Monday, October 5, 2015


Anyone born after 2001 has never known a time when America has not been at war.  Every day that "we the people" allow our troops to be used as a solution, we tell ourselves that violence and killing is the answer. News of the US military's bombing of a hospital in Afghanistan comes only days after a mass-shooting in Oregon, and neither the military advocates nor the gun control advocates seem to be talking about the overlap between the two: violence, when used as a solution, resulted in equally dead people in both cases.

Violence in America should come as no surprise. Many Americans are nothing if not patriotic, and patriotism is 99% supporting the troops and 1% voting. Voting only changes the color of the party ordering the troops. And what do troops do? A few National Guard units may help out after natural disasters, but--with rare exception--hammers are almost exclusively used for hitting things. Troops kill, maintain things that kill, or support people who kill. And you, American, must support your troops. It's like an ice-bucket challenge that you aren't allowed to forget.

Country music is flooded with songs about how soldiers give their lives so that we can have our cold beer on Friday nights (hyperbole may help sell a few extra albums, even when it is taken seriously). Any time the NFL doesn't spend on psa's about breast cancer is spent promoting military veterans as heroes. NASCAR is no different. Violence and killing is held up as the solution, but no one calls it by that name. Most people probably don't even make the connection, and an entire generation will be raised on the message as a result. This explains why violence in America is followed by candle light vigils, while overseas destruction caused by American bombs is followed by a mixture of cheering from military advocates and silence from gun control advocates.

Those who live by the sword will die by the sword, even if they refuse to call a sword what it is. Until Americans come to understand that violence and killing represent total failure--regardless of whether the Pentagon or an angry young man is behind the violence--it should come as no surprise when violence continues to become more and more commonplace.