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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

America, home of the grave--for victims of mass shootings

The Washington Post tallies the number of mass shootings during the first 23 days of the year,

If you read the international press or communicate with people from other countries, you know that America is no longer reputed as the citadel of freedom and democracy, the home of innovation and enterprise, or protector of character and individualism.  It is the begetter of mass shootings.  And its people are regarded as something beyond a little stupid and degenerate for putting up with them. 

As we begin the fourth week of 2023, we've racked up 39 reported mass shootings with at least 69 deaths resulting so far.  Happy new year, shooting fans!

When it comes what national devices are the most famous for evil and cruel and efficient ways to kill people, America's gun violence ranks right up there with Hitler's gas ovens.  Mass shootings are something for which America is truly exceptional.

The analysts who study mass shootings, point out that the obvious common factor is the overabundance of and easy access to guns.  Another factor is the copy cat aspect.  As more and more mass shootings take place, more people are inspired to do them.  And some join the competition to have their names marked in history.  Once they have killed and wounded enough people to get noticed, most of the shooters then turn the guns on themselves to boost the number of casualties in the carnage.  They've achieved everything important to them in life.

Experts also note that mental health is a major factor, and they look for evidence that the shooter was bullied or mistreated at some point in their life. The motive of malice and how it takes possession of the shooters combines with easy access to guns to create a pandemic that not only kills and maims people, but leaves communities in a state of wreckage that cannot be repaired.  Mass shootings are the result of nation which does not live up to its pretenses of liberty, equality, and justice.  There is a lot of hatred operating in the nation and the verbal incitements can be seen at work in our state and national legislatures, as when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, D.-Ga.,advocates the execution of Democrats.  When members of law-making bodies agitate for violence, we should not be surprised when it happens.

While we are confronted with news  of malevolence and the resulting mass slaughter daily, the governor and some legislators, as well as officials in some other states, are working on bills that require our schools to teach how wonderful America is.  Kids are told what a great nation we are between the drills that teach them to take cover when the shooters come.  Those officials seem to think that making hypocrisy official is what makes America great.  

What greatness America can claim came when it confronted evil and corrected it.   It came when we fought a war over a Constitution that declared that an Afro-American was only three-fifths of a person and put in place the Thirteenth Amendment that freed the slaves and acknowledged their full personhood.  Then it realized that women were denied a voice in the republic and gave them the right to vote with the Nineteenth Amendment.  But many states had laws that still denied the rights to women of color and to Native Americans.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 addressed those issues.

The governor and other members of the South Dakota imbecile caucus are in a tizzy about the Critical Race Theory.  It posits that "racism is inherent in the law and legal institutions of the United States insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites"  The governor has issued an order prohibiting its teaching.  But the history of racism, sexism, and other oppressions in America are irrefutable facts written into its constitution and laws.   The theoretical question is not whether that such insidious discriminations have been part of our system of government, but the degree to which they are still operative without correction.  To prohibit the teaching of America's oppressive past is to deny the actual improvements our democracy has made since its founding.  And it is to teach students a lie which the factual record refutes.

And the record of America's struggle for equality, freedom, and justice is written in the earth itself in graves of people killed in mass shootings.

 Guns and lies being taught to deny our past are lethal to our democracy.  As long as we have people protecting and promoting malice and the freedom to have the means of mass extermination, the great American experiment in democracy has to be declared a failure.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States