FROM THE DESK OF THE EDITOR IN CHIEF: LESLIE SAVAN JOSHUA HOLLAND AND THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL BOARD
Everyone who can process information knows now that the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California last week perpetrated by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik was an act of terrorism on a global scale. Like Leslie Savan of The Nation pointed out many in America were hoping that this the 355th mass shooting since 1 January 2015 was the act of someone who was “from the other team” meaning the other political or ideological team. Many conservatives expressed their glee that this event was perpetrated by Muslims all the while ignoring the common thread in all of these tragic event– the ease at which people can get weapons which can lead to mass casualty events. Joshua Holland, also writing at The Nation addresses the nature of the feelings Americans have regarding mass shooting events. Holland notes, “By all accounts, up until the very moment he opened fire, Syed Farook, one of the two alleged perpetrators of America’s latest gun-slaughter, was what the gun lobby lionizes as a “good guy with a gun.” Farook, along with his wife, Tashfeen Malik, allegedly killed 14 people at his office’s holiday party in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday—the 355th mass shooting on the 336th day of 2015. But the couple had had no previous contacts with the law, according to San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan. Neighbors and co-workers described Farook as quiet and polite. He had held a stable, middle-class job as a food inspector for five years. Patrick Baccari, who shared a cubicle with Farook, told the Los Angeles Times that the Illinois native and his family appeared to be “living the American dream.”
For the first time since 1920, the New York Times editorial board ran the fruits of their collective thought on page 1 of the American newspaper of record. The headline of this editorial, “End the Gun Epidemic in America” is compelling on its own and more so in the light of the current knowledge that both Farook and Malik got their guns by legal rather than illegal means. The board continues calling the ease by which Americans can buy weapons designed only to kill people is “a moral outrage.” And that statement brings me to my point. For decades I have heard from and read the thoughts of conservatives on a number of social issues that were sure to “destroy America.” From interracial marriage in the 1960s, to abortion rights in the 1970s to teenage pregnancy in the 1980s, to homosexuality in the 1990s, to foreign terrorism in the 2000s, Americans have been treated with a steady buffet of social issues that could tear the fiber of freedom that binds America together. Here is 2015, many of those issues have, much to the chagrin of conservatives have been resolved. Interracial marriages, abortion, have all become common and codified into law with protections guaranteed by the Supreme Court. Teenage pregnancies are down because of organizations like Planned parenthood which provide contraception both to young women and young men. The gay rights movement gained strength in the late 90s and peaked with the Supreme Court upholding the right of same sex couples to marry just this year. Outside of 11 September 2001, the Fort Hood attack, the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 and this week’s slaughter in San Bernardino , where a total of 2539 people perished there have been no lives lost to terror from outside America’s borders with a radical Muslim slant. Over those 5,199 days slightly less than half a human life has been lost to Muslim terrorism in the United States.
Looking at data compiled by Mother Jones the demographics of those who have acted as mass shooters and the means by which they acquired their weapons is glaring. The vast majority of the shooters are white and male and the vast majority of those shooters got their weapons legally. So, a logical being would have to determine that while foreign born terrorism brought to American shores by way of radicalisation via social media and other information technology is a threat; the greater threat lies in the hands of the over 129,000 gun dealers in the United States as well as in the minds of the millions of white male disaffected and disgruntled within your borders. This clear determination will likely anger white conservatives to no end but as the New York Times Editorial Board noted so very eloquently yesterday, “Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens. What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?”
Conservatives who would gladly have the President of the United States drop a nuclear weapon on Damascus, or Mecca even are not so quick to violence when that same logic would be applied within their own borders. Those on the Right who point to black violence in Chicago which is an intolerable blight on a great city as a sign of an entire race’s inability to coexist in a “civilised” society fail to apply the same standard to the number of murder suicides in rural mostly white America. Much of this is because conservatives hold that no conservative ever, and I cannot stress ever, enough, commit any heinous crimes. Dylan Roof a young man who committed one of the largest hate crime shootings in decades in a black church was in agreement on many issues that conservatives were supporting over the summer past most notably the flying of the Confederate flag. Suddenly, when his support for that symbol became known conservatives spun this fact that not all supporters of the Stars and Bars were “really” conservatives. So following this irrational line of thinking no conservative has ever raped, robbed, used drugs to excess, had sex outside of marriage or slaughtered their family with a gun.
As a demon journalist I know better. People live many lives in a lifetime and while maturing from childhood to young adulthood many if not all people learn compartmentalize their true self showing to only a handful of those closest to them. Equally, violence, especially with guns is not limited by race, religion or political bent. The same can be said for the seemingly ultimate taboo of the 21st Century mental illness. The real problem is at the nexus of the polarization of ideologies and races in America today, the anguish and suffering of a nearly crushed middle class and the proliferation of firearms in the United States of America. Sadly, I do not believe President Barack Obama has the time or the support of Congress to do anything about any of these hydra like problems in his remaining 13 months in office. The next President no matter if they are left, right or [is is possible?] centre, must take up all three of these issues and attack them with bold solutions just as Obama attacks the failing US economy in 2009. The logical solutions are the elimination of certain types of weapons as the New York Times Editorial Board has called for yesterday, a massive infrastructure spending bills which would create millions of good paying jobs as has been proposed by Hillary Clinton and a constitutional convention like reconciliation summit of the races with delegates chosen from each state equal to the United States Congress to solve the issues between black, brown and white in America. Until all of the cards are placed upon the table the wounds of racial animus from both sides will remain. The goal of such a convention would not be victory for one side or the other but peace and forward progressing unity, tolerance and mutual respect for culture. Short of that I will simply sit here in my office in Dis and wait for the next slaughter of innocents and pray that the perpetrator is “not on my team.”
Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!
Cavalor Epþiþ, Esquire, O.B.R.E., CS, O.D.A.J.[1er], O.Q.H.[Journ.], D.S.V.J., J.F.
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