Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Eliminate

Vigil in Tucson, AZ for those harmed in the Safeway Shooting.
Nothing is ever simple.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had blood on her hands from funding our vicious attacks on civilians in other countries, and continued occupations. But that's not ostensibly why she was shot in the head.

It looks like her slightly mad would-be assassin was instead worked up over the health care "reform" bill that was a big giveaway to large corporations, and that she voted for. And that a lot of gun imagery was employed against Rep. Giffords before the deed was done, urging elimination of undesirable elements. And that the rest of the world thinks we're a bunch of heavily armed wackos.

Then there was the beautiful 9 year-old child who died. Nine year-olds die all the time in Afghanistan and other places the U.S. government and NATO terrorize. This time a girl who had been born on precisely the day of 9/11 in 2001 died.  Her whole short life was lived during the war on terror -- think of it.

A girl on the verge of adolescence is often collateral damage in the violence of our times.

And 92% of men in Afghanistan asked how they felt about 9/11, said "What's 9/11?"

Three congressional staffers, some in charge of community outreach and therefore of the event itself, were killed because of political beliefs. And the other slain and injured members of the public who had come to meet their congressional represenative -- did they agree with her stand on health care legislation? Maybe they were there to complain about it. Some were older; I wonder if they wanted to talk about Social Security?

A federal judge appointed by Bush Sr. was slain after drawing threats over his rulings on immigration. Was this incidental, or was he one of the targets, too?

The AZ shooting will become famous in the way Columbine is famous.

The accumulated acts of public violence in the U.S. grow from a culture based on proliferation of guns, and truly massive amounts of advertising for violence. It is hard to conceive of the vast number of images of war, fighting, aggression that even small kids in the "mainstream" culture have seen by the time they start school.

Shakespeare would probably write it as a tragedy set in motion by the age old tendency of political actors to use unbalanced minds to do their dirty work.

I sense many see this incident as a turning point in our dance with fascism in the 21st century. May it not be so.

But if it is so, using non-violent action will be the beacon for our time.
See Rob Shetterly's show of civil rights activist portraits at the Portland Public Library this month.

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