Bruce K. Gagnon / OpEd News – 2011-01-15 23:48:06
(January 11, 2011) — This photo [of a teenage boy aiming a high-powered weapon from atop an ROTC assault vehicle — EAW] is from a Junior-ROTC “field day” at a school in the south. The article along with the photo said, in part, “Maj. Hicks speaks to the eager group of Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets about what it means to be a Cavalryman and what the Cavalry does.”
I remember the Cavalry. They were the ones who hunted the Native Americans down and killed them. Now they do it in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
We weep and wail and wring our hands when domestic terrorists kill innocent people, as was done this past weekend in Tucson, Arizona. But each and every day our kids all over the nation are being brainwashed about the joys of violence, the thrill of war, the glory of killing the “enemy” and few blink an eye. People somehow separate the killing done by our “hero” soldiers from the senseless random slaughter on our streets at home.
But these can’t be separated. They are linked. They come from the same wellspring. They come from America’s addiction to war and violence.
We glorify the gun and we glorify the shooter. But then, just now and then, the nation says (as in the case in Arizona), “No, not this time. This violence was not good.” But to those brought up listening to the overwhelming public support for guns and glory the messages are just a twisted jumble of confusion. The loudest bang is the one that gets internalized by the majority of the citizenry.
It could change, but we’d have to make a serious national commitment to step away from the bar stool where we keep taking just one more drink of the hot red blood of violence.
It could change, but we’d have to keep our president home instead of thrilling in his secret holiday trips to visit the troops in Iraq or Afghanistan to remind them that the nation is behind their killing of innocent civilians in endless war.
It could change, but the Congress would have to cut the military budget and transfer the money into mental health programs for those who are living close to the razor’s edge and are just one radio talk show host’s angry rant about “big government” away from a violent rampage.
It could all change, but each of us would have to do more than shake our head in disgust and say to ourselves, “This is a crazy country.” We’d have to step up and take some responsibility, do something to publicly express our deep frustration and concern, and demand that we stop putting our children at the trigger end of machine guns.
We’d have to connect the dots between “random gun violence” and our national obsession with occupation and killing people around the world who happen to sit on land that is wanted, for whatever reason, by multi-national corporations.
We could do something, if we…………………………
Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. Between 1983-1998 Bruce was the State Coordinator of the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice. He was the organizer of the Cancel Cassini Campaign (launched 72 pounds of plutonium into space in 1997) that was featured on the TV program 60 Minutes.
Bruce has been featured by artist Robert Shetterly in his collection of portraits and quotes entitled Americans Who Tell The Truth. In 2006 he was the recipient of the Dr. Benjamin Spock Peacemaker Award.
In 2003 Bruce co-produced a popular video entitled Arsenal of Hypocrisy that spells out U.S. plans for space domination. His latest video, shot in 2006, is entitled The Necessity of the Conversion of the Military Industrial Complex.
In 1968 Bruce was Vice-chair of the Okaloosa County (Florida) Young Republican Club while working on the Nixon campaign for president.
Bruce is a Vietnam-era veteran and began his career by working for the United Farm Workers Union in Florida organizing fruit pickers.