“A gunman clad in all black, with a ballistic vest strapped to his chest and a military-style rifle in his hands, opened fire on parishioners at a Sunday service at a small Baptist church in rural Texas, killing at least 26 people and turning this tiny town east of San Antonio into the scene of the country’s newest mass horror.” – New York Times
by Don Franks
In the present climate it’s easy to forget the fact, but United States history is extremely rich in democratic and radical traditions. Along with giant landmarks such as the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war movement and Stonewall there’s the legacy of a radical US labour movement. The heroism of the IWW, where countless organisers were hounded and several of them tortured to death and the struggles of farmworkers, rail workers, miners, eruptions like the Great Flint sit down strike of the 1930s.
In terms of selfless devotion to other human beings, many thousands of working class Americans have a record second to none.
Today, our constant image of the United States is of a deranged people mindlessly and viciously at war with each other.
It has been sixteen years since the 9/11 attacks. Since then, the US government has maintained a “war on terror,” during which an average of one American civilian per year has been killed by a foreign terrorist.
During that same period, at least ten thousand Americans have been killed every year by other Americans. Many in in mass shootings like Virginia Tech, Newtown, Orlando, Las Vegas and now Texas.
In response, the authorities offer self-praise for mopping up the damage, prayers and empty excuses. President Donald Trump’s self serving reaction to the Texas Church shootings was to deny that guns were to blame.
In one respect,Trump is right. Individual gun ownership is not at the root of the problem.
The blame actually lies squarely at the feet of the state.
At home, police shootings of innocent and unarmed citizens are a regular, almost unremarked part of daily life. To date, in 2017, eight hundred and sixty-three US citizens have been shot to death by the police force their taxes maintain.
Abroad, the United States wages endless war across the globe in other peoples countries, glorifying the subjugation of innocents by its soldiers. The latest belligerence sees US president Trump openly threatening to destroy North Korea with nuclear weapons. Just stop and think for a moment beyond the demonisation of North Korea’s leader. This US president would burn to death pregnant mothers, helpless aged people, little children going off to school.
Despite the liberal image cultivated for him, president Obama was no better. The man who sent the drones to kill and maim, the man who ordered navy seals into another land to be judge, jury and executioner, Obama too offered little but prayers after the latest US mass shooting on his watch. Yes, a few noises about gun control, but even had he been totally sincere, US imperialism would not have changed its nature on a word.
There will be more mass murders in the USA, it is in the nature of a decaying, declining aggressive power. The fish begins to rot from the head. With carnage sanctioned and sanitised at the top of the United States, how can the lower regions not become tainted?
The solution to horrific mass shootings in the USA is not gun control, although that is a movement to support. The only possible way out of America’s bloodstained nightmare is via arduous and complete recovery of the country’s great radical traditions, culminating in revolutionary takeover by America’s working people.