With the Iowa caucuses approaching you can go to any Republican event and hear one of the mass of Republican candidates harp over and over on the theme of terrorism and the presidential “duty” to “keep America safe.”
Yet what they won’t tell you is that Americans are most at danger not from their comic book grasp of terrorists thousands of miles away but are more in danger from the guy next door who owns an arsenal and has an ax to grind. Often the perceived threat is some slight that has grown in their mind as a fire fanned by the flames of hate radio and television “news” cable channels, that use hate and fear to attract eyeballs for their sponsors.
The deaths for Americans in all our wars is about 1.5 million. The most costly war in terms of lives lost was our Civil War where just short of 650,000 died. Gun deaths in the United States average between 30,000 and 35,000 per year. That means that since 1990 Americans have killed more Americans than were killed in our Civil War. Since the dawning of the Peace movements of the 1960s we have killed enough others to surpass all our casualties in all of our wars. We are at war with ourselves.
As in all wars there are those who see the horrors of war as a great time to make money. Who can forget the specter of VP Cheney making millions on a war he helped start? We have a similar specter as gun merchants will see their sales and profits rise in the shadow of yet another high profile mass murder. We will also once more see the National Rifle Association profit as they protect the gun industry and fan the flames of fear to drive sales. These are the darkest angels of our democracy.
Every day lives are shattered in this country. People going about their normal day are shot and killed or maimed for life. These victims are left to fend for themselves often with only some form of public assistance for income as they can no longer work. Family’s lives are shattered beyond description and bills mount up for victims. We seldom hear of these consequences from our mostly worthless media. We hear of the deaths, we hear of the motives of the shooter and their background, but we never hear of the shattered lives left in the aftermath.
Once more we will hear the gun defenders telling us not to politicize this issue at this time. Do we politicize voting rights when a state passes a truly horrible bill disenfranchising minorities? Damn right we do. Did President Bush use 9/11 to politicized a vendetta against Iraq? Damn right he did. Now is the very best time to talk about guns in this country. We talk about issues when the issue is hot. Currently, Republicans continue to try to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the fake documentary videos and the lies blasted by Carly Fiorina at the Republican debate.
Daily we have Republicans fan the fear of terrorism in this country. Deaths from terrorism are practically nonexistent in this country. You can see that in the chart above. But the chances of your parents, your brothers or sisters, your child or some other loved one or friend being shot down going about their daily business or attending school are much greater. Imagine the lives of a family left with with burying a child and trying to put their lives back together. I think of it daily. That is true terror.
One of my criteria in choosing a presidential candidate will be not their stance on the current definition of terror, but what they will do restore America to a place where we can work, shop, play, attend school without the fear of some person with a gun out to settle a perceived wrong. In short I expect the next president and congress to secure the domestic peace.
While our focus is once more on the worst of gun tragedies, statistically there were 90 other gun deaths in America Thursday. No doubt several involved young children, no doubt some involved family discord. But no doubt all left shattered family and friends behind to pick up the pieces.