Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cycle Of Violence Turning Into A Cyclone In USA

"We are fed up" sign against femicide held by a woman in Uruguay. Photo: Reuters

It would be impossible to keep up with all the incidents of gun violence resulting in innocent deaths in the USA this week.

There are a couple that stood out, though.

Yesterday 36 year old military veteran Albert Wong took three women hostage at a VA home in Yountville, California and all four were dead of gunshot wounds when police finally made it into the room.

The late Jennifer Gonzales, Jennifer Golick and Christine Loeber were mental health workers, employees of a nonprofit that treated veterans with PTSD. May these martyrs to gun violence perpetrated by men rest in peace.

Reports are that Wong suffered from PTSD, but no motive for the murders and suicide has been named.

Secondly, a football player was charged with manslaughter after shooting and killing a 17 year old girl in a high school classroom. Michael Barber of Birmingham, Alabama also shot  himself in the leg with the gun. Why was there a gun on campus? Why weren't the school's metal detectors in use that day? We may never know. Nor would answers be much consolation to the family and friends of the late Courtlin La'Shawn Arrington, who will now never attend nursing school as she had planned.

Then, in just plain old violence, videos have surfaced of a black dishwasher assaulted violently by police in Asheville, North Carolina for jaywalking. A policeman was allowed to resign but that is hardly likely to redress the racial injustice of beating and tasering a restrained man for being guilty of walking home while black.

Yup, Johnnie Jermain Rush did jaywalk -- across an empty street on his way home from a 13 hour shift at Cracker Barrel.

Also, the demagogue with bad hair has let it be known that the widely unpopular military parade he ordered for Veterans Day will not include tanks because -- wait for it -- they tear up the pavement.

Violence against roads is a concern, but not violence against people who are actually shot or run over by tanks funded by the 54% of U.S. tax dollars going to the Pentagon these days. Nor is there much concern for the collateral damage of churning out PTSD sufferers who return home and enact violence on themselves and others. Because, hey, "there's plenty of good money to be made supplying the Army with the tools of the trade."

I keep saying I'm too old to leave the USA, and I probably am, but it's tempting.

Look what women in Latin America did this week to protest femicide and other forms of violence suffered disproportionately by women and girls.

Only a women's general strike in the U.S. -- sort of like the one Iceland had in the 1970's -- has any chance of ending the cycle, or cyclone, of violence we find ourselves in.

A stop to business as usual might stop humanity circling the drain sooner rather than later.

Students will walk out of high schools all over the country this coming week, on March 14, to protest lack of congressional reform of gun policies.

I tried to organize a solidarity action at my elementary school but was told it was forbidden by my very timid principal. If I wanted to go up to the high school to join in the action there (organized by a girl I mentored in middle school!) I'd have to get coverage of my class and use personal time.

All my personal time for the year got used up in the Aegis 9 trial so I guess I'll cave to the bureaucracy on this one.

But I'll still fantasize about the immense power of all working women -- teachers, nurses, cooks, admins, managers, drivers, CEOs -- just stopping what they're doing until the weapons are all buried in a vault somewhere. 

Of course caregivers for the young or infirm would not want to stop work, nor would they need to.

The rest of us could do it on behalf of everyone being swept away in this endless cyclone of violence.

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