Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Kiss the concrete"...

When I was younger and growing up in east Oakland, I would listen to news stories about drive by shootings. The cops would be called on the carpet because indiscriminate drive by shootings were tragically killing the old and very young.  The gangs were just bulleting neighborhoods to establish territory, but if you were too young to react to the street or too old to "kiss the concrete" fast enough, you ended up full 9mm slugs. "Kiss the concrete" is the operative phrase to keep in mind.  "Keep your head up" is one I kept in mind when I walked the mean streets.

I find it ironic that the recent great 'terrorist' events of our time have been the work of young, male college students apparently all suffering from a disturbing mental illness: Seung-Hui Cho, Jared Loughner, James Eagan Holmes.  Worse than this are the revelations that university officials in all three cases had forewarning of their illness and (for one reason  and to some degree or another) punted the ball. Existing media reports make the case of James Eagan Holmes to appear to be especially disturbing and noteworthy in this regard.  Of course, plenty of other mass shootings have occurred recently by non-students in America and around the world.

But none of this violence really can hold a candle to the violence created by  our continued wars of empire in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think if I were Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, William Reich  or some other member of the Vienna Circle, I would probably have some comment about the nature of an externally violent society sympathetically recreating that violence for internal consumption. Perhaps something that tied together cultural images of violence, Thanatos, and self-preservation of the ego.  But since I'm not a member of the Vienna Circle or whatever passes for it these days,  I think I will just make sure to "Kiss the Concrete" the next time I'm in a public place and hear gunshots. Because let's face it: we're never going pass serious gun control in this country, nor are we about to stop churning out violent schizophrenics. Remember to "Kiss the Concrete". Has a catchy ring, doesn't it? Could be the new catch phrase for the next generation!

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