Tag Archives: mass shootings

The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Is the ​Inevitable Result of​ Trump’s Vile Nationalism

By Sasha Abramsky, The Nation, October 27, 2018

Shame on all those who have been silent—or, worse, supported the president’s agenda.

We don’t yet know everything that motivated the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter Robert Bowers. And, truth be told, we may never know exactly what psychological aberrance led to his deadly rampage this Saturday morning.

Bower’s twitter postings, however, give at least a partial window into his soul. The man is a rabid nationalist. He believes that Jews seek to control the world. He is convinced that Jews, via HIAS, the refugee-rights and -resettlement organization formerly known as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, are bringing in “invaders”—such as the caravan of destitute and terrified Central American families walking their way north through Mexico.

Bowers is a Nazi sympathizer. And, unlike Cesar Sayoc, the man suspected of mailing more than a dozen pipe bombs to political and media figures around the country over the past week, he hates Trump, believing that Trump isn’t nearly nationalist enough and, in fact, is controlled by a cabal of globalist Jews.

But here’s the thing: While Bowers might fashion himself as an anti-Trump figure, the reemergence of deadly anti-Semitic violence perfectly fits the awful political moment Trump himself is presiding over. The viciously nationalist rhetoric Trump now uses at his rallies, his onslaught against “globalists”—the word itself, along with “cosmopolitan” has always been anti-Semitic code for “Jewish”—his demonizing of immigrants, of refugees, of asylum seekers, his accusation that George Soros is somehow behind the caravan of Hondurans and Guatemalans, this is quite simply fodder for anti-Semites. “Soros” to anti-Semites in 2018 is a similar slur to “Rothschild” in the previous century….

continue reading at The Nation

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Filed under Guns, violence, crime, Religions

The Post-Dallas Kumbaya Window Begins to Close

By John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 7/14/16

The Ultimate Attribution Error Fuels War

Someone’s crying, Lord, kumbaya

– From the Gullah song meaning, Lord, come by here and help us

There was a true kumbaya moment after the Dallas cop massacre similar to the moment after 9/11 when sympathy was expressed for America from many unexpected quarters around the world. That window began to close when US leaders took a hard line and vengefully attacked an un-implicated nation to counter the very sense of vulnerability that moved people of the world to sympathize with us. Similarly, the sympathy for attacked cops in Dallas may be evaporating thanks to a familiar sociological dynamic involving in-group, out-group identification.

Sociologists and psychologists call this “the ultimate attribution error.” As explained in an interesting New York Times article by Amanda Taub, it’s when people “attribute another group’s positive actions to random chance or circumstance but assume that [the other group’s] negative actions reflect the group’s core nature.” That is, in times of stress, people “circle the wagons” around their own kind based on a belief that their motives are human and honorable; those of the projected enemy are the essence of pure evil. “Once you dehumanize them, it’s easier to justify violence,” says Professor John Dovidio of the Inter-Group Relations Lab at Yale.

This can be seen on both sides of the Black Lives Matter versus Blue Lives Matter conflict. For me, it involves anger, laziness and a failure of courage to see or listen to or talk with a perceived enemy. Better to huddle up with your own pack and project your fears on the other guy….

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

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Filed under Guns, violence, crime, John Grant, Race, Ethnicity, Immigration

An Essay On the Future: Alienation, Despair and American Greatness

by John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 12/14/2015

Give me an adequate army, with power to provide it with more pay and better food than falls to the lot of the average man, and I will undertake, within 30 years, to make the majority of the population believe that two and two are three, that water freezes when it gets hot and boils when it gets cold, or any other nonsense that might seem to serve the interest of the state.
                    - Bertrand Russell

An epidemic of unhappiness is spreading across the planet, while capital absolutism is asserting its right to unfettered control of our lives.
                    - Franco “Bifo” Berardi

First there was Paris. Then Colorado Springs. Then San Bernadino. A great discussion was raised in the land over which of the killers were terrorists and which were just lunatics. Police and FBI frantically went through apartments, hard-drives and cellphones to find out who had radicalized whom. Well paid corporate TV anchors salivated as police cordoned off crime scenes and politicos huddled in secret situation rooms to get their stories straight so they could release an official story to an eager and fearful public. They no doubt kept many important details to themselves.

Beyond the radicalizing question, there isn’t much interest why these people — versus other people — did what they did. Motivation comes down to: Who made them do it? The words alienation and despair are rarely seen, except maybe in the marginalized columns of the left. The problems of alienation and despair disappeared from the national discussion about the time Jimmy Carter’s malaise was overwhelmed by Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill and the rigors of 21st century “neoliberal” financial capitalism took the driver’s seat in America.

The Right emphatically pointed at ISIS and the Muslim threat. Utilizing sophisticated social media skills, a monstrous, growing caliphate had declared war on America and was seducing people living among us to kill us. America needed to respond with unrestrained lethal force, so America could be great again. In cases like the Planned Parenthood killings and the Charleston killings, the Left pointed at rightwing media bullhorns like Bill O’Reilly for relentlessly demonizing Planned Parenthood and the Black Lives Matters movement. O’Reilly vociferously denied on-air that he had “radicalized” anyone; he was not responsible for armed lunatics. The National Rifle Association stood firm: Any controls on citizen access to military assault rifles was the work of the Devil….

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

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Filed under Guns, violence, crime, John Grant, Right Wing, Terrorism

The shooting at Umpqua Community College

by Karen Porter

One more. I am doing my usual fall semester teaching American law in Russia, and I find it impossible to explain to my students why this happens in America. People all over the world, including Russians here in Moscow, have for decades looked to the U. S. with hope as the place the world should be — but how can they now revere our country as these killings multiply? I find I am deeply ashamed. I was teaching young lawyers here in Russia when Sandy Hook happened – we held a moment of tearful silence, and my students wept with me. I find it hard to face them again in these inexplicable circumstances… and again… and again.

I am sad but also ashamed that the great democracy I teach them about year in and year out can’t solve this tragic problem. Americans don’t know how much these tragedies hurt everyone else in this world. If Americans can’t solve this problem, how can they have hope?

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Filed under Guns, violence, crime, Karen Porter