The Culture of Death and the Far Right

It does not matter, Every time we have a mass shooting, we have a discussion that goes around culture,, elites, and other factors. It also fractures around the right to have weapons and the right to life and the pursuit of happiness. The young men and women from Parkland, the last set of victims, are making that point. They have also been under constant attack from far right quarters.

The country is fractured. It is not just urban versus rural, but also conservative against liberal. Oh and without any doubt, between those in power, who resist any changes to any regulation, and those who are not. Most of the people want some form of gun regulation. However, congress, which was captured by the National Rifle Association will not vote that way. . These fractures allow people to speak the same language, but not understand each other. Also, a lot of them include a variety of dog whistles that are clearly understood by those they are intended to, but not necessarily everybody else.

What we have is a culture of death that has developed in our midst over the last generation.

The first references to this culture of death, revolving around guns, started in the early 1990s.

In a New York Times article from 1992 we read:

In the national debate over crime control, a gun, depending on one’s view, is either an agent of evil that ought to be banned or restricted, or a constitutionally enshrined defense against evil. But in Arizona as in much of the country, there is a large American culture of gun owners for whom firearms are primarily agents of fun.

Some members of the gun culture here can recite the Second Amendment, which in their interpretation confers upon a citizen the right to bear arms against anyone from burglars and alien armies to a government gone berserk. But the right they pursue the most is the right to indulge in a pasttime that they find as benign and exhilarating as other people find shooting birdies on golf courses.

This is critical. Our increasing divisions did not start today, or as the right likes to say under the Barack Obama administration,, but decades ago. And in some ways we have a culture of death that emerged in very conservative areas of the country. These are the same areas that refuse to recognize the need for certain services, such as universal health care, or even universal access to education.

It is in many ways about rights, and what rights we deserve. Some conservatives, in particular the extreme right wing, concentrate all their arguments on the individual. They believe that the only person that matters is number one. The sense of community is not something that matters. Only the family, when you are lucky. But nothing beyond this narrow scope.

This belief in the culture of death is not just limited to the health care debate, but also to other areas of life.

But it is about How hard right conservative conceive of things.

Death has taken over the discussion on health care and access to it. Medical care helps to keep people healthy, and have a better quality of life. However, whether it is death panels, or death care, or the death tax, or the party of death, far right conservatives have created a mirror image of themselves in the enemy they have created. This enemy is Democrats or anybody else. It is them who reject the idea of universal health care. Or for that matter reject any limits to gun rights, never mind mass shootings lead to very real injury and death.

It has also taken over the discussion of all things involving guns. In fact, Peggy Noonan offers a textbook example in the Wall Street Journal She writes:

The establishments and elites that create our political and entertainment culture have no idea how fragile it all is — how fragile it seems to people living normal, less privileged lives. That is because nothing is fragile for them. They’re barricaded behind the things the influential have, from good neighborhoods to security alarms, doormen and gates. They’re not dark in their imagining of the future because history has never been dark for them; it’s been sunshine, which they expect to continue. They sail on, oblivious to the legitimate anxieties of their countrymen who live near the edge.

Those who create our culture feel free to lecture normal Americans — on news shows, on late night comedy shows. Why do they have such a propensity for violence? What is their love for guns? Why do they join the National Rifle Association? The influential grind away with their disdain for their fellow Americans, whom they seem less to want to help than to dominate: Give up your gun, bake my cake, free speech isn’t free if what you’re saying triggers us

This essay by Noonan is critical to the story. She blames the culture all around. It is code for the left wing, liberal elite establishment that fails to protect Americans. She is correct insofar as people feel far more atomized and away from community than every before. However, she seems unaware of her role in creating this distrust.

She mentions in the piece gang wars. It is interesting because that level of violence happened in the 1990s. Gang wars and drive by shootings are rare these days. The statistics, as few as we are allowed to maintain are clear.

The historical trends for different kinds of gun deaths don’t all follow the same course. While data suggests that the number of mass shootings similar to the Las Vegas event has gone up, particularly since 2000,2 homicide rates have fallen significantly from their 1980 peak and continued on a generally downward trajectory for most of the 21st century. Meanwhile, suicides are way up, with the biggest increases among women. The trends are different because the situations are different and the people are different. Maybe different solutions are warranted, as well.

However, this is an inconvenient fact for the peddlers of the culture of death that have scared people. They are invested in the idea that the country is nothing short of Mad Max, if we only wished to wake up. You need to get as many guns and ammo as you can. The collapse is imminent..

Yet, this is the same party that speaks of how liberals and other sundry groups are spreading this culture of death. A culture that seeks to isolate the individual from society As Noonan’s opinion piece makes clearer, you cannot trust the elites, whoever they are. They do not care about regular folks, and they want to keep on with their lives, blithely living on while society collapses around them.

These elites (code for left wing and liberal) are also well educated, and hate normal folks, while enriching themselves with a political and media entertainment system that ignores reality.. Oh never that crime rates are very low. Never mind that most who die from gun violence die from suicide.

However, mass shootings are on the way up. These are committed mostly by younger white males, and some probably filled with hate for their fellow citizens.

So how frequent are mass shootings? Polítifact looked into it, and found this:

Two researchers — Jaclyn Schildkraut of the State University of New York in Oswego and H. Jaymi Elsass of Texas State University — analyzed mass shootings in 11 countries, covering the period from 2000–14. Aside from the United States, they looked at Australia, Canada, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland.

The United States has more mass shootings — and more people cumulatively killed or injured — than the other 10 nations combined, according to their research. While part of this is because the United States has a much bigger population than all but China, the difference can’t be explained by skewed population numbers alone.

When adjusted for population, the United States ranks in the upper half of their list of 11 countries, ranking higher than Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany and Mexico. The United States did rank lower than three countries — Norway, Finland and Switzerland — but they have populations so small that one or two mass-casualty events can produce a relatively high per capita rate

When compared to other countries , including Mexico, which has a much higher crime and violence rate than the United States. This is the kind of data that is both surprising and enlightening. However, this same group is also impervious to facts, or reality; their version of the United States is one that President Donald Trump also shares. It is dark and it destroys any sense of community.

Written by

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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