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'What Are We Becoming?' Virginia Shooter Forced Us To Be Witnesses


'What Are We Becoming?' Virginia Shooter Forced Us To Be Witnesses

Leonard Pitts Jr.

“I’ve seen enough. I don’t want to see any more.” —Bruce Springsteen, ‘Cover Me’

When terrorists beheaded Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 and posted video of the killing online, I refused to look. I explained my reasoning in this space. To watch that video, I wrote, knowing it was staged specifically to fill me with revulsion and fear, would feel like cooperating with the monsters who killed him. It would make me an accomplice.

I didn’t want to see. I didn’t want that blood on my soul.


"What are we becoming"? We are becoming what we have been dishing out for years and years with wars, total economic injustice, torture, corruption in Washington etc. For those who have problems with the word "we" again, all of it does effect the society as a whole.

As far as technology is concerned it is always ahead of the evolution of the human soul. The breathtaking discovery of the atom gave us the nukes. The internet gave us the ability to really communicate with many around the world and do research into many subjects. What are most people using it for? For being on each other's throats and exposing the most vile personal videos on Facebook and You-tube for everyone to see.


"In other words, he curated this murder, used tools of social media — and traditional media — to manage it like a PR campaign. In essence, he provided us his press kit. And while that bespeaks a deranged man’s incomprehensible narcissism, it also suggests a canny understanding of his target audience: us."

The complement of narcissism is largely voyeurism, which is rampant in our over-entertained "culture." This murderer was using the same modus operandi that Trump is employing. Much like Germany starting in the 1920's, there is much to fear. There are deep forces at work and many of them are very dark.


"In other words, he curated this murder, used tools of social media — and traditional media — to manage it like a PR campaign. In essence, he provided us his press kit. And while that bespeaks a deranged man’s incomprehensible narcissism, it also suggests a canny understanding of his target audience: us."

I didn't watch it, nor do I care to do so. Not part of this all-inclusive "us," I TIRE of this idiom that presupposes that ALL citizens, particularly in the U.S. thrive ON violence. This meme caters to those who DO by reinforcing their role as dominators... as if there were no existing alternative to this primitive form of behavior. Essentially, such an argument helps to institutionalize violence AS norm.

The dominant culture used force, threats of force, and institutionalized forms of violence (which means long-established mores and laws that support sexism/misogyny and racism) to obtain its primacy. To argue that this primacy indicates that ALL citizens agree or conform to it forecloses upon alternatives to this insidious status quo.

The subtext is T.I.N.A = There IS no alternative. And that type of conclusion is a death sentence to any promise of transitioning into a more humane society.

That SOME people enjoy violent forms of entertainment and news "shows" that simulate it is NOT an indictment of all citizens. Many, like myself, weaned from Cable T.V. almost a decade ago. Stop arrogating to yourself the right to speak for US!


Poor little coward has to even couch his remark about WE when it's obviously directed at me.

In my view, the female who is stalked and raped is NOT a contributor to a violent society. The rapist is. But by the idiom preferred by MALES, in particular, and others who unquestionably identify with the language framed by dominant powers within a dominator culture, there is no distinction between the two.

Thus the disenfranchised--for recreational drug use--Black male is blamed, along with ALL citizens by this forum's "Blame Voters" squad when his right to vote has been squelched.

EVERY DAY a group of posters purposely conflates what is done BY power with the alleged consent of the citizenry even though decisions--like the bailout to big banks, the current TPP and TIPP treaties, and even Obamacare--are decided behind closed doors; and even when some of the best minds of our time properly identify this nation's status not as that of a healthy Democracy (where the voice of citizens matter), but rather as an inverted totalitarian system.

I believe the individuals who insist on the singular FRAME of WE largely do so for all of the following reasons:

  1. If the article's topic is a specific offender like Monsanto, they will blame those who eat meat. NOT Monsanto.
  2. If the article is focused on Big Oil or Big Coal, they will blame those who drive cars.
  3. If the article features citizen ACTION to change the way the Energy Moguls dominate national energy policies, this group of posters will insist that Bill McKibben, Amy Klein, Kumi Naidoo (head of Green Peace), and others are "compromised" either because they get a portion of their funding from something like The Rockefeller Foundation or because they get on planes to attend seminars

4.If the article focuses on gun violence, they push the lone gunman with mental illness meme.
5. If the article focuses on what the military is doing in another land, they lockstep march with the WE meme that conflates citizens WITH soldiers
6. If the article speaks of rape, they answer with generic pabulum about human nature. And every word of it makes gender invisible although 95% of rapes are done by males ... sometimes to other males and children

The INSISTENCE upon a singular uniform frame upon which to establish culpability makes EVERYONE guilty and therefore no one--particularly those actually doing the deeds--accountable.

It protects the ravages of Big Business, hides military malfeasance, and protects trespassers.

Perhaps most insidious of all is that by this insistence on ONE uniform pattern of response (all of it falsely equated with consent for policies and purposes that originate with the few who DO have power and 9 times out of 10 happen to be white males), any alternatives are rendered invisible.

THAT is a closed system and a closed mindset. It is an authoritarian, if not fascistic one. So... since one of the few liberties still standing is to voice my dissent to this Matrix-like cloned framing, I will do so! And so long as I have time, I will continue to counter the Talking Points that paying entities posit in this forum daily. They always involve team back-up in order to draw in immediate consensus.

People need to ask themselves if these imposed opinions and policies speak truly for them. if not, let them also say, "Not in my name!" It is my fervent hope that others catch on.

WE do not all abide by, agree with, or consent to the disastrous things that POWER is doing... with the false backing of the illusion of the consent of the governed.

And idiots like you do not speak for me. Your military bona fides are clear from your screen name, and many who post here come from the same source.


The INSISTENCE upon a singular uniform frame upon which to establish culpability makes EVERYONE guilty and therefore no one--particularly those actually doing the deeds--accountable.

Sorry - that's wholly illogical. Everyone being guilty makes EVERYONE accountable.

I agree the WE / US narrative is often unfair and dilutes thinking clearly about who is actually doing what. But I have to accept that I pay taxes to a government that funds war. I am really not okay about that... but I am not going to pretend that my unhappiness means I am not accountable.


I don't do facebook so I haven't seen it -- nor do I want to. Unfortunately that wasn't the case with the set-up and filming of the mass-murder our country inflicted on Baghdad, twice. Horrific enough that this was done but then broadcast for us all to watch like a grand spectacle -- oooh, look at the green explosions!

We have become what we already were.


This does tie into the concept that overexposure to violence makes one inured to its shock value. The casual sharing of extreme brutality as though it were no big deal is a sad reflection of just how far things can go.


The example of taxes to make your point is a weak one. If you really stand by your point, then stop paying your taxes starting next April, persist all the way through to conviction, and then post your final destination on this forum the day before you are imprisoned.

Otherwise, you don't have a point. Hold yourself accountable or drop that line of argument.

Imagine the actual architects of the war against Iraq, the architects of the programs of torture, the military leaders responsible for crimes against humanity all standing trial.

And your argument would have you or me saying to the judge. "Take me, take me your honor for I'm guilty for crimes against humanity too!" "I should be held accountable because I was required by law, under threat of imprisonment to pay taxes, that paid their salaries and funded the military!"

The judge would have you taken out of the court for being insane.


Eh? My being accountable WAS the argument.

I get the gist of what you say... but Nuremberg set the principle: only following orders is no excuse. Supposing EVERYONE protested their taxes and something happened as a result... would you look the other way and declare them all insane?

Just because I argue that I (purely as an example) am accountable, does not oblige me to change my behaviour. And yes, your are right, rebelling the situation could have grave consequences. But the it's-not-my-fault position lets us all off the hook. (I'm just doing my job building these drones - don't blame me).

So the difference is, I do not BLAME myself (in a guilt-making way), but I am accountable inasmuch as if none of us paid those taxes there could not be those wars.


What are we becoming? We are already there. We are a military empire abroad and an armed camp at home with a lot of sick people. Every other industrial nation provides health care for all of their citizens, but no psychiatric care for people who need it here. Yes, we are an exceptional nation.


It is an empty argument.


I suppose if you asked an honest advertiser, they'd tell you we're becoming the best monsters that money can buy.


I think the better question is what are we letting these elitist make of us:


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


If none of us paid those taxes then millions of elderly would be living on the streets, or haven't you considered that argument.

In your opinion who should go to prison for these wars that were sold to the US citizenry by a swamp of lies?

Name names.


But if you're not going to take some kind of action, then your declaration of accountability is as vapid as Reagan's insulting "I take full responsibility".

Individually, we each have a tiny fraction --about 1/200Mth-- of responsibility for what is done in our name. That's not nothing, but it's not significant either.

Madison et al. set up the federal government in such a way that we are virtually powerless as individuals or in any group smaller than all of us. The only loophole is that if we all band together, we can change the government to one that actually represents our wishes. He left that loophole because he rightly foresaw that there'd immediately be a second revolution if we proles had no voice at all in federal government. So he "diluted" our voice as much as he dared, with the result that at our level the federal government is a vile theater.

Rather than muddy the water by claiming responsibility we don't in fact have, we'd do better to think about how we can get it and the authority that creates it.


It's not the guns, its the craziness produced by the intolerable pressure on all of us. The psychopaths running things enjoy pressurising us, let's make no mistake about that. They get excited, some of them sexually, by their power to continue to turn the screws on us, crushing us til, one by one, we break.


TIN HAT BS.... amazing how ANY time there's a mass shooting somene says it was "faked". GUESS YOU GOT PAID BY THE NRA,huh?


All that would happen is that they'd take the tax money before we ever saw it, which is what withholding is all about. If people sought to avoid withholding by exploiting loopholes, the loopholes would be closed to proles. Trying to not pay taxes is a recipe for a prison term, not a blow against the system.