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Putting Charleston Killings in Context

by Stephen Lendman Sunday, Jun. 21, 2015 at 12:14 PM


Putting Charleston Killings in Context

by Stephen Lendman

US cities and towns are battlegrounds. Around 100,000 Americans are gun violence victims annually. In Chicago alone where this writer lives, gun-related deaths exceed one a day. On warm summer weekends, it can be a dozen or more.

Few incidents make headlines. Whenever they do, media reports focus on gunmen, not the context - not the nation's culture fostering violence. More on this below.

Nine June 17 Charleston, SC shooting deaths at an African American church seem more like something you'd expect in Afghanistan, Iraq or another US war theater. It's commonplace all too often at home.

Confessed gunman Dylann Roof copycats show up almost anywhere when least expected - in Columbine, CO, Blacksburg, VA, Sandy Hook, CT, Fort Hood, TX (unrelated to combat training casualties), Washington's Navy Yard, San Ysidro, CA, Austin, TX and numerous other locations nationwide.

Motives range from rage to mental instability to apparent racism and white supremacist notions in Roof's case. His so-called manifesto criticized Blacks as inferiors.

"I have no choice," it said. "I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is the most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of Blacks to Whites in the country."

He was quoted telling his victims "(y)ou rape our women, and you're taking over our country, and you have to go." His Facebook page displayed his photo wearing a jacket bearing South African apartheid-era symbols. In another he held the Confederate flag.

Obama hypocritically expressed "deep sorrow over the senseless murders" at the same time he's mass slaughtering victims in multiple war theaters worldwide, presiding over the world's large global gulag (including numerous torture black sites), and destroying fundamental freedoms at home.

Media misreporting on domestic shooting incidents ignore causation factors mattering most. Gun ownership in America is the highest worldwide. Proliferation leaves everyone vulnerable. It lowers the threshold between anger and homicide.

Gunmen alone are blamed whenever these type incidents occur - not society, its culture of violence, its lunatic political class, or managed news misinformation media machine mocking real journalism while waging war on Muslim Americans, Latino immigrants, other people of color, whistleblowers, progressives, dissent and anyone considered unAmerican.

Key factors contributing to domestic violence are ignored. They include America's sordid history of endless wars in the name of peace.

They've been waged every year in US history at home and/or abroad against one of more adversaries - from slaughtering its native population, to enslaving its Blacks, to the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli, to multiple current US war theaters, to its streets turned into battlegrounds by killer cops.

America has the highest homicide rate by far of all Western nations - and a passion for owning guns, from pistols to semi-automatics to illegal assault ones.

Previous articles explained violent films are some of the most popular. So are similar video games. The average child watches 200,000 acts of violence  by age 18 - mainly from television. Two-thirds of children's programs include violence - whether animated or scripted with real actors.

Music teaches violence. Popular lyrics include profanity, drug use, sex, rape, guns and murder. Prescription and illicit drug use is out-of-control - as are tobacco, alcohol and other type substance abuses.

America is called a rape culture for good reason. One-fourth of adult women are forcibly raped sometime in their lives - often by someone they know, including family members.

One-third are sexually abused by husbands or boyfriends. One-fourth of young girls are sexually molested - often repeatedly by a family member or other close relative.

African-American women experience extreme levels of violence. Three-fourths are victimized in some way during their lifetimes.

Domestic violence is their leading cause of injury and second leading cause of death. Battering by husbands, male partners or fathers is commonplace among all races. So are child and elder abuse.

Endless wars, mean streets, repressive governance and domestic violence crowd out illusory peace, stability, security, safety, democratic values, disappearing human and civil rights, as well as affording everyone common respect and dignity.

Imperial America fosters violence against endless manufactured enemies abroad, as well as homeland ones - including political dissidents; anti-war, human and civil rights activists; Occupy Wall Street ones; the American Indian Movement; and Black Panther Party among others targeted.

No wonder incidents like Charleston shootings happen all too often. Lone gunmen are symptomatic of ingrained values proliferating daily violence in US communities and homes nationwide - unnoticed until something big happens making headlines for the wrong reasons.

America's addiction to violence and injustice against its least advantaged turned its dream into a nightmare for millions. Nothing in prospect suggests change.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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