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After Jared Loughner opened fire on group of people in an Arizona grocery store early last year, apparently targeting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, I wrote a post called "The Lunatic is in my Head". It questioned the mainstream narrative that we were fed about Loughner being a paranoid schizophrenic who had simply gone untreated for too long, and suddenly snapped. Let me be clear - in my opinion, whether Loughner was a "lunatic" or not is irrelevant to whether he should be held accountable for his despicable actions. There is absolutely NO excuse for such actions, and people like him should (and will) be punished to account for justice.
Fast forward to July 20, 2012, and we find ourselves confronted with a very similar tragedy. Police have identified James Holmes, a 24 year old studying for a P.h.D. in neuroscience at the University of Colorado, as the gunman who killed 12 people and injured 40 others at a Dark Knight movie premier in Denver. Should we chalk this horrendous incident up to the homicidal delusions of an abnormal person in an otherwise "normal" society as well, and then forget about it next week? Is there any connection at all between the actions of Holmes and the societal institutions and ingrained culture that surrounds us?
Perhaps it is time we, as individuals living in such a society, really start to ask ourselves why these incidents are apparently becoming more common throughout the developed world, mainly in the West but also in the East. What's happening in our economies, our corporate sectors, our banking systems and our socipolitical environments is not independent of what's happening in our movie theatres and our schools and our workplaces. Something deeper is happening than just chemical imbalances and misfiring neurons here; something more sinister, and something more widespread. I dare say we owe it to the victims and their families to not only offer them our thoughts and prayers, but to offer them our deeply considered reflection on what just happened.
In that spirit, I would ask readers to consider the following summary and review of the book "Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion " by Mark Ames, written in 2007 by Ed Vulliamy for the Guardian. In the book, Ames compares modern shooting sprees to the murderous outbursts of slaves against those around them, including but not limited to their masters - acute episodes of backlash against a culture of severe oppression and alienation. In the review, however, Vulliamy takes it a step further to suggest that perhaps what we are experiencing through these acts IS our culture, and what it has been for many years now. People like Holmes are not victims, rebels or exceptions - they are the metastasized cells of a cancerous culture.
MAP: 36 Mass Murders Across America in 30 Years
It's perhaps too easy to forget how many times this has happened. The horrific mass murder at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday is the latest in an epidemic of such gun violence over the last three decades. Since 1982, there have been at least 36 mass murders* carried out with firearms across the United States. We have mapped them below, including details on the shooter's identity, the date of the event, and the number of victims injured and killed. We do not consider the map comprehensive (and there are countless incidents of deadly gun violence in America, of course). We used the following criteria to identify incidents of mass murder:
Moyers and Winship | The NRA Has America Living Under the Gun
You might think Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of and spokesman for the mighty American gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, has an almost cosmic sense of timing. In 2007, at the NRA’s annual convention in St. Louis, he warned the crowd that, “Today, there is not one firearm owner whose freedom is secure.” Two days later, a young man opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 students, staff and teachers.
Just last week, LaPierre showed up at the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty here in New York and spoke out against what he called “anti-freedom policies that disregard American citizens’ right to self-defense.” Now at least 12 are dead in Aurora, Colorado, gunned down at a showing of the new film, The Dark Knight Rises, a Batman movie filled with make-believe violence. One of the guns the shooter used was an AK-47 type assault weapon that was banned in 1994. The ban ran out in 2004.
Obviously, LaPierre’s timing isn’t cosmic, just coincidental and unfortunate; as Shakespeare famously wrote, the fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves. In other words, people — people with guns. There are some 300 million guns in the United States, one in four adult Americans owns at least one and most of them are men. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, over the last 30 years, “the number of states with a law that automatically approves licenses to carry concealed weapons provided an applicant clears a criminal background check has risen from eight to 38.”
America's Perverse Titillation With Violence: Mass Shooting as a Form of Entertainment
I wrote last week about the Aurora, Colorado, shooting and America's responsibility for starting to look at our culture of violence - and our glorification of the gun and the "right" of people who feel victimized to use it to avenge themselves.
This is the subtext after all, as BuzzFlash at Truthout pointed out, of the "shoot to kill/stand your ground" law in Florida, which only requires that the shooter perceive a threat - however that might be defined by the shooter - to kill someone.
But there is another perversity at work in the United States when it comes to mass shootings: we wallow in them vicariously.
For the past few days, as BuzzFlash has predicted, we've seen the victims' families in their grief; articles speculating on the character, background and motivation of the shooter; and soon the first funerals.
Arizona Shootings, The Lunatic is in My Head
"The possibility of madness is therefore implicit in the very phenomenon of passion."
- Michel Foucault (Madness and Civilisation)
The mass shooting in Tuscon, Arizona was a sad and unpleasant event, but it was fully expected by those of us who stay informed. We couldn't predict exactly where such an event would occur, when it would occur or how it would occur, but we knew that it was only a matter of time before people began lashing out against "the system" in violent ways. In early 2010, a man lashed out by flying a plane into an IRS building in Texas, but this time the violence directly targeted a federal politician, who is currently hospitalized in critical condition.
The shooter was Jared Loughner, a 22-year old who was "studying" in an Arizona Community College. Since the event, many people have obviously started digging through every single detail of this man's history, from the "incoherent" and "inappropriate" things he said in class, to his "disturbing" postings on the Internet and his drug-related criminal record. There were all kinds of different "warning signs" available to foreshadow the shooting and potentially prevent it, if only those who had observed him had been more vigilant and took some action.
Perhaps it is true that Loughner's parents, friends or classmates could have deciphered his murderous plans and prevented the shooting. But does that mean this rampage was an isolated incident, specific to a hopelessly deranged individual who had inexplicably fallen from the good graces of "normal" society? Frankly, the whole post-event routine reminds me of CNBC pundits attempting to explain a large market sell-off by referencing a mish-mash of "unexpected" economic events and "temporarily" negative data.
Yes, Blame the NRA for the Movie Theater Shooting in Colorado
The Brady Campaign has a 62-page list of mass shootings in America since 2005. It is Wayne LaPierre's resume.
For 21 years, LaPierre has been the executive vice president - and chief political strategist - of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The blood of the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, shooting is on his hands.
Of course LaPierre didn't pull the trigger, but he's the NRA's hit man when it comes to intimidating elected officials to oppose any kind of gun control, and he's the nation's most vocal advocate of gun owner rights.
The NRA not only lobbies on behalf of "stand your ground" laws, but also offers insurance to members to pay for the legal costs of shooting people in "self-defense." The NRA also defends the right of Americans to carry concealed weapons, including handguns.
Posted by MindMover | Sun Jul 22, 2012, 03:41 PM (0 replies)
it is NOW ....
Posted by MindMover | Fri Jul 20, 2012, 04:34 PM (0 replies)
Alan Grayson's back -- and in fine form.
The former Florida Democratic congressman, who is seeking a return to the House from a new Orlando-area seat, responded Thursday to a GOP foe's web video from earlier this week that railed against Grayson “and his progressive cronies.” The low production value video suggested that a vote for Grayson was a vote for a future where lemonade stands are forced to go out of business, the price of gas is near $10 a gallon and guns and ammo are outlawed.
Rarely outdone when it comes to over-the-top political theater, Grayson returned fire in an email to his supporters.
I would like to assure my opponent, and all other right-wing paranoid crackpots, that I will neither eliminate children's lemonade stands, nor triple the price of gasoline, nor outlaw guns and ammunition. If I have a secret plan to do any of those things, it's so secret that even I don't know about it. It's like I'm the Manchurian Candidate, or something.
Alan, I simply ask how you can relate to the 99%ers. ?
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:31 PM (3 replies)
A lot of cities are in financial trouble these days, but the case of Scranton, Pennsylvania, stands out for its unusual degree of bickering as it descends into the fiscal abyss. Mayor Chris Doherty has cut nearly every city employee’s pay -- including his own -- to minimum wage ($7.25 an hour).
The mayor is acting in defiance of a court order mandating that he pay the employees in full. The International Association of firefighters ran a full page ad in the Scranton Times this past weekend, depicting the mayor in a dunce cap for his actions.
Mayor Doherty has a pretty good counterargument: The city literally doesn’t have the money to pay its employees. Two weeks ago, the city’s bank balance dwindled to just $5,000. Now, it’s about $130,000, enough to cover one day’s municipal expenses and not enough to meet payroll. Thanks to a bridge loan from the state, Scranton may soon be able to pay employees in full, but not forever -- the bridge loan only provides enough money to get the city into August.
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 07:24 PM (3 replies)
Source: NY Daily News
George Zimmerman apparently called into "The View" to make nice with Barbara Walters on Thursday, one day after the famed TV journalist nixed a possible interview with him over his demands for a monthlong hotel stay.
Walters told the show's viewers Thursday that she flew to Florida on Wednesday to set up an on-air chat with Zimmerman, but walked away after the volunteer watchman showed up in a T-shirt and made some steep demands.
She didn't elaborate, but sources told The Miami Herald that Zimmerman wanted ABC to put him and his wife up in a hotel for a month.
Walters walked away, saying only, "It was a condition that, being a member of ABC News, I was unable to grant."
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/zimmerman-calls-view-barbara-walters-walks-interview-meeting-article-1.1117912
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:16 PM (55 replies)
5 things George Zimmerman told Sean Hannity that may come back to haunt him
George Zimmerman gave an exclusive interview to Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday, telling the conservative commentator he had no regrets about the incidents surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin, but that he was sorry for Martin’s family. Prosecutors have now added transcripts of the Hannity interview to their packet of evidence in the case, and that means some of Zimmerman’s statements on Fox could resurface in his second degree murder trial.
So what did Zimmerman say that could have piqued the interest of prosecutors?
1. Trayvon wasn’t running.
Hannity seemed taken aback when Zimmerman repeatedly insisted that Trayvon Martin wasn’t running, since Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that he was. The Fox News host asked Zimmerman to try to “get into the mind-set” of the teen, and questioned whether he might have been running from Zimmerman because he was afraid of him and didn’t know who Zimmerman was. Zimmerman’s one word response to that proposition: “no.”
“You don’t think — why do you think that he was running then?” Hannity asked, to which Zimmerman replied that maybe he “said running,” but that Martin was “more … like skipping, going away quickly. But he wasn’t running out of fear.”
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:02 PM (8 replies)
Immediate and future radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster may result in hundreds of deaths and emerging cancer cases, according to a yearlong modeling project undertaken by researchers at Stanford University.
Started within a week of the Fukushima meltdown, the project is the most detailed model yet of the emission, transport and deposition of radioactive material from the site, accounting for complex interactions between atmospheric conditions and the microphysics of radioactive particles.
Combining the projected spread of radioactive material with a standard radiation health-effects model, co-authors John Hoeve, a recent Stanford Ph.D. graduate, and civil engineering professor Mark Jacobson calculated that between 15 and 1,300 premature deaths would occur as a result of the accident.
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 06:00 PM (4 replies)
The suicide bomber who blew up a bus full of Israeli tourists Wednesday in Bulgaria is believed to be a former Guantanamo Bay detainee whose charges were dropped after being extradited to Sweden, the Daily Mail reports.
The suspect, Mehdi Ghezali, is a Swedish citizen who spent two years as a detainee at the United States's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba after being arrested for suspected terrorism at the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. After two years, Ghezali was released by the U.S. government and extradited to Sweden, which declined to press charges. He was arrested in Pakistan again in September of 2009 on suspicion of links to al Qaeda. He was released by Pakistani authorities and returned to Sweden again.
Swedish intellegence agencies contend that the Bulgarian bomber is not Ghezali.
Earlier today, Bulgarian authorities released images of man resembling Ghezali who is believed to have detonated explosives among Israeli tourists in the Black Sea resort city of Burgas. The blast killed five Israelis, a Bulgarian bus driver, and the bomber.
Read more: http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/07/19/ex-gitmo-prisoner-suspected-as-bulgaria-suicide-bomber
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 05:57 PM (9 replies)
Dumping iron into the ocean stimulates blooms of diatoms that pull down carbon dioxide in the atmosphere--but only under the right conditions
Fertilizing the ocean with iron could help reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, according to newly released findings of a research cruise. Why? In a word, diatoms.
A hunger for iron rules the microscopic sea life of the Southern Ocean surrounding ice-covered Antarctica. Cut off from most continental dirt and dust, the plankton, diatoms and other life that make up the broad bottom of the food chain there can't get enough iron to grow. And that's why some scientists think that artificially fertilizing such waters with the metal could promote blooms that suck CO2 out of the air. Then, when these microscopic creatures die, they would sink to the bottom of the ocean and take the carbon with them.
Such blooms occur naturally, of course, so the first part of the hypothesis is not controversial. What remained questionable until now is whether such blooms in fact sequestered much carbon or if it was being quickly recycled back into the atmosphere. The problem for scientists is that oceanic waters tend to mix, which makes monitoring and delineating an experiment in the ocean challenging.
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 05:41 PM (2 replies)
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Not far from the beach, Representative Allen West recited the Declaration of Independence at a sweltering Fourth of July fair, lobbing the sentences into the crowd and hoping the gravitas of the words would sink in.
Patrick Murphy, greeting Palm Springs, Fla., residents in July, is locked in a tight battle for Florida's first congressional district with Representative Allen West.
Mr. West, a Republican positioned near the top of the Democrats’ knockout list, is fond of letting words speak for themselves — no parsing, no apologizing, no backtracking. In this era of survey-tested language, he is a verbal street brawler, unflinching in his speech, a trait that has won him the adulation (and the campaign contributions) of conservatives and Tea Party supporters who cheer on his every Westism. He is one of the top fund-raisers among House Republicans, rivaling Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio.
“People are looking for leadership,” said Mr. West, 51, a first-term congressman, in a brief interview as supporters posed for photographs and exchanged a few words. “Principles, pragmatism, passion and leadership: It’s obvious we are representing those values.”
Posted by MindMover | Thu Jul 19, 2012, 04:24 PM (0 replies)