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Here he is, the killer, totally out of it. We'll blame him. Fuck, he did it. Law enforcement will talk about how he coldly calculated everything as if the deliberate calculations of someone living in a house of mirrors are somehow rational. We'll pump him full of Haldol, then say he isn't cooperating with police. NPR journalists will say there's no evidence that he has a psychiatric problem. "Experts" will say that we shouldn't give him any attention because that's what he wants.

Seriously. They said all of this crap on NPR this afternoon (I'm guessing about the Haldol). NPR is by far the best radio news source eastern North Carolina. The crap on other stations is far worse.

The truth is that mass murder is as American as apple pie.

"We're not going to turn our country into one big fortress," said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology at Northeastern University and one of the nation's foremost experts on mass murder. "People hate when I say this but it's true: This kind of tragedy is one of the unfortunate prices we pay for our freedoms."

If there is one saving grace it is to be found in statistics. Fox has collected data on every mass murder in the United States going back to the mid-1970s and, though we certainly see and hear about these incidents more quickly today, the numbers of such incidents have not increased over time (ed note: This is an assertion not supported by scientific evidence.)  He counted 19 in 1976 and 18 in 2010, with the range going from a low of seven in 1985 to a high of 30 in 2003. The FBI defines a mass murder as one in which four or more people are killed.

Why isn't mass murder a price Canadians, Australians or Britons pay for their freedoms? We speak the same language and have pretty similar levels of freedom. Why does the U.S. have more mass murders?

None of the "experts" I have heard on NPR or seen in the traditional media ask what is going on in the U.S. to make mass murder so damn common here compared to other wealthy countries. Michael Moore gave an in depth look at America's environment in "Bowling for Columbine" but the lessons of that movie have been forgotten or ignored by the media.

Let's look at some data:

America is brutal to families. Conservative policies are devastating families.

American conservatives just love to yammer on about the family, as if they invented it. But the US record on family issues is no better than its record on health care. The family indicators are as follows, along with the US rank: teenage pregnancy births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 (28 out of 28); paid maternity leave entitlement as a percentage of annual wage (29/29); public spending on family benefits in cash, services and tax measures (26/29); child poverty rate (25/26); family-time index (22/27); percentage of young people (0-14) living with both parents (21/23); percentage of young adolescents living with both parents (26/26); and divorce rate (30). All together, the US comes in dead last in the combined index of family indicators.

These low rankings are directly related to conservative practices and social policies. Divorce rates and teen pregnancy rates are both higher in "red states", a result of patterns of family formation according to law professors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone in their book Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarisation and the Creation of Culture. Even aside from culture, practices like "abstinence only" sex education and restrictive access to birth control both make for higher teen pregnancy rates. In the US, conservative politicians even opposed unpaid maternity leave - no wonder the US is the only advanced industrial nation with zero weeks of paid maternity leave - and very low rates of any public spending in the way of family support. In short, conservatives really are uniquely responsible for the United States' poor showing in the family category - the exact opposite of what they tend to believe.

And when we have a mental or physical health problem, our safety net is full of holes.
Let's start off by considering the health category, since healthcare is very much in the news in the US, and what's happening with it now so richly illustrates the value of Fullbrook's austere marshalling of stubborn facts. Republicans repeatedly claim that the US has the best healthcare system in the world. And if you're a third-world dictator - the Shah of Iran, most famously - you would probably be inclined to agree. But for actual American citizens? Not so much. The indicators in this category, along with the United States' ranking, are as follows: life expectancy at birth (24), healthy life expectancy at birth (24 [tied] out of 29), probability of not reaching the age of 60 (25), infant mortality rate (25), obesity (30), practicing physicians per capita (23), acute care hospital beds per capita (25 out of 29), psychiatric care beds per capita (25 out of 29).

There is no indicator for percentage of people with health care, perhaps because universal coverage is taken for granted in the rest of the developed world, which includes virtually all of the OECD members except Turkey and Mexico. On the combined index of health care indicators, the US comes in at 28, just ahead of ... Turkey and Mexico.

But we're number 1 in military expenditures, imprisonment and gun violence (below the orange croissant).

Americans swim in violence like fish swim in water. We aren't aware of the constant violence because it is always there. America has declared war on the poor and this is one war we are winning. Before 1980 poor families could find housing so virtually no kids were homeless. Ronald Reagan and conservatism changed that. Thirty years later in 2010, 1.6 million children were homeless.

The reasons behind the jump in family homelessness are not complex, Núñez says. "It was the gutting of the safety net. Reagan cut every social program that helped the poor. Then there's inflation so their aid checks are shrinking. Where are they going? Into the streets, into the shelters."

The administration was especially keen to cut low-income housing programs. Peter Dreier writes that Reagan created a housing task force, "dominated by politically connected developers, landlords and bankers." They and the president were in agreement that the market was the best way to address housing for the poor, and instituted cuts in government spending that yielded almost instant results. In 1970, Dreier writes, there were more low-income housing units than families who needed them, but "by 1985 the number of low-cost units had fallen to 5.6 million, and the number of low-income renter households had grown to 8.9 million, a disparity of 3.3 million units."  

At a 1985 hearing before the Senate subcommittee on housing and urban affairs, Barry Zigas, the president of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, called the administration's approach toward the poor a "scorched-earth policy." President Reagan offered a sunnier view on the TV show Good Morning America, saying, "What we have found in this country, and maybe we're more aware of it now, is one problem that we've had, even in the best of times, and is the people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice."

But we spent money on wars, guns and prisons.

You live by the sword, you die by the sword. When America practices social Darwinism, why are Americans surprised that some of the losers crack up violently? Nothing will change until America stops living by the sword. It isn't our freedom that causes the unending chain of senseless tragedies. It is our culture of violence that throws children out of foreclosed homes onto the street while war profiteers, corrupt bankers and speculators make billions. And where the desperate are allowed to sink into black waters of powerlessness and hopelessness, where violence seems like liberty, freedom and power.

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  •  Tip Jar (181+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, mikeVA, worldlotus, jethrock, Byrnt, Deward Hastings, Nate in IA, Tam in CA, citisven, ChicDemago, Dave in Northridge, RJDixon74135, Davui, john07801, jadt65, eru, jdld, markthshark, DRo, valadon, Creosote, tonyahky, opinionated, lotlizard, Yellow Canary, mujr, samanthab, Williston Barrett, uciguy30, Simplify, petulans, Sandy on Signal, nailbender, Smoh, ItsSimpleSimon, donnamarie, Nulwee, tbirchard, One Pissed Off Liberal, BYw, Preston S, Angela Quattrano, Kristina40, greenbell, eeff, grumpelstillchen, ban48, No one gets out alive, Cory Bantic, Marihilda, shanikka, suspiciousmind, DefendOurConstitution, Lady Libertine, Winston Sm1th, DarkestHour, kurious, marina, semiot, annrose, dougymi, Apost8, koNko, MartyM, Terminus, ridemybike, Powered Grace, rb137, psnyder, Randtntx, eXtina, no way lack of brain, Matt Z, lapin, davehouck, Azazello, Sychotic1, cotterperson, Mary Mike, jennylind, Thinking Fella, tapestry, Catesby, McGahee220, zerelda, karmsy, Lefty Ladig, OnlyWords, Melanie in IA, cybersaur, Paul Ferguson, dskoe, statsone, FultonDem, Only Needs a Beat, Colorado is the Shiznit, S F Hippie, Kayakbiker, Pithy Cherub, jfromga, ChemBob, Sixty Something, hyperstation, reddbierd, hubcap, tytalus, boofdah, US Blues, SeaTurtle, entrelac, Hillbilly Dem, roses, Joieau, JKTownsend, BlueDragon, RandomNonviolence, democracy inaction, Love and Death, dradams, Shockwave, mozartssister, GenXWho, terrypinder, lavaughn, Siri, Cronesense, Debs2, Keone Michaels, Mr Horrible, martydd, Glacial Erratic, madhaus, Imhotepsings, stevej, ranger995, loftT, SouthernLiberalinMD, emelyn, MKinTN, Heart of the Rockies, Miss Blue, TruthFreedomKindness, MusicFarmer, implicate order, Its a New Day, trinityfly, Ammo Hauler, reginahny, bajadudes, luckylizard, GreenMountainBoy02, Catte Nappe, greycat, avsp, RuralLiberal, Arahahex, StateofEuphoria, mungley, Ed in Montana, blackjackal, occams hatchet, linkage, rogerdaddy, shaharazade, J M F, Clytemnestra, Safina, Ginny in CO, skod, happymisanthropy, Agathena, bibble, Karl Rover, legendmn, elengul, FindingMyVoice, grollen, mythatsme, Sharon Wraight, mamamedusa, SolarMom

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:21:08 PM PDT

    •  So, basically, we've got to live with the fact... (30+ / 0-)

      that our [comparably] astronomical murder rate (but about average for us) is due to a convoluted interpretation of the Second Amendment.

      This is a perversion of social justice. Where da hell's one of them "strict constructionist" SCOTUS justices when ya need one?

      Thanks for the diary, Fish.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 02:04:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Assault rifles should be banned (14+ / 0-)

        before McDonald's offers the AK-15 as a Happy Meal treat -
        as Republicans and their NRA masters continue associating "freedom" and "liberty" with acceptance of high-powered military type guns.

        All of this while Republicans are trying to gut Dodd-Frank that PROTECTS our financial interests!

        "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

        by MartyM on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 06:21:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The murder rate (7+ / 0-)

        in America is now lower than at any time since the early 1960's.  It has fallen by 51% since 1991.  It has fallen even during the Great Recession. As wikipedia notes (though their numbers are a year out of date:"The year 2010 was overall the safest year in almost forty years. The recent overall decrease has reflected upon all significant types of crime, with all violent and property crimes having decreased and reached an all-time low. "

        There is a debate over the cause (there is persuasive evidence the removal of lead from gasolline account for half of this), but when I hear discussions about crime in the US, the writer seldom takes notice of this fact.

        The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

        by fladem on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:00:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The interesting question (4+ / 0-)

          to ask, then, is why are people so scared?  The answer, in part, is local news almost exclusively focuses on violent crime. They do this because it is cheap.  

          People have a distorted view of crime, and that distortion creates fear.  

          I bet not 1 person in 20 knows how much lower the murder rate is today.

          The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

          by fladem on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:03:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Good point and info. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The media policy of 'if it bleeds, it ledes' is certainly an issue.  A manager I worked with from a TX town with a high rate of gun violence, who was in Denver for an extended fill in assignment, was amazed at how little gun crime was in the local news. She had verified the different crime rates and, being a Texan, was having to reconcile that with her more conservative gun control views.

          There is also a lot of the violent crime increasing message that comes from the number (esp spinoffs), popularity, and reruns for TV shows like Law and Order and CSI plus 24 and Hollywood's Lethal Weapon, Dirty Harry, etc

          Under the radar, the evangelical churches have been pushing it in the mega and not so mega congregations. I suspect with a lot of support from the NRA and corporations that make money off products that make violence more lethal.

          The removal of lead in gasoline is very interesting. My time to do Google searching is growing less by the day. Have any links? This does have some supporting issues that may not have been anticipated when the regulations were argued. Poor neighborhoods have a much higher level of toxins. Those are the places where a lot of violent crime occurs. Decreasing lead in the brain may have a lot more positive ripple effects than could have been predicted.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 12:24:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's great--isn't it in Bowling for Columbine? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Siri, Dood Abides

        Seen on Facebook: "Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy, they are the result of a robust economy."

        by boofdah on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 07:52:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  love this cartoon (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dood Abides, Ginny in CO

        no matter how many times I see it. People seem unable to grasp the concepts of both cause and effect and seem to have no sense of history and it connection to where we are. They call it their culture like somehow culture and our current 'culture wars' that pit people against each other are not the result of manipulating the worst of our national traits and pumping out the fear.

        We as a society have elevated the darkside to the point where it's now the American way. 'They hate us for our freedoms' said Bush and 'terrists are going to kill yeer family'. 'They' want to take away your.... We all need to start packing  heat and standing our ground. cultural does not make cruelty, belligerence and violence American values it makes us a society that is not livable and inflicts and imports this darkness on the world. All for money for the top sociopaths and naked power.  

    •  The result of corporatocracy (9+ / 0-)

      Thank you for an excellant diary.  You have covered all the big topics in America: family dysfunction, healthcare, poverty, and gun violence.

      I see a common thread running through each fo these problems you have identified.  And that is a system of government in which the wealthy and corporate interests are allowed to buy the laws and law-makers they favor.

      A government of the wealthy and corporations, by the wealthy and corporations, and for the wealthy and corporations, is not going to spend resources on child-care, health-care, a living wage, paid maternity leave, teen pregnancy, and anything that might impede a company's ability to make money by selling guns and ammo.

      In recent decades, cigarette sales have dropped significantly in America.  Part of this decline is because the government stopped giving free rein to companies that make and sell those deadly products.  And then the government sued those companies, in part to recover some of the healthcare costs borne by the state that result from the use of those deadly products.  Americans leanred that they had been lied to and manipulated to become addicted to cancerous cigarettes, and found new motivation to free themselves.  The result has been a decrease in cigarette sales and use here in America.

      The gun industry saw this, and asked congress to pass a law to prevent people from suing gun makers for making a dangerous and deadly project.  So the gun industry is not going to suffer the fate of the cigarette industry.  Congress obliged, fully understanding their constituents among the wealthy gun makers was far more important than the health and safety of the majority of Americans.

      All of the problems you have written about could be helped by preventing the wealthy minority from buying the laws and law-makers they favor.

      This is not to say gun violence, teen pregnancy, maternity leave, and the others are not big problems.  They are indeed.  By freeing our law-makers from the inherently corrupting influence of wealthy and corporate donors, we make it possible for those law-makers to decide what is best for all, instead of concentrating on what is best for the wealthy.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 07:09:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see parallels... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        J M F, worldlotus, Ginny in CO

        Between the tobacco companies and the oil companies.  Tobacco was subsidized by the government.  To this day, I believe only one tobacco company has admitted that smoking causes health issues.  The Oil companies put out he same propaganda in denying AGW.

        'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

        by RichM on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:00:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And what does the government do? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          J M F, worldlotus, Ginny in CO

          I expect corporations to focus on profits.  That's with the primary concern of corporations.

          But in America, the government is supposed to do additional things: like protect the health and safety of the people.

          Sadly, when the government is run by corporations for corporations, all the other stuff beyond making profits is ignored.

          Notice that when oil companies are allowed to buy the laws and law-makers they want, the government decides to do nothing in the face of the well-documented dangers from too much petroleum use.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:21:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Australia, Finland, Canada, all have mass murders (10+ / 0-)

      And not in the distant past, either.

      Being Finnish, 2 of these have been particularly disturbing to me:

      The first was in 2007 in Jokela where 9 died, including the shooter. Then there was Kauhajoki in 2008 and don't forget theSello Mall shooting where 5 died in 2009. Or what about the bombing at the Myyrmanni mall in 2002?

      That's tiny little Finland. 95% White, Lutheran and speaks Finnish. Except for the Sello Mall, all were native Finns. Born, breed, raised, Finn.

      And Australia? Well, let's let the mass murders of Aborigines drop off the list and just focus on non-native murders. One of the worst non-native mass murders was in Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination, kind of like going to Alcatraz. It was 1996, and by the end of the day, what started with the death of Sally and David Martin at their B&B at the hands of a privileged and wealthy white 28 year old, ended with 33 additional people dead, including a mom and her two small children walking down the street. He hunted the kid down that got away from the original shooting and shot her. Or how about in 1987 the Hoddle Street Massacre? A 19 year old ex Army officer cadet (gee, wonder why he didn't make it in the army?) took up a sniper position and shot at passersby, killing 5. There are others, too.

      AH, but Canada doesn't escape mass murderers, they have a 25 year old to thank for that and his hatred of women, specifically smart women in Montreal. There's also the 21 year old mental patient who killed 9 in Shell Lake in 1967. A little 4 year old girl was the only surviving family member. See, this crazy dude walks onto the farm and shoots each member of the family, point blank, one at a time. He didn't know them; a random act of violence.

      Did you know that more Finns own and carry firearms than any other country in the world? No, seriously. There are 56 guns for every 100 Finns. And those are 2008 numbers.

      Here's the thread that I come up with from all of these International instances. They are mostly young men in their 20's. Mostly white. Most had a previous history of violence. A couple couldn't make it in their country's military.

      Random acts of violence occur. I read on DKos yesterday that gun laws (and I think these should be weapons laws) should be based on reducing incidents of mass murder, hell, let's just say murder in general. Pulling a trigger on an automatic gun is too quick and too easy. Someone with a history of violence, especially young men, should not be able to purchase semi-automatic weapons. They can't buy tanks, submarines, rocket launchers or anthrax, why should they be able to buy automatic weapons or even ammunition in bulk?

      I don't think this is a uniquely American thing. What it is, is a uniquely young male thing and of the incidents noted, it also appears to be a 1st World problem, sadly.

      •  we're 7th in Gun violence deaths (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fladem, worldlotus

        based on most recent statistics. And Germany isn't far behind us which I find interesting.

        Germany has also had its share of mass murders, too and I'm not talking about the Holocaust.

        •  Mexico ranks as safer than the U.S. on that list (6+ / 0-)

          despite all the drug gang violence.


          Yes, we do better than South Africa, Thailand and Colombia.

          Bad things happen just about everywhere but the rates of gun related violence and mass murders here are anomalous for developed nations.

          look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

          by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:19:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  we are a violent nation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            in every sense and we are getting worse.  in fact, in my small world, it is clear we have developed a callous to these events.  they are not worth commenting about or thinking about.  

            i don't think anything will stop these events short of a complete about face of our culture.  were we to remove all guns (obviously an impossibility at this point in our history), we would still be plagued by other forms of mass violence.  we have tortured ourselves into this state and we now seem inured to even the most horrific events.

            thanks fish for saying what i wanted to but couldn't gather my thoughts enough to do so.

            Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

            by BlueDragon on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:26:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That is % homicides with firearms (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          emelyn, happymisanthropy

          very different thing - nice try.

          A massively high homicide rate would actually give a country a lower position on that chart.

          •  South Africa doesn't (0+ / 0-)

            and honestly, stats can say anything you want them to say.

            Point being that this blog post made anecdotal comments  about guns and violence and pulled in Canada and Australia as examples. Stats exist as do real examples of gun violence not just there but pretty much everywhere. And unfortunately for both places they have not escaped mass murders. Sadly, hate is hate. Keeping weapons out of the hands of self destructive hate mongers with a history of violence is the best option. But we aren't the thought police, so how do you even go about trying to do this? Finland tried and a police officer lives with the knowledge that he didn't stop a mass murderer.

          •  The various statistical measurements are (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            extremely confusing. It would be great to have a really good explanation of the actual metrics the different numbers are stats for. Gun homicides vs all homicides.

            All homicides includes gun homicides, neither includes accidental deaths or suicides - a really significant part of the whole. Gun suicide deaths are I think ~30% of total suicides. Mental health improvements would also cover suicides by rope, bridge, knife, drugs, CO and cops.

            I get lost when they switch from per capita to per 1000 or 100,000 population. Seems like per capita takes a mental calculation out that makes it easier to understand and compare numbers. Maybe it would be useful to calculate it per capita of population over 18.

            Then it gets nuts when they don't specify what year(s) the data is from and what source. Crime stats and coroners can be different. Do all countries count suicide deaths as a crime?

            A really good reconstruction of the data with more consistency and clarity, would help this discussion focus and come up with the real problem areas that can be addressed, in how many ways - not just gun control. Otherwise we are likely to come up with the right answers to the wrong questions. Waste of money.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 12:54:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I have a friend who lost a loved one (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FishOutofWater, ChemBob, loftT, worldlotus

        in the Port Arthur massacre. It was horrific. All of these incidents are horrific.

        When is it going to end? As people become more stressed by their environment these incidents are only going to become more common.

        When are we going to make the effort to flag these sudden large purchases? And, finding out that buying 6,000 rounds in the span of two months isn't even considered a large purchase has left me with my jaw on the floor for days. What does one person need with that much ammunition?

        I don't have any answers but I have a lot of questions.

        •  I was really freaked after reading the Finnish (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          entrelac, worldlotus

          one, because there were warning signs and at least one of them (I think 2) of the 4 incidents were caught on youtube. What was really deplorable were the "joke" videos released after the shootings. The Police had to go to the Press to ask people to STOP posting "joke" videos where they threatened classmates, showed guns, or made threats to large groups of people. You see, they had investigated the some disturbing video on youtube before the shooting and a few days after questioning him, the massacre occurred. I can't imagine being that police officer, the one that questioned this man who I will not write the name of, and you're questioning him and there's nothing you can do. Maybe you recommend follow up or even surveillance, but in the end, you have to know that you talked to a horrific individual. How do you go on after that? How?

          There's only really one common thread among all of these men, hate. I can't imagine what went through family members upon hearing a loved one was murdered at Port Arthur, or Columbine, Red Lake, Hungerford or Dunblane. I doubt any of them thought that this bastard would be famous. But in the end, they are. All of them. If you shoot-up a school, tourist site, mall or theatre, you become famous. The two Australian cases are still in jail as is the Norwegian, the Finnish ones, dead. I wonder if the Finns intended to commit suicide and to take out as many people as they could at the same time. And then I wonder, why I'm even bothering to care what these animals were thinking. There's no reason for it. There's no understanding of it, no matter how much you know. There's just emptiness and the reality sets in that random acts of violence happen. I would just like to make it harder to let them happen.

          Unfortunately, like Finland, I don't think Colorado is going to make us really look into how to better control and track weapons. We'll go the route Finland went, and just wait for the next one.

      •  in just the past two days (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus, happymisanthropy

        i have found information on the web which puts gun ownership in usa at 90 guns per 100 people which would include infants.

        finns may have a lot of guns, but we have far, far more.

        Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

        by BlueDragon on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:32:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  got a link? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          As I did note, my stats are from 2008. That's 4 years ago. Finland is notorious for not enforcing gun laws and only a small percentage of those guns are even registered. Seems like we track everything these days, it feels like we should do a much better job of tracking stuff like this.

          •  i surf too much and (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus, Bendygirl

            make too few notes.  sorry.

            i did find that stats around this issue were confusingly different depending on how the apple was cut into.

            but stats about gun ownership in usa have long been in the stratosphere.

            i have a cousin who has more guns than sense.  i think he could arm my entire street.

            these sorts of gun caches appear to be everywhere in the usa.

            Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

            by BlueDragon on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:09:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Finland, too (0+ / 0-)

              for a nation of 5 million, they have incomplete and difficult to read gun stats. Most recent being after the last massive shooting spree. For a nearly homogeneous population, the love of all things gun makes me really nauseated.

              Of course, gun violence isn't restricted to countries with permissive gun laws like the US and Finland, they're rampant in places like Colombia where they appear to simply be unenforced.

              I think I'm still more likely to be shot (murdered) in South Africa than here in the states. But that doesn't really make me feel any safer to say that.

        •  The difference between Europe and the US... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Is that gun ownership is truly associated with the 'regulated militia' part mentioned in the second amendment.  In Switzerland and most of the Scandinavian countries, military service is mandatory.  One receives military training to become part of that nation's militia.  You get a gun as part of that training.  After your obligation, you may keep the gun.  Notice, this means that virtually every male has a gun and that every male is TRAINED in how and when to use it.

          'Osama Bin Ladien is still dead and GM is still alive' - Joe Biden "Dems kill terrorist. The GOP keeps them around as a boogeyman - so they can continue to steal."

          by RichM on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:10:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  true (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            even Finland has a requirement, 6 months. The murderer at the technical school in Kauhajoki in 2008 was kicked from the military only a month in. 1 month into his 6 month requirement? WTF?

            Growing up Finn gave me an appreciation for hunting. Not that I ever did, but all the men in the family did, hunting and fishing and then sauna. I preferred the sauna part, but I did love fresh fish growing up. Still can't eat the processed stuff. Of course, I grew up here. And these were Finns that had emigrated. So, my anecdotal memories don't really carry any weight.

      •  this the right approach (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bendygirl, entrelac, worldlotus
        They can't buy tanks, submarines, rocket launchers or anthrax, why should they be able to buy automatic weapons or even ammunition in bulk?
      •  If it isn't in the first world (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The press isn't going to cover it.  Don't be fooled by that.  Still I beleive that the data show that the US has a high per capita rate.  Yes, these are deaths Americans view as acceptable as a consequence of our choice to prefer free and easy access to guns.   It won't change until we do

        Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:02:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Ah this is (0+ / 0-)

        the new NRA math and interpretation of data.

        This is exactly what the NRA do - all of this data is selective and though it looks impressive at first glance there isn't a single apples to apples comparison in there.

        •  nope (0+ / 0-)

          But thanks for using broad strokes to make such an accusation. Very lovely of you, especially claiming that I'm using selective data, well, duh, it's no more selective than the original post. Which is exactly the point.

          Broad brushstrokes from anecdote to stats are not helpful or useful.

      •  Well, at least the homicide rate is much lower (0+ / 0-)

        here in Finland. And Helsinki is pretty darn safe, especially compared with the places I've lived in Florida.

        Acts of mass violence can occur anywhere, that is certain. But the general level of gun violence is demonstrably lower outside of the US.

        A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

        by FinchJ on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:18:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hei hei! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          my point was they can happen anywhere, even where you pretty much have a homogeneous society.

          Crime is a different story and has more factors from economics to isolation, mental illness and a whole host of disenfranchisement issues. Mass murder, targeted kinds like in Aurora or Montreal or Australia, Finland, Germany, etc... they seem to have a common thread, hate. Unbridled hate. I wonder if these are the kinds of people who would participate in genocide. If they were charming, would they be the kind to bring about genocide?

          •  Moi :) (0+ / 0-)

            I wasn't disagreeing at all with your point. There are so many factors as to what can cause a person to commit such crimes. Hate is, unfortunately, found universally in human societies.

            As for those who would participate in genocide, I'm sure there are plenty of studies into the personalities of participants. AFAIK, and this is based on rusty memories from some courses in which we discussed genocide, the results are unsettling because even what we would consider to be normal people are involved.

            A Victory Garden documents my family's experience transitioning from suburban lawn to edible food forest based on permaculture principles. A new blog following my life as an immigrant in Finland will be up soon.

            by FinchJ on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 06:01:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  10 rules for common sense. Start the debate. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      swarf, mamamedusa

      Here is something that could be instituted by executive order. In the future, if debate bogs down.  The Nine new Rules for accountability.

      1  If you buy a pistol for personal use, to keep with you or at a residence, you must have 1 million dollars in liability insurance to guard against wrongful death. No insurance, 1 year in jail. No exceptions. This must be obtained prior to purchase and be confirmed at time of purchase.  Exceptions are target pistols at clubs or shooting events that are stored there at all times, never leave the premises except to an authorized gunsmith or gunshop for repair.

      2. The 7.62 mm NATO round for interchangeability for military use that is the backbone of automatic weapons and many pistols sold in the USA  is prohibited for civilian sale. Genuine SWAT teams, police and law enforcement that sore munitions at their place of work are exempt. No others.  This will reduce eventually the millions of handguns from operating where no accountability exists for munitions.

      3.  Every gun sale is to be made through a registered and licensed gun shop where the owner/operator is liable to keep accurate records and may at any point refuse a sale with impunity if he feels such refusal is in the public interest.

      4.  Private sales, such as social media, print  classified advertising, unadvertised (verbal) sales are expressly and completely forbidden as public health hazards with the seller having no accountability that will withstand a legal challenge.

      5.  Guns from individuals may be sold on consignment with authorized shops, where serial numbers and title of ownership is recorded and passed along to the new owner. Those guns will be kept in a database just the same as new purchases.  No black market in guns rule.

      6.  Pistol ammunition , except for law enforcement, may be sold to gun clubs, shooting ranges  that monitor and supervise the distribution and use at their facility.  No surplus or excess sales to individuals.  Only licensed gun shops may sell ammunition to permitted persons who have been certified to be allowed to buy and operate guns. Permit numbers of buyers will be kept in the database and alert registry.  

      7.  Guns may not be sold to any person who has not shown a proficiency test such as ratings achieved in military or police studies in real time actual use or a comprehensive study and mastery of armament and shooting skills and safety.  A passing grade is considered at least 85%. Any state not having such a requirement will be prohibited from selling weapons until and unless such a requirement and program is instituted and in force.

      8.  Guns will be considered a privilege of living in the USA. However abuse or change in status, such as mental health issues or conviction of a felony will require forfeiture of the weapons and restitution is only possible by agreement by certified physicians or executive order in the state of residence.

      9.  Persons on the no fly list, persons of interest to law enforcement, wanted in a criminal proceeding and also failure to appear warrants as well as any person cited by judges, peace keeping authorities  will be screened for by the data base. Licensed dealers will have real time communication with the updated list .  A refusal will be worked out with the person screened and the national data base network, not the gunshop.

      10. None of the preceding rules prempt more strict rules that may apply in certain locales, in certain cities and places where there is concern of abuse or lack of management of weapons  among amateurs and civilians such that the public is at risk.

      This currently under construction..

      by BeeDeeS on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:55:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "forgotten or ignored by the media" (19+ / 0-)

    I'll be more blunt.

    Ridiculed is a more accurate term.

    Romney/Rove 2012: If you liked Bush's Brain... you'll love Romney's.

    by jethrock on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:52:30 PM PDT

  •  I Can Not Nor Will Not Watch Any (10+ / 0-)

    of his trial. I just thing of those killed ....

    I get a TV show isn't reality but I think of this.

    When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

    by webranding on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:56:48 PM PDT

  •  well said, and well researched (35+ / 0-)


    You live by the sword, you die by the sword.
    pretty much sums it up. And yes, everyone should watch Bowling for Columbine again, but the ones who need it most won't care anyway. As a German native with a recent U.S. citizenship, I think the gun fetish and widespread tolerance for violence is probably the second most puzzling thing about my adopted country, right after the resistance to health care for all. Come to think of it, both of them seem to be cut from the same cloth. Incredibly frustrating!
  •  Thank you FishOutofWater, for this informative (38+ / 0-)

    post!  The stats alone, in this diary, should be broadcast to every American 24/7 until everyone "gets it".

    Past few years I have been feeling like some dis-remembering fossil whenever my adult kids & I would have a discussion about the cost of living.  My confusion about the whys & hows of what has come to be a far different reality for too many is lessened by this:  

    Before 1980 poor families could find housing so virtually no kids were homeless. Ronald Reagan and conservatism changed that. Thirty years later in 2010, 1.6 million children were homeless.

    AND this:

    ...and instituted cuts in government spending that yielded almost instant results. In 1970, Dreier writes, there were more low-income housing units than families who needed them, but "by 1985 the number of low-cost units had fallen to 5.6 million, and the number of low-income renter households had grown to 8.9 million, a disparity of 3.3 million units."  

    I was a young & (by some standards) financially poor human during the period discussed in the above blockquote (70's-80).  

    And yet, I was able to not only pay out of pocket for medical/dental needs, rent, food, university classes, vehicle, recreation & travel but do so while raising children as a single parent during a majority of that time.  Hell, I was even able to buy a house making less than 10k a year in the early 70's.  A one owner 3 bedroom intercomed house on an a single female....  

    Never saw or heard of the "homeless" or food banks back then-even during my social work time.  Easy to find places to rent or a car to buy- in any area I happened to be in-whether out west or the midwest or the east or the south.  
    Even easy to weather out seasonal layoffs (hat tip to unions) or rely on just one income or have a savings account...until President Reagan.

    Today, there is no way I could do the same things in the same way.  No freakin way live the carefree nomadic lifestyle my kiddos knew or have even half the experiences.  All without realizing how "poor" we were.

    And it scares the beejesus out of me to see this all evolve- to see my well educated offspring being hamsters on a wheel & no doubt wondering what went wrong. To see so many without & no where to turn.  To know that programs are not there or being slashed further.  To know that most of us are only a couple of paycheques away from being a statistic.

    To know that today, making 5x or 8x or whatever number a year is basically the equivalent to that 10k in the 70's-yet won't buy the same-staggers the mind.

    We've all fallen down some rabbit hole.

    •  toxic combination (8+ / 0-)

      I think FOoW shows a lot of excellent statistics about the end results of being poor and you make the point that this marginalises poor people to the extent that they can't help but realise that they are of little or no worth in current American society. As you say, they have "no where to turn".
      I would add that it is very seldom poor people that resort to mass killing, but people who either are afraid of sliding into poverty, or who are currently being marginalised by either their peers or by society in general. Fear of being a non-person in an essentially unfair system is what drives them toward escaping their fear the only way they know how.

      "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

      by northsylvania on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:49:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Toxic combination indeed with the caveat that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the "poor" have probably always known that they have "no where to turn".  Whereas those who have never known or experienced poverty or want are now sharing the same plight.  Imagine the bewilderment & fear of those of an upper class now slip sliding to join them.....totally without recourse or experience or knowledge base on how to survive....

        Look, I was a child of privilege & by no stretch of the imagination do I consider myself as truly knowing or experiencing what too many of my fellow citizens of the world endure chronically.

        I merely had close encounters to what is considered poverty but in a time when it was easier to survive or live.  With the added benefit of being a person of no obvious color with a safety net (parents) if necessary.

        In my reality, I was just a rebellious child of privilege thumbing their nose at society's mores & misplaced values.  I survived my own social experiment & was made better for it in ways that are without measure.

        I doubt many that come from true poverty have the luxury of saying the same.

      •  A disconnect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        people who either are afraid of sliding into poverty, or who are currently being marginalised by either their peers or by society in general
        I think you are right Northsylvania, it is not someone who is very poor lashing out as a mass killer; it is more frequently a middle or low/middle class white male who may be experiencing a disconnect between what his real life is, and the way his life is "supposed to be" as a member of this privileged group.  That "supposed to be" life is hyper-idealized by our culture - it appears to him that he is supposed to have access to wealth and fame and, according to reality TV, these seem to be within reach.  But, as a 99%-er, the deck is fairly well stacked against this outcome.  For some, the intractable frustration becomes a powderkeg, easily ignited by a romantic issue, an employer dispute, or other perceived slight.

        Add to this easy access to this vicious weaponry, and you end up with ripe conditions for murderous violence of all kinds, not just mass murders but on a continuum with domestic murders, as well.

        •  The best (0+ / 0-)

          diary I have read lately dealing with this subject is on Community Spotlight at present. The diarist overcame his problems through hard work and meditation, but he describes the temptation of an easier and more violent outcome. Long, but definitely worth the read.

          "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

          by northsylvania on Wed Jul 25, 2012 at 02:24:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      worldlotus, J M F, FishOutofWater

      I was renting a two-bedroom brick house in the 1970s for $90/month. I left college for a while and was able to make a living working for a while in a sandwich shop and then at a small neighborhood factory making wire racks in OKC. I could get a job almost anywhere even though I had only finished high school and a little over a year of college. I had money for concerts, food, utilities, and I wasn't making crap for money, but I wasn't on any government assistance either. We were much freer and life was much easier then than now imho. We have been beaten down and robbed and we have to make it stop.

      •  AMEN, ChemBob! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ChemBob, J M F, FishOutofWater
        We were much freer and life was much easier then than now imho. We have been beaten down and robbed and we have to make it stop.
        I could get a job almost anywhere even though I had only finished high school and a little over a year of college. I had money for concerts, food, utilities, and I wasn't making crap for money, but I wasn't on any government assistance either.
        Exactly.  My sentiments & experiences as well.  I did not know anyone who was on any gov. assistance nor needed to borrow to go to school.  The only assist with school were vet friends using the GI Bill....

        Perception is an odd thing.  While I fully realized at the time that I was not living with the same (financial)standards I grew up in, it is only in hindsight that I realize that I was "poor" or just how "poor" I was.

        This despite the hissy fits my parents maintained for the rest of their lives.   I just considered my chosen lifestyle an alternative one not a poor one until recent years.

        Concerts, cross country or international trips, schooling plus the regular costs of living on our thin dime back would be impossible today.  

        What is really ironic (to me) is that as time evolved & with it the acquiring of all the appearances of what many would consider a successful life, I am less better off than that "poor" young me in ways that truly baffle the mind.  Heh, now it would cost a mini fortune to live as I once did on pennies.

        And it enrages & saddens me beyond words that this is reality for those who come behind me.  I spent most of my life in helping professions yet feel totally helpless today about how to help change things for the greater good.  And I don't do helpless very well.

  •  I agree with you, FOoW, as usual, on everything (22+ / 0-)

    you've said here, except your guess about the Haldol. I'd guess that he's not, at least not yet. I've seen quite a few people on Haldol, frequently (but not always) recognizable by a characteristic "tongue thrust" and other symptoms of tardive dyskinesia. They appear to be chewing on their own swollen tongues which also protrude from their mouths every few seconds. It's almost frightening to watch even when you know what's causing it. Tardive dyskinesia is not curable, can persist even after Haldol is discontinued, and is one of the main reasons people with schizophrenia resist taking it.

    I'm posting this because we so often hear or read about people with schizophrenia refusing medications and may  perceive the refusal to be a general lack of cooperation or a symptom of irrationality. In fact, the most rational person would do almost anything to avoid this side effect of Haldol.

    I'd guess Thorazine, but it seems to me that almost anything would be legally questionble if it reduced his ability to assist in his own defense.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:29:07 AM PDT

  •  we are violent people. (27+ / 0-)

    we watch tons of violence everyday. we pay taxes to our country hooked on waging war in which innocents are murdered every day and it's acceptable. we bring Aurora like events to Afghanistan almost every day.

    we are a country that brutalizes our farm animals and tortures lab animals.

    we are a consumer nation and our buying habits and demand for cheap goods leads to violence, slave labor, and destruction around the world. yeah. cheap is way more expensive.

    it is how we all have allowed our culture to devolve. imo.

    •  If I was a religious man... (11+ / 0-)

      I'd probably come to the conclusion that we are a country possessed.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 02:22:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and you're probably closer to the problem than (9+ / 0-)

        you think.

        it's all kinds of chemical reactions, isn't it? what happens in our brains as they are inundated with violent movies, war... where one of our most recently celebrated TV creations is about a serial killer (Dexter) ...

        we fill movies with car chases and guns instead of story, character, and dialogue.

        not to mention video games and the vulgarity that drug-fueled money-fueled sports has become.

        junk data in... junk data out.

        •  Couldn't disagree more. (10+ / 0-)

          If violence in media begat violence in society, then Japan would sink into an ocean of blood.

          At best, the violence in our media is a reflection of the violence in our society. Where was the video game that made corporations kill labor activists in the early part of the 20th century? What was the name of the movie that started the Civil War? Which television show made us carry out genocide against the indigenous people of the Americas?

          Scapegoating the media ignores the very real causes of violence and crime. Poverty, poor education, hopelessness, wealth disparity - greed - these are your culprits.

          We do far more to teach our children that life is cheap by refusing to have a sane health care system than by letting them play Kingdom Hearts or watch GI Joe.

          It is because of the greed of the few that we're treated to the useful distractions of glorifying horrible people with no respect for anyone or anything. My Super Sweet 16 does more harm than Dexter, mostly because Dexter is a fictional character we're not supposed to emulate, whereas My Super Sweet 16 is a very real expression of the highest form of status the masses are supposed to aspire to: cheap celebrity bought by abandoning all human decency.

          I'll take Grand Theft Auto over Tosh.0 any day of the week.

          The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

          by lotusmaglite on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 04:38:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it's a catch 22, isn't it? (4+ / 0-)

            GI Joe objectifies living things and reduces the shock to violence, imo.

            coupled with the violence we allow or ourselves visit on the world around us, it is a potent cocktail and a hard cycle to break.

            but there is this: i don't think violence is wrong/right/moral/ et al. it is how we are programmed/designed. we are also adaptable and our own sense of survival grows things like empathy and compassion... we can't live on a finite sphere with finite resources as we do without adapting out of violence and into cooperation.

            or we could allow the few barbarian types to remain in control and reduce the world population to hundreds of millions by their greed and destruction.

            maybe, in some secret place, it is our desire to also rule the universe and that keeps us from tracking down the greedy bastards we know have 21 trillion tax free dollars hidden away (aside: like this should surprise anyone of us?)

            •  I will admit (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              worldlotus, pfiore8

              ...that our love affair with exploding things and kicking ass is a part of the equation, anesthetizing us to the horrors of actual violence, but I just don't believe it's the larger piece of the puzzle by a long shot.

              Your point is well taken, and to me, it means that the A-Team-ification of violence as a construct in the American consciousness is part of a vicious circle, one that is almost capable of self-perpetuation at this point.

              I also believe that if you remove as a useful distraction the glorification of the human-decency-trainwreck, attack poverty, educational deficiency, and the trappings of greed (greed itself cannot be undone, but we can certainly stop rewarding it so much on many levels), we would lose much of our bloodlust.

              On a side note, I've had to refrain from writing a rather pessimistic diary on the subject of that 21 trillion dollars, warning people not to get their hopes up. We need a massive reeducation effort before we can expect the reaction by most of America to this story to be anything other than a shrug and a "Good for them; they beat the system. I want to get rich and beat the system, too!"

              It saddens me to think it, but I have a feeling this is not outside the range of acceptability for the many who think that rich = justified, taxes = bad, and corporate crime is ofset by "job creation". A good way to combat that perception is to hammer the current Caterpillar story, IMHO, which directly contradicts the greedy-unions-pricing-themselves-out-of-work meme...

              The problem with going with your gut as opposed to your head is that the former is so often full of shit. - Randy Chestnut

              by lotusmaglite on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:09:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  i think your comment is so important. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and i've been wrestling with the idea for a long time: how do we retool the rhetoric to hit some other part of the brain that will register what is happening ...

                i think we've been adapting away from might is right and recognizing that, in order to live next door to each other, we need some other survival model.

                we have the survival imperative in us and we have to activate it or reactivate it. i think that is why someone like Christ was so successful... it was more than a better life after this one. it was forging a better life now... about justice and compassion and parity.

                the planet simply can not survive the drug addicted like behavior of the barbarians in control. but hey, Christ and Buddha (another way out and seriously evolved dude) were only 1000s of years ago... i guess evolutionary thought takes a bit more time to take hold. at least  in our species.

    •  May I point out that this site celebrates carnage (4+ / 0-)

      in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria, etc., that a significant faction is pumping for a new round of slaughter in Iran, that everyone personally responsible for killing from pfc to C-in-C is held inviolate for their crimes.

      The progressive Democrat stand appears to be military spending bad, killing poor people for political advantage good. You reap what you sow.

  •  Not a mention of drugs? (3+ / 0-)

    How can you talk about high murder rates without talking about gang / drug violence?  It's the reason for sooooo many murders.  Factor in the idiots who kill night store clerks for $20 so they can buy drugs and you have your vast majority.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 04:04:58 AM PDT

    •  There are gangs and drugs everywhere. (4+ / 0-)

      About 30% of Thailand is on meth as I type.
      China is awash in a sea of synthetic stimulants.
      Iran consumes more heroin per capita than anywhere else in the world.
      Russia has a huge heroin problem- hell, google " krocodil " and you can get a feel for how bad it is.
      Japan does speed and dissociatives.

      Really, we don't do any more dope than anybody else, or any different. I mean, what qualifies as "binge drinking" on a US campus would be " Tuesday" in Britain.

      Why don't drugs cause so many murders in all those places?

  •  I have to say that I listened to that report (10+ / 0-)

    and I was not left with the impression that they were suppressing the facts of violence in America. I guess I depends on the listener because I too went straight to thoughts about "Bowling for Columbine."

    It does seem a bit abstract to get into on a radio news program but you and I both had the same thoughts provoked by listening to it. And I'm sure we have both heard many explorations of the root cause of gun violence in America on public radio.

    I've never been comfortable with accusations against public radio at a progressive website and since the promotion of what I consider to be the most truthful news reporting in this nation would be far more constructive, I would go with the fact that that report inspired your thoughts on violence in America.  

    But that is the way I feel. I'm a very liberal person and much of my beliefs come from years of listening to NPR. I think at at website that seems dedicated to pointing a finger at the MSM, NPR should receive accolades, free advertizing even.

    I think "They said all of this crap on NPR this afternoon" is very much taken out of context. It would be misleading to claim that NPR never gets around to the part that politician and media based paranoia  military expenditures, imprisonment and the many reasons for the attitude of violence are not often explored. They do often get to the facts.

    Also from yesterday Politicians Shy Away From New Gun Control Efforts and I can't help but think that if NPR was given the respect that an elected Democrat gets around here, or even a sliver of the respect Democrats receive, it would be better for us and this nation.    

    •  I agree. (5+ / 0-)

      I know there are many of those on DKos that are rabidly anti-NPR.  I think much of this is due to expectations.we would like to see NPR much more progressive, but considering the alternatives, it is a veritable haven.  They make serious mistakes, but are the only source that routinely puts liberal ideas out there (except, of course, those outlets specifically dedicated to progressive ideals).

      Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

      by Smoh on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 04:45:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Didn't mean to accuse FishOutofWater specifically (5+ / 0-)

        But there is a firm mindset to accuse the media across the board and little to no room for good media.

        The fact of the matter is that in defending Democrats there is a need to make the media a scapegoat. In this situation it is pointed out that NPR did not go somewhere in a particular story, a story that took both the author and myself to "Bowling for Columbine," but it is a place where they actually do go.

        Should an elected official ever express those thoughts with NPR failing to report them I would agree but I see the problem as the politicians. The elected, the tone they set in the national debate are hardly what I'd call constructive.  

        Before I became a Kossack I believed that the people had a chance to change the tone in the way politicians were curating the national debate but since everyone here seems to have so surrendered and so often focuses on what the media didn't say as opposed to what the elected officials didn't say, I guess I was wrong. It's hopeless.

        But as far as NPR is concerned, with them I'm hopeful. With that hope I try to talk everyone I know into listening to NPR instead the other talk radio. But focus is what it is around here. Consider the treatment of two radio shows with about the same listening audience, Rush Limbaugh enjoys 5470 entries in the tag cloud here while All Things Considered settles on 31 entries.


      •  Democracy Now does a MUCH better job. FOOW (4+ / 0-)

        still listens to NPR clearly, but I think if we expect little, we aren't likely to get much.

      •  Sometimes NPR really pisses me off (5+ / 0-)

        but this wasn't one of those times.

        The only thing that they got really wrong was when the host said "There's no evidence of a psychiatric problem" or something close to that. Of course, the suspect's actions are evidence that might support a diagnosis, but no diagnosis has yet been made public.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:33:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it was highly planned. I think you can't (4+ / 0-)

          be sure that he had a treatable mental illness as opposed to a personality disorder. A majority of mass murderers aren't schizophrenic or delusional in any medical sense.

        •  The number of people who argue that this or that (4+ / 0-)

          serial killer does NOT have a mental health problem has always boggled my mind. What kind of proof do they need that isn't surpassed in the case of a serial killer or mass murderer? I'm sure we'll see a good deal more of the  argument in the next year as this case moves toward the death penalty phase.

          Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

          by RJDixon74135 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 07:57:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, there's a big difference between a (0+ / 0-)

            personality disorder and a mental illness such as schizophrenic. A schizophrenic is no more likely to be violent than the rest of the population, even if the results are very scary when they are. A psychopath is much more likely than the rest of the population to be violent.

          •  Don't Get it Either (0+ / 0-)

            I think somebody who starts shooting a lot of random people is by definition crazy. But this strange desire to label clearly deranged individuals as sane as in sane enough to stand trial is not limited to Conservatives. Nicole Sandler who filled in for Randi Rhodes last week uttered a strikingly remark on that subject. She said "Hopefully he [James Holmes] is found sane."  All I could think was, what the hell difference it made how we label him? Either way he is never going to be walking the streets again.

            I don't get it. Do people find it comforting to believe that mass murders are just plain evil instead of completely sick in the head or does it just get in the way of the desire for vengeance and the need to address the underlying problem?

    •  Please don't take this as an attack on NPR (8+ / 0-)

      I was driving in the country while listening. The radio dial is pretty bleak in eastern North Carolina except for public radio stations.

      NPR has better reporting on this story than the TV news and the rest of the radio dial.

      NPR's reporting on this story showed American attitudes. I'm not blaming the messenger for the news.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:27:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  High school bullying -- not solved on purpose? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The problem seems so endemic, and solutions don't seem to be a priority.

      I think bullying must a side effect of the social control purpose of public schooing. The purpose of schools is to get compliant workers, trainng people to do what they're told.

      Having to live with bullies can (with the right talking points) encourage one to see the extreme social Darwinism of the top greedy bullies as natural.

      The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

      by stargaze on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess 'Fuck everyone else' is a family value. (5+ / 0-)

    I think this should be thrown in their faces at every opportunity.

    It's time to call an asshole an asshole.

    Fuck manners.

    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

    by No one gets out alive on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:11:15 AM PDT

  •  Lots of repetition on NPR, PBS and all other (11+ / 0-)

    tradMedia about support for gun control is at its lowest, but support for less gun control is at an all time high since 2009 - even surpassing, for the first ever, time those that support gun control.

    Gee I wonder what happened in 2009?  How come people decided that the guvmint was taking away their rights and was coming for their guns?  Surely it didn't have anything to do with the Teapublican propaganda or the color of the President's skin, now did it?

    I hear Chris Cillizza say on WBUR's noon show that the NRA is influential, but they probably have very little (he actually implied nothing) to do with this! WTF?

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 05:31:49 AM PDT

  •  "Now is not the time to talk about it..." (10+ / 0-)

    On Jon Stewart's   program recently, he played multiple clips of politicians and pundits saying:  "This is not the time" to discuss gun violence in America, and he pointed out what nonsense that is.

    When is the time?  When the raw feelings begin to subside, as they inevitably have done after each of these horrific types of crimes?  When people have again retreated into their "hear no evil, see no evil" cocoons of denials and excuses?  

    The victims of such horrific, easily arranged, and massive random acts of violence at least deserve some honest soul-searching from the society whose culture is the most prolific growth medium for violent physical acts against fellow citizens (not to mention violent military interventions at the drop of a hat) in the developed world.

    Until these extremely uncomfortable questions can be asked and answered, we sentence ourselves and our children to "Very high rates of homicide- and firearmrelated death, compared with other high-income countries throughout the world.2–4 "

    ...The US violent death rate in 2000 was about twice as high as the estimated rate for other high-income countries in 2000.1...

    The rate of firearm deaths in the United States (14.24 per 100,000) exceeds that of its economic counterparts (1.76) eightfold and that of UMI countries (9.69) by a factor of 1.5...

    The homicide rate for males 15 through 24 years of age in the United States was compared with the rates in 21 other developed countries. The US homicide rate, 21.9 per 100,000, was more than four times higher than the next highest rate in Scotland (5.0). Most countries had rates that were between 1 and 3 per 100,000...

    These are inconvenient truths.  Unless we as a nation step up and face them in an objective, rational and non-confrontational, non-adversarial manner, we will retain our status as #1:  #1 in "homicide and firearmrelated death."
  •  Wonderful diary, thanks. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm tipping and rec'ing it, and I've tipped other recent diaries, for asking bold discussions of the glaring social questions surrounding the Colorado massacre.

    Here's another question I haven't heard anybody ask: aren't most crimes in the world, violent and otherwise, committed by former unwanted children? Isn't restricting access to birth control and abortion, not to mention enacting family-hostile policies, a sure way to breed MORE sociopaths?

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 07:23:35 AM PDT

  •  another dimension to the problem (10+ / 0-)

    looking at Aurora and Penn State, coincident in time but related in response;
    Look around at the people in your life. You can't imagine any of them doing what Holmes did the other night, can you? Or what Sandusky did for decades.

    But I will bet the farm that Sandusky isn't the only predator ensconced in a high-profile position at a university. I will further bet that there are ongoing coverups of the same behavior in more than one institution in America.
    I will also bet that somebody else will commit mass murder in America before the year is out.

    These are safe bets. I doubt I'd even have a taker.
    But we breastbeat and make pronouncements (really no more than pathetic spells cast in fear) about how we will "do everything we can to ensure that this type of thing never happens again."Which, btw, amounts to exactly nothing beyond reciting our useless spells, so it does happen again. And we, with apparent sincerity, go through the ritual again, as if it were the first time.

    There are many reasons for this, and FooW hits on some core issues. But I think there is more at work than economic stress. I think  there is a broad dehumanization of others taking root in our culture. it has always been there, but we are confronted by more and more evidence that the future is not the rosy scenario we have been trained to expect. Despair is closer than it has ever been in my lifetime, and rituals like I described above are a talismanic attempt to keep out the dark. Our despair has long since snuffed out serious attempts at remedying such an endemic problem, so we soothe ourselves with platitudes while the status quo just churns bloodily along.

    Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

    by kamarvt on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:02:05 AM PDT

    •  ^^^this^^^ n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kamarvt, worldlotus

      Donate to Occupy Wall Street here:

      by BlueDragon on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:09:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it's a great, if troubling, comment. (5+ / 0-)
        Our despair has long since snuffed out serious attempts at remedying such an endemic problem, so we soothe ourselves with platitudes while the status quo just churns bloodily along.
        Reagan dehumanized the mentally ill in the early 80's. I remember how the homeless population exploded on DC's streets after Reagan took power and I remember how we became desensitized to the homeless mentally ill.

        look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

        by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:43:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have known murders and suicide victims (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kamarvt, BlueDragon, samanthab, worldlotus

      who used handguns.

      I drove in a carpool with a scientist who's son was a notorious cop killer in Maryland. The parents were the nicest folks you could imagine.

      I know there's no one size fits all answer or solution to mass murder and violence in America, because it has come close to me.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:34:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Was Holmes being bullied by faculty? (0+ / 0-)

      Why was he in the process of withdrawing from his PhD program? Many students, bright ones included, crack under the stress of trying to achieve academic goals. Many have terrible advisors or other academics in their life. I'd like to know what the U. Colorado culture is. Do they have a Dean of Student Live keeping an eye out for troubled students?

      The University is keeping a very tight lid on information, which is very understandable. But we need more information on what was going on in his academic life.

      •  Good questions. (0+ / 0-)

        There was a long,excellent article out yesterday about the graduate program he was in. Not certain where I read it. Sorry, no link. Maybe the Denver Post. I have seen people fall apart in grad school. And, yes, bullying and hazing go on. Sounds like this program was small, and they kept tabs on everyone in it.

      •  but that might be the point (0+ / 0-)

        they might keep an eye on people, and that might be why he was in the process of dropping out.

        Medic Alert: Do not resuscitate under a Republican administration.

        by happymisanthropy on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 12:18:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sexual predators are common (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You could start with the parish priest. The broken adults who were victims of predation as children are everywhere. Sandusky is a familiar figure.
      The rest of your comment totally agreed.

  •  Parenting is the first force upon our brains... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, worldlotus

    ...conforming early childhood (brain) development.

    Successful early childhood development requires love and parenting from a happy, safe, and available parent figure (e.g., mother). For those care givers to be happy and safe requires they be treated with respect and care (i.e., love)...from someone...somewhere...somehow...and they probably must feel happy and safe about themselves.

    Also, the fact that some young children with still developing brains are exposed to commercial TV and what is loosely termed as "the news" is some kind of measure of our cultural failure to raise children properly.

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

  •  We arm our crazy people better (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon, worldlotus

    Every society has crazy people, but we arm ours better. And we encourage them not to "use their words" but to "use their guns". Mass shootings are the obvious consequence.

    A civilized society is based on people getting along with others, not bullying or killing each other. A civilized society encourages people to be tolerant of and compassionate towards others and to work out their differences by talking and empathizing with others. When differences are too great, a civilized society uses impartial, disinterested legal means to resolve the conflict, and when legal means do not work (because of bias or corruption), a civilized society uses nonviolent action to undermine the support of those who are oppressing others so they can no longer function. Democracy demands that we use legal and nonviolent means to resolve conflict and to govern.

    Bullying, domination, threats, and killing are the tools of bullies, dictators, gun-fetishists, and fascists.

  •  Totally awesome diary full of truth... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Your money para is the bes':

    You live by the sword, you die by the sword. When America practices social Darwinism, why are Americans surprised that some of the losers crack up violently? Nothing will change until America stops living by the sword. It isn't our freedom that causes the unending chain of senseless tragedies. It is our culture of violence that throws children out of foreclosed homes onto the street while war profiteers, corrupt bankers and speculators make billions. And where the desperate are allowed to sink into black waters of powerlessness and hopelessness, where violence seems like liberty, freedom and power.
  •  According to some .... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If we just put prayer back in the public schools, this would all magically end.

    My dogs think I'm smart and pretty.

    by martydd on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 08:43:41 AM PDT

  •  We live in a country where we view violence as a (3+ / 0-)

    means for stopping violence. When was the last time you saw an action movie where the bad guy didn't have to be killed? It is as if arresting or preventing violence is not satisfactory in our society---we must kill! We won't have closure until the bad man is dead.

    I was part of that problem, FOW, I could not be more sorry for it. I have trouble fishing now, because I don't want to harm the bait or the fish I catch.

    I was pretty mean to you about the "french fry" thing, I want you to know it wasn't personal. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings at all.  

    The violence thing is spiraling out of control. We are taught from a very early age that guns and violence can solve our problems. One major issue is that we all have different perceived problems and bad guys to kill. Yet we continue to promote guns and killing as a necessary issue, we focus on violence--even here on this "liberal" website. I am completely weary of it.

    "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

    by ranger995 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:14:12 AM PDT

  •  And Since You Embedded The Video (0+ / 0-)

    I interpret it as a bullshit artist doing the "I'm out of it" act the same way that robe and slipper wearing mobsters pretend they have dementia. This guy is smart, smart, smart and probably thinks he's smarter than the cops and everyone else. No Haldol needed -- he's putting on an act.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:17:37 AM PDT

  •  Been thinking along the same lines (4+ / 0-)

    American society with its message of self-sufficiency and 'personal responsibility' has resulted in a high degree of societal alienation for many people.

    There is less interaction at a personal level, entire groups wall off others and everyone is scrambling for a diminishing pool of resource.

    When one experiences the loss of connection, there is less compassion and less empathy for the consequences of a person's action.

    Yesterday, mayhem with firearms.  Tomorrow, who knows?

  •  Look at His Eyes (0+ / 0-)

    The pupils are huge in a brightly lit room, he had to be on some drug.  Add to that his behavior, I thought he behaved as if he hadn't slept.

  •  For non-corporate radio news (0+ / 0-)

    you need to find non-corporate radio stations, which do exist online. e.g.,

    KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley: Listener Sponsored Free Speech Radio

    I stopped listening to NPR once I found KPFA. The only drawback is that since it's entirely listener funded, there are a lot of fund drives (like right now!).

    "It depends what the meaning of 'is', is"
    Platform of the Neo-Democratic Party
    Speaking out of one side of their mouth for the little guy, their nominal constituency, and the other for the plutocracy, their real constituency.

    by Sanctimonious on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 10:54:30 AM PDT

  •  Several states have gun homicide rates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that are comparable to Canada or Switzerland.  Go look up the stats for Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Utah and Minnesota.  Both red and blue states, and some with very high gun ownership stats.

    If the thesis is that our culture somehow is the cause of gun violence, then you should examine the very large state to state variance.  Our gun violence problems are very much regionally and demographically concentrated.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:21:37 AM PDT

    •  I lived in Hawaii. Hawaii has a happier culture (0+ / 0-)

      than the mainland. Family and community is more intact in Hawaii. Hunters are generally very skilled and gun laws are pretty strict.

      Hawaii has many problems but there's generally a lot less anger than there is on the mainland.

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 01:59:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Football culture was discussed on CBC radio (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, worldlotus

    this morning. the US Football culture. A culture that allows a coach to achieve a god-like stature. The injury rate in football is 100%. Now former players are suing because their head trauma received during games has resulted in brain damage. Yes even the sacred game of Football is part of the culture of violence.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 11:45:14 AM PDT

  •  Here's The Guardian on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater, worldlotus

    the extent of gun ownership worldwide, because you surely won't see it reported in the US media -- the US has 88.8 guns per 100 of population.

    Makes you feel so much safer, doesn't it?

    Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today. -- James Dean

    by Mnemosyne on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 12:05:45 PM PDT

  •  Add this to it--as well: (0+ / 0-)

    Any country that cannot get control--or will not take control--- of violent-mass- murderers who prey on the innocent----- in horrific public shooting sprees---- is a country that has give over control----- to somebody else.

    "But the protesters were only armed with chalk---the cops had guns and batons----and they were beating the protesters."

    by lyvwyr101 on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 04:49:51 PM PDT

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