Someone is making a lot of money from people dying.
The mass murders and police killings of the last several years, despite the large overall drop in violent crime since the early 1990’s, are now part of competing political narratives. A world to be made safe from hordes of dark skinned lunatics, both native and foreign, endanger the Great White Bwana of America, or a chaotic maelstrom of random lunatics bent on destroying all that is good and holy; suburbia and the last bastions of whiteness, small city, town and rural America. Coupling this with the official narrative of deranged desert lunatics who for no reason hate us, paranoia has matched heights of the cold war. Instead of Red Dawn Russians, we have Red Dawn North Koreans, a tale that would be hilarious if it wasn’t tied to a propaganda system preparing young people to die for the Empire of commercial gain. One has to search through academics, non-mainstream news sources and the odd foreign correspondent to find anything mentioning United States Foreign Policy, covert activity and military presence as possible causes. Our Saudi friend’s spread of Sunni fundamentalism, joined with our support and subsidy of the murderous Israeli State is never mentioned. After all, why would they hate us after dropping bombs on them or starving them into submission, not when all you want is to hand them democracy and McDonald’s? The barbarians are here and the gate is breached. Beware sinners.
As most people act emotionally and not rationally, the reality of dropping violent crime rates for the past two decades has also seen an explosion in security systems and weapons for home defense. Fear is a greater motivator than rationality, and despite the lowering crime rates, the advertisements for home security systems and guns as home “defense” find a receptive audience, helped along with a 24-hour news cycle that can turn a traffic stop in Reno into a seeming nation threatening debacle.
“Back to live video…How many more of these grocery store purse snatchers might be tied with ISIS, Wolf?”
A hundred years ago, the first system of politically coercive propaganda was created to build popular support for the United States to enter World War 1. Largely forgotten, the basic infrastructure we see now, advertising, spokespeople, paramilitary enforcement and surveillance developed as means to push the United States into a war a large part of the populace did not want. Wilson’s “making the world safe for democracy” required authoritarian means. Out of this came Edward Bernays, who, modifying and improving the methods, fully developed social manipulation and public relations by making the world safe for women to smoke. Ignoring the decades since then, when the methods were simply studied and refined, network technology has simply made this easier. Psychologists, social network researchers and advertisers now access a mass propaganda system with real time testing.
A researcher for a gun company can now learn how his major audience, largely working class white males with poor family relationships and poor relations with fathers, can have their insecurity manipulated into a need for authoritarianism and guns. Insecure emotionally and from a young age raised on a propaganda diet of manhood via military means, authoritarianism provides the needed warmth of security and this group is easily coerced into an obsessive need for weapons. What has made it worse is the social instability extreme capitalism has wrought. Whole communities destroyed, family relationships torn apart by either disappearing income or the need to move to survive, the fear is real. Despite the wealth, suburbia is not community; it is an artifice resembling community based on commodification of community. And with fear comes anger. This, the remains of human community left in the U.S., is an audience ready made for weapon’s sales. Mix in a propaganda culture of manhood by violence and militarism, you will likely have what we have now. While everyone yells and screams about guns as inanimate objects and/or responsibility, the central question is lost. Does everyone, from socially awkward mentally ill people to random women having a gun make us all safer, or does it simply add better death machines to all the insanity and rage constantly floating around in a society 40 years into the neo-liberal project of privatizing the earth and society for the benefit of the wealthy?
The Gun and weapon manufacturers have succeeded in their aim. Their product is now the answer to all our problems. They have managed to join and help create a propaganda stream of fear and paranoia where their product, nothing more than a simple to operate but albeit messy death machine, is the solution for everyone. Police, ordinary citizen, ordinary housewife, oppressed minority or just plain old whackjob, they have the solution or you. The bigger the better, which in reality is kill more faster. That is all that guns do and are for. This is the world they wanted, and they could ask for no better advertising then mass slaughter. How else will you defend yourself against our product than by having one yourself?
The United States of Fear and Death, brought to you by the NRA and the gun manufacturers.