Andrew Wicks

America: A Land of Violence, Doomed to Repeat

(Crop of image by Patrick Feller on Flickr)

Again, extreme violence has punctured the American landscape. But expecting change illustrates a complete ignorance of history. It repeats, because America allows it to.

 

I have a suspicion, one that is emboldened by repetition, one that stalks and grows by the timbre of rifle crack. I believe that we’re quickly reaching critical mass in the mass shooting debate. I feel that the velocity of our empathetic warbling has been thoroughly suppressed through the repeated actions of what we’re fighting. The ugliness is outpacing our empathy. Well, maybe “debate” is generous. We here on Australian shores are afforded the luxury of talking in statements. Gun violence is bad. It must stop. Those subhuman dimwits from across the pond could take a lesson, if only they were to listen to us.

There’s a cycle present. Angry loner turns guns on the innocent, we shake our heads at the senselessness of it, The Onion shares that same piece again, we blame Donald (or whomever), we (Australia) reference our own anti-gun platform whilst hoping that it won’t happen here. The Terrorists that Americans are fighting are at home, not abroad. Good point. I’ll retweet that.

 

 

Hope is all we really have, as we don’t have the power to make laws, as we’re not citizens of the United States. We cannot build the great democratic swell that will wash away the bloody mistakes of tomorrow. We hope that a switch in their American heads will flick, and we hope that a certain number of Americans slain would represent the tipping point. I say we need to shake loose this delusion.

There is no hope, because there is no bottom.

The modern legacy of the American experience is remembering the new crucible of massacre whilst forgetting the old. Las Vegas seems a lifetime ago, the Pulse Nightclub seems of another age. The brutality is not the bodies strewn, but the truth they illustrate. They won’t change, because they don’t want to. It is tattooed onto their hearts and written in their DNA. The great American paranoia is the fear of looking weak. Therefore, more guns mean more safety. Massive doses of violence, or the threat of massive doses of violence, is the time-honored solution. Vietnam was a microcosm grand of this. LBJ and Nixon (particularly LBJ) attempted to dig up, seeking peace through the application of violence.

Even taking the laziest stroll through American history, and the reformers, those who seek peace, are the problematic exception, not the rule. Even great old Abe used the emancipation of the slaves as a supplementary reason for the Civil War. It was only when he believed that it might be lost, and that foreign powers were set to recognize the South, is when he started upon his great crusade. JFK, MLK, RFK were all lost to the lone nut gunman, and Richard Nixon’s law-and-order-make-America-as-great-as-its-people-you-the-silent-majority represented the swing back against the euphoric hopes of progressionism in the 1960s. FDR steered the country through WWII, which ended with Truman needlessly dropping the bomb, one that Roosevelt started building. That, and FDR sent Japanese-American citizens to internment camps on American soil for no reason. Conservative Trump may have followed Progressive Obama, but it behooves one to remember that our Sainted Barack was no saint. He might have bristled us less, but his propensity for drone-based warfare should also not escape our memory.

 

 

My point is this, the party may change, but the mindset does not. Violence is their default, and gun ownership is canon in the American narrative. It’s why fictional elements are raised to a greater meaning. They rely on thoughts and prayers, and the good guy with the gun. We fortunate Australians may be quick to point at the choice we made and how they should follow us, but we’re speaking via our colons. Australia has no gun lobby, those who bear arms barely have the power to shape policy.

If we’re looking for a local comparison, we could point at the fossil fuel demigods who influence our politics. We know it’s bad, and we know we don’t want it, and indeed, it’s harming what we hold dear, but how many of us have trudged to Queensland to picket a mine? Moreover, if the Americans quizzed us on it, what would be our answer? Would we have one?

In conclusion, the percussion of rifle fire might have drummed the positivity out of me, but as lawmakers count the cost and media empires build charts to illustrate it, perhaps today’s lesson is that America survived. It is merely just another bullet hole in an already punctured flag. One that is still met with an unwavering salute.

 

Andrew Wicks

Andrew Wicks is a country boy with a penchant for movies and sport. After a few years working in health, he decided he'd rather work with today's youth and studied arts and education in rural NSW. His main interests are religion, health, and lairy shirts.

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