in the last eight years? I mean, including all those rancher standoffs and everything, right? Let’s compare and contrast with #Islamists and oh wait #Blacklivesmatter!

        Okay.

        http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/jan/08/sally-kohn/kohn-911-right-wing-extremists-killed-more-america/

        Kohn: Since 9/11, right-wing extremists killed more Americans than Islamic extremists
        […]
        We decided to check Kohn’s numbers.

        Kohn’s tweet linked to a CNN opinion piece that in turn was based on data gathered by the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank that promotes data-driven innovation to social and economic policy.

        By the New America count, in the time since 9/11, jihadists have killed 26 Americans on U.S. soil, while those with right-wing leanings have killed 39. The single-most deadly event by an Islamic extremist was the 13 people killed at Fort Hood. On the right-wing side of the ledger, the worst was the six people slain at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin.

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      • thephantom182

        RDF, from the very article you quoted, which you evidently did not -read-, the following tidbit: their conclusion on the claim.

        “Given these uncertainties, we rate the claim Half True.”

        Jesus man. This is the underpinning of your reality? Give your head a shake.

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  3. iamzenu

    “The Cat’s Staff person” said: “Recognizing the fact that racism and sexism exist is just common sense. Pretending that they don’t is absurd.”

    Denying racism exist is just a soft form of racism.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. iamzenu

    Yes, it is lots of things and no simple answer. However, we are a nation awash in military weapons that should not be in the hands of citizens. And we have a fair number of crazy people. Heck we even make heroes out of some of them as we did with “American Psycho”.

    Not much can be done.

    You know I grew up in Dallas. So let me see…

    1. Crazy person firing from elevated position on Dallas Street – check
    2. Easy to obtain fire arms – check
    3. Firing on government officials – check

    Yep. I have seen this film before. Too bad we can’t limit the bad guys to bolt action firearms. Things have gotten worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thephantom182

      Lee Harvey did all right with a bolt action, Mr. Zenu sir. 6.5mm bullet, fairly pedestrian round. Two world wars were fought with bolt action rifles you know. Ever wonder how that happened? Of course not, it would damage your preconceptions with new facts.

      Also, Dallas this time was done with an SKS. Communist Bloc piece of shit gun designed in 1943. Ten round mag. So you can pretty much forget the “Assault Weapon!!!” hysteria. It’s about the guy, not the gun.

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  5. thephantom182

    Well Camestros, about your arguments. I know you feel strongly and all, but sadly, Reality does not change based on how you feeeeeel about something.

    1. “Its about the guy having a gun…”

    Lots of people have guns. Some people have a whole closet full. They don’t go around assassinating cops. Nobody does that. Except #BlackLivesMatter followers. They’ve allowed themselves to be convinced that they’re at war with the cops. These deaths are the result of a very pervasive propaganda campaign, and you know it. Also a very -racist- campaign. I’ve been told that black anti-white racism is not a thing, but this occurrence in Dallas seems to argue otherwise.

    Incidentally, has it occurred to you that if a guy wants to kill policemen, a really nice gun is no farther away than his first victim?

    Also, since you’re always going on that guns are useless for self defense… why do cops have ’em? They did manage to drive him into a corner with guns, didn’t they? Having a gun worked out pretty well for most of those cops. Not a perfect protection of course, but a damn handy thing to have on you in a shit storm.

    2. “Its about the guy having a gun…”

    No, it is about the man’s intent. Because as we see today in France, the best terror plans don’t involve a gun at all.

    3. I’m encouraging the Islamists.

    You say this one a lot, and I’d just like to know how you feeeeel about that particular argument today, after the Bastile Day unpleasantness, and also in view of the pro-Islamist Turkish government being felled in a coup almost immediately afterward.

    Connect them dots, big boy.

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    • camestrosfelapton

      “Also, since you’re always going on that guns are useless for self defense… why do cops have ’em? ”

      The routine arming of police is, frankly, stupid. While a police force will need have some need for specially trained officers to carry weapons, most police officers are made LESS safe and less effective by carrying guns.

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      • thephantom182

        I see.

        Tell me, Camestros. What finally stopped that truck yesterday in Nice?

        This is a dot that you’ve been refusing to connect, by the way. It’s the one that keeps sticking up, demanding attention.

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