Vietnam’s Lessons and the U.S. Culture of Violence

In the wake of another deadly school shooting in Florida, the lessons of past massacres in Vietnam can teach us about U.S. violence and the need to reform unchecked gun culture, discusses Lawrence Davidson.

By Lawrence Davidson

Back in October 2016 I wrote an analysis entitled “Are Humans Natural-Born Killers?” It described and commented on research on the origins of human violence published in the science journal Nature. The conclusion offered in the article is that humans come from an evolutionary line that has the capability for violent behavior genetically built into it. It is a reasonable hypothesis. As just about every serious historian knows, the human propensity for lethal violence goes back as far as the evidence can take us — so far that there can be little doubt that this trait is inherited from our pre-human ancestors.

The bodies of Vietnamese men, women and children piled along a road in My Lai after a U.S. Army massacre on March 16, 1968. (Photo taken by U. S. Army photographer Ronald L. Haeberle)

Yet, as the Nature scholars also point out, in the case of our species, culture has the ability to “modulate our bloodthirsty tendencies.”

I bring this up now because there is new interest in the slaughter and massacres that took place during the Vietnam War. This may in part be a response to the fact that last month marked the 50th anniversary of that war’s Tet offensive.

America waged war in Vietnam roughly from 1961 to 1975. The starting date is a “rough” one because the United States never actually declared war. In this 14-year span it is generally accepted that the turning point in the struggle came during the Tet offensive of 1968. Tet is the term used for the Vietnamese new year, and that celebratory time in 1968 was when the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong launched attacks in some 100 South Vietnamese towns and cities, in an effort to change the course of the war in their favor.

Though very costly (there were an estimated 50,000 Vietnamese casualties) the offensive worked, at least in the long run. Within a year the United States started a gradual withdrawal from the country. Although the fighting dragged on for another seven years (until the fall of Saigon in 1975) it was Washington’s stubborn search for face-saving terms that largely kept it going.

By the time of the Tet offensive, the war had degenerated into mutual slaughter. The U.S. ended up killing some 3 million Vietnamese, many of them civilians. The massacre at My Lai on 16 March 1968, has often been cited as the “singular” American example of such criminal behavior. It was on this date that a company of soldiers of the 23rd Americal Division murdered, without provocation, 504 peasant villagers of all ages and both sexes.

The massacre itself, and its background year of 1968, have been accurately described in a recent book, My Lai: Vietnam,1968 and the Descent into Darkness, by Howard Jones (Oxford University Press, 2017). In turn the book has been expertly reviewed and elaborated upon in the popular London Review of Books (LRB) (25 January 2018) by Max Hastings.

It is to be noted that both the publisher and the reviewing magazine are located in the United Kingdom. The reviews of the book offered in the United States have been, to date, in academic journals, including the U.S. Army’s own Army University Press. Just about all of them have described Jones’s work as definitive and a seminally important read. Whether this will translate into public attention in the U.S. is doubtful.

Explaining Wartime Massacres

Modern efforts to explain happenings like the My Lai massacre usually bring up the problem of waging war when it has become hard to know who the enemy is – in other words, when not everyone is wearing a uniform and a lot of resistance is coming from irregular forces. The Army University Press review raises this issue.

Another possibility is that such behavior is an “inevitable consequence of combat.” In his LRB review, Max Hastings gives a long introductory account of a number of other massacres committed by soldiers in modern times, including in Vietnam. As a consequence one comes away with the feeling that, within a war zone, these criminal acts are almost common.

While it is no doubt true that a combat situation (or perhaps we can say the culture of combat) does raise the probability of massacres, they do not make them “inevitable.” Suggesting that they are, sounds more like an excuse than an explanation. After all, most combat soldiers are not participants in massacres.

This brings us back to the judgment of the research published in Nature – we all might well be potential natural born killers who are restrained or encouraged by cultural variables. Within the combat scenario, Hastings suggests that a culture of self-restraint accepted and enforced by the officer corps can forestall mass killings.

An anti-gun placard at a rally in NYC in support of Ferguson, MO on November 25, 2014. (Photo by The All-Nite Images Flickr)

This is of particular interest when it comes to the peculiar culture of the United States. In Vietnam many of the massacres (My Lai was by no means unique) were perpetrated by soldiers as well as their officers from the so-called “land of the free.” I use this descriptive term intentionally because one of the things that is often declared to be constitutionally “free” from rational regulation in the U.S. are guns. And, as a consequence, these troops came out of a “gun culture.”

It should be kept in mind that the American gun culture, with its accompanying violence, is not new. The 2014 book Gun Violence and Public Life documents this history. If anything has changed from the 1960s to today it is that the public now has access to military grade weapons. What also existed then as now is a culture of bigotry and racism. In the 1960s this was just being confronted by the Civil Rights Movement. It all made for an explosive mix that carried over to influence perceptions of and behavior toward the Vietnamese.

Manipulating Culture

If the Nature study’s conclusions can be believed, modern violence both of military and civilian origin can be moderated by manipulating culture. In the American case this means overcoming the gun culture as well as racism. There are many ways to do this. It can be done through public education as well as the way a society designs and applies its laws.

However, if any of these approaches to a safer, less violent society is to work, citizens must commit to a consistently enforced, long-term, indeed multi-generational, effort of reform. None of this will happen until politicians and the courts understand the Second Amendment of the Constitution (the present interpretation of which underpins the nation’s gun culture) in a more literal and reasonable way. And that won’t happen until public opinion overwhelms the ideological rigidity of the U.S. gun lobby.

In the United States the desire for rational reform of the gun laws goes up after each mass shooting and then is stymied by a rigid, but very politically influential, gun lobby. This scenario is part of a “culture war” that is ongoing within the American body politic. It involves not only the issue of gun control but also other issues such as abortion, gay rights, the promotion of racial equality and immigrant rights. So heated is this “culture war” that one might see it as a (so far) non-violent form of civil war.

The lessons of Vietnam, and a greater awareness of the massacres that occurred during this war, speak to the need to reform U.S. culture – to make it less violent and more tolerant. Thus the Vietnam experience should be incorporated into the current debate about guns in America. It would be a major achievement if the 1968 slaughter at My Lai could help stop today’s slaughter on the streets of the U.S.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism. He blogs at

113 comments for “Vietnam’s Lessons and the U.S. Culture of Violence

  1. February 19, 2018 at 08:41

    My Lai massacre was insane;/ 500 unarmed people were killed, mostly women and children…

  2. TB
    February 19, 2018 at 02:27

    It is NOT “the gun lobby”. It is because us gun owners vote and are not giving away one more thing.

    Your idea of a compromise is to want to chop my leg off at the hip, but accept only chopping off first the foot, then the lower leg…

    You getting something you want and me getting nothing out of the bargain is not a compromise, it is theft.

    Not one more inch.

  3. Elkojohn
    February 18, 2018 at 19:24

    U.S. voters have a choice.
    Either vote for the Republican mafia or the Democratic mafia,
    – but you can’t vote for a government of, by and for the people.
    Remember the people’s movement for the right of women and African-Americans to vote?
    What did it get us?
    Here’s your ballot; either vote for the Republican mafia or the Democratic mafia.
    And it’s been that way since the U.S. civil war.

  4. antigone kunz
    February 18, 2018 at 04:14

    Agression is inherent in many beeings. Not so violence. Violence is a practice on a daly basis, it’s a perpetuated, deadly patriarchal way of understandig the world. Freedom is also a practice and as all parctices she needs to be thought and done on a daly basis, at all levels. To give freedom a chance poeple should give her the same ressources in money, time, human and materialressources as to the militaryspendings and efforts.

  5. Hugh R. Hays
    February 16, 2018 at 16:42

    The author is I believe right on. I grew up during World War II in the presence of great patriotism and unity in the American people. In my senior year in college I gave up my deferment and volunteered for the draft. In February, 1953, six months before
    the war was over, I was inducted into the U.S. Army Infantry at Fort Riley, Kansas. There I underwent 16 weeks of basic training
    being trained to kill G–ks at the drop of a hat without thinking about what I was doing or why I was doing it. Later I would feel
    frustrated that I was restraining myself from killing someone and realized that I had been brainwashed. After eight weeks of
    leadership training and 8 weeks of training to be an officer I realized the Army was not for me. I served my 2 years of active duty
    and 6 years of inactive reserve and was honorably discharged. I was fortunate that I never shot, wounded or killed anyone in
    the following 57 years. Instead I ultimately became a life member of Veterans for Peace and advocate for peaceful relations
    with our world neighbors.

    When I reflect on America from about 1960, the American War in Vietnam, our wars in the middle east, the waste of human lives and wealth in wars and our human needs for food, health care, education, homes, justice, peace, medical care, I have to agree with Lawrence Davidson that we need to reform our culture away from glorifying violence to recognizing the values
    of peaceful relations with our neighbors and that we have the power to make peace happen.

    • Deniz
      February 16, 2018 at 18:24

      My deepest sympathies and respect.

  6. Alan Ross
    February 16, 2018 at 15:04

    The greatest thinkers have recognized that humanity has BOTH instincts, for violence AND for peace. Honest cultural knowledge shows that all cultures reflects both instincts. The false Freudian model of man as having a savage core being modified and restrained by culture is a very hurtful lie based on incomplete and even dishonest scholarship. Art, science, religion, commerce, architecture, education and so on, all when honest arise from our desire for justice. Even violence can come from the best in man when it is in behalf of justice, such as much of what went on in WWII. How glorious is mankind that from it can arise both Christ and Hitler.

  7. hillary
    February 16, 2018 at 09:39

    Dear Moderator,
    Would you kindly explain why I was told that my comment was posted & it failed to appear ?

  8. hillary
    February 16, 2018 at 09:35

    We have our Judeo/Christian culture & we are “so” proud of it we want to spread it all over ???

  9. February 16, 2018 at 04:46

    The every expanding research in the relatively new field of epigenetics has destroyed the old “genes” determine behavior paradigm and brought back, or all people Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck. It turns out that genes – “in relation to” – our culture and our experiences is what shapes behavior. Though at one level this is simply common sense, it has been a view suppressed in the West throughout our 500+ year reign of terror on the rest of humanity. We love to justify our collective mass brutality by saying it is “just human nature” as we to this day continue to slaughter and steal from indigenous people around the globe. The truth is that a cultural mythology based in common good, sharing, empathy and connection to nature “creates” a very different – “human nature” – than a mythology based upon greed, narcissism, violence and exploitation of nature as core values. Striving for “collective good” rather than for “individual salvation” or “individual riches” creates a very different and much more humane – “human nature.” We in the West have created and live within a totally toxic myth system that will destroy us all if we do not radically reject it and in rather short order.

  10. Chumpsky
    February 16, 2018 at 01:33

    After we came down from tree nests like the orangutans (orang utan in bahasa or men of the forest) and out from the caves to build walls, did we start to kill each other. It really is that simple.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 16, 2018 at 03:38

      Watched a video online where a psychologist said that monkeys will go to war against a neighboring tribe of monkeys and literally tear them to shreds. They are actually left in pieces. It is that vicious.

      Animals are territorial, they prefer small tribes, and anyone infringing on their territory is a threat.

      This is how the animal kingdom works. Maybe we expect too much of ourselves?

      • February 16, 2018 at 17:26

        @ “This is how the animal kingdom works. Maybe we expect too much of ourselves?”

        No. We are the only animal species that has developed the capability to destroy all life on the planet. We must expect our species to act with restraint.

        • backwardsevolution
          February 17, 2018 at 05:59

          Paul E. Merrell, J.D. – yes, I wasn’t advocating nuclear war or anything like that. I was just wondering, considering the way we are fast devouring, polluting and depleting the earth, whether we aren’t acting exactly like those monkeys. We are like parasites who can’t get enough, and we seem incapable of stopping ourselves. Who is stepping in to stop the head ape?

          Of course we must act with restraint. I can act with restraint. I just wonder whether our leaders can.

  11. CitizenOne
    February 15, 2018 at 23:55

    I am not at all convinced that Vietnam had anything to do with the Florida massacre. The shooter probably did not even know about that war. What is more likely is that the shooter was trained by white supremacists and was filled with hate and murderous rage by those folks. He also participated in white supremacist blogs at one point writing, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter”. That caused somebody to tip the FBI about his posts but they claim they could not identify the individual. In other aspects he fit the typical serial killer model by killing helpless animals for fun and bragging to his friends about his deeds. Killing things was obviously an enjoyable hobby for him. The school was apparently host to a Jewish population as well as an immigrant population both of which he expressed his hatred of in blog posts. He also expressed his opinion on line and to classmates that whites were superior to minorities who were “just taking up space”.

    I believe it is a bit of a disservice to link past military actions or cultures in wartime to the event and not present the connections to proto-fascist groups and hate groups which the shooter had. The Japanese were very brutal in WWII and today they have a very low violence rate as does Europe compared to the USA. The Axis nations in WWII have lower violence rates today than the USA. It seems that prior history of military brutality has little correlation to current events. The benevolence of US troops in WWII toward civilians also does not seem to confer a benefit with our current historically high domestic massacre rate.

    In short, the argument does not in my opinion present any meaningful insight into the current situation and seems to be picking and choosing which massacres in history it wants to link to the current epidemic of gun violence namely Vietnam.

    This is sheer conjecture at best and at worst hides the reasons that the shooter did what he did with irrelevant historical accounts of other massacres.

    I do not even think it fair to compare the motivations and actions or the “culture” of war ravaged troops facing a fierce enemy in lethal combat to a civilian facing no such threats. There are completely different environments and sets of variables involved in wartime massacres and this peacetime domestic civilian act of carnage.

    Further, America was horrified at the massacre in Vietnam. It took front page news and was reported on for many months as the trials proceeded. I dare say no one in America was proud of what happened as it hearkened back to the actions of former wartime enemies and the atrocities they committed. It was an ugly blot on our military record. It was a rally cry for the anti war groups and fueled America’s distaste for the war.

    To say that today, we glorify these kinds of military atrocities does a disservice to the troops who act with restraint. I agree that there have been lapses in our military’s behavior such as Abu Grabe that were again widely covered by the press in a highly critical light as horrific examples of unchecked inappropriate behavior and a failure of the military command to prevent such atrocities. There were no Americans cheering at the disgusting photographs. There was a change however from the black eye the military got from that horror show and the large coverage of it had significant ramifications for how we conducted the war.

    Such self corrections after the military acts inappropriately are common and as bad as our national media is even it decides that widespread coverage of such events is the right thing to do. They bury a lot of important stories. It would be all too easy for them to bury that too.

    What we are facing today is not some culture borne out of our military past unless you go back to the Civil War and there is plenty of evidence that the followers of today’s white supremacist movements all seek to reinvent a new rebellion against the current government so they can act out their plans to enslave or exterminate minorities.

    The current administration has given aid and comfort to those folks with anti-immigrant rhetoric like calling them rapists and murderers as well as by appointing folks who use these sentiments for political advantage much like the Nazis used antisemitic rhetoric to drive support for their party. It is the most ugly and immoral opportunism America has ever experienced at a national level of control by one party. Sure there have been candidates and movements but never has a majority party embraced such tactics so boldly and brazenly to consolidate support among the haters in America.

    If that is what they have to do to stay in power then they must not have any strategy to appeal to good kind Americans and have resorted to appealing to the folks which we do not identify with as having the American egalitarian democratic values which formed our free nation, abolished slavery, liberated the World from tyranny, inspired many nations to throw off their yokes of tyranny and emulate our Constitution with their own democratic models.

    Having said that, I do agree that the Vietnam war was an unjustified war. The threat was never realized and today Vietnam is one of the more American friendly nations. Some might chalk it up to our military intervention there but it is more likely that having defeated a foreign imperial power (The USA), much like we did in our formative period, they then set about constructing a government with the same impulses that our nation had once freed from British rule. The bad part was like Britain, we were the impetus for their positive change not the creators of it.

    Perhaps we have become a militaristic nation which is under the control of a “deep state” which conjures up wars for profit. These are the questions to ask about the reasons for our global military actions. They are not the questions we should apply to the alarming rate of violent mass killings founded in the belief by the perpetrators that domestic terrorism is the way to right perceived wrongs and the rise of a new ultra right wing.

    Today, perhaps unknown by the author, there is a big effort to understand how the hate groups exploit the many forms of modern telecommunication technology to enable hate groups to get out their violent agenda. Banning weapons will not solve the problem of the insertion of ultra violent rhetoric and hate speech within the reach of everyone which is driving much of the violence.

    The focus of the article it seems is a lot like the focus of the groups that think guns are the problem. It is misplaced and irrelevant to the real problem of why people think they need to carry out these acts and what is behind it. We should be focusing on the sources of the influence that people find appealing and which preach a culture of violence and ways to combat it so that innocent lives are not lost due to hate.

    That includes our government and our media which both have opportunistic motivations to perpetuate and inflame the violence for governmental power or media ratings. There is an old saying in the news that if it bleeds it leads. Why should they want peace when blood provides money? Why should our government not rile up an angry mob to preserve and extend their position of power? These motivations also need to be placed on the witness stand for the American Jury to decide if they are co-conspirators in whipping up the mob and then endlessly covering the carnage for their own opportunistic purposes. The gun manufacturers also clean up after these events which is a proven fact. Gun and ammunition sales skyrocket after a massacre.

    These mass killings are complex cultural phenomena which have many hidden beneficiaries like the media and the government and the gun manufacturers which all play a significant role in perpetuating the cycle of violence. They do this by misidentifying the causes (like the article) and making arguments which drives profit and control. Fear is another powerful force for control and it cannot be dismissed as a prime motivator for the actions of the major influencers.

    In short, like any problem all one has to do is follow the money. While we are all horrified at the wanton violence and death there are those who are currently cleaning up based on how the massacre events are covered. Their own profits and power plays for control are never discussed.

    I know this seems callous but we need to move beyond the emotional gut wrenching violence if we are to get at root cause as to the reason for the dramatic rise in massacres in America.

    • Deniz
      February 16, 2018 at 00:28

      There is a map circulating which shows the incidence of mass shooting by state, what I found is that their is a clear concentration of shootings in the Southeast, then Midwest, with almost none in the Pacific Northwest and plain states, with the exception of Colorado. I then looked up enlistment by state and found the greatest number of enlistments occur in the Southeast and Midwest.

      Not very scientific, but certainly curious.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 16, 2018 at 03:35

        Deniz – good observation. I’ve heard that the Pacific Northwest produces the most serial killers.

      • irina
        February 16, 2018 at 14:12

        A grandmother in Everett (just north of Seattle) just turned in her grandson
        because he was planning / stockpiling for a mass school shooting.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 00:45

      CitizenOne to make my point I’ll tell you a quick story. It was 1969 when I was a 19 year old U.S. Navy sailor. So there I was walking down the street in my tailored dress blues when I see in a record store window a cute little Susie Creamcheese who looked a lot like Rita Coolidge, so I waved at her, and she gave back to me her middle finger. I smiled and kept on a move’n.

      The difference between how we react to service men and woman today, as opposed to how they were treated back in the Vietnam era is the difference between night and day. Returning Vietnam Vets were anything but honored. Where today we are continually thanking our armed forces at every bend, and at nearly every occasion. Now, I’d prefer the latter, but does this difference mean anything? You tell me CitizenOne cause I’d like to hear your thoughts on America’s 180 degree turn from dishonoring to honoring our people in uniform.

      I also might add that drugs and weapons don’t mix well. I’d also like to know what’s keeping the women sane, since these mass shootings seem to be for the most part a young white man’s crime. We can also ponder these things, as we deconstruct our society’s mental health, and go from there.

      I’ll admit I have more questions than I do answers, but that’s why we frequent this comment board in the first place, isn’t it? Give me your opinion CitizenOne as others are welcomed to ponder along with me.

      This is a sad day in America when our young go on a killing spree. Joe

      • Deniz
        February 16, 2018 at 05:16

        A third of our nuclear arsenal is parked 20 miles offshore from me in subs in the Puget Sound. The subs are a class which can destroy countries.

        I haven’t the foggiest idea what they are protecting me from.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 16, 2018 at 09:49

          Once with the Navy Amphibs at sunrise we were practicing maneuvers attacking Virginia Beach back in the late sixties, wow you should have seen the face of the surfer guy, who looked exactly like Shaggy Rogers from Scooby-Doo. He was one dumbfounded and confused beach bum when he looked up from his surf board and said, ‘oh wow man you guys attacking America’?

      • CitizenOne
        February 17, 2018 at 01:18


        I think you know the answer here. There was a time when antiwar activists spit on servicemen and it was all about the unjust war in Vietnam. It was misplaced anger toward our servicemen like yourself and it is not a pretty history.

        Lining up our current mass murder epidemic on those times is misplaced. We were at a crossroad back then and there were citizens lined up on one side and the other.

        All this was in a historical context where there were no mass shootings unless you count Kent State or the Texas Bell Tower Shooter.

        I am in sympathy with you as you experienced the backlash of the Vietnam war.

        It doesn’t explain current trends however any more than the revolutionary war explains why our youth in peacetime choose to kill others in an apparently random way.

        This is a new phenomenon and it needs a new explanation as to exactly why this is happening.

        There is no way that the animosity you experienced as a result of a past war is related to the current epidemic of mass shootings which is what the article describes in error.

        What good will it do to confuse the current times with a past based on an assumption that antiwar sentiments are the reason for the current crisis or that pro-war sentiments are behind it?

        It makes no sense whatsoever. There is absolutely no connection between how you were treated or how many returning troops from Vietnam were treated and the recent event in Florida.

        It also makes no sense if we take into account how we honor our servicemen today.

        This is just made up bullshit to distract us from analyzing what is the real reason for the violence.

        It has nothing to do with the past and everything to do with the future where white supremacist people with hatred conduct domestic acts of terrorism like what has happened in Texas, Virginia (twice), Arizona, Massachusetts, California, Florida (twice) and also in Oklahoma.

        Each one of these domestic terrorism attacks were whitewashed by the media and it seems they were disappointed that there were no foreign devils to blame. Timothy McVeigh and all the others were raised up right here at home and needed no foreign support to carry out their crimes. They served in no foreign wars and had no experience like you had.

        I am angered by the focus on our servicemen as the cause of all of this presented in the article and I think it is just more spitting on the wrong people.

        Thanks Joe for your service and sacrifice. Rest assured that you in no way influenced the recent event in Florida. This article is trying to link what is happening today with our past in a most tenuous way.

        Was it the fact that the Texas church shooter was a former enlisted serviceman as the reason he shot up a church congregation? Or was the reason that he had a history of domestic violence threatening his wife with her life and her families lives?

        I think you know the answer to that question.

        The military is an imperfect filter of people who will conduct themselves in dishonorable ways. They have their strong points and weak points. They can filter out most but not all of the bad actors.

        What we can thank are the heroes who jumped in a truck in Texas and chased down the fleeing murderer of innocents in a church and shot him dead. It is a story which would win them a medal if it was a time of war.

        I think we are facing a new threat which is not related to the wars of the past but is rooted in some peoples desire to wreak death and destruction for unknown reasons.

        I wish I knew why these killers are cropping up like mushrooms but I don’t. That is what law enforcement officials are currently tasked with and I hope they figure out how to stop these killers before they strike.

        But assigning the causes for the current epidemic to foreign wars is not helpful and is at best a distraction and at worst misinformation designed to confuse us. That man-boy in Florida was not seduced by the failures of some long forgotten failed foreign policy. He was seduced by the white supremacist movement right here at home. Let’s focus on that for a change.

        Lets also not blame the likes of you for anything except for honoring your commitment to serve our nation Amen.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 16, 2018 at 05:15

      CitizenOne – “…the followers of today’s white supremacist movements all seek to reinvent a new rebellion against the current government so they can act out their plans to enslave or exterminate minorities.”

      I’m sorry, but this is completely ridiculous, over-the-top nonsense.

      “The current administration has given aid and comfort to those folks with anti-immigrant rhetoric like calling them rapists and murderers as well as by appointing folks who use these sentiments for political advantage much like the Nazis used antisemitic rhetoric to drive support for their party. It is the most ugly and immoral opportunism America has ever experienced at a national level of control by one party. Sure there have been candidates and movements but never has a majority party embraced such tactics so boldly and brazenly to consolidate support among the haters in America.”

      A lot of immigrants ARE committing crimes. This is not in dispute. MS-13 is but one example. They are breaking laws as soon as they step over the border. Why shouldn’t a nation of people get to elect who they want to come into their country? Should it be the other way around? Should the illegal immigrant be able to demand they be taken in just because they arrived? You can’t run a country like this. A country should be selecting the very best people they can get, people who can already read and write English, who have skills that the country needs. And since citizens are demanding that this practice be stopped, all of a sudden they’re Nazis or racists? That seems very unfair.

      Trump wants to end chain migration and limit immigration to the nuclear family. Again he’s called a racist and a Nazi. Same thing with the diversity lottery. What other country does this? Come on in, no questions asked?

      What gets labeled racist or Nazi seems quite commonsensical to me.

      People discriminate in the clothes they wear, the foods they eat, the car they drive, the people they marry, the friends they have, the church they attend, the topics they’re interested in. But if they dare to ask that the immigrants who come into their country are the best they can get, that’s called racism. I don’t get it.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 16, 2018 at 05:22

        And, yes, accepting people who have a culture that is similar to your own should also be a top priority, otherwise you risk losing your own culture. What other country would ever do that, willingly bring in disparate peoples from completely different cultures who don’t bother to assimilate into your own?

        If you did this, you’d end up with nations with a nation, separate tribes, all vying for their special interests. That doesn’t make a nation. That makes a divided country.

      • CitizenOne
        February 17, 2018 at 01:52

        backwardsevolution: I’m sorry, but this is completely ridiculous, over-the-top nonsense.

        What did you say about my post? Completely ridiculous, over-the-top nonsense?

        You said: “People discriminate in the clothes they wear, the foods they eat, the car they drive, the people they marry, the friends they have, the church they attend, the topics they’re interested in. But if they dare to ask that the immigrants who come into their country are the best they can get, that’s called racism. I don’t get it.”

        None of the things you cite here are discriminatory. There are legal definitions founded on the principles of justice that define discrimination. These legal definitions may be what you question as correct definitions and attempt to confuse with which car you choose to drive but there is a fundamental difference. That is human rights.

        You might want to be careful here in that the car you drive might soon be discriminating against you leading to further discussion about human rights. You will be viewed as incompetent to drive a vehicle.

        When the machines are in full control you might be sorely wishing you had some protections.

        Human rights are about to become major sticking points as more and more of our jobs are infringed upon by automation and soon there will be an employment crisis with automated machines and computers being used by industry to replace many human jobs.

        If I were you I would welcome the immigrants since the obvious trend is to replace humans with automation. At least they can breathe and tell a few good jokes.

        What will happen when we humans are deemed to be the illegal occupants of this nation? Will the robots show mercy?

        • backwardsevolution
          February 17, 2018 at 05:47

          CitizenOne – “What did you say about my post? Completely ridiculous, over-the-top nonsense?”

          I expressly referred to your statement re “white supremacist movements all seek to reinvent a new rebellion against the current government so they can act out their plans to enslave or exterminate minorities.”

          Enslave and exterminate minorities? Really? I guess I’m just tired of reading sweeping statements like this, and they are everywhere. There is no white supremacist movement. There may be tiny pockets of people who feel threatened and speak out (and, yes, they do have a right to speak out), but they are so few in number as to be insignificant. These fringe groups are being used, though, by vested interests in order to support “their own” agenda: “You’d better watch out as all white men are out to kill you!” Ridiculous.

          On the question of “human rights”, it is not a human right to illegally cross a border, unless you are a refugee fleeing for your life, in which case you are to take refuge in the first available country. Many of the illegals are coming purely for economic reasons. And, yes, the citizens of the United States have a right to limit the amount of and the quality of said immigrants. This they do for the love of their country, for the good of society. There is nothing noble in turning your nation into another Third World country. The citizens have a right – an obligation – to make their country the best it can be, just as I’m sure you would do for your own family.

          Yes, automation is on its way, but then it’s been on its way since the Industrial Revolution, hasn’t it? We will need fewer people in the future, and yet for some inexplicable reason some people want to add more. Why? Is it because in their particular case they feel a kind of “safety in numbers”? If so, isn’t that a self-centered way to look at things? “The country is screwed, but I’m okay and that’s all that matters”?

          The country is severely divided, split up into different identity groups, all demanding that their own particular preferences be given top billing. Some politicians give in and before you know it – ding, ding, ding – we have a winner! Great for them, but for every winner there is a loser. Eventually you end up with a bunch of nations within a nation, no “country” in sight. No coherence, no glue, just a bunch of tribes. The country becomes the biggest loser.

          Immigration should be stopped for awhile in order to allow the people to assimilate. As I said a while back, it’s like you have a family that is severely dysfunctional, split up, fighting, and yet you suddenly think it would be a good idea to adopt some more children. For what? Just to add more chaos?

          The world is severely over-populated as it is. There are serious water shortages, climate change is threatening, inequality is rampant, wars over declining resources, and yet we can’t get enough. Got to have more growth, more and more and more. Wouldn’t it be much more prudent to get your own house in order? There are 50 million people on food stamps, and still there are cries for more unskilled illegals to be let in.

          I don’t get it. You must look after your own family, your own country before you can look after others. Get your own house in order. Of course the citizens have a right to differentiate who they let in. To do otherwise is insanity.

  12. Bob Van Noy
    February 15, 2018 at 23:42

    I try to never let an article that mentions My Lei pass with out mentioning a pilot named Hugh Clowers Thompson Jr., his crew members Glen Andreotta and Lawrence Colburn, a story that has touched me deeply which I will link below. For those who do not know his story please familiarize your self with it because you will recognize in Mr. Clowers the qualities that every decent soldier should have.

    Of note, when I researched this reply for accuracy in the names, I ran across this article by my favorite investigative reporter who, it seems, never missed anything…

    I’ll post it below to avoid moderation.

    • Bob Van Noy
      February 15, 2018 at 23:43
      • robjira
        February 16, 2018 at 21:43

        Thanks for sharing that link, Bob; extremely powerful writing.

        • Bob Van Noy
          February 16, 2018 at 22:09

          You’re welcome robjira…

        • Gregory Herr
          February 17, 2018 at 05:52

          What a world of difference between a man like Hugh Clowers Thompson, Jr. and the despicable Colin Powell.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 16, 2018 at 00:11

      Bob I seriously am tearing up after reading this link, and you are right those guys are what make humanity great when you find it, as this is something each and everyone of us should fashion ourselves to be like. Joe

  13. robjira
    February 15, 2018 at 22:53
    • Joe Tedesky
      February 15, 2018 at 23:43

      Hey robjira I read your link, and got a lot from it, thanks.

      Here is an excerpt from a Robert Parry article from 2012 on the 2nd Amendment….

      “The intent of the Second Amendment was clarified during the Second Congress when the U.S. government enacted the Militia Acts, which mandated that all white males of military age obtain a musket, shot and other equipment for service in militias.

      The idea was to enable the young country to resist aggression from European powers, to confront Native American tribes on the frontier and to put down internal rebellions, including slave revolts. There was nothing particularly idealistic in this provision; the goal was the “security” of the young nation.

      However, the modern American Right and today’s arms industry have devoted enormous resources to twisting the Framers into extremist ideologues who put “liberties” like individual gun ownership ahead of all practical concerns about “security.”

      In the consortiumnews search box put in ‘Robert Parry on 2nd Amendment’ , and see the Robert Parry articles on this subject. I always thought that Robert Parry framed his 2nd Amendment views better than anyone did. Joe

      • robjira
        February 16, 2018 at 21:38

        Thanks as always, Joe. My thoughts regarding the second amendment are identical to Mr. Parry’s. I have always been confused as to why the rulers of the new US would have put the means for their own demise into the soiled hands of the “unwashed mob.”

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 15, 2018 at 23:56

      My first comment post is hung up in moderation, but the important part of it was this….

      In the consortiumnews search box put in ‘Robert Parry on 2nd Amendment’ , and see the Robert Parry articles on this subject. I always thought that Robert Parry framed his 2nd Amendment views better than anyone did. Joe

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 17, 2018 at 11:13

        Here is something worth your reading….

        • robjira
          February 17, 2018 at 13:48

          Another good one, Joe. I hadn’t heard of AntiMedia before, but will be sure to include the site on my dwindling list of information resources.
          There’s some very interesting discussion on whether the ongoing cycle of violence is just part and parcel to violence being genetically imprinted on human behavior, due to our shared evolutionary pathway. My own thought is, as homo sapiens sapiens we have the unique ability to suppress what might be considered, “instinctive” behavior, if such behavior would be clearly counterproductive. By way of an example, disparate, clan-sized groups were able to coalesce to form larger social groupings; tribes, villages, towns, cities, nations. In order to do so, the “instinctive” tendency to attack the “other” needed to be held in check. I therefore submit that, as modern, thinking human beings, we are not necessarily violent by default, but become violent as circumstances warrant such behavior. Somewhere along the line though, large groups enshrined certain individuals (priests, monarchs, senates, etc.) with what the Romans referred to as “imperium;” that is, the authority to mete out life and death-style justice. Ever since, it seems that this sort of authority is used by these delegated rulers to sustain and even augment their positions of supreme influence. And because we (the population at large) have been convinced by our respective rulers to cling to an archaically granular notion of tribalism (which these days could be called either “nationalism” or “patriotism”), we continue to be externally exhorted to maintain primitive, violent group behavior in order to safeguard our “security.” Put simply, I don’t think modern humans are violent by default; it’s our rulers who spur on our capacity for violence in the name of preserving their own status, that creates the environment for continuous wars, massacres, slavery, spousal abuse, all of it…
          As the article you linked to said, a cold, hard look in the mirror is required to begin breaking this ultimately suicidal cycle humanity is in. I think we could also use ditching the notion of “nationalism” at some point as well; we are all in this together, and we all have only one place to go in the near term, as evinced by the iconic “Pale Blue Dot” photo taken from Voyager 1.
          Sorry to have droned on, Joe. Thanks again for the link, and your insight.

  14. robjira
    February 15, 2018 at 22:40

    Glen Ford once wrote, “Americans generally don’t consider themselves to be a bloodthirsty people, but they do have an extremely high tolerance for the spilling of other peoples’ blood…”
    US Americans, as an entire group, in the main don’t acknowledge the unspeakable violence we’ve done to the world and each other. And the way violence has become entwined with the economy, the problem begins to resemble an addiction. And like the recovery from an addiction is supposed to begin with, “first, ya gotta admit you have a problem.”
    The USA, at this critical point, might do well following the example of South Africa’s truth and reconciliation process following the collapse of apartheid rule. I won’t pretend that such can even hope to be achieved without sustained, coordinated mass civil disobedience (and we’ve already seen how the Lords of Capital respond to even modest attempts in that vein). It can’t be denied that things would be a downright bloody business; any organized movement to enact the social shift being broached in this article must be nonviolent, otherwise there is no revolution in the true sense of the term and concept. The current ruling elite in the US are sustained by violence, therefore the elite will not balk at employing violence in self preservation. Prospects are made even more daunting by the open rupture in what should be (ostensibly at any rate) an anti war movement (for a prime, discouraging illustration see the comments attached to It seems effin impossible, but I think the ultimate payoff would be worth it.
    In closing, reading this very good article reminded me of an old Star Trek episode that features the lines, “We’re human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands. But we can stop it.”

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 23:11

      We are addicted to violence and the greed and selfishness that go with that. And the first step is to honestly admit that one has a very serious problem, and does not know how to deal with it. Without this admission, there is little hope for recovery. Unfortunately refusal to look at and admit that one is sick is a major feature of the addicted personality. This is why one must often become very painfully sick, even approaching death, in order to finally admit that there is indeed a problem. Then there are more steps to follow, including getting the right kind of help from others who have worked their way free of their addictions.

      As a culture, and as individuals, we are far from ready to begin the long process of recovery. This is a real reason for pessimism regarding our chances of pulling out of our addictive tailspin………..

      • robjira
        February 16, 2018 at 21:54

        Mike, all a change in behavior takes is the genuine will to do so. It may require losing LA and / or NY and / or Moscow and / or Beijing and / or Tel Aviv (or is it Jerusalem now…?) to nuclear fire balls to get things rolling, but humans have demonstrated they can pull off pretty much anything they set their minds to.

  15. backwardsevolution
    February 15, 2018 at 21:07

    We don’t have capitalism. If we had capitalism, almost every single bank would have been bankrupt back in 2008. Capitalism would have kicked them to the curb and left them there to rot.

    No, what we have is crony capitalism where things are managed, engineered, manufactured. Crony capitalism is when the Federal Reserve can rush in to save their owners (the banks) by buying up their junk mortgages, where banks are bailed out (thanks, Obama!), where high frequency trading is allowed, where mark to market rules are suspended, where interest rates are purposely held down by the Federal Reserve buying bonds, where ratings agencies are hired by the very people they’re supposed to scrutinize, where companies get to buy back their shares (that never used to be allowed), where futures markets are manipulated…..on and on.

    This is not capitalism. This is crony capitalism where the elite lobby for rule changes and schemes in order to enrich themselves, and buy off politicians.

    They should be swinging from lamp posts. If we actually had capitalism, the elite would be shinnying up the lamp posts themselves.

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 23:14

      Good points about “capitalism.” The word is just a cover for a complete scam.

    • Al Pinto
      February 16, 2018 at 00:00

      Correct, we don’t have the old style capitalism, what we have the advanced version of capitalism. The advanced version managed to have the losses paid by the public, but the gains are retained by the companies.

      And yes, these corporations are actually writing their own rules that further drains the public funding. They already eying social security funds to be dumped in to the stock market. That will be next bonanza for them…

      Thanking for a single person for this system to be in place is misguided, there are many people who had/have a hand in the advanced version off capitalism and as such, got rich, very rich…

      • backwardsevolution
        February 16, 2018 at 02:09

        Al Pinto – several articles I’ve read have said that the one thing Trump says is hands off is Social Security; he does not want this touched, according to those around him.

  16. Zachary Smith
    February 15, 2018 at 19:50

    Within the combat scenario, Hastings suggests that a culture of self-restraint accepted and enforced by the officer corps can forestall mass killings.

    I’m going to suggest that Mr. Hastings is closer to the mark on this issue than author Marshall. That’s because I believe the massacres in Vietnam were more of a symptom of a general faltering of US morality than a cause. What was so upsetting about My Lai and mass murders like it was how the US soldiers slaughtered civilians ‘up close and personal’. Even at the time there were remarks that artillery had been doing the same thing for hundreds of years, and airplanes had been dropping killing devices on people they couldn’t see for half a century. In the artillery/airplane cases everybody could generally pretend that the shells and bombs were aimed at valid military targets and any dead civilians were an unfortunate “accident”. When infantry soldiers were up-close-and-personally shooting/bayoneting unarmed civilians, that was a problem! As usual there were rumblings about how South Vietnamese babies could have a grenade hidden in their diapers, and how the “civilians” were really Viet Cong anyhow. In the end Lt. Calley was made a scapegoat, then quietly pardoned.

    ‘A fish rots from the head down’ – that’s a metaphor which applies to this and many other of the issues here. The Officer Corps mentioned by Hastings was under tremendous pressure from both the politicians and political Generals. International Law was bent to the breaking point, then gradually discarded. The key part is this – nobody was was sent to a War Crimes trial. And that matters!

    War is ugly, dangerous, and dirty – and that’s under the best of circumstances. When such few rules as exist are discarded, it gets worse.

    I once puzzled how Japanese soldiers were reported to behave extremely well during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, but then turned into absolute beasts a mere 40 years later. And how the German soldiers of WW1 had impressed the Russians as being above average in their behavior emerged as absolute barbarians in WW2 on the Eastern Front 20 years later. Turns out the answer to both is a simple one. The Japanese of 1904 were ordered to behave (the world was watching!), and because they were highly disciplined, they did. Come WW2, they themselves had been brutalized in training, and their indoctrination informed them that they were actual Gods (!) and kicking around everybody else was A-OK. Hitler’s Wehrmacht maintained a ferocious discipline, but with a specified exception was that anything a soldier did to civilians on the Eastern Front was again, A-OK.

    US military discipline failures were never “officially” sanctioned in Vietnam (so far as I know), but a wink-and-a-nod does the same thing. Nobody in the high command was punished, and people in the cover-up like Colin Powell were actually promoted. Not surprisingly, types like him have an amazingly elastic morality, and so Powell sponsored the WMD lie to enable the destruction of Iraq for Israel.

    Rich Criminals aren’t prosecuted anymore, and most especially “Corporate People” Rich Criminals. Obama protected a theft job by the Big Banks which ran into the trillions of dollars. GWB destroyed Iraq and made torture an everyday thing. Is he in jail? Is he even regarded as a moral leper? Hillary sponsored the destruction of Libya, and used her “expertise” at smashing small nations as a stepping stone – the bitch very nearly became President. Even Saint Jimmy Carter destroyed stable government in Afghanistan, and has he suffered any shame?

    The Rich Bastards have fostered a “religion” that Greed Is Good” primarily under the cover of the “LIbertarian Party”. Like other religions, this is a wholly modern and self-serving and “invented” one. The doctrine of Corporate People continues to be strongly pushed – Exxon is arguing that its lies about Climate Change are allowable under the First Amendment. Freedom!

    The sovereign citizen movement is a loose grouping of American, Canadian and Australian litigants, commentators, tax protesters, and financial-scheme promoters. Self-described “sovereign citizens” see themselves as answerable only to their particular interpretation of the common law and as not subject to any government statutes or proceedings.

    I don’t know who is sponsoring this BS, but at a guess it’s one or more billionaires with an agenda. Damned government has NO right to tell me that I can’t own a gun. Or a hundred machine guns! The NRA has piles of money, and when it offers that money to our highly corrupt “representatives” in Congress, it gets what it wants. Guns everywhere! In churches! Bars. Guns for the mentally ill. The solution to Mass Shootings is of course More Guns.

    A disarmed America would be just another stockyard feed pen.

    This is an incredibly stupid statement, and because it comes from a blogger who is NOT stupid is doubly troubling. The gun nuts have created themselves a religion, and the tenets of a religion are to be blindly swallowed and not examined. That murderous Florida school shooter just took advantage of the situation as so many others have done in the past, and so many others will do in the future. The dumbass Trump will probably suggest many kinds of new Police State rules around schools, but he sure won’t touch the gun issue.

    So long as the corrupt politicians are for sale and our votes are counted by Diebold-type machines, I don’t see anything changing. Because we’re are so damned Exceptional I’m not at all sure the majority would change their votes in any event.

    • godenich
      February 15, 2018 at 21:08

      … and JROTC weapons education in our scientifically-managed compulsory public school curricula, complete with a course in lobbying 101[1], and a dotted line to the NRA.

      “5. JROTC has collaborated with the pro-gun NatIonal Rifle
      Association (NRA) and the Civilian Marksmanship Program
      (CMP): ”

      [1] Lobbying 101 | NEA

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 23:17

      Good points about Nam.

  17. godenich
    February 15, 2018 at 18:46

    Peace time civilian massacres are a concern, too. The compulsory exposure of our children to increased violence and public indoctrination of conformity in our public schools is a sad addition to our culture. The Parkland shooting was a tragedy[1]. It appears that his actions were ‘illogical’ and driven by ‘passions’ due to an inferior public education in ethics, logical reasoning and rhetorical refutation combined with militarily-promoted training in his secondary school curriculum[2], perhaps motivated by aspirations for a college scholarship. He was expelled for disciplinary reasons in his senior year of high school. A dumbed-down and manipulable public is a threat to society, a threat to the police and a threat to the government. This video[3] may be a good advertisement for home-schooling and school vouchers to obtain a classical liberal arts education with STEAM elements, rather than contemplating a pre-crime narrative[4] or more propaganda for increased citizen gun control. The biggest trigger-happy gunslinger with a fully automatic AR15 assault rifle in America is the government[5-7].

    [1] Suspect Nikolas Cruz Charged With Premeditated Murder In Parkland Florida School Shooting | NBC News
    [2] JROTC: Sending the Wrong Message JROTC: Sending the Wrong Message About Weapons and Violence.
    [3] Police respond to active shooter at high school in Parkland, Florida | Youtube
    [4] What We Know About The Suspected Gunman In Florida High School Shooting | NBC Nightly News
    [5] FULL: Body camera footage released in Philip Brailsford police shooting (WARNING: graphic content) | Youtube

    • godenich
      February 16, 2018 at 06:35

      The modern Aristophanes summed it nicely[1].

      [1] The Reason Education Sucks | Youtube

    • February 16, 2018 at 16:25

      @ godenich: “The biggest trigger-happy gunslinger with a fully automatic AR15 assault rifle in America is the government.”

      Corrrection. The AR 15 is neither fully-automatic nor an assault rifle. The fully automatic assault rifle that most resembles the AR 15 is the M16. The AR 15, however, can not fire fully automatic. It is a civilian semi-automatic weapon, one round fired for each separate trigger pull. See generally,

      • godenich
        February 17, 2018 at 13:49

        Thank you Paul for correcting my error. I suppose I did not want to believe any officer would pull the trigger that many times on purpose, in that situation[5].

  18. ranney
    February 15, 2018 at 17:54

    There have been 18 (EIGHTEEN!) school shootings in the FIRST SIX WEEKS of 2018!!! Why isn’t that the headline of almost every article on this subject? Eighteen school shootings in 6 weeks?? Doesn’t anyone think that is worthy of a headline? What is wrong with our media? More importantly what is wrong with our elected representatives? What is wrong with US? Why do we allow this to happen over and over; don’t we care about our children? Why do we allow insane, greedy liars to represent us?
    The NYT published after the Las Vegas shooting a whole list of our Senators and Reps who have taken NRA money over the years. John MCCain heads the list with over $7 MILLION in NRA contributions! But there are plenty of of others with $3 or $4 million in contributions., of course along with numerous others in D.C. and also various Presidents who have collected millions.
    Right now I think I’ll go be sick at heart and to my stomach for the insane evil that passes for politics in this country and for the total lack of intelligent media coverage. (Consortium the exception).
    Hopefully one of you readers can supply the NYT link to the above referenced article. My allotted free access to NYT has been used up for this this month.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 15, 2018 at 18:16

      ranney – see my post (and irina’s post) above re SSRI drugs. I would bet money that these school shooters were on some type of prescribed drugs at the time of their shootings.

      It doesn’t matter the weapon. I remember reading about some young guy (about 22) at a house party where the kids were celebrating their last day of university classes. This fellow took out five of his friends with a kitchen knife, each killed separately as they came into the house to use the bathroom. Other people use cars and drive them through crowds of people. Others set nightclubs on fire.

      Most gun deaths are gang-on-gang killings. Take these out of the equation and you’re looking at an entirely different picture.

      But this Florida school shooter had a record of known psychological problems. How he was able to legally purchase a gun is beyond me. Why wasn’t he flagged?

    • Al Pinto
      February 15, 2018 at 18:24

      That just horrible, 18 school shooting in six weeks.

      It’s one thing to read about an event in the news, radio, or TV. It’s entirely different, if the event recorded live and and it’s on Youtube:

      No kids should ever go through on this again, even if it takes confiscating all firearms in private ownership to make that happen. Yes, there will be responsible gun owners (including myself), who will be victim of the confiscation, but enough is enough. If gun dealers, gun clubs, gun organizations, etc., can not self-regulate and eliminate this kind of violence, they had failed.If you cannot play nicely and just cover yourself with the Constitution, time for drastic measures.

      The article’s suggestion that the school shootings are somehow related to ‘Nam is just plain ridiculous. The kid in the Florida shooting probably doesn’t even know about Vietnam, at least not to the level where he’d care much…

      • David Smith
        February 15, 2018 at 18:54

        No. Ban psychiatric meds and the attacks will stop.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 15, 2018 at 18:58

        Al Pinto – look to the psychotropic drugs these kids are on.

        “Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

        Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

        Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

        Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

        Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

        Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

        Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

        Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

        A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

        Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

        A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

        Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

        TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

        Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

        James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

        Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania.

        Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) – school shooting in El Cajon, California

        Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

        Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

        Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.”

        There are many more, too long to list.

        • mike k
          February 15, 2018 at 19:23

          You are right about the tragic record of these prescribed drugs. The anti-psychotics are the worst – they make a lot of users psychotic! The antidepressants and SSRI’s are not much better.

        • irene
          February 15, 2018 at 21:33

          One of the creepiest aspects of these drugs is that it’s almost impossible to
          quit taking them without going off the rails (in other words, you pretty much
          have to take them for life). So if for some reason (you don’t like the side
          effects, you can’t afford a refill, you would like to be less drug-dependent,
          you just can’t be bothered to take them regularly) you go off of them, that’s
          when you really fall into a dark place. This has been well documented also.

          • mike k
            February 15, 2018 at 23:28

            Been there. If you haven’t, then you have no idea how dark that trap is. Please don’t take these meds, there are other ways to come out of your inner darkness.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 15, 2018 at 23:20

          While we are assessing the effect of America overdosing on the pharmaceutical corporations candy, I have a question that may in someway have an association, that is if you can identify it.

          Why are these shooters mostly young, and often white males? What makes a girl different that we never see mass shootings being committed by the females? I’m asking for the sake of discussion. I don’t have any answers, and I’m not suggesting that it’s merely a gender issue, but again why aren’t girls shooting up the place?

          I have believed ever since Columbine that drugs must be playing an issue. I also believe that the loner outcast is prone to take action, such as we see in these shooters profiles. But once more, should we at least take the time to study to why woman, or girls, don’t commit these type of crimes?

          • mike k
            February 15, 2018 at 23:22

            Sugar and spice and everything nice?

          • backwardsevolution
            February 16, 2018 at 00:49

            Joe – good question, one that few ever touch upon. Testosterone has got to play a huge role, and nature made it that way because historically women needed men to protect them, especially if they had children. Boys and girls vent differently: girls are more in touch with feelings, more prone to cry, whereas boys just act out.

            Mental illness, no fathers around, doctor-prescribed psychotropic drugs, and a hell of a lot more aggression because of their increased testosterone.

            Girls can be deadly too, except they work differently, behind the scenes.

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 16, 2018 at 01:00

            Having 5 daughters, 7 granddaughters, and of course having a wonderful wife, I know all too well that women have tempers just as men do. Only when it comes to these mass shootings it seems that the shooters are always men, and young ones at that. Correct me to if I’m missing something here, and if I am, well then the girls if there are any mass shooters among them, are certainly outnumbered when it comes to committing these type of crimes. I’m puzzled by the demographics, that’s all. Joe

          • Joe Tedesky
            February 16, 2018 at 01:11

            When my youngest, who is a male, was little the schools were putting kids on Ritalin like it was the wonder drug for the class clown who was always acting out, and disrupting the class. Having once majored in class clownry I was taken back by this drug being so widely distributed, and used. Since my boy didn’t act out, he was the opposite, sometimes we wished he would act out a little, my son was a quiet kid and yet he seemed to be an observer rather than a doer. I always thought, and school teachers forgive me, but that this prescribed Ritalin was just another way for a teacher to quiet the disrupters so as they could continue teaching the other students. In many ways in my eyes, that was the all to easy way out to settle such a difficult student. And yes we should not leave the parents off the hook, but what about Ritalin?

          • Dean
            February 16, 2018 at 09:52

            God equips males with guns and females with target boards.

        • Al Pinto
          February 15, 2018 at 23:36

          Not trying to defend the drug companies, they deserve anything that you throw at them, but…

          The drug companies are not the only ones that bear some responsibility for these shooting in schools.

          • backwardsevolution
            February 16, 2018 at 00:11

            Al Pinto – of course you can’t “just” blame the drug companies, but they are providing the match for the unlit stick of dynamite. As I said above, a lot of these kids are autistic, or they have Asperger’s Syndrome. They’re already “off”, so then we turn around and give them some more “off”?

            Also, society is completely frigged up. I’m not even going to go there, as it would take me the whole night to write up even a brief outline, and you’re probably intelligent enough to figure that out on your own.

            But, finally, people are starting to look at the drug companies. Up until this point, their part in these disasters has pretty much been ignored.

            They bear a huge responsibility.

        • irina
          February 16, 2018 at 14:17

          Some of these young people say they have no recollection of their actions.
          For example, Kurt Danysh who at age 18 killed his grandparents in 1996 :

          “I didn’t realize it until after it was done. This might sound weird, but it felt
          like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding
          a gun.”

          Kurt had been taking Prozac for just 2 weeks at the time.

      • Zachary Smith
        February 15, 2018 at 20:38

        No kids should ever go through on this again, even if it takes confiscating all firearms in private ownership to make that happen. Yes, there will be responsible gun owners (including myself), who will be victim of the confiscation, but enough is enough.

        Opinion time: “confiscation” is a word designed to drive gun nuts bonkers. Oh, it could be done easily enough, but why on earth would the Rich Bastards bother? The proles who have an armory can maintain an illusion of safety and security and therefore not trouble themselves about social improvements, and the rest of the peasants can remain properly frightened.

        Any homicidal type can kill with many tools available to him. Rapid-firing guns are just one of the cheaper and easier things they can use. So clamp down on the RFGs. Apply the kind of control presently used for machine guns. Any law I’d draft to that effect would have the same provision kick in to Police Guns after a very few years – they don’t need them either. You can murder somebody with a hatchet or a ball bat or a paring knife too, so why obsess about a single shot long-barrel firearm? Forget about them. Possibly doubles too. Multi-shot firearms ought to be as hard to acquire (or keep) as a pound of arsenic powder. Revolvers? Really strong regulation for sure, but as of now I can’t see them banned. Automatic hand guns? I’d be inclined to permit those only if they had two-round clips. A weapon discovered with anything else would be crushed, the owner imprisoned for a minimum of 3 years, and a fine amounting to half his net worth imposed. Security personal would become VERY fine shots or find another profession.

        • mike k
          February 15, 2018 at 23:20

          A sustainable world would be completely free of all firearms, and military death machines. The possession of these things is proof of a deep and fatal illness in a culture. We can live without these things. I do.

          • February 16, 2018 at 16:16

            @ mike k: “We can live without these things. I do.”

            So do I. But we need to be aware that there is a profound cultural divide on the guns issue between urban and rural dwellers that has some basis in reality. For example, rural dwellers usually do not have swift first responder services. They tend to be pretty much on their own for prolonged periods if attacked or threatened. And if living or working in an area where attack by wild animals is a factor, having a gun can be more attractive.

            That cultural divide is why we’re unlikely to see profound gun legal reform in our lifetimes. Because of the Supreme Court’s stance on the issue, which looks to be fairly enduring with the Gorsuch appointment, no radical change in gun possession laws is likely without a constitutional amendment. And because too many states have a majority of rural state senators, the chance of getting a radical gun reform constitutional amendment ratified is near non-existent.

            Our federal elected officials know this. That is why previously-enacted federal gun reform legislation has been sham, for example, the now expired “assault weapons” ban that only banned *semi-automatic* “assault weapons” (rifles) with a cosmetic resemblance to “assault rifles.” The latter — because they can fire fully automatic like other machine guns — were already in effect banned by other legislation for public purchase and possession. The NRA and crew went along with the “assault weapon” ban because it did not ban semi-automatic rifles and the market quickly adapted to selling only semi-automatic rifles that had no cosmetic resemblance to “assault rifles.” See generally

            Mainstream media bears much responsibility for such sham legislation being passed, frequently referring to it as banning “assault rifles” which left the false impression that it was fully-automatic weapons which would be banned.

            Prof. Wilkerson understandably is apparently one of those left somewhat confused. He said in the parent article: “If anything has changed from the 1960s to today it is that the public now has access to military grade weapons.” That would be true if the public had access to assault rifles, but the sun-setting of the “assault weapons” ban did nothing to make military grade weapons, e.g., “assault rifles” available to the public. They were still banned as before, by other legislation.

        • Al Pinto
          February 15, 2018 at 23:49


          “Opinion time: “confiscation” is a word designed to drive gun nuts bonkers”

          Aren’t gun nuts are bonkers by definition? :) Just semi-kidding…

      • Al Pinto
        February 15, 2018 at 23:31

        How’s NRA paying off politicians is different from drug, health insurance, financial, etc., companies doing the same? It’s not, especially the drug companies that may have a hand in this kind of shooting, if you take “backwardsevolution’s” word for it.This is perfectly legal and certainly encouraged by the politicians, the beneficiaries of the lobbying. Selectively holding organizations to the fire isn’t a viable option, will do more harm than good.

        Getting in to the Congress is a gift that keeps giving…. One of mine used to drive an older Toyota, walked around in an ill fitted JC Penny suit and had a very kind semi-retired woman as his secretary. Two years later, he walks around in designer suit, drives a BMW and replaced his secretary with a blond bombshell. You ask him how he did it and the answer is “Good investments..” Right…

        • backwardsevolution
          February 16, 2018 at 02:17

          Al Pinto – questions still to be answered:

          What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21…… killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az?

          What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24….. killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora, Colorado?

          What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22….. killed 2, injured 1 in Clackamas, Or?

          What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20….. killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown, Ct?

          The pharmaceutical lobby is huge. These guys don’t want this information getting out.

        • Gregory Herr
          February 16, 2018 at 19:10

          You’re right. Congress is bought and paid for from many quarters and social problems should be analyzed from broad perspectives with plenty of blame to go around.
          I posted the link because ranney (above) asked that someone would. I think he is suggesting–and I agree–that the NRA and our “representatives” bear responsibility for what is certainly way-too-easy access to weapons of mass human destruction. Of course fighting this aspect of a larger problem is kind of like the old adage about fighting City Hall. The NRA is almost a sancrosanct organization to many and “gun” issues are mighty polarizing.

          I think if our youth could be safe in the assumption that they were about to enter adulthood in a society that was more egalitarian and less judgmental, that was centered in humanitarian values as opposed to cut-throat competitive values, and that was laden with opportunity to earn a decent living–well then we wouldn’t have all this strife and fear and violence. But they don’t because our society is stratified, judgmental, overly “competitive”, and generally lacking in social supports and economic viability.

          I don’t know how to get to what I describe–it’s easy to say how things “should” be. And I’m pretty out of touch with how things are in schools these days– there probably is a lot of good that goes around with many thoughtful teachers trying their damndest. But I just know that when I was a kid in school there was a sense of fairness because we were reinforced with ideas of equal worth and treated as such. But that was a small “country” school in the 60’s and 70’s. The world is a much “bigger” place with much more “exposure” for most kids these days. I can’t comprehend what the world “feels like” to kids these days.

          • TB
            February 19, 2018 at 02:34

            The NRA is not particularly powerful and GOA is more useful in defending gun rights.

            The fact that us gun owners vote out antigun people is what makes the difference. Bloomerg spends 2 to 3 times as much money lobbying against gun ownership than all gun rights organizations spend lobbying, COMBINED.

  19. Michael Miles
    February 15, 2018 at 17:08

    I would like to suggest another tact. For those familiar with E.O. Wilson’s “Super-organsisms” one can make the case, that since we are one of the few successful super-organisms, along with termites and a few others, there exists both inherent narcissism and altruism within our genome.

    My point is that there is always a struggle between these two tendencies. Original religious “communism” from Christian, as well as Buddhist teachings propose an altruistic world where people look out for each other. Additionally, one can test for the narcissistic/altruistic spectrum, and people do land somewhere upon it.

    A political system based upon this ideal was attempted in 20th century Russia, but failed for a number of reasons, but it’s attempt set the rest of the world on reactive course to allow us to achieve our current state of hyper narcissism in the West. Altruism still exists within the West, but only within certain cultural tribes, families and professions where it cannot threaten the centers of power.

    Furthermore, the current culture of capitalism has valued and promoted narcissism to such a degree, through “self fullfillment”, “succeeding”, “freedom”, financial achievement, etc, and either devalued altruism or subverted it into militarism ( ie serving your country to kill others). What we are seeing today are the consequences of this culture, and it will continue until a momentous event, wakes people up to reject it, wholesale. However, as long as the current powers controlling the culture rely on continuing the culture of narcissism, the chaos will only continue.

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 19:17

      Excellent points. Selfishness sunders the peace of the world. “Capitalism” and empire are certainly extreme reactions to spiritual ideals. Our present culture is in extreme reaction to the truth. It is a web of myths and lies meant to hide it’s vicious and death oriented intent.

  20. Deniz
    February 15, 2018 at 16:43

    There are significant false assumptions in the human propensity towards violence debate due to the State and aristocracy projecting their activities onto the populous.

    There are approximately 400.000 homicides per year on a planet of 7.6 billion people. That puts the annual murder rate of people at 0.0005%. Hardly sufficient to condemn the entire human race.

    However, once we look at State-sponsored violence, particularly in the US, and the tiny handful of people who have the power and incentives to direct the state to commit such violence, i.e. the Dick Cheneys of the planet, we are really talking about a very small number of unaccountable people responsible for the deaths of an enormous number of people. Is it our nature to become Dick Cheney, if we had such power, or is he an aberration, I think it is the former.

    • Deniz
      February 15, 2018 at 16:59

      Sorry, I meant the latter.

    • backwardsevolution
      February 15, 2018 at 19:06

      Deniz – “Is it our nature to become Dick Cheney, if we had such power?” Yes, it is in our nature. It’s just that we refuse to see it in ourselves. Once we admit that we possess this nature, we can work to develop good values and a solid moral core that draws us back to center and prevents us from acting out.

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 19:10

      Power can, and often does corrupt. But there is nothing automatic or inevitable about this. Power corrupts the corruptible. The power of unconditional love does not corrupt. The power to make wise decisions does not corrupt.

  21. Tom Welsh
    February 15, 2018 at 13:57

    ‘Yet, as the Nature scholars also point out, in the case of our species, culture has the ability to “modulate our bloodthirsty tendencies.”’

    I would suggest the alternative wording, “culture has the ability to wallpaper over our bloodthirsty tendencies.”

    Scratch almost any human being and find a Tartar. (With apologies to the eminently humane and sensitive Tartar people).

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 14:18

      This recalls the new science around gene expression. It’s not the genes you inherit that influences your behavior; it’s the genes that are expressed. Maybe we all have genes that enable violent responses, but are they simply latent and unused, or are they being expressed? I know (by experience) that I can behave violently, but over a long life I have grown away from those behaviors. It requires conscious work on oneself to suppress undesirable tendencies, and encourage more positive ones. The whole basis of real psychotherapy or spiritual practice depends on choosing to engage in this process, known in some quarters as the Great Work.

      • mike k
        February 15, 2018 at 14:24

        We all have a lot of work to do to change ourselves into truly loving persons. Unless we begin joining with others to do this self-healing, we can’t expect anything but more worsening of conditions in our world.

      • irina
        February 15, 2018 at 14:54

        You are referring to ‘epigenetics’ which is indeed a fascinating topic, both for what it means
        and for the study of what combinations of factors determine which genes will be expressed.

        Nevertheless, I don’t think we want to create a society where all potential for ‘violent response’
        is erased (if that were even possible). There are times when a ‘strong protective response’ may
        be necessary — not just as protection from other human beings, but also from other life forms
        and natural disasters. What is important, is creating and maintaining other pathways for channeling
        such energies except in extreme circumstances.

        • Bob Van Noy
          February 15, 2018 at 15:44

          Mike and irina I have been fascinated by this aspect of genetics for a while because much of the cutting edge research comes out of SFSU. Recently there was breakthrough news about in-uterine gene editing using extreme magnification and photo-like editing software to enlarge, separate a single gene and replace it. This regarding a classic genetic disorder, but irina you’re right on about the broader consequences of the research and practice.

          • mike k
            February 15, 2018 at 16:15

            Actually I don’t see biological determinism as the main factor in our human societal problems. For instance, our love affair with nuclear weapons is not greatly elucidated by tracing it back to some remote simian imperatives. The more evolved world that has resulted from our development of language, symbolic representation, and scientifically enabled complex behavior presents us with a far wider range of possibilities and decision points than can be reduced to linear biologic processes. We are gifted (and cursed) with a range of problems that need higher level thinking and feeling to resolve. This is actually an advantage, but a strong challenge as well…….

  22. Nancy
    February 15, 2018 at 13:09

    U.S. “culture” is not just violent; it is insane. There really is no culture–it is all about greed, acquiring material things and feeling superior to the rest of the world. It starts at the very top and trickles down on we unfortunate underneath.
    There certainly have been no lessons learned from Vietnam. In fact, the history of that collection of crimes and atrocities has been rewritten by none other than Ken Burns himself as a well-intentioned liberation mission that somehow went awry. These crimes continue to this day. How can we expect the population to behave rationally in the face of such horror?

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      February 15, 2018 at 13:38

      Excellent………….What do YOU suggest to change that situation?! I will give you my opinion on where to start. Put the private bankers out of business and start working for a public banking system like the one in North Dakota……..When people start managing their money for the benefit of the society instead of the benefit of the BANKERSTERS, that will be a good start for building a SANE culture…….. Greed and consumerism are driven by the BANKESTERS………….

      • Gregory Herr
        February 16, 2018 at 17:58

        “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.”
        -Henry Kissinger

        F. William Engdahl’s book “Gods of Money” opened my eyes to this subject.

    • Virginia
      February 15, 2018 at 13:59

      Nancy, You’re right, as is Lawrence Davidson. And the readers of CN are very familiar with a repeated war/violent scenario. There is plenty of “Manipulating Culture” going on, but unfortunately it’s wishful thinking to believe that The Elites will allow Americans or the world to go in the direction Mr. Davidson wishes: “…modern violence both of military and civilian origin can be moderated by manipulating culture. In the American case this means overcoming the gun culture as well as racism. There are many ways to do this. It can be done through public education as well as the way a society designs and applies its laws.”

      Many of you have probably already read an article by Neil Clark on’s Op-Edge called “Soros & the 400k Question: What constitutes ‘foreign interference’ in democracy?” That led me to re-read a Feb. 13 article by Sam Gerrans called “George Soros: A psychopath’s psychopath” on the same site (URL: And that led me to do a search on Sam Gerrans, who has his own site containing about seven videos, one of which gave his over-view of the world (URL:

      I highly recommend that the readers here at CN take a look at both Op-Edge pieces and Gerrans’ site.

      Gerrans has a similar view to most who contribute here at CN, but also has a take that hit home for me. For example, I’ve reached the point where so many dots have been connected, that I believe the world’s Elite governing governments and peoples is so clear, that I’ve been lamenting that with this clear understanding comes responsibility. A duty! What is it, and how can it be implemented? I said that very thing to my “uncomprehending husband” several times just last night, causing both of us a sleepless night. But Gerrans has an approach that may have answered my lament, which I definitely wanted to share with all you who may feel the same. He says he’s basically given up a very comfortable salary and has set aside his “former” life to devote himself to the purpose of “giving the warning.” That is certainly an idea that has occurred to me several times, as a duty. He gives his warning to The Elite as well as to the collective masses, the sheep-like mentalities, that so readily serve the interests of The Elite. He thinks our hope to awaken the masses — the popular collective thought — is never going to play out as we hope. So, take a look and see what you think.

      • Virginia
        February 15, 2018 at 14:01

        (My comment is awaiting moderation, so I’m reposting but without the URLs, which you can look up for yourselves if interested.)

        Nancy, You’re right, as is Lawrence Davidson. And the readers of CN are very familiar with a repeated war/violent scenario. There is plenty of “Manipulating Culture” going on, but unfortunately it’s wishful thinking to believe that The Elites will allow Americans or the world to go in the direction Mr. Davidson wishes: “…modern violence both of military and civilian origin can be moderated by manipulating culture. In the American case this means overcoming the gun culture as well as racism. There are many ways to do this. It can be done through public education as well as the way a society designs and applies its laws.”

        Many of you have probably already read an article by Neil Clark on’s Op-Edge called “Soros & the 400k Question: What constitutes ‘foreign interference’ in democracy?” That led me to re-read a Feb. 13 article by Sam Gerrans called “George Soros: A psychopath’s psychopath” on the same site, Op-Edge. And that led me to do a search on Sam Gerrans, who has his own site containing about seven videos, one of which gave his over-view of the world.

        I highly recommend that the readers here at CN take a look at both Op-Edge pieces and Gerrans’ site.

        Gerrans has a similar view to most who contribute here at CN, but also has a take that hit home for me. For example, I’ve reached the point where so many dots have been connected, that I believe the world’s Elite governing governments and peoples is so clear, that I’ve been lamenting that with this clear understanding comes responsibility. A duty! What is it, and how can it be implemented? I said that very thing to my “uncomprehending husband” several times just last night, causing both of us a sleepless night. But Gerrans has an approach that may have answered my lament, which I definitely wanted to share with all you who may feel the same. He says he’s basically given up a very comfortable salary and has set aside his “former” life to devote himself to the purpose of “giving the warning.” That is certainly an idea that has occurred to me several times, as a duty. He gives his warning to The Elite as well as to the collective masses, the sheep-like mentalities, that so readily serve the interests of The Elite. He thinks our hope to awaken the masses — the popular collective thought — is never going to play out as we hope. So, take a look and see what you think.

        • Lois Gagnon
          February 15, 2018 at 16:51

          There is definitely a plan by the so called elite psychopaths to remake the globe to suit their selfish purposes. They are so expert at creating fear and chaos, I wonder how we are ever going to be able to convince a large enough group of people to see through their evil machinations. We must try of course or all is lost.

          Thanks for your great post.

    • Tom Welsh
      February 15, 2018 at 14:01

      Yes – I think you have hit the nail precisely on the head. When the USA was founded, there was much fine talk and hand-waving about the need to do away with titles of royalty, nobility and gentry; to make a fresh start with better human values.

      Yet when the dust settled, all that could be seen was a cult of money – Mammon. Antique values such as noblesse oblige, gallantry, chivalry, artistic sensibilities, plain decency… all swept away to make room for the new Jerusalem.

      “As the sociologist Georg Simmel wrote over a century ago, if you make money the center of your value system, then finally you have no value system, because money is not a value”.

      – Morris Berman, “The Moral Order”, Counterpunch 8-10 February 2013.

      • Virginia
        February 15, 2018 at 14:13

        Tom — I so totally agree about “money.” Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations,” Thomas Friedman’s monetary policy, have duped us all, and this has been done intentionally. We need to rethink the idea “VALUE.” What is of true value? I started going deeply into that concept when I lived in a neighborhood that was all of a sudden bombarded with legislator-bribing developers. They’d been waiting, ready to go, to build, the moment there was an upturn in the real estate market. That made me re-evaluate things and grounded me deeper into what is of real worth. I continue to try to go deeper into that, and often remind myself of that mind-changing lesson.

      • Joe Wallace
        February 15, 2018 at 20:42

        Tom Welsh:

        Couldn’t agree more. We don’t intervene to promote our values; we intervene to protect, preserve and pursue our interests (i.e., greed, money, profits).

      • Peter Loeb
        February 16, 2018 at 17:07


        I think a thorough reading of historian Francis Jennings’ book
        THE CREATION OF AMERICA provides a more
        profound comprehension of what and why this nation
        came into being. If someone says “democracy” you
        have forgotten that most of the human persons living in
        this continent( *African Americans, Native Americans,
        Quakers, and other groups) were all excluded.

        For the background of American violence see also Jennings’
        THE INVASION OF AMERICA, Chapter 1.

        I would also suggest that unhuman violence is not rare
        (animals, insects etc).

        The particularly violent history of America in other respects
        is in Gabriel Kolko’s MAIN CURRENTS IN MODERN
        AMERICAN HISTORY (1976) which covers much
        of the history from the hundred years to 1976.

        It is a pleasure to hear Lawrence Davidson’s voice
        again in CN.

        —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • mike k
      February 15, 2018 at 14:07

      I agree Nancy. Our “culture” is shot through with violence. Capitalism is a vicious form of violence, that threatens to destroy the world. The worship of the military, our entertainment, sports, abuse of women, racism…..on and on. And folks wonder why we are prone to violence?? We worship violence, and a God of violence. Eternal torture for those who disobey Him! How the hell can people believe this stuff?

      This culture is not based on love and mutual care. Unless we find ways to overcome our love affair with violence, we will destroy ourselves down to the last human. Mutual strife is not the way to create a sustainable, peaceful society

      • Virginia
        February 15, 2018 at 14:14

        Good thoughts, mike k. Thanks for sharing them.

        • mike k
          February 15, 2018 at 14:20

          Thanks, Virginia.

      • Nancy
        February 15, 2018 at 14:20

        Hear hear! What is even more ironic is that the U.S. is supposed to be a “Christian” society. Such cognitive dissonance!

      • Joe Wallace
        February 15, 2018 at 20:48

        mike k:

        Good post. Our culture is also shot through with a need to dominate, with money (and violence) serving as means to achieve that end.

    • irina
      February 15, 2018 at 14:58

      The US is also a psychotropic culture which puts its faith in drugs as ‘fix-its’,
      apparently (in common with many other recent mass shooters), this young
      man may have been on one of the SSRI or similar drugs, as per this article :

      The dangers of these drugs are well known and documented.

      • backwardsevolution
        February 15, 2018 at 17:57

        irina – good post. Another blogger said: “These sort of incidents essentially never occurred until we started using these drugs in young people.”

        And another poster over at Zero Hedge posted a long list of school shooters or other mass shooters who had been on these SSRI drugs at the time of these massacres.

        Yet rarely does anyone mention these legally prescribed drugs as being the culprit. The pharmaceutical industry keeps a lid on this information getting out.

        Of course these young people are in pain. Some are autistic or suffering from Asperger’s. What do we give them? Drugs whose effects cause these kids to kill their parents and then go shoot up schools or malls/movie theaters. Drugs that cause extreme rage. Almost like we hand them PCP and say, “Now go be good.”


    • Babyl-on
      February 15, 2018 at 16:20

      Yes, Nancy insane. The gun violence is the symptom not the disease. The country was built on the largest genocide in human history, then slavery and began it Empire building soon after its formation in the Spanish American War. The US dropped two nuclear weapons on cities full of innocent people – for no other reason than to show the Soviet Union and the world what it could and would do and leave no doubt it was ready to do it again. The bombs were unnecessary for military victory which had already been achieved. Psyco/socio pathological behavior.

    • michael
      February 16, 2018 at 05:16

      The American Empire needs a militaristic class of ‘warriors’ immersed in the gun and violence culture to glorify their ‘policing actions’ (extracting money for banksters in foreign lands, as Smedley Butler pointed out over 80 years ago). That 300 to 500 people die in mass shootings each year seems an acceptable price in a society with 15,000 homicides per year (and 30,000 suicides). Ironically the military will not accept the ‘warriors’ on SSRIs, which seems common medications among these mass murderers (too violent for the military?)

    • rosemerry
      February 17, 2018 at 17:10

      The fairly recent decision (NOT TRUMP!) to overcome our shame at losing the Vietnam War by claiming we actually won it and should be proud will of course exacerbate the problem. “Stand-your-ground” and similar laws make it seem normal to act with violence , and the hype in all the media and from our leaders claiming we are in danger, you must look out for “bad guys” and anyone looking different from you, does not have to be the way society works. Solidarity is disdained and the rich are pandered to, so inequality worsens and so many are left behind in the race for a better life.

  23. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    February 15, 2018 at 13:08

    There is a strange phenomenon called “What goes around comes around”……….I wonder what does that mean exactly?!

    • Dean
      February 16, 2018 at 08:58

      I know exactly what you mean.

    • February 16, 2018 at 11:26

      Trails of tears, Wounded Knees, through Vietnam to Iraq, Syria and Libya, the trail of destruction comes back round to eat its tail? “God shed thy grace on thee…”

Comments are closed.