“Gun Control” by sole, A Rumination on Mass Killings, Alienation and Capitalism

soleAudio link for “Gun Control” by anarchist hip-hop artist, sole

Before the tears that fell from The Presidents face hit the podium and the Us troops deployed to Turkish borders could learn to pronounce “Ahmadinejad ” everyone had an opinion on the Connecticut shooting. Celebrities and politicians all lined up, either to propose stricter gun laws or to say, “now is not the time to politicize.” Even as the details from the Aurora shooting continue to fill news pages and blogs after almost 3 months, Once again we are trapped in a 9600+ hour news cycle where we will be bludgeoned with every detail to emerge from the shooting as hack journalists pontificating back and forth on “how” but never look deeper then family/personal issues as to the “why.”

The situation in our country is a lot deeper then just to propose less guns. First of all, you’re not gonna un-invent the gun, its part of our DNA. So those proposing that only our violent police force and army should be the only ones with guns are not only fighting a losing battle, but they are wrong. If this was about guns, you’d be able to come up with a mathematic equation that one could apply to predict massacres every nation, but this only really happens here. Switzerland actually has a higher rate of gun ownership then the US per household, but far less murders by guns. So whether or not people want to ban or restrict guns, it’s not going to address what is at the root of these attacks.

So we must ask ourselves what is unique in our country compared to the rest of the world? What is unique about America, compared to other western countries? The most obvious thing would be to point out that we don’t have medical/mental care for anyone other then the middle and upper class. The people who are most in need of mental health care can not get it, and if they do get it they are just fed prozac and sent home. The mental health industry in our country has long been little more then a fast food drive through for big Pharma. Europe has a a welfare state, a safety net, free universities, free health care, people have upward mobility and live a much higher quality of life then we do, and that is an imperial fact.

We have been in a recession for almost a decade, young people are growing up with less and less prospects for the future. Their parents are overworked and there is no end in sight. There is no hope. The American dream has proven to be a mirage for everyone but the baby boomers. People with no hope for the future do crazy, destructive shit.

We live in the society of the spectacle, a world that is mediated by images and technology and we humans are lost in it. We are in a progress trap, where our technological progress has surpassed our emotional ability to deal with the ramifications of it. Simply said, we have lost all sense of community and emotional support, this in itself is one thing, but combined with the sheer amount of stress that people are under in this new economy it should come as no surprise that alienated people on the fringes with no support lash out like this. Instead of just killing themselves quietly, they do it in a way that will ensure a kind of fame for themselves, picking places which are the most shocking to strike, and knowing full well that they will go down in history.

Mass murders are big business for the Mainstream News, with all this attention that they devote to covering these events, you’d think they’d dig a little deeper then stories that tear on our heart strings about the victims and their families, grieving communities and gun control. I was hard pressed to even find mention of the economy, the mental health system, or alienation in any of the mainstream press. I was able to find a story on bullying in CNN. Yeah bullying, if that helps the mainstream media and the obama administration sleep at night, I’m sure there is some concerned parent out there willing to buy that.

If the mainstream media wants to stop this cycle of violence they could begin by NOT promoting it and profiting from it. They could follow the lead of Sweden, not mention the killers name and move on.

There are a million factors that contributed to this, but I’d be remised if i didn’t point out the hypocrisy and jingoistic nature of most of these responses. This is the shit we fund in Gaza, this is what our drones do daily throughout Islamic World. Tens of thousands of thousands of people have been killed by the American Empire in the past 10 years, and you’d be hard pressed to find as many American tears for our victims overseas. That is not to take anything away from this tragedy or equivocate, this was an utterly horrific act. If we really want to put an end to end to the mass shootings, we must begin to confront the society and culture that spawns them.


  1. no

    bullshit. the US has higher gun ownership per capita than any other country in the world, including the swiss. the only reason swiss *households* (curious way to measure, that) might have higher ownership is that the swiss maintain an actively trained citizen militia, and this mandates keeping an assault rifle in every household. complete statistical outlier. and when you need an outlier to prove your point, that means your point sucks.

    america is awash in guns, and therefore awash in gun killings. the math is not hard, it’s time for gun control.

    1. NCpiececorps

      But you admit the Swiss are “awash” in guns as well, not just guns in fact, but assault rifles, and yet they are hardly awash in gun killings? Not to mention all the other countries that have high levels of personal gun ownership but low rates of gun killings….

      The idea that “lots of guns equals lots of gun death” is simplistic and one-dimensional–its a talking point pushed by CNN editors and a whole range of semi liberal ideologues who are uncomfortable with and downright foreign to life outside of specific kinds of middle class, urban enclaves. Its a perspective that has no chance of actually lessening the everyday armed and unarmed violence experienced by many of us in the US, because it is a one dimensional, State sanctioned approach to a tremendously complex array of realities that are themselves the product of State and Capitalist dynamics: widespread social alienation, a completely inadequate and out of date “system” of mental health treatment, massive economic stratification, gang strife that is perpetuated and encouraged by policing methods that depend upon and encourage territorial competition for limited resources, the disintegration of entire communities due to massive incarceration rates, high rates of legal and illegal drug addiction and the specific roles the American State and the pharmaceutical industry has played in perpetuating this addiction….These things are complex, myriad, and make up the very fabric of everyday life in our world. They cannot be changed by anything other than massive, revolutionary shifts in power, wealth, control over resources, styles of living, forms of handling conflict, kinship and family patterns. These “problems”, i.e., “life”, are the product of the systems of control and wealth production that continually reproduce life in our world, the very systems of democracy and capitalism that liberals and conservatives hold so dear.

      In addition to trying to “solve” violence with an absurd approach that fails to address the complexity of the problem it addresses, both the liberal AND the right wing talking points on this issue completely fail to acknowledge the biggest perpetrator of gun violence in not just the US but in fact the world: States, and in particular the US government. I could start quoting some stats here, or we could bring in piles of anecdotal evidence about the hatred many of us feel for the ARMED police who occupy our neighborhoods with no legitimate authority whatsoever, the complete lack of “accountability” (not that this is our goal) that police will always have when gunning down unarmed black and brown youth, as they seem to enjoy doing…but is this really necessary on an anti prison website?

      So instead, ill just offer to make a deal with all the gun-scared liberals out there, and for that matter with the racist rightwing gun nuts as well: if the US government voluntarily DISARMS, if it ceases to hold a claim on the monopoly of violence, in other words, if it ceases to be a state voluntarily, then by all means i will be the first one to smash all my guns into plowshares. No problem. But i absolutely reject the notion that ONLY GOVERNMENTS should be allowed to legitimately “do” violence. I have a hard time seeing how one group of people, either constituting or allied with the wealthy and powerful, having a monopoly on the ability to do violence results in a situation of peace and tranquililty, rather than cowering obedience, fear, unbridled coercion, and unchecked tyranny.

      This is not about guns perse – we can all agree that only a sickly hierarchical civilization with a death-wish would have created machines designed for the large-scale slaughter of unarmed or under-armed human beings in the first place. BUT we should remember that the institutions that created and produced this nightmare is the State, in tandem with the productive capacity and profit motive of industrial capitalism. That liberals are supposedly antigun but then want to trust our safety, and align their schemes for “nonviolence”, to these very same institutions proves the absurdity of their position. They are uncomfortable with the private gun owner, but comfortable with the armed racist who has total immunity while patrolling their streets. They re uncomfortable with me going out hunting with a semi automatic (most guns are…), but comfortable voting year after year for politicians who maintain the largest and most aggressive standing army in the history of the human race, which possesses the armed potential of turning the entire planet into a radioactive petri dish with the press of a button. Give me a break.

      The answer to the needless violence of our society is turning the world upside down, into a place where alienation is replaced by voluntary and meaningful human solidarity, where vital resources like food and housing and the means to make decisions are held in common, where women are actually held as equals rather than as sex objects or tools for the mere reproduction of labor power, where we can live without fear of religious nutjobs and white supremacist crazies in blue uniforms. None of this will come about with “policy” changes – it comes about through revolutions in the very structures of our society. Do-gooder liberals who want to “help” the world by further empowering States and their wealthy leaders just make the situation worse.

      If these liberals actually cared about violence in our society, rather than just imposing their own cultural norms on the rest of us, they would get out of the voting booth and into the streets, rioting every time a cop kills a kid, blockading military bases every time the US sent more of our families to war. They would teach bullied children how to defend themselves and host self-defense classes with anti rape groups, they would smash a different cop car for every day that a woman spends in jail for fighting back against her abuser. They would picket outside every prison in every county in the country, until the guards just fucking gave up. They would refuse to enlist in the US military. They would quit their fancy ass jobs in middle management and as corporate officers, give their money away to aforementioned causes, and spend their time alongside real human beings doing some of the aforementioned things, and waging unbridled class war against the most violent and ecologically destructive economic system human beings ever created. They would take risks. They would put their own physical safety on the line instead of just their benevolent dollars. They would bear the scars of this struggle, both physical and emotional, like the rest of us, rather than floating along comfortably from one NGO or campaign to another, content to “do something,” to “make a difference.”

      But they wont. And the State wont give up its arms. And the rich wont give up their control over resources, their wealth, their assets, their control.

      And we wont give up my ability to defend ourselves (notice i said “ability,” not “right” – there is no right, only what you can and cannot do in the situation, what you are willing to do.) Whether its our heart or our voice or our fists or our AK fucking 47s, the liberals will have to wrest it from our cold dead hands. Good luck with that.

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