Killing Is Okay. Dying, However, Is Not.
Ever notice how killing is acceptable as a means of resolve, a sport, a form of entertainment, a form of protection, and a form of justice-religious or political?
How did the American society come to such a definition-set for such a behavior?
The media, perhaps? Examine how violent our entertainment has become, from movies and TV to the insipid video games that are on the market actually training the next generations to believe that killing is okay and you can really get a big rush from killing and violence. You have access to the visuals 24/7.
Recently, I saw a hunter on some sport hunting TV show advising someone on the need to take their kids out hunting to get them "hooked" on hunting and killing animals. "That way they can help preserve our way o' life" he claimed as he was showing off his ten-year-old-daughter who was beaming with exuberance after killing a moose for the rack. She was using a high-powered, super-scoped rifle she could barely hold. She commented that she wanted to get something bigger next time. Wonder how she'll do when it comes to field dressing that something bigger.
As I sat on the bar stool watching the TV, since I refuse to have one in my domicile I sort of watch what the bar patrons are sort of watching as we "...slowly get stoned."
Meanwhile, the other TV shows are all either primers on sarcastic ways to demean and demonize or about how Americans killed so many so and so's and then a commercial comes on to tell us that the next video game has all these military war strategy games but in reality, all you are doing is use a more comprehensive version of stalking and killing human figures who die and bleed so you can be entertained by this. Perhaps they should come out with war games that mimic the actual smells of burning human flesh and oil and houses and whatever so you can really get into it. They cover most of the other senses. The other commercials for other products are no better than the programs or commercials for the violent movies and such.
Then there's the movie industry with its thrillers and "action" movies that are primarily terrorist-like plots that engage the adrenal glands in order to make an impression on the viewer. What the take-home message usually amounts to is that fear is an effective tool and that the methodology depicted in the film is viable, maybe you should go out and try it sometime. If you don't care to do it in-country and become a criminal, join a contracting firm and do it someplace else. It's so much easier to kill someone if you can view your victims as evil or some kind of sub-human, or just plain wrong according to some distorted religious philosophy as a motive.
All this ubiquitous violence serves the military industrial complex's business plan. As the social fabric erodes into tattered fragments of intolerance, bereft of understanding or respect for others, the perceived need for protection against them promotes a need for weaponry of various sorts.
Individuals and small factions are so much easier to coerce and direct via "groupthink" than large groups. Truly, the 9-11 event was a spectacular feat to pull off but it worked very well. Look what it gave the regime, a ticket to the war they were planning to have anyway. That event was meant to convince the American public, often a bunch of hot-heads, that they needed revenge and the first bad-looking guys were gonna get our form of justice. It was the killing that got us all pissed off, not the money issues that came up immediately, or the delayed flights, the PATRIOT Act, etc.. It's the killing that will make you feel better.
Because some people in America were killed, it's okay to go kill someone else because America was all pissed off, and after all, Americans are the most important chosen ones on the planet. America has the biggest, baddest machines for killing but this social group (Americans) are getting their butts whipped by the indigenous folks of their target area with very resourceful devices that are far more efficient at killing. But are they really THAT resourceful? Perhaps these weapons are just a different "class" of killing devices that were supplied by the invaders themselves. Can't have an endless war if nobody can fight back... And then again, as the Gulf War of the 1990's was a major ad campaign for the military industrial complex, so this may be such a message for small, efficient weapons to use in urban warfare in places like America.
The point is, the American society at large has been divided and conquered by groupthink, entrenched in a mindset that is led around by the nose by a small group of manipulators who wish to rule the world. They don't have any qualms about killing, as long as it isn't them or their favorite people or dog. Killing is okay, it solves problems, just like on TV and in movies, and on the news.
Killing is okay.
But dying isn't. Why isn't dying okay?
In the American culture, nobody is supposed to die, ever. If someone dies, it is usually announced as untimely, or wrongful. Accidents can happen but someone or something is to blame for it-including the weather. Nobody in America is supposed to be blamed for their own death or for being irresponsible enough to go out surfing in a typhoon or walking through construction warning signs only to fall into a crater and become impaled on a piece of rebar; wasn't their fault, they were "texting" somebody and didn't see the signs.
And nobody thinks it will happen to them, well maybe not so much anymore and that may be beneficial in the long run.
Perhaps the reason America doesn't respect its elders is because they are closer to that awful taboo thing and that they are scary because of it. So let's demonize them, they'll go away eventually, especially if you eliminate their healthcare systems. But then, they sure do spend a lot on drugs, etc..
Nobody is supposed to die if there is any way at all that the medical industrial complex can help it, and often it does-even when it shouldn't. A dying patient is so much more beneficial to the bottom line because their needs are so great and what they need is so costly. Sometimes one has to wonder if the new diseases that arise these days aren't "manufactured" purposely; a form of industry security. A war can come in handy when profits are in the doldrums and it's taking too long for the boomers to stop jogging and get sick. Businesses got to have markets, need to have customers, making money while making a new customer base works in the capitalist model currently in effect. Let's have a war, we'll have casualties. There won't be very many that die in battle, they will come home and require extensive medical care for the rest of their lives, and we'll make that as long as possible with every machine available, that is until you and your entire family have given us all your/their money.
So somehow it seems that perhaps the medical industrial complex and the military industrial complex got together and figured that if they had a war in which they gained control over the world's oil, they'd all benefit since many medical products are made from petroleum, it'll help them perpetuate the mindset and keep the profits rolling into their offshore accounts while the rest of the world is busy with the killing game keeping the military industrial gang happy.
So keep buying those violent video games for your kids and watch all those violent movies and get your brain tweaked for the upcoming events so you can fully enjoy them as the killing continues, right into your living room; it's good for the economy of the wealthy and you can show your patriotism as well.
Salle Engelhardt is a cultural anthropologist and political scientist living in the Northern Rockies.