Almost immediately after the massacre of children and teachers in the US by a madman and Obama's tearful speech, there was an ensuing floodgate of analysis and responses. A lot of it had to do with with the US' love affair with guns and, the mounting toll of random killings that occur in the US.
One of my favourite comments I read on Facebook about the issue of guns was "It's a constitutional right to bear arms but access to health care is a privilege." It really drove the point home in terms of what American civil identity and rights are about. So much for being the bloody "greatest nation on earth." Ah, what politicians say when they want to be endearing and patriotic.
Although I definitely agree with all those who want a gun-free civilian US, I wonder whether that would actually prevent very disturbed individuals from randomly showing up in schools, places of worship and cinema theatres to commit random massacres. They almost all seem to follow a bizarre one-off psychopathic pattern which many times ends up in a suicide. There seems to be something else going on in the great American society.
Besides this, what happened immediately in response to this incident was the calling out of American self-pity especially since they are indiscriminately killing children elsewhere.
To anyone who objects to the comparison clearly he or she has no sense of perspective. In fact, it is important to bring up the unknown massacre of children by American guns, planes and war precisely at this time when Americans grieve over a mere 20 children while at least over 60 Pakistani children have been murdered by Americans since Obama came into office. Of course, the comparison needs to be made! Over and over again until Americans realise what goes on in their names while they enjoy their turkeys and holiday sales. Moreover, besides the statistics there is untold misery and suffering that those communities are undergoing.
Read Newtown kids v Yemenis and Pakistanis: what explains the disparate reactions? It passionately explains the different reactions to murders in the US by a random killer versus active American foreign policy of targeting and killing so-called terrorists. It also explained to me why exactly I felt an unexplainable sickness at seeing Obama, head of state of an imperialistic power, wiping crocodile tears over a random and rather minor domestic shooting, at least compared to the millions killed by the Americans in the so-called War on Terror. Greenwald argues there are two critical issues at work:
"The first is that is underscores how potent and effective the last decade's anti-Muslim dehumanisation campaign has been.
"There's one other issue highlighted by this disparate reaction: the question of agency and culpability. It's easy to express rage over the Newtown shooting because so few of us bear any responsibility for it and - although we can take steps to minimize the impact and make similar attacks less likely - there is ultimately little we can do to stop psychotic individuals from snapping. Fury is easy because it's easy to tell ourselves that the perpetrator - the shooter - has so little to do with us and our actions. Exactly the opposite is true for the violence that continuously kills children and other innocent people in the Muslim world. Many of us empowered and cheer for the person responsible for that. US citizens pay for it, enable it, and now under Obama, most at the very least acquiesce to it if not support it. It's always much more difficult to acknowledge the deaths that we play a role in causing than it is to protest those to which we believe we have no connection. That, too, is a vital factor explaining these differing reactions."