“Exceptional” America views itself as largely immune from devastating storms and the violence that infect much of the world, but recent weeks show that there is no protection against natural and human catastrophes, writes Ann Wright.
By Ann Wright
Over the past two months – between natural disasters and the actions of a heavily armed gunman firing from a high-rise hotel – citizens of the United States have faced the kind of havoc and violence that people in other parts of the world have been enduring routinely.
Sunday night’s mass shooting in Las Vegas killed 59 and left more than 500 wounded. In previous weeks, American citizens have faced loss of life and massive property damage in Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands from Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey.
Of course, other places in the Caribbean suffered their own devastating blows from these major hurricanes: Cuba, Barbuda, Dominica, Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Island, St. Martin, Monserrat, Guadaloupe, St. Kitts and Nevis.
In other parts of the world, one-third of Bangladesh has been under water from monsoon rains; parts of Nigeria have been flooded; Mexico has endured killer earthquakes.
And then there is the politically driven violence, such as is occurring in Burma/Myanmar with Rahingya villages burned, thousands murdered, and over 400,000 people fleeing into Bangladesh to escape Buddhist Burmese/Myanmar military attacks.
There is also the seemingly endless devastation from wars waged or encouraged by U.S. policymakers. People in Afghanistan have been enduring war and destruction for 16 years; in Iraq for 13 years; and in Syria for five years.
Afghan, Pakistani, Somali, Iraqi, Syrian and Yemeni civilians have been murdered by U.S. killer drones whose pilots, ironically, are trained 60 miles from Las Vegas, raining hellfire missiles from above in the same sort of sudden violence as people in Las Vegas suffered Sunday night.
Americans are now face-to-face with the human and environmental violence that many parts of the world have experienced albeit with those stories confined to briefs packages on the back pages of U.S. newspapers.
So, in just the past month or so, Americans have been shocked by the ravages of gun violence inflicted by a committed sniper and the violence of nature’s environmental reaction to global warming made worse by careless human behavior releasing carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere.
U.S. wars killing people around the world and the glorification of this organized violence as an answer to geopolitical problems can’t help but influence the thinking of some troubled individuals who may see random violence as the answer to their own personal problems. Easy access to guns in the United States is simply out of control.
Yet, corporate lobbying and political pressures have encouraged Congress and the Trump administration to deny both the connection between the accessibility of powerful weapons and mass shootings and between the burning of fossil fuels and global warming.
But it turns out that this refusal to face difficult realities will not shield Americans from horrific consequences. America will not be “exceptional” in the sense of having special exemption from the destructive forces unleashed upon the world whether by war and violence or by environmental degradation.
Ann Wright was in the US Army/Army Reserves for 29 years and retired as a Colonel. She was a U.S. diplomat for 16 years and served in U.S. Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the US government in March 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq.
I vote for the spiritual route, too, and wonder what more I can do — each of us can do — along those lines. Waking people up is a huge first step, which is why I gravitate to CN so much. It’s a Jeremiah site, fearlessly giving the warning! More is needed. Let us think on these things.
I was just reading something today about how prophets, (spiritual seers) of old interpreted events from a spiritual vantage point. That talent and that seeing cannot be lost today, can it? It might be buried under the materialism and consumerism of our day, but it cannot really be lost or extinct. It needs cultivating.
Every time I read an article like this or go on “Crazybook” and see those lovely articles about the violent society we live in today and how they are portrayed to the public in a manner similar to “War of the World” in 1938. I think about Eisenhower’s farewell address at about the 12:00 mark where he states “this world of ours becoming smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate”. I have never looked into the meaning of that statement and I probably should but I know he was talking about Saudi Arabia. There is a ton of good stuff in that speech which is probably why we only know about the Military Industrial Complex lol! The mind of the average American is being destabilized through the media and this is obvious. Whether it is intentional or not…. I do not know. If the media tells a story one way you get a certain reaction and another way you get another reaction. I was glad to see the wars addressed but sad to see Libya not included. It is a shame that the media appears to control the mood of the public that is confused by presenting material and a manner reminiscent to “War of the Worlds”.
I always thought our immunity from hurricanes made the US “exceptional” but how wrong I was. Now I see we’re just like Norway and Botswana – helpless and exposed.
Odd. The US has been through a list of disasters, tragedies and crises in recent decades. This has changed the country itself into a nation very much on-edge. Is there actually a segment of the population that inexplicably feels “immune from chaos?”
It is true that the vaunted US “exceptionalism” is unraveling, and the sooner the better. I feel as Citizen, that America has a serious spiritual illness, brought on by the controls of corporate capitalism. Zachary put his finger on it, the inability to do anything about the controllers, and I doubt that you’ve actually become callous, Zachary, else you wouldn’t be posting here with all the information you find. It’s more likely frustration because we can’t get through to these uncompassionate, selfish and greedy controllers. And I see your point, too, Mike, that waking up America seems next to impossible.
I just finished reading “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King”. King went through bouts of depression, but his faith and will, family and movement colleagues sustained him. I don’t share his religious belief but I do feel it’s necessary to keep faith in a mysterious universe we just don’t understand. I feel, as King did, that regardless of forces beset against justice, that “the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice”. We now know that King’s assassination was a conspiracy. I believe each one of us has a part to play in holding back the forces of evil. I think that’s what you’re saying, too, Joe.
America is not suffering from mental illness, but from a spiritual illness. See the article titled Love and Western Nihilism by Andre Vltchek. As a poster above mentioned by Americans turning away their eyes from the suffering the government inflicts on innocents abroad, they have lost the ability to be compassionate. It turns out excessive materialism and consumerism isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be if you had to sacrifice your heart for it.
Consider the Iraq War where over a million innocent civilians lost their lives. That is 3 Las Vegases per day for 14 years committed by the government using taxpayer money, yet to see compassion for those lives lost is rare, because Americans have been conditioned to believe Iraqis are inferior and not human. And this same government wants to ban guns for “your safety.”
There is a saying which is falsely attributed to Stalin, but nevertheless is a realistic remark.
“The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic.”
People get overwhelmed when they are being constantly ‘hit’ by unending reports of death and suffering. There are many ugly things going on in the world, and since Big Media is now competing 24/7 for audience attention, they cherry-pick the worst of it to report.
I find myself becoming callous, and increasingly immune to these reports. IMO this is a psychological defense, for without the thick skin my own well-being begins to fail. Psychologists researching torture have learned that enforced helplessness is one of the most destructive things which can happen to an individual. It is a natural human defense reaction to tune out bad news, for there is absolutely nothing I can do to help the people in Yemen. There is nothing under heaven I can do to help and comfort a Mexican victim of the earthquakes. Knowing my two Indiana Senators and my single House guy, there is nothing I can do to change their attitudes towards the NRA. In fact, mild rants like this are about all I can safely allow myself to do.
Citizen – Your comments: “Consider the Iraq War where over a million innocent civilians lost their lives. That is 3 Las Vegases per day for 14 years committed by the government using taxpayer money, yet to see compassion for those lives lost is rare, because Americans have been conditioned to believe Iraqis are inferior and not human”
Yes. Very accurate observation. It is true in case of the Vietnamese, and for other people beyond The Western World as well. To the Americans conditioned to it, It does not matter how many you kill there.
Dave, an old statistic was that 50,000 Americans are killed every year in traffic accidents. I’m sure you agree Americans are conditioned to such deaths and that we consider those dead Americans inferior and not human.
as ye sow so shall ye reap.
And the solutions to all of these problems are exactly what? Gun control and a carbon tax? Some would say that would be a good start. I would reply that the dynamics are not that simple.
If you look at it from the Rich Bastard perspective, there isn’t any problem, and therefore any talk of “solutions” is just asinine. Let the peasants in the fly-over zones rot, and if they want to kill each other, let ’em have at it.
Carbon Tax? How silly! Especially with all those highly profitable wars destroying Oil-Soaked Enemies of Israel. Better to keep chanting The Science Is Uncertain, or even better, The Scientists Are Dishonest.
There have always been Rich Bastards, and so long as we live in a world where wealth = power, the perspective of the rich bastard will always have more sway. Where are the solutions to fixing this problem that haven’t been tried before with disastrous consequences? Short answer, there isn’t any that realistically work.
As for carbon taxes and calling scientists liars, the global warming issue is not on my radar and I have no opinion one way or another. If the science is right, then we are hooped 50 – 100 years down the road. If Trump can’t fix the economy or find some way to kick the can down the road for another 4 years the system will rupture and we will enter a full-blown depression and all of the fun that comes with that.
I no longer feel secure in my country of birth – the United States of America. Fanatics with money and influence have enacted laws which enable pinheads to arm themselves to the teeth. If one of them decides killing me is a good idea, all he/she has to do is claim he felt “threatened” by me so their act becomes one of self defense. What constitutes a threat is entirely up to them, of course. (I’m extremely reluctant to use my car’s horn these days) And if they are favorably known by the local prosecutor or belong to a large community of 2-digit-IQ types, they’ll get away with it. Even in the unlikely event they spend a couple of years in jail and 5 years on “probation”, I’m still dead.
Those pinheads don’t have to have firearms to be killers. Recently I’ve begun to see asphalt-paved highways with a rumble strip down the center of the road. The only possible explanation for this innovation is to get the attention of the idiots who are attempting to email/text while they’re driving a 2000 pound car or truck.
When these people decide life is no longer worth living, no longer do they simply kill themselves, but instead attempt to take as many with them as they can. Suicide with a stack of guns, or with their heavy vehicle, or by attempting many other schemes best left fuzzy – we’re all at risk of sudden death from them. There is nothing sacred about the Second Amendment. After all, the Constitution has been altered a total of 27 times. Most of those amendments made the document a better one.
I don’t know how to fix these problems, for my vote has been made basically useless. In the first place, the vote tally on election day will say precisely what the people who collect the numbers want it to say. In the second place, the Power Elites now manage the primaries to arrange that both parties produce candidates suitable to them. And to be frank, that Top .1% just doesn’t give a hoot about the violence and social decay us ordinary folks are experiencing. They no long live among us, and no longer use the facilities we use. Indiana is “flyover” country except maybe during the Indy 500. They are now nothing more than parasites to the rest of the nation, intent on sucking out what remaining resources which we’ve retained till now.
“Southern Prisons Have a Cellphone Smuggling Problem”
Do the rich bastards give a damn? All that matters to them is that Big Private Prisons remain well stocked with inmates so their investments in them flourish. It’s that way with everything. They no longer care about what happens, and in their growing arrogance they believe they’re immune to the coming climate chaos. For all I know they may be right, for I’ve read that Elon Musk is accelerating his plans for a Mars Colony. They only way the likes of you or I will make that trip is if there are vacancies in the Mars Servant Class.
“And if they are favorably known by the local prosecutor or belong to a large community of 2-digit-IQ types, they’ll get away with it.”
Zach, I am not disagreeing with what you said, but adding a thought to what you did not. It is they with the 3-digit IQs that have shaped the domestic and foreign policy climate that sets off the 2-digit IQ holders.
It’s going to take a lot more than these relative pin pricks to wake the profoundly sleeping Americans. We tend to just pull the covers up closer and bury our heads in our pillows no matter what is happening outside our personal space. We are on course to sleepwalk over the precipice which will loom before us any day now……
Could this massacre have been inspired by 1976 movie TWO MINUTE WARNING about a sniper at big league football game?
What Colonel Wright presents us with here today, is a matter that all of us Americans should comprehend with all sincerity. I have known people who suffered through their own pain, by appreciating how others have endured as much or more as they, and somehow this made their suffering more understandable to deal with. Possibly that is what we Americans need to do, is to take notice of all of the world’s people suffering, and then somehow our suffering could become less about us, and more about pain that everyone suffers. If that were to take shape, and if we Americans were to refine our compassionate side, then possibly we would end inflicting so much pain on the humanity at large. Joe
I think the MSM is complicit in the average American’s detachment from others’ plight. The power brokers learned from the Vietnam War that they needed to abstract the violence inflicted by our war machine with images like teddy bear General Schwarzkopf and his power point presentations, or Bryan Williams talking of “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments”. I think that has lead directly to the latte-sippers we see today who support someone like warmonger Hillary while sporting a “coexist” bumper sticker and a “Hate has no Home Here” sign on their front lawn. They are such shallow thinkers they don’t see the hypocrisy.
You are right a Skip, we Americans glorify violence. I’ll admit even I love a cool Action Flick, but I don’t take the movie that much to heart that I start shooting up the place. I know this, when CNN or other news outlets show us horrifying pictures of wars aftermath, they then go to a commercial break for insurance, or something which takes you mind off of the tragedy at hand. I don’t think this is a conspiracy, it’s just the way we entertain ourselves. In other words, we Americans don’t dwell on the effects, nor do we ever think our nation as a perpetrator of committing war crimes, so on the whole we ignore these many transgressions we commit as a freedom loving nation.
Great to hear from you Skip. Joe
false flag operations?
and your website has refused many of my posts. .
If you have links with your posts they’re likely to be “moderated” for as long as 24 hours. That’s why I’m following Susan’s practice of attaching them to a follow-up post. If you use “naughty” words (as defined by the word list somebody put into the software) you’re going to be “moderated”.
If I’m not mistaken, one of the words which will trigger the software is h o m o s e x u a l. Probably there are many more that we wouldn’t normally suspect.