Reader questions nation’s character
As we ponder the 45th school shooting and the president coming before us for the 11th time to lament this tedious routine, he wonders why we are the only modern industrial country that has mass shootings. We wonder what has to change.
Some propose getting a better handle on mental illness. But other countries have crazies and guns, yet do not have mass killings. Others push for tougher gun control, yet Chicago and Washington, D.C. have some of the strictest gun-control laws, as well as the highest number of shootings.
Besides, the NRA and the Second Amendment will continue to conspire to defeat any change, even if it is politicized. We love our guns and will defend the right to own them.
One asks, what is it about the American psyche, the unique psychology and sociology, that engenders and fosters this continuous bloodletting?
In spite of our professed love for peace, America is the most warlike nation on the planet. We spend over $600 billion each year to maintain armed warriors and lethal weapon systems in all the oceans and in 74 countries.
Even after 70 years, the United States has 179 bases and 40,000 troops in Germany. Ditto for Japan. The template for endless war continues in Korea with 85 bases and 28,000 troops.
We also spread further death and destruction by supplying 30 percent of all international arms and weapon systems. If there is a conflict, we’ll give them guns.
Learning nothing from a wasted decade in Vietnam, except that twice as many returning warriors will shoot themselves as died over there, we squandered blood and treasure for another 15 years in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are now embroiled in Syria with Russia as a walk-on adversary.
The basic reality is that the military is there to break things and hurt people. It is a culture of violence. Embodying and supporting this violent ethic is part of what makes us American. This endless war has made us immune to and tolerant of the taking of life. Like it or not, this is who we are as Americans and how we are perceived in the world.