We live in a culture of violence, and it needs to stop
Watching the incredible collective action occurring in Canada through the Idle No More movement over the last few days, I've become increasingly angry. I'm angry that Indigenous peoples in the US and Canada are in a position that we've been forced to march en mass, go on hunger strikes, and blockade roads just to get our voices heard--and that the national and international media is all but ignoring it. Our Native brothers and sisters to the north are fighting against a history of maltreatment and ongoing attacks against Native rights and sovereignty through acts of congress, and have turned to collective action as a means to give voice to the movement.
And I'm angry that here in the US, the Violence Against Women Act is about to expire any minute now, and GOP hold outs like John Boehner and Eric Cantor are keeping the bill from moving forward solely due to the tribal provisions that would protect Native women on reservations.
These are forms of violence. Systemic, real, deep and hateful violence. Violence against our land, our people, and our cultures. The United States and Canada were both founded on violence against and genocide of Native peoples. These nations would not exist were it not for the systematic and government sanctioned attempts of eradication of the Indigenous peoples of these lands. Though we espouse founding values of freedom and liberty, that freedom and liberty came at the cost of millions of Indigenous lives. Is it any wonder that even now, hundreds of years later, we still live in a culture of violence?
The Heart of Darkness: The River of America's Violence Runs Through Newtown
By Mark Karlin
It is the subterranean river of America's history of violence, facilitated and made more effective with guns. It is the context in which Newtown and our regular litany of mass shootings occur–and the suicides in rural areas that happen with regularity and urban, domestic, and "routine" killings and gun injuries.
We glorify the violence of "how the West was won." We cheer for lone gun men in movies who mow down mobs of bad guys. Our teens wallow in the murder and mayhem of video games.
Most of all we see the rabid hatred that leads to violence in the faces and bilious statements of the gun guys who fear the government, who fear a non-white majority, who fear just about anything that psychologically threatens their male prerogatives and sense of manhood.
We need to accept that, as a nation, we need to end our destructive love affair with the power to decide who shall live and who shall die.
What it reaps in blowback is an ongoing and growing death count, a trail of tears and lives denied.
A couple of my tweets on the subject:
While #Newtown is the 2nd largest massacre by one shooter, recall that the US Army has collectively massacred hundreds of Indians at a time.
Eliminating people you don't like with a gun: from Columbus to Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, Columbine, and now Newtown, it's the American way.
A brief exchange on this point:
And these same factors heavily influence our approach toward Indian tribes. We don't give them the help they need, even though we're contractually obligated to via our treaties. And we do (or did) shoot them when they were a pesky problem in the way of progress.
So yes, it's all related. This incident is related to every other incident throughout American history, starting with the first Indian Columbus killed.
For more on the subject, see Sikh Shootings Reflect White Supremacy and Aurora Shooting Shows America's Pathology.