The language of violence always presages violence. I watched it in war after war from Latin America to the Balkans. The impoverishment of a working class and the snuffing out of hope and opportunity always produce angry mobs ready to kill and be killed. A bankrupt, liberal elite, which proves ineffectual against the rich and the criminal, always gets swept aside, in times of economic collapse, before thugs and demagogues emerge to play to the passions of the crowd. I have seen this drama. I know each act. I know how it ends. I have heard it in other tongues in other lands. I recognize the same stock characters, the buffoons, charlatans and fools, the same confused crowds and the same impotent and despised liberal class that deserves the hatred it engenders.
“We are ruled not by two parties but one party,” Cynthia McKinney, who ran for president on the Green Party ticket, told me. “It is the party of money and war. Our country has been hijacked. And we have to take the country away from those who have hijacked it. The only question now is whose revolution gets funded.”
The Democrats and their liberal apologists are so oblivious to the profound personal and economic despair sweeping through this country that they think offering unemployed people the right to keep their unemployed children on their nonexistent health care policies is a step forward. They think that passing a jobs bill that will give tax credits to corporations is a rational response to an unemployment rate that is, in real terms, close to 20 percent. They think that making ordinary Americans, one in eight of whom depends on food stamps to eat, fork over trillions in taxpayer dollars to pay for the crimes of Wall Street and war is acceptable. They think that the refusal to save the estimated 2.4 million people who will be forced out of their homes by foreclosure this year is justified by the bloodless language of fiscal austerity. The message is clear. Laws do not apply to the power elite. Our government does not work. And the longer we stand by and do nothing, the longer we refuse to embrace and recognize the legitimate rage of the working class, the faster we will see our anemic democracy die.
Just two days after we warned of false flag domestic attacks that would be blamed on the federal government’s political adversaries were all but inevitable, a Californian man attacked the Pentagon last night in a shooting that wounded two police officers and has since been blamed on the John Patrick Bedell’s advocacy for 9/11 truth.
We pointed out that since examples of Americans committing violence in pursuit of their political beliefs, FBI patsy Timothy McVeigh aside, were thin on the ground, organizations like the SPLC were begging for such incidents to occur in order to provide the federal government with the pretext to crack down on dissent and silence free speech on the Internet.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the following are excerpts of his speech given at Riverside Church, New York, N.Y. on April 4, 1967 — exactly one year before his assassination.
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. [There comes a time] when silence is betrayal. The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty.
Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements, and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
The Four Most Important Lessons of Columbine: How “leakage” and the “active shooter protocol” have prevented other tragedies. hat tip: Slate by Dave Cullen
In the years after the tragedy, Americans feared copycat crimes, that children would carry out deadly school attacks.
In the 10 years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold struck, numerous teenagers have plotted to blow up their high schools, and several have proceeded to the action stage. But none has succeeded. Others have sought to kill with automatic weapons, both in and outside of schools. Some succeeded, but most of them, too, have been thwarted.
Part of the reason why there has not been another Columbine is that the police, school administrators, parents, and children learned the four most important lessons of Columbine (in some cases, a little too well).
The first lesson is really one that we have unlearned, which is that there actually isn’t a distinct psychological profile of the school killer. Pre-Columbine, teachers, parents, journalists, and the general public were pretty clear on where we thought the danger lay: loners and outcasts, troubled misfits who could not figure out how to fit in. Harris and Klebold were mistakenly tagged with all those characteristics in the first hours after their attack. Every characterization of them was wrong, both in their case and for shooters generally. The FBI conducted a ground-breaking study to help teachers assess threats in their classrooms. Oddballs were not the problem, the FBI concluded. Oddballs did not fit the profile, because there was no profile.In a surprisingly empathetic report, the bureau urged school administrators to quit focusing on the misfits. These were not our killers, and weren’t they having enough trouble already?
The Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education studied every American school shooting from 1974 to 2000—37 separate attacks—and reached the same conclusion. Shooters came from all ethnic, economic, and social classes. Most had no history of violence and came from solid, two-parent homes.
The changes we must make to avoid ultimate collapse are identical to the changes we must make to create the world of our common dream.
The story of purple America is part of a yet larger human story. For all the cultural differences reflected in our richly varied customs, languages, religions, and political ideologies, psychologically healthy humans share a number of core values and aspirations. Although we may differ in our idea of the “how,” we want healthy, happy children, loving families, and a caring community with a beautiful, healthy natural environment. We want a world of cooperation, justice, and peace, and a say in the decisions that affect our lives. The shared values of purple America manifest this shared human dream. It is the true American dream undistorted by corporate media, advertisers, and political demagogues-the dream we must now actualize if there is to be a human future.
For the past 5,000 years, we humans have devoted much creative energy to perfecting our capacity for greed and violence–a practice that has been enormously costly for our children, families, communities, and nature. Now, on the verge of environmental and social collapse, we face an imperative to bring the world of our dreams into being by cultivating our long-suppressed, even denied, capacity for sharing and compassion.