The murky motive behind the Las Vegas massacre – carried out by a heavily armed “gun nut” – parallels the incomprehensible rationales for the global wars waged by the ultimate “gun nut,” Uncle Sam, writes JP Sottile.
By JP Sottile
It’s beginning to look like we may never fully understand Stephen Paddock’s “military-grade” assault on the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Law enforcement keeps looking in vain for some sort of motive in the dark abyss of Paddock’s odd life. Alt-Right conspiracists are churning out click-baited concoctions that often border on the comical. And the rest of us are left to ponder how and why a wealthy cipher amassed a huge arsenal of weapons that allowed him to become a one-man army.
Frankly, what would motivate anyone to buy 33 guns in 12 months if it wasn’t to plot a spectacular, action movie-style attack on human beings? To wit, much of Paddock’s year-long spending spree ended-up in the 23-gun “armory” he assembled in the fully-comped Mandalay Bay suite that served as his ghoulish sniper’s nest. And that wasn’t all. Police found additional caches of weapons, ammunition and explosives in Paddock’s car and in his homes in both Reno and Mesquite, Nevada. By the time Paddock murdered 58 non-combatants in his inexplicable war, he’d stockpiled 47 guns and many thousands of bullets.
Stephen Paddock is not alone. His high-powered hoarding made him one of America’s 7.7 million “super-owners” who on average possess 17 firearms. That’s 3 percent of Americans loaded for bear with half of America’s approximately 265 million guns, according to a report in Newsweek. And the Pew Research Center found that another 42 percent of Americans either “own a gun themselves or live in a household” with at least one gun.
Taken together, that means America is by far the world’s leading gun-toting country, with nearly 90 firearms per 100 residents. But it’s those “super-owners” like Paddock who truly stand out as the troubling exemplars of America’s well-documented “gun culture.” As Newsweek succinctly put it, Paddock was a “gun nut.”
The Biggest ‘Gun Nut’
But when it comes to gun nuts, can any one individual super-owner ever compare to the gargantuan gun-nut known as “Uncle Sam”? Just like the disproportionate arsenal held by America’s corps of one-man armies, super-owning Uncle Sam represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population but accounts for over one-third of the planet’s total military spending. And like Paddock during his pre-attack buying binge, Uncle Sam keeps adding to his already ample collection.
In 2017, Uncle Sam is slated to lavish $700 billion-plus on just the defense budget alone. There will also be more defense-related spending on “upgrading” America’s 6,800 nuclear weapons, on funding the opaquely-named “Overseas Contingency Operations” account that fuels various wars, on floating the titanic Department of Homeland Security and on the militarization of law enforcement. That’s a gun-buying bonanza that’d make Rambo blush. But unlike the murderous “lone wolves” who pass through the news cycle with alarming regularity, Uncle Sam and his taxpayer-funded gun-nuttery — along with the civilian casualties those weapons often produce doesn’t seem to garner anything close to the level of media scrutiny, political hand-wringing or somber opinioneering that accompanies each new All-American slaughter.
In fact, the Fourth Estate completely ignored a made-to-order chance to examine the broader contextual implications of Uncle Sam’s gun obsession just four days after Paddock used a bump-stock to hit the bullet-spraying “happy spot” that deluged almost 600 people in roughly ten minutes. That opportunity came from the gun-friendly Heritage Foundation. It is perhaps the most aptly-named think tank to ever weigh-in on Uncle Sam’s unabashed, yet widely unacknowledged, gun addiction.
Super-Duper Gun Owner
On Oct. 5, Heritage issued its annual assessment of the world’s largest, most powerful and most widely-deployed military. But just like last year, this year’s “Index of U.S. Military Strength” described an “unsettling trend” that, according to Heritage’s Center for National Defense, “leaves no room for interpretation — America’s military has undoubtedly grown weaker.” That’s right. The head-knockers at Heritage believe Uncle Sam desperately needs more guns … and more bullets, more bombs, more missiles and ever-more powerful nuclear weapons.
That also means more pilots to fly more sorties and, logic dictates, to drop all those new bombs. Like Paddock’s 12-month shopping spree, it stands to reason that buying more weapons will ultimately lead to using more weapons. That’s certainly how it’s gone since Uncle Sam designated the entire planet as a de facto (but not de jure) battlefield back in 2001.
But you don’t have to take Heritage’s word for it. Right before Paddock unleashed his arsenal, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson went to the Air Force Association’s annual gabfest to cry poverty over America’s recently-passed $700 billion splurge. Secretary Mattis bemoaned the existential threat posed by the “caps” on defense spending and Secretary Wilson lamented the fact that Uncle Sam was depleting his stockpile of “modern” and “mature” Tomahawk Missiles (Stock Tip: buy Raytheon).
That’s because Uncle Sam is actively using his prodigious arsenal of weapons, drones, missiles, fighter jets and bunker-busters … and he has done so on a continual basis for years. One might even say that Uncle Sam is an “active shooter” in Afghanistan and Iraq and Syria and Somalia and Yemen and, it was revealed the same week Paddock went ballistic, in Niger. The four Green Berets who died in the little-known African nation are just one small part of the often-overlooked deployment of 1.3 million well-armed Americans around the world.
Civilians are dying overseas, too … and at an alarming rate since President Donald “Non-Interventionist” Trump loosened the Rules of Engagement to make killing innocent bystanders more acceptable. In Las Vegas, 58 died (plus Paddock) and over 500 more were injured. In one airstrike in Mosul last March, more than 200 men, women and children were killed in one fell swoop by what is essentially a flying gun.
Over in Afghanistan, the United Nations found a “50% increase” in civilian casualties this year. The last nine months of Uncle Sam’s longest war killed 205 civilians and wounded another 261 non-combatants … and “more than two thirds of the civilian victims were women and children,” according to Reuters.
And then there’s Somalia, where a horrific terrorist truck bombing that killed over 300 people was likely in response to a “botched” U.S.-led raid last August that killed 10 civilians, including three children. It would seem that “botched” is in the eye of the beholder.
However, one thing is certain … all of this shooting is taking a toll on Uncle Sam’s stockpile. And that’s really what Heritage is driving at with their warning about “weakness.”
The world is, in fact, getting more dangerous as America uses more weapons that generate more enemies. Heritage thinks that danger requires even more weapons, which, in turn, will make the world more dangerous as they are used in new and exciting places. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy, but, of course, the Heritage think-tankers don’t make that obvious connection.
For Heritage, this is all part of a supposed “readiness crisis” resulting from an overstretched military that is, some say, particularly strained after engaging in multiple relief efforts after a series of hurricane-wrought disasters. But Mattis, Wilson and the Heritage Foundation are not suggesting that Uncle Sam stock-up on packaged meals, bottled water and “beautiful” paper towels that President Trump will no doubt gladly distribute himself.
Instead, the thrust of these assessments — like many of those churned-out by the Beltway’s bevy of defense-interested war-partiers — is that Uncle Sam needs more weapons and more ways to deliver those weapons to more places around the globe. That’s sometimes called “peace through strength,” but it’s really just hoarding on an epic scale.
Not surprisingly, the reality show-like excessiveness of the hoarding doesn’t even enter the thinking of Heritage’s analysts or the Pentagon’s public-facing representatives or the denizens of Capitol Hill. It is simply taken as a given that more weapons is the answer to every question.
And why not? Hoarding guns is a logical response when the globe looks like a great big movie set just waiting for Uncle Sam’s action heroics to come save the day from a world stage teeming with villainy. The only real question left to answer is: How much firepower is needed to do the job?
First, let’s recall that the United States, a.k.a. Uncle Sam, is home to around 4.4 percent of the world’s population, yet somehow accounts for over one-third of all military spending. That spending may have something to do with how 4.4 percent of the world’s population is able to consume, on average, about a quarter of the world’s various resources, but that’s another issue.
Instead, let’s look at China. Considered to be something between a cordial competitor and a full-blown adversary, China is home to approximately 20 percent of the world’s population (about five times America’s share), but it only spends about one-quarter of what the U.S. does on its arsenal. Still, that makes China the world’s second biggest spender with a budget of $151.43 billion for 2017. Frankly, that’s dwarfed by America’s $700+ billion. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Compare the two side-by-side (thanks to globalfirepower.com) and you might start thinking of Uncle Sam as a committed gun nut.
For example, Uncle Sam has 20 aircraft carriers … and China has one, with one on the way. Uncle Sam has 41,062 armored fighting vehicles … and China has 4,788. Uncle Sam has 6,065 helicopters … and China has 912. Uncle Sam has 2,785 attack aircraft and 2,296 fighters. China has about half of that with 1,385 attack aircraft, 1,271 fighters.
The Chinese do have about 600 more tanks and a bunch more small naval craft, but that’s more a function of their geographical challenges than some willy-nilly binge by the world’s third-strongest military. After all, they do have land borders with historically hostile powers. And Uncle Sam does continue to pressure them at sea. Apparently, it’s Uncle Sam’s job to control what the Chinese do in the South China Sea.
Russia’s Piddling Sums
It’s also quite telling to make these same comparisons to Russia. It is the world’s “second-strongest” military and, according to the drumbeat of conventional wisdom-makers, it is Uncle Sam’s main global competitor. Home to less than 2 percent of the world’s population, Russia is “now the world’s third largest military spender,” according to a grabby headline by CNNMoney.
Sounds ominous … that is, until you see that it only takes $69.2 billion for Russia to secure the third spot. For perspective, that’s less than the amount ($80 billion) Uncle Sam’s added to this year’s budget over last year’s budget. That’s also less than the amount of money ($75.9 billion) Uncle Sam made for the defense industry this year by selling weapons to other countries.
Still, Russia is fairly well-armed. Unlike Uncle Sam, Russia is not surrounded by two oceans and two friendly, militarily weak allies. Quite to the contrary. In fact, Uncle Sam and his proxies have crowded Russia with forces to its West, South and East. U.S. forces also encircle China, but let’s stay on target.
As a result of their geography and history, Russia is heavier on tanks (20,216) and armored fighting vehicles (31,298) than Uncle Sam. Yet, the Russian Bear lags on attack aircraft (1,428), on fighter aircraft (806), on helicopters (1,389) and it is way behind on power-projecting aircraft carriers with just one “notoriously rickety” ship.
Russia does have 7,300 nuclear warheads, but it is nowhere near America’s capability to deploy forces through its vast network of approximately 800 bases and facilities in more than 70 countries. On the other hand, scholar David Vine estimates that “Britain, France and Russia … have about 30 foreign bases combined.”
These significant imbalances probably account for Russia’s recent move into “non-violent” forms of hybrid and asymmetrical warfare. It’s one way to close current and future gaps. And both Russia and China are making inroads on drones, but neither has the reach of Uncle Sam’s fleet … which is advancing and growing all the time. So far, neither China nor Russia has demonstrated a willingness to use drones as roving kill machines in other people’s countries. That remains Uncle Sam’s gun-slinging claim to fame … as does the unchallenged ability to dwarf the next eight biggest military spenders combined.
Gun Showmanship Of Fools
Let’s face it, Uncle Sam is, globally speaking, an armament “super-owner.” Like many of America’s civilian “super-owners,” it could be said that Uncle Sam just likes guns … or that he’s just an avid collector … or that guns are not just his hobby, but also his business. And that’s true, too.
As a matter of fact, Uncle Sam has turned foreign policy into a great big, rolling gun show. He often attends actual, government-sponsored military “trade shows” like the bi-annual Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi. Each year there are dozens of these military-themed events and air shows around the world. These glorified gun shows are golden opportunities for the State and Defense Departments to attract buyers to America’s growing supermarket of weaponry.
America used to be “the Arsenal of Democracy.” Now it is the “World’s Gun Shop,” and Uncle Sam is selling everything from THAAD missile defense systems (Stock Tip: buy Lockheed Martin) to boondoggled F-35 jets (still buy Lockheed). And in an amazing bit of gun nut symmetry, the “Trump administration is preparing to make it easier for American gun makers to sell small arms, including assault rifles and ammunition, to foreign buyers,” according to Reuters.
That final bit of salesmanship is probably a response to the sharp decline in domestic small arms sales after Trump replaced President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. Under President Obama, federal gun background checks increased for 19 straight months. By the end of Obama’s tenure the gun industry had grown by a staggering 158 percent and the “total economic impact of the firearms and ammunition industry in the U.S. increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $49.3 billion in 2015,” reported Forbes. It rose to $51.3 billion in Obama’s final year.
This buying binge was stoked by gunmakers’ de facto sales reps in the National Rifle Association and in the Right-Wing media … who told gun-loving Americans that the first Black President was coming to take their firearms. So, they went out and stocked-up before Obama and George Soros could deploy an army of U.N. gun-grabbers in powder blue helmets deep into the blood-red heart of America. The grabbers never came, but the profits spiked handsomely for Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor, Smith & Wesson and seven more of America’s leading gunmakers.
Ironically, the party ended when the NRA’s most beloved candidate of all-time took the oath of office. Trump purposefully and quite effectively ran as a defiant gun nut. He repeatedly touted his love of guns and his admiration of his sons’ love of killing animals with guns. And when he won, gun-lovers stopped hoarding guns at a record pace. For them, the prophesied “gunpocalypse” had been avoided, so they relaxed a bit. But the collateral damage of America’s exceptional gun-nuttery keeps on mounting, both at home and abroad.
Uncle Sam Is A Gun Nut
The Independent (UK) found that “nearly 1,400” people were shot around America in the week following the Las Vegas massacre. That’s just one week’s worth of shooting. Even more daunting, they determined that “24,862 [Americans] have been injured and 12,208 have been killed as a result of gun violence” so far this year. It’s a bloody, but sadly unsurprising addendum to the ponderous aftermath of the “worst mass shooting” in U.S. history.
At the same time, Americans remain largely ignorant of the “mass casualty event” that’s unfolded around the world over the last 16 years. Fortunately, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University has done the thankless job of keeping tabs on Uncle Sam’s Global War on Terror. Their “Costs of War” project estimates that Uncle Sam’s wars are directly responsible for 370,000 deaths, responsible for another 800,000 indirect deaths and that some 200,000 civilians died “at the hands of all parties to the conflict” America instigated.
And like those solitary super-owners who spend freely on guns without batting an eye, Uncle Sam seems decidedly nonplussed by the $4.8 trillion “price tag” for his post-9/11 wars.
Even more telling, this prolonged, costly slaughter has done little to slake Uncle Sam’s thirst for more guns. In fact, one of the hallmarks of Donald Trump’s candidacy was not just his full-throated praise for the NRA, but his constant claim that America’s military had been “depleted.” Of course, he promised a Paddock-like spending spree to make it bigger than ever before. Trump essentially presaged Heritage’s lament about Uncle Sam’s supposed military weakness. And it set up a spike in defense spending that will ensure that America stands alone as the world’s sole “super-owner.”
All of which points to some obvious, if seldom asked, questions: Is the Heritage Foundation’s report on the U.S. military really that different from the NRA’s repeated exhortations to individual gun owners? Don’t the makers of weapons big and small both profit from the thinly veiled salesmanship of Heritage and the NRA, the collateral damage be damned? Really, what’s the difference between Smith & Wesson and Lockheed Martin? Or between bystanders being shot with lead bullets or struck by a high-tech Tomahawk?
Aren’t we as a military power much like those 7.7 million super-owners who stockpile arms like a paranoid survivalist who sees boogeymen and gun-grabbers around every corner? And don’t we as a globe-trotting nation differ little from the individual Americans who “open-carry” guns into a Wendy’s or Walmart … as if they are not just looking for a chance to flaunt them, but also for a reason to use them?
Sadly, though, that’s not where it ends because just like Stephen Paddock had his outsized arsenal of weapons stashed in his homes and his car, so too does Uncle Sam have his arsenal dispersed in caches strewn around the world. And the only logical reason to build up an arsenal well beyond what’s needed to protect your personal safety or national security … is because you intend on using that arsenal to kill people. That much is clear about Stephen Paddock. Isn’t it also clear about Uncle Sam? It is certainly clear to millions of people around the Muslim world.
Ultimately, is Uncle Sam really that different from Stephen Paddock? More to the point, if we are looking for answers to the Las Vegas shooting, perhaps we should ask if Stephen Paddock is really that different from Uncle Sam? Because the truth is that Uncle Sam — the collective “we” also known as America — is the world’s paragon of gun-nuttery. He is the author of many senseless slaughters with inexplicable motives and unclear ends. And it seems unlikely that we’ll ever be able to explain Stephen Paddock’s gun-craziness until we finally make some effort to look in the mirror and examine Uncle Sam’s exceptional role as the world’s leading gun nut.
JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. He blogs at Newsvandal.com or you can follow him on Twitter, http://twitter/newsvandal.
Stay at home mom Kelly Richards from New York after resigning from her full time job managed to average from $6000-$8000 a month from freelancing at home… This is how she done it
I have no problem with responsible people owning legal guns if they want to.
The issue has to do with the money spent on our military. The $700 billion or whatever the figure does not stop at that point. It is put into our economy. There is no doubt the money could be spent a lot better but the arms industry does employ probably several million people in its network of suppliers and manufacturers.
Further, the military personnel themselves amount to millions when their families are included and a dilemma would exist if all these personnel were dumped into a job market insufficient to absorb them.
A military is needed, just how much?
This is not to condone our military budget, I vigorously oppose it. Just saying…….
There’s a lot of sad wisdom here. “Guns and weapons of mass destruction are made to be used” should not be a contraversial statement. Sottile makes the point that if we feel the need to replenish our unrivaled arsenal, it may be because we are constantly depleting it. We have been on a shooting spree since 9/11/01. One can counter any demoralizing thoughts about the use of guns and nuclear bombs with the consoling maxim: “If you would have peace, prepare for war.” Were that maxim a good guide, we should have an amazing amount of peace by now, for we have not only been diligently preparing for war; but actually waging it non-stop for the last 15 years. Evidently there’s something wrong with the way we are interpreting this noble maxim. When gun violence would occur in America during the last administration, our President would eloquently remind us that “nothing is solved by violence.” He would do this after starting his day by picking the targets for the day’s drones. Chomsky has said more than once that “America is the greatest terrorist in the world today.” Imagine saying such a terrible thing! The only excuse for saying it is that it is true–and surely that’s not a very good excuse. Think how it makes us feel! Sottile adds to this affront from Chomsky by bringing forth a great deal of recent data that supports it.
Nice article about the U.S. military madness. But Paddock was not a gun nut. The Las Vegas Massacre looks like a gun running deal gone bad. They were automatic weapons and a gun nut could not have acquired them. He was laundering money through the slot machines. `The hotel welcomed him and he had connections. He had no history of weirdness other than a shadowy existence with no obvious means of support . Who was he working for as employee or contractor.
He was also selling guns at the other hotels he had visited, not “scoping them out”, and there was an inside person or group at the hotel(s). Someone could follow the money and the guns. But notice how fast it was knocked off the news, and the “bump stock” fake news to guide you off course. Probably the ATF or FBI was behind the gun running. Some bunch of gangsters or terrorists took over and did the shootings, and officials had to cover up the illegal gun running.
I agree, he was not in my mind a “gun nut” and his income source may be unknown.
For me a “gun nut” is someone who has a multi-year if not a life long infatuation with firearms.
They may own only two or three guns but the guns are abnormally important to them the same as some are “car nuts” or “sports nuts”.
If he bought these guns in a twelve month period at sixty five years of age, the guns were to achieve a goal, not because he was enamored with a “gun” itself.
I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but the event I’m relating is connected to the Gun Mania in the US.
I’ve always been leery about the Scouts and their history, but I suppose this is the last straw for me.
Demanding -and enforcing- knee-jerk “respect” for the gun nuts is beyond the pale.
Need more thought and discussion on how to change from a military-homeland security economy to one that doesn’t rely on this structure for viability. Even Bernie Sanders, perhaps not even, and others proudly announce the latest defense or homeland security contract in their state or district. More money, more jobs and the hell with its purpose. Take away all that money without replacing it for other purposes would decimate our economy. Replacing it with for other purposes is the key, and would be an enormous challenge.
If you continue to kill each other at this rate you’ll be extinguished within a few decades and the soil which you call usa can be populated by another people. No matter who that would be, it can’t be worse.
The Ultimate “Gun Nut” Uncle Sam = The Great (Narcissistic) Sadist™
? “The Disturbing Link Between Narcissism and Sadism” | Psychology Today – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201607/the-disturbing-link-between-narcissism-and-sadism
There is a lot of evidence for some type of conspiracy around the Las Vegas shootings – both in terms of the perpetrators and in terms of the FBI actions/coverups in the aftermath, disappearance of several witnesses, confiscation of evidence, incoherent timelines, unexplained photos of shots coming from other locations and witnesses to shooting at other locations or angles. Who else was involved and what the motivations were is not clear, and I have yet to see any convincing hypotheses. That’s okay…the motivations for the treasons of JFK and 9/11 didn’t become clear until many years after those events. The reality is that the US Deep State – CIA/FBI/NSA/NSC, etc. are committing treason on a routine basis and lying about it on a routine basis. The public never gets an honest accounting, or an accurate summary of evidence. The story in these national events of mass violence is routinely fictionalized. One goes through the evidence for JFK, 9/11, Lockerbie bombing, OKC bombing, Jonestown massacre, etc. and the conclusion is always the same. The FBI and other investigative branches of US Deep State are completely treasonous, completely dishonest, and set out to tell fabricated stories on purpose.
I wanted to point out that the fourth paragraph in the “Super Duper Gun owner” section, which leads to a Business Insider article, is inaccurate. I assume this was an honest mistake by JP Sottile. According to the BI article, the U.S. military has 1.3 million active soldiers, with 450,000 of those currently stationed oversea. The fourth paragraph of the “super duper gun owner” section of this article suggests all 1.3 million active duty soldiers are stationed overseas. Other then that, excellent article. It really shows the disturbing reality of the U.S. empire.
MLK said it – “America is the number one purveyor of violence in the world.”
America has not broken away from it’s love of the gun, since America’s forefathers (as in their words) ‘tamed the savage frontier’ at the end of a long barrel of a gun, so with that in mind it becomes an even bigger part of America’s DNA to love these deadly weapons for the sake of honoring old glory. Add this love of the gun to the mentally ill, and or a confused person’s ideology, and how to them the gun suddenly becomes a deranged persons weapon of choice for their mass slaughter of the innocents, is a sad result of how our freedoms should play out.
I came across an article, which goes into to describing Russia’s new class of silent submarines, and how our U.S. Navy is struggling to keep their eye on these new quiet running Russian subs. Maybe Russia would have developed such a submarine anyway, but disarmament doesn’t come easy when the U.S. continues to up the ante with it’s ever balloon busting defense budget. I mean, where does this weapons madness all end?
Here is an article which speaks to the U.S. Navy attempting to track the Russian sub Krasnodar, and it’s sister ships of the even newer Yasen class of submarines, the Severodvinsk, and the Kazan. I will warn you that this linked article I am leaving here is written in ‘MSM speak’, so don’t be too surprised that the author doesn’t ever once say how Syria is a sovereign nation, and of how the U.S. is flying the sky’s of Syria illegally.
Joe (and others),
It’s not so much just the weapons as it is in the mindset. Violence need not occur with only a gun: ask the many who have lived to tell about domestic violence.
“Zachary Smith” above put this well when stating that sanctions and other means have managed to kill many people. And keep in mind that resultant deaths are by no means a by-product, the intent of sanctions IS to kill people, to make people suffer so much that they turn on their ruling powers (which opens them up to the “spreading of democracy”, cough).
I realize Seer that guns are a big part of our American culture. I actually am at a point where I do not wish to see this continuation of stripping away any more of our so precious citizen rights, either. What I’m referring to, is something much, much, bigger, and it can’t even be enforced. What I want to see change will take generations, but first the U.S. foreign policy, and the whole American law enforcement system will need to do some radical changes too.
I would reference what the City of Watts has done with their recruiting of a diverse mirror image of its policing community, and have police outreach programs, where cops interact with their precincts kids. As far as the U.S. Foreign Policy goes I would retract those 800 bases down to a Homeland defensive strategy, and join the world in common ground agreements on internationally vital issues, and stop these destructive wars immediately.
This whole world hegemony project is stealing a large amount of our moral values in respect to our outlook on all things living. In fact the biggest part of what is bringing America down at this moment internationally, is America’s insistence to make it’s own reality, and worst yet that we Americans believe it. The other problem is our attention to mental health is lacking, and the pharmaceutical industry has way too much sway.
I hope I’m answering you Seer well enough, because sometimes I miss the view point. Joe
Joe, sign me up! You’re spot-on.
I’d only note, however, that all the violence is feeding our opulence. I don’t exempt myself. In all of human history we’re living pretty high on the hog. I’ve spent plenty of my life opposing violence, but as a US taxpayer I’m feeding that monster.
On the health front, much has to do with stress (living in a totally screwed up society where reality isn’t acknowledged) and poor food/diet.
Lots of statistics we see tend to fail to take into account our aging demographic. I’d encourage people to watch out for this. Politicians will take credit for things that are occurring more naturally, little or none to do with policies. Won’t be enough younger people to draft for TBTB’s dirty little wars- that’s why drones are really being pushed. (same with general robotics)
Seer I think you and I are on the same page. Peace brother. Joe
Why does it matter how many guns Paddock had? Last time I checked, it’s not humanly possible to fire 23 guns at once. Not enough fingers to pull all the triggers! You can fire 2 guns, if they’re pistols (which these were not). Police continue to keep us in the dark about the details (which gives people time to come up with lots of wonderful theories!), so we don’t know how many of those 23 guns he fired, but I can’t believe he used more than a fraction of that number. 2 would be my guess.
As for the point about Uncle Sam being a warmonger – Very good point and I agree. Sadly, it’s been that way for a long time, but I’d like it if we could retreat from the world stage, stop trying to dictate the economy of the entire planet.
Having all the extra guns meant that #1) he wouldn’t have to reload and #2) if one jammed he just snatched up another and kept firing.
I can’t help but notice the Corporate Media has made the Las Vegas shooter almost disappear from the news. IMO it would be worth provoking some public discussion about exactly how many guns an individual ought to be permitted to own without both him and the firearms coming under close scrutiny.
I’d asked this elsewhere, but it’s really something that seems should be checked, and that’s: How many head wound victims were there? I’ll admit that I haven’t really delved into any of this much, but I’d read that there wasn’t a lot of blood on the scene (or the reporting avoided it): yeah, could be another conspiracy theory push thing; I really don’t know. Firing from high up would tend to place peoples’ heads as being more likely to catch bullets than say from a direct on-ground firing when sweeping in a more or less random fashion. Questions such as this might tend to make some folks nervous and that could be the reason why this is sweeping under the rug.
Watching the videos 95% of the concert goers were crouched over, thinking they were being sprayed from ground level. Their backs were the largest target.
Ownership is protected in the Constitution. Period. Don’t like it, change the Constitution. Period. That’s the way it’s meant to work, and has worked, as opposed to your disease like slow backdoor underhanded erosion of citizens rights. Those not owning should have themselves scrutinized, closely. Doesn’t sit well does it?
Careful reading of the 2nd amendment agrees that citizen’s right to bear arms should not be abridged.
Furthermore it states that this right is to guarantee the existence of Militias and that these Militias are purposed for ” State Security”.
I would like to see the horrendous NDAA2012 publicized and the extra- judicial assassinations and AUM and all the unconstitutional wars of agression.
PS – I had a stockpile of guns when I was young. I have not owned any now since I got rid of all of them fifty plus years ago. I feel a lot safer now than I did then.
Thanks to the author for this excellent article.
US culture was founded in violence, and remains the most violent and evil on Earth. To speak of real Love in this context is embarrassing and futile. We worship money, domination, and violence. Under these circumstances religion and spirituality are considered nothing more than a sick joke. This deranged culture needs to pass away. If it cannot somehow be stopped, our species will expire, and frankly good riddance.
Still another way of putting Russia’s weapons expenditures into perspective is to say a year of spending is about double the money the US threw away on F-35 airplanes which will never see combat.
I believe Mr. Sottile made a mistake with this essay – he took two good themes and jammed them together into a single one where the combination doesn’t really mesh.
Very little of the US defense expenditures are spent on “guns”. And killing enormous numbers of people without resort to a single bullet or bomb is entirely possible. Clinton’s merciless sanctions on Iraq killed more than Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the March 9, 1945 firebombing of Tokyo combined.
Some effective measures need to be taken against gun violence at all levels, and I think that’s going to remain wishful thinking. I rail here about Israel’s ownership of the US Congress, but the gun nuts have a similar hold on that institution. The congress-critters may be afraid of Israel, but IMO they’re True Believers in the gun stuff. At least those representing me in Indiana sure are.
The same can be said for the insane levels of US military expenditures, but for different reasons. Still an opinion, but I fear those won’t decline until the US dollar begins to falter. Congress may ***** and moan about deficits, but only in the context of destroying programs which benefit US citizens. When the Military Expenditures (or the Israel Allowance) are under discussion, they simply spend the money with no concerns at all about the enormous wastes or the deficit.
Great comments, Zach.
Here is an interesting comparison of how much money is spent in Washington by gun rights and gun control groups:
It’s pretty clear from looking at both the campaign contributions and the amount spent by lobbyists which side of the gun debate has the most sway in Washington.
War is so hugely profitable it has enabled war profiteers to buy up the major news media and Congress. Back in 1791 Tom Paine wrote, “That there are men in all countries who get their living by war, and by keeping up the quarrels of nations, is as shocking as it is true.”
For new readers who haven’t seen it,
“War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror”
The US can easily lead the world in new medicines and medical treatments instead of weapons. This would employ a similar number of educated people in science and engineering, generate similar foreign trade, injure no one, and make no enemies. It is only government corruption that prevents us from doing so.
The US can easily re-purpose 80 percent of our military personnel and facilities in building infrastructure in the poorest nations. If we had built the roads, schools, and hospitals, we would have lifted half of the world from poverty since WWII, and would have no enemies. Instead the anti-communist fearmongers and genocidal zionists have killed tens of millions and set the world back many generations since WWII. They have completely corrupted Congress, the executive, the judiciary and the mass media, making the US a fake democracy, an empty suit of armor blundering around the world, swinging its sword madly.
The sole historical meaning of our era and our lives is to eliminate this corrupt oligarchy by any and all means. This cannot be done by persuasion, because the tyrant does not hear talk of peace and progress; the tyrant speaks only the language of force, and will be deposed only by force.