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Tuesday, 18 December 2012 11:56

Public Opinion: A Recurring Theme Expressed on Gun Control

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On Friday the 14th, the day Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother and then took the lives of 26 other people before killing himself, 20 of them first-grade children, at the school, using an assault rifle, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now aired prior to the violent rampage, and yet the topic of discussion indirectly applied to the senseless Sandy Hook Elementary School killings.  The discussion was about Afghan children and how they’re being randomly killed by U.S. drones.

I was curious to see if anyone else was drawing the same connection—and sure enough, there was a recurring common thread that ran through many public commentaries, expressing the view that the drone killings of civilians and children are as senseless and violent as Adam Lanza’s rampage.

It’s necessary to add that no one is attempting to turn this tragedy into an abstract political point by making this connection.  No one, of course, would say to the parents who lost their children:  This must be how the parents feel in Afghanistan and Iraq after a decade of U.S. invasions and occupations.  That would be cruel and insensitive.

The point goes directly to the question of gun control, as one person posted, “Want gun control, Mr. President? End the wars; end the drone killings of children. Start there.”

Amy Goodman’s guest, Rev. John Dear, a long time peace activist, returned from Afghanistan, where he helped launch the 2 Million Friends for Peace in Afghanistan campaign, a trip sponsored by Voices for Creative Nonviolence, explained what he witnessed on his Afghanistan tour: 

 To actually see the rugged terrain, which we call the "graveyard of empires," the poverty, the legacy of war, the corruption, the pollution. It was—it was very hard to see the suffering of the people and this ongoing cycle of violence. And everywhere we went, we heard, “End the war. Stop our suffering. Do what you can. Tell the people in America to continue to work to stop the killing now."

Our government officials accepted and implemented the Bush Doctrine of “Might is Right,” solve problems by killing people, by violence, by illegally invading and occupying countries, by mass killings, by terrifying civilians and torturing them, by arresting individuals without due process or habeas corpus, by randomly killing barefooted and starving children with drones in Afghanistan and throughout the region where the U.S. has illegally claimed occupation for its resources, viz. oil.

I don’t doubt President Obama’s sincerity about wanting to do something about these recurring violent mass killings across our nation.  But he should examine his own violent war actions; he should take a good, long look at the consequences of his drone orders, of the dead children in Afghanistan.  He should also examine the military video games that promote mass killings as though these acts of violence were fun exercises, games that brainwash our children into believing that it’s perfectly fine to kill; and then he should ask if such games turn our children into inhumane killing machines. He should consider the fact that this government promotes a war-like society, a government that is Of, By and For the weapon and oil industries.

End the wars, end the out of control defense spending, and invest those billions of dollars ($170 billion a year or more) in eliminating poverty in this country.  Use those billions of dollars spent on weapons for funding for our schools and health care instead.  17 million Americans are poor and hungry.  Start there.  Bread Not Drones!


Jacqueline Marcus taught ethics and political philosophy for twenty years at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She is the editor of www.ForPoetry.com.