Are you seeing yourself America? Can you see what you are doing?
On November 27, 2015, a man went into a Planned Parenthood clinic, took hostages, wounded nine people, and killed three. One of who was a police officer.
On November 24, 2015, three gunmen shot and wounded five Black Lives Matter protestors in Minneapolis.
This year, U.S. drone strikes have killed between 60 and 85 people in Pakistan, 71-99 in Yemen, 12-83 in Somalia, and between 749 and 1131 in Afghanistan. This link gives a pretty good view of the drone strikes in just Pakistan. That is a grand total of between 892 and 2,290 people killed by US drone strikes in 2015. (the fact that we can not make an accurate count of the bodies is disturbing in the extreme)
In the U.S. this month, there have been 33 “mass shootings”, with 54 dead and 111 wounded. Our yearly total of mass shootings is 351 with 447 dead and 1,292 wounded.
November has seen 31 police killings in America. In 2015 so far, police have killed 1,034 people.
Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. That is 294,729 Americans each year. 9 out of 10 of these victims are women. That is 265,256 daughters sexually assaulted. Every. Year.
This is our reality.
But of course the BIG NEWS is 129 people killed by terrorists in Paris.
None of this is exceptionally new. Well, the drone strikes are kind of new. In the sense that, American pilots no longer have to risk their lives to kill people.
Reading the news and scrolling through social media, what strikes me is the incredible amount of fear around Islamic fundamentalism, and little attention being given to our own homegrown violence. Sympathy for Paris and silence for Colorado Springs. Anger toward Muslims and support for White Protestants.
Not to mention the vilification of Black Lives Matter. Americans continue to debate how black victims of police violence may have “deserved” it.
And how women are “asking for it.”
But hey! We spent over $14.8 billion on Black Friday! Way to go America!
I am ashamed of us.
When I review these realities, what I see is fear. Fear of black people. Fear of brown people. Fear of women. And all that fear is translating into hate and violence.
The American response to terrorism is to vilify Syrian refugees, deny them aid, and bomb more brown people. Our response to the killing of black people by our police is to demand that they “obey the law.” We answer the terrorism against Planned Parenthood with condemnation of women who seek reproductive freedom. Our “plan” for ending mass shootings is to give everyone a gun.
Are you seeing yourself America? Is this who we are? Racist, misogynistic, xenophobes, eager to drown ourselves in a hailstorm of bullets, because WE ARE RIGHT? Or at least because ARMED WHITE MEN ARE RIGHT.
It is long past time to look this directly in the face and work towards real solutions. The only way to do this is to confront the reality and call it what it is.
These are not pet issues of special interest groups. These are not words without meaning, made up for people to express victimhood. These are the names of the pathologies that are killing us. These twisted frameworks are destroying not only individual people, but also our communities and our planet. Learn what the words mean. Learn how they manifest. Learn how they have become embedded in the way we think and act.
You probably love your children as much I love mine. So stop blaming the victims of our fear and start addressing the systems of control and domination that are killing us and the ground we walk upon.
Start at home. Start in your own mind and heart.
If we do not do this, who will?