The gunfight is an American institution. But it used to happen mainly in movies. The story usually had a moral. And the good guy almost always won.
Today, gun battles constantly break out between rival drug gangs, turning top US cities like Chicago into “Chi-raq” war zones. Unlike such dedicated lawmen as Gary Cooper in High Noon, and equally chivalrous outlaws like John Wayne in Stagecoach, the protagonists in America’s contemporary gun battles are almost all bad guys. Most of these modern villains lack the common decency to restrict their robbing and shooting to banks and Brinks trucks; instead they pointlessly mass murder helpless people in schools, churches, and concerts. Today, even the police are better known for gunning down innocent people at traffic stops than for stopping mass murderers; while soldiers behave even less heroically as they routinely commit the supreme war crime by aggressively invading other nations, as well as lesser crimes including raping and killing civilians, guarding opium fields, and photographing themselves perpetrating outrages at Abu Ghraib.
In short, America’s gun-lovers are right about one thing: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. America’s gun problem is really a people problem. The manners and morals of the American people have declined in recent decades, and a rise in gun violence is symptomatic of that decline.
Sociologist James Petras has written several excellent articles analyzing America’s escalating epidemic of gun massacres. He points out that this quintessentially American form of senseless violence seems to be increasing exponentially. Defining a “large massacre” as one in which at least 14 people are killed and 32 wounded, Petras finds that there was only one such massacre during the two-decade period from 1960 to 1980. Then from 1981 to 1998 there were four, killing a total of 71 people. Since then, from 1999 until the present, the number of massacres has more than doubled, and casualty figures have increased even more. According to CNN’s list of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, four of the top five have happened since 2016, with three of them occuring in 2017.
As of this writing, early-2018, we have already seen the second worst school massacre in American history, the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 students and teachers and wounded at least 15 others. The advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety estimates that school shootings this year are occurring at a record pace of three per week. Though school shootings cause only a small fraction of the roughly 13,000 firearm deaths per year in the US, they have an outsized psychological impact on communities, especially parents and children.
The pro-gun vs. anti-gun de-bate is one of the most divisive issues in American politics. The more gun carnage there is, the more pro-gun people want guns to defend themselves; while anti-gun forces naturally rally for more firearms restrictions every time a new massacre grabs the headlines. Anti-gun forces capitalized on the Parkland school shooting in February, as a small group of students with media skills quickly became activist celebrities. Then pro-gun voices got their chance on March 20, when a school security guard in Maryland stopped a massacre by shooting the perpetrator dead — bolstering the pro-gun forces’ argument that if everyone was armed, massacre perpetrators would find it more difficult to mow down crowds of people before being shot down themselves.
Interestingly, many pro-gun voices believe that the biggest gun massacres, notably those in Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Parkland, have been false flag operations designed to demonize guns and gun owners and push the gun control agenda. Numerous leading alternative media outlets and shows, including Infowars, Natural News, and the Richie Allen show, have had their YouTube channels censored or even permanently removed for discussing this issue. Based on my study of the Las Vegas and Orlando shootings, I agree that these incidents need to be investigated as possible Gladio B false flag operations — though the motive of the Orlando shooting attributed to Omar Mateen seems to have been to restart Islamophobia after Muhammad Ali’s death, and push a “Muslims hate gays” message to neutralize sympathy for Palestine among liberals, rather than to hype gun control (my edited book Orlando False Flag: The Clash of Histories explores the Orlando shooting as a suspected covert operation).
Regardless of whether or not a few of the reported shootings are Gladio-style false flags, there is undoubtedly an all-too-authentic epidemic of gun violence in America. What has driven the huge uptick in gun massacres?
James Petras argues that the neoliberal agenda is primarily responsible. According to Petras, the US elite has consciously chosen to decimate the American working class by shutting down industry and shipping manufacturing jobs abroad. At the same time, neoliberalism presided over an escalation of military bloodshed all over the world, which made American culture ever-more violent,
Military metaphysics and quasi-religious public displays of superhuman “avengers” wrapped in the national flag have permeated every cranny of society — from mega-million dollar sporting extravaganzas to school assemblies, business meetings (like the Rotary Clubs) and workplace gatherings.
Millions have entered the war zones; daily police killings of citizens, especially African American and marginalized youth, have become the norm. Meanwhile hundreds of thousands of immigrants are demonized, assaulted, dragged from their homes or workplaces, incarcerated and deported with barely the shirt of their backs — leaving sundered families and communities.
Most important, the US imperial state has brutalized and, directly or indirectly, massacred millions of Muslim civilians, citizens of once-sovereign nations, throughout the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa and even in the immigrant ghettos, raising lawlessness to a new and more diffuse level.
It is this culture of violence — not the availability of guns, which have always been easily available — that is responsible for the ongoing exponential increase in American mass shootings. But Petras’ focus on political and economic factors driving gun massacres only tells half the story. There is also a spiritual malaise in American culture, a problem that policymakers are unequipped to recognize, much less address.
Though the US was founded by profoundly religious people, American elites lost most of their faith during the 19th century, relinquishing what remained of it thereafter. Beginning in the 1960s, the “sexual revolution,” one facet of a multipronged attack on family values and traditional morality, decimated American families, leading to skyrocketing rates of divorce, births out of wedlock, single-parent families, STDs, and other negative social indicators. As Gab-riele Kuby shows in The Global Sexual Revolution: Destruction of Freedom in the Name of Freedom, these developments wreaked social havoc. Children, in particular, suffered from the resulting instability and neglect. The ensuing psycho-spiritual damage cascaded down through the generations, leading to increases in mass shootings as well as other destructive behaviors.
The Islamic world has been targeted by the same sexual revolutionaries and anti-religious zealots responsible for the degradation of American and Western culture. But to a remarkable degree, Muslims have managed to preserve their religiously-based family values in the face of this onslaught. As Dr. Javed Jamil shows in his book Muslims Most Civilized but Not Enough, Muslims are doing considerably better than non-Muslims on most of the key social indicators. Overall, Muslim countries and communities feature lower rates of violent crime, suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, births out of wedlock, divorce, STDs, and so on than their non-Muslim counterparts. These positive statistics correlate tightly with intensity of Islamic faith and practice — scientific proof that taqwa, salah, fasting, and general Islamic piety produce healthy individuals, families, and communities.
So the most important question may not be who wins the gun control debate, but rather: how much self-inflicted violence and degradation will Americans have to suffer before they finally turn back to God?