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A Kingdom Where Nobody Dies


#1

A Kingdom Where Nobody Dies

Richard Eskow

“Childhood,” said the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, “is the kingdom where nobody dies.”

In this country, childhood is something we no longer value.

As of this writing, 17 people are dead at a high school in Broward County, Florida. The shooter used an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon. Its manufacturer’s sales reps call it “America’s rifle.”


#2

Truly and simply spoken Mr. Eskow. Americans must face this. This is real.


#3

“The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America,” as the New York Times explains, “is its astronomical number of guns.”

Truer words have never been spoken. And the crazed gun owners want more and more guns in the hands of the citizens. The USA is an insane asylum.


#4

Laws will not eliminate mental illness, although legislation could be passed to facilitate detection and treatment. The problem of preventing the mentally ill from killing people with firearms cannot be solved without making firearms more difficult to obtain.

US police should not have these mass murder weapons either. The police shooting catastrophe in USA dwarfs the mass murder by firearms catastrophe. AR-15s and the like are not the direct cause, but they may contribute to a mentality that has increased the number of killings per year by US police by over a factor of five in the last several decades. It would help tremendously if police ranks were trimmed of people who deliberately participated in the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians.


#5

Why do these tragedies come as such a shock in this warrior culture on steroids? We live in a country that celebrates violence and war in movies, sports, video games and more. The military and the police professions get more respect than educators, the clergy, social workers and other peaceful professions. Our economic system glorifies competition, rather than cooperation to the point of being predatory.

And there is our government which measures success by the amount of international arms sales they make and worse, use violence as the default tool of its foreign policy, killing untold thousands without a second thought. Then, when a citizen uses violence to act out their fantasies and as an outlet for their rage and frustration, everyone seems bewildered, dismissing these sick people as an anomaly, an aberration, something unimaginable. They are anything but. They are a product of a culture that has always believed and affirmed the use of violence as a way to solve problems and something to be admired.

You can’t compartmentalize violence. A culture that accepts violence, admires violence, and normalizes violence and enjoys playing with, and selling, weapons of violence, can’t help but get violence in all forms.


#6

"Four people have been killed, and twenty injured so far in schools this year. Here are shootings this year that have caused injury or death:

14: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (17 people killed)
5: Oxon Hill High School in Prince George’s County, Maryland (1 student injured)
1: Salvador Castro Middle School in Los Angeles, California. (2 students shot)
23: Marshall County High School in in Benton, Kentucky (2 students killed, 18 injured)
22: NET Charter High School in New Orleans, Louisiana (1 student injured)
22: Italy High School in Italy, Texas (1 student injured)
10: Coronado Elementary School in Sierra Vista, Arizona (1 student killed)"

Did I misunderstand something or do you need to check your math?


#7

I don’t like guns, any guns. I don’t like war, any war. I don’t support killings. All killings. But I stopped reading at the Sandy Hook mention. Let’s stay real.


#8

I saw that too… I believe the author was saying that four people had been killed and twenty injured prior to this incident and now the toll stands at 21 (see the sentence in the article after the part you highlighted). That’s still off by one unless one of the 21 injured listed later died.


#9

Yes! Thanks!


#10

Great piece in many ways.

However, it’s more than time for privileged Americans to examine the history that allows us to nod along with Ms. Millay when she writes that “childhood is a kingdom where nobody dies.”

Whose childhood? Many children have never lived in that kingdom. Many childrens’ lives are touched with death: death resulting from war, famine, disease, and violence within families.

It is past time for privileged moderns to grok that the fantasy of human life untouched by death is a big part of our insanity. Trying to live outside the Law leads us into endless, senseless violence.

Yeah, gun control would likely reduce the number of deaths of American kids in school shootings, and who wouldn’t say “yes!” to that? But what will it do to reduce the number of poor children killed in ghettos and decimated rural communities here? What will it do to reduce the deaths of children in Syria, Yemen, Gaza? What will it do to reduce the number of Native children sold into sexual slavery and killed there?

Perhaps we will not end the plague of school shootings here until we are willing to care just as much about all those kids as we do about the ones we readily identify as “ours.” Until we are willing to act like their blood is on our hands (‘cuz it so obviously is), perhaps “our” children will continue to die to keep that Truth in front of our cowardly, selfish faces…


#11

Yes. And the gun-nuts will never - EVER - acknowledge that simple fact: more guns (and faster-firing ones at that) = more deaths. Because acknowledging this one, simple, basic fact means admitting that their fetish is responsible for tens of thousands of innocent deaths that need never have occurred. How many children ripped from their families, lying in cold graves, would be alive today if strict gun laws were enacted and enforced? Even ONE would be a gain. But it’s never going to happen as long as gun-fetishists continue to deny this simple basic reality. “Oh, they would still be able to get them somewhere, anyway.” Possibly. But not all of them would. Making it more difficult and expensive to acquire them would cause some - not ALL but SOME - of them to NOT go to the extra trouble and expense. And that would in turn prevent at least some - not ALL but SOME - of the mass shootings that would have occurred, to NOT occur.

Any lives saved by such laws is a win-win for the parents who won’t have to attend their children’s funerals. And as for the poor gun-fetishists who wouldn’t be able to buy their beloved high-powered assault rifles for “self defense” - wah. Cry me a fucking river.


#12

Insightful assessment of the “culture of violence” in the USA. I’m very reluctant to acknowledge “American Exceptionalism” compared to other western democracies except in the number of violent events where the US is exceptionally more violent. The articles about the Parkland Valentine’s Day massacre published by Common Dreams need to be shared widely. Remember Jaime Guttenberg and the other victims.


#13

Brett Stephens, the conservative columnist at the NY Times, has said that it is time to repeal the Second Amendment and I think his argument makes sense. Current calls for “common sense gun control” center either on banning a certain type of gun or calling for more background checks, but these measures only deal with the purchase of new guns. There are already millions and millions of guns in America and even ones manufactured a hundred years ago can still work as well as ever. Gun owners die every year, leaving attics full of guns to go who knows where. Yes, at this point repelling the Second Amendment seems impossible but Stephens likens it to gay marriage which only very recently was very much a minority view, and I would,add the acceptance of smoking which was allowed nearLy everywhere when I was a kid. Stephens also makes the point that NRA donations are really not that huge (Ten years worth of NRA donations to politicos = three months of Jimmy Kimmel’s salary) the fact is that the NRA and its positions are popular, even if not as popular as smoking used to be, but that kind of popularity can be changed through relentless public education and heavy taxation, as with tobacco.