I am reposting Charles P. Pierce’s article in full because he is the sanest man I know. I don’t have the words to do justice to the men and women who fight and who have fought for the freedoms I have in the United States of America. Instead here is what needs to be said about America. Read Charles P. Pierce at http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/. To see this article at Esquire.com click HERE.
At the beginning of this Memorial Day weekend, another American decided to make war on his fellow Americans. Elliot Rodger preceded his hostilities by announcing to the world, in terms so firm and clear as to command its assent, the casus belli under which he presumed to make war. It was as formal, if decidedly twisted, declaration of war, which gives Elliot Rodger’s war on his fellow citizens something that no American president has seen fit to request for any military action the country has taken since World War II.
This is a country now at war with itself. This is a phrase that is generally tossed about when political debate gets too heated. It was popular to say it back in the 1960s, when it seemed quite possibly to be true, with leaders bleeding out on balconies in Memphis or kitchen floors in Los Angeles, and students bleeding out from gunfire on college campuses, and half-baked revolutionary idiots blowing themselves up in Greenwich Village. But this is not the same thing. This is a country at war with itself for profit. This is a country at war with itself because its ruling elite is too cowed, or too well-bribed, or too cowardly to recognize that there are people who are getting rich arming both sides, because the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, so you make sure that it’s easy for the bad guys to get guns in order to make millions selling the guns to the good guys. This is a dynamic not unfamiliar to the people in countries where brushfire conflicts and civil wars are kept alive because distant people are making a buck off them. In Africa, war is made over diamonds and rare earths. In South America, war is made over cocaine. Here, for any number of reasons – because Adam Lanza went crazy or because Elliot Rodger couldn’t get laid – and the only constant in all those wars is the fact somebody gets rich arming both sides.
That is what has come home to roost now. This is a country at war with itself because cynical people have told its citizens that their fellow citizens – all of them, because you can never tell, can you? — are the enemy. This is a country in which citizens make war on each other because that’s what they are being encouraged to do. Someone finds it more profitable to maintain the war than they do to stop it.
It is a guerrilla war, fought on darkened streets against children in hoodies brandishing Skittles, against children in cars who play their music too loudly, against evanescent fears and the ghosts born of ancient prejudice and cultivated dread. Its battles are sudden but, sadly, no longer surprising. The whole country is the battleground now because cynical people have made it so. Our movie theaters are our Wheatfields, our Peach Orchards, or our Bloody Lanes. A quiet college campus is the Hornet’s Nest. An elementary school is Cemetery Ridge. Those are the killing zones. The enemy, we are told, is everywhere, and nowhere. This is the country that Wayne LaPierre, that malignant profiteer, talks about when he says, as he did at a conservative conference last spring:
“In this uncertain world, surrounded by lies and corruption, there is no greater freedom than the right to survive, to protect our families with all the rifles, shotguns and handguns we want. We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all. I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you?”
Wayne LaPierre gets paid when his masters sell guns to the bad guys. Wayne LaPierre gets paid when his masters sell guns to the good guys because of the guns he’s already arranged to sell to the bad guys. Wayne LaPierre is the strange white man in the Congo who knows where he can get you some AK’s. He’s the shadowy fellow in the coffee shop in Kabul who knows where RPG’s can be had, cheap. He’s the well-dressed, silken-voiced operator, sipping his tea on a cool and breezy veranda outside of Bogota, who smiles at you and shows you on the map where you can pick up your order, because it is time once again for you to make war and him to make money. His look is the smooth and shiny black of the vulture’s feathers. He feasts on the carrion of nations.
So that is Memorial Day this year, in a country in which its citizens are encouraged to make war on each other because not enough people care enough to stop it. There are more flowers in more places and there is no peace in sight, because we have chosen as a country to slake our appetite for it with blood. The dead are not honored in this war. Only the instrumentality of their murder is, god help us all. – Charles P. Pierce 5/26/2014