Violence in America: At least 12 killed at California bar shooting – Commentary by Hubert Williams

Thousand Oaks: At least 12 killed at California bar shooting – BBC News

Sergeant Ron Helus (killed)

Twelve people, including a police officer, have been killed by a gunman at a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

The shooting began at 23:20 local time on Wednesday about 40 miles (65km) north-west of Los Angeles, police say.

At least 200 people were reportedly inside the Borderline Bar and Grill, which was hosting a university student night, at the time of the attack.

Police have named the suspect as 28-year-old Ian David Long, who had suspected mental health issues.  Officials believe the US Marine Corps veteran and local resident took his own life inside the bar.

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—  Commentary by Hubert Williams below   —-

Violence  in  America – By Hubert  Williams  (Written 6 years ago)                  

             Boston, Massachusetts, July 27, 2012 – – Every time some idiot takes a weapon(s), which the United States Constitution gives him the legal right to have, and murders people he has never met, this nation rises up in remorse; but then settles back comfortably to await the next appalling repetition.

From the way the public speaks, the possession of deadly weapons is a prerogative many Americans treasure.

Under the 1791 provision of the Bill of Rights (the Second Amendment) each man (woman, and it appears some teenagers, too) has the right to keep and bear arms; and the right-wing ‘gun lobby’ is such an influential force in American politics that there will be no significant change to the law, nor will the killing frenzy cease in my lifetime.

This very easy access for just about everyone to instruments of death is yet to surface as a matter of grave concern in both the Republican and the Democratic campaigns for the November presidential elections. Everybody seems to be just sitting and wondering “who is to bell the cat?…  and at what cost?”

Obviously, with the stakes so very high, it is ‘prudent’ to seek shelter in the Constitution.

Indeed, not too long ago a court in a south-eastern section of this vast and complex country determined that a citizen has the right to use deadly force if he has a belief, or even just a feeling, or a fear, that someone else was likely to do him harm.

As was said so long ago by H. Rap Brown, one time chairman of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and Minister of Justice of the Black Panther Party, “violence is as American as cherry pie”.

Nothing seems to have changed since the glory days of this convicted murderer who is now serving a life sentence as Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.

Violence is ingrained in America and every so often some idiot hugely acts it out in Columbine/Aurora fashion, with deadly consequences for so many families.

What is most worrying is not the mind that would conceive such heinous acts, but the continuing easy acquisition of the means to execute them.

And after every such very tragic event in which the ‘shooter’ survives, there comes the pantomime, a charade during which many, many millions of dollars are consumed and numerous players wanting to command the public stage become involved – to determine whether the ‘shooter’ is in fact guilty of the act which, mind you, he had said from the outset that he committed, or if something mental caused the shooter to act out of character.

As well, there are so many, many Hollywood-produced ‘entertainment’ shows which project scant regard for human life.

Killing – and just violence – is a popular means of exacting vengeance in this country, and if with all the modern security apparatus in the American penal system, just a fraudster like Allen Stanford could have been so brutalized when only on remand (which means that guilt was yet to be proven), it is not unreasonable to expect that the Aurora shooter will survive only a short while in prison.

Yes, violence remains “as American as cherry pie”, and it is not sufficiently widely appreciated by many of the power brokers that the citizens of this country are not being fashioned only to fight in wars.

America’s greatness is unquestioned. It is big…huge.  It is vibrant… It is the world’s sole super power (though the Chinese dragon is in silent advance).

No one now has to argue a case as to what this country has contributed to human civilization – great achievements on earth and in space, and beyond the depths of the ocean.

As the youngsters would say, ‘humungous’ land-based accomplishments, while matching the birds in flight with huge metal machines… (That is why we can now ‘fly’ in comfort from Barbados to Boston in no time at all).

Verily, human society’s prodigious leap from the industrial revolution to the technological age is overwhelmingly an American achievement… although the lust of capitalism is helping to generate a flood in the ‘user’ world of discarded machines as increasingly newer/updated versions make even fairly recent product lines nearly obsolete.

This unquenchable market thirst for the latest product launched is draining scarce personal finances worldwide, but it is adding no capacity to the productivity of material goods.

Talk has always been cheap, but talk alone brings nothing – neither will empty tweeting.

The United States boasts, without challenge, some of the foremost institutions of higher learning in the world, and in many other areas of worthy endeavor this country is in the vanguard.

Nevertheless, the United States (referred to by some snobbish British as having merely an aristocracy of dollars) retains a measure of crudity that too often mirrors its early days of cowboy towns and men bearing guns at their hips.

In today’s modern America, violence and cherry pie are too frequently synonymous.

Far too many children, it seems, are bred on violence… and far too many parents exact control through violence.

Industry is reaping billions of dollars on games that feed children on violence.

Killing the onscreen representation of a human being has become great fun for the ‘kids’ pulling the triggers at the numerous amusement arcades primed with many of technology’s products.

The latest craze which I have encountered has been excited by the “Angry Bird” product line.

I have never myself had a ‘run in’ with an angry bird, except it was the case of a hen fearing some threat to her chicks – and that’s a great reason for any parent becoming angry.

Birds are beautiful and harmless creatures of nature – a delight to the human eyes and ears (though it is true that the majority of birds throughout the modern world are reared only to delight the human palate).

But I have looked in awe at small children gleefully pummeling away with a baseball bat at a large representation of an “angry bird” until it bursts asunder, spilling out gifts, the quest of which had excited their assault.

This, I learnt, is called “The Piñata”, which I presume transmits the message to the children that if you want something that somebody else has, then beat the hell out of them and get it.

Sad to say “The Piñata” has become a very popular feature at children’s parties across the United States; and the ‘brand name’ is in such great demand that the angry bird is the early bird who now gets the worm across a vast line of preferred children’s products – a multi-billion-dollar production giant.

It is therefore not difficult to see why someone, deranged or delusional for whatever reason, would consider the destruction of human lives as a first option… whether in a cinema, a political rally, a high school, kindergarten, or wherever.

  1. Rap Brown can well sit comfortably in his jail cell, for violence remains as American as cherry pie; though, admittedly, it is not alone an American phenomenon.

The appearance of Scotsman Andy Murray at the 2012 Wimbledon Men’s Final in the British capital brought back memories of the massacre of 16 children at his Dunblane School in 1996….. and Norwegians will forever remember that horrible day in July 2011 when 92, mostly youths, were slaughtered for no reason other than that Anders Beiring Breivik – the man who did it all – had the desire and the means to do it.

===  ENDIT  ==

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