Friday, May 27, 2022

Weekend reading - mass shootings just a symptom of the broken system

Great essay in the Guardian by author Hamilton Nolan, who looks into why "Columbine happened 23 years ago. How is America still no further forward?"

Nolan says it's because of flat-out corruption that has incentivized and insulated many politicians from accountability for allowing awful things to keep happening in America.
The cold truth is that our political system does not care about dead children; it cares about money. We don’t have gun control for the same reason we don’t have many other things that are plainly necessary and good and that would save many lives, like public healthcare: because not having those things enables a certain group of people to get rich. And that class of rich people funds an even smaller class of politicians, who are tasked with protecting their interests, in exchange for living the nice life of a congressman or governor.

This straightforward and cozy arrangement, multiplied by many dozens of industries, is at the heart of how our political system operates. It just happens to be the case that the weapons industry forces its handpicked politicians to step over dead bodies before they walk into the office. It’s clear by now that no matter how many murdered children are laid at their doorstep, they are untroubled by taking that step.
I also note that in this week's Rewind episode on Wisconsin Eye, JR Ross of WisPolitics openly admits that Wisconsin Republicans see no need to do anything that might limit the availability of guns or limit the places they might be possessed. Why? Because the gerrymandered Legislature sees no threat from voters, and only cares about the over-represented fraction of gun nuts who might vote in GOP primaries.

The result is this string of NRA BS that has hit our state over the last decade. And the only reason we haven't had more Tex-a$$ style gun laws passed into law in Wisconsin in recent years is because Governor Evers has been able to block them.

Nolan also mentions the effect of gerrymandering and the unrepresentative nature of the US Senate, which has allowed the will of the overwhleming majority to be ignored in America. And this system of minority rule has made it a fool's errand to hope that GOPs will "do the right thing" when it comes to any kind of common-sense gun laws.

Nolan also says this means we need to be a lot more confrontational with the oligarchical evil that allows these preventable murders to continue.
Marches are not going to change it. We have marched. Anguished people full of pain and loss marched for gun control after the mass shootings at Columbine, and at Virginia Tech, and at Sandy Hook, and at Parkland, and in Las Vegas. The worst pictures imaginable and the greatest grief on earth have not changed it. The system is immune to this sort of influence. So we need to change the system. That means that when we speak of gun control, we need to speak of campaign finance reform, to prevent a heartless and deadly industry from buying a protective shield of venal congressmen who exist to block any bills that might save lives at the cost of reducing profits. When we speak of gun control, we need to speak of ending gerrymandering, so that political minorities cannot consolidate power in ways that prevent desperately needed reforms from being passed.

When we speak of gun control, we need to speak of how the existence of the US Senate gives white, rural states disproportionate power, and we need to speak of how the cynical pleas for “civility” towards the powerful serve to insulate them from the consequences of their own policies, and we need to speak of how unregulated capitalism has allowed behemoth tech companies to suck so much money out of the journalism industry that the public doesn’t hear these things spoken about much at all.

We need to talk about the whole system. When we find ourselves in a situation so interminably resistant to change in the face of the most extreme catastrophes, the problem is that we have built a system that serves money instead of humans. March for gun control, by all means. But then turn your attention to the companies and the politicians who live well while so many people die, and think about what it is going to take to dislodge them from the place they have been perched so comfortably for so long. Reality is proof that we are not yet radical enough. We have an entire political system that doesn’t work. We need to break it in order to change it. If we can’t do that, the price is more broken bodies.
The bad guys will only stop when it becomes too damaging for them to keep doing bad things (or not doing good things). That pain can come the ballot box, the pocketbook, prosecution, or other means (looks over glasses). But it must come, or else they will keep allowing us to be hurt while they laugh and keep the money rolling in.

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