By: Aldo Fulcanelli.
What happened recently in Charlottesville, Virginia, where an individual of supremacist ideas ran over a group of people, murdering one and wounding others, has once again uncovered a debate of broad moral and even affective connotations in the United States: empowerment of the culture of violence protected in the awakening of a fundamentalism of racist connotations, all amongst a society that refuses to look at its extremes.
It is a moral debate, as there are still large sectors of that country that legitimize (for example) the irregular possession of firearms, protecting their right to possession based on an old constitutional amendment. There are also many groups that defend the latter, working to avoid the approval of laws regulating the possession or prohibition of certain firearms, on par with the great interests of the Industrial Military Complex. In one way or another, it is a nation that lives and breathes alongside its firearms, whether we want it or not, the possession of the latter is part of the American way of life, and an undeniable encouragement to the culture of violence.
It is also an affective debate, because citizens who defend the exacerbated possession of firearms, raise the maxim that “it is necessary to protect our families or property from threats from outside”, all in the face of an exacerbated diffusion of violence on the part of the big television consortiums that try to dilute the freedom of information, tendentiously mixing it with the open promotion of truculence that besides selling everything morbid, contributes to promote the hysteria of a society already badly damaged by the paranoia.
The indiscriminate use of firearms, in a nation that claims to love them openly, has triggered events such as the one in 1999 at Columbine where a couple of schoolchildren planned the murder of their comrades as if they were characters emanated from some video game or action movie, or worse. What happened on that sad date came to surpass all fiction, reviving ever since the old debate on control in the possession of firearms.
But the “Columbine massacre” would not suffice to teach a society incapable (at that time) of recapitulating the steps of its history, and the acts of violence were reproduced later in churches, schools, nightclubs, shopping malls and even cinemas. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, alongside virtual reality or the cult of social networks, firearms were transformed into knives, homemade bombs, canes or blunt objects used to injure people, and even cars or trucks with the purpose of running over different social groups, with or without a specific message to relay.
To this terrorism explained factually from the tribunes of the White House, that same selective terrorism that survives from ideological claims, domestic terrorism is added. Not new, but it is an increasingly popular way of targeting and riddling innocent people in the middle of the street.
If extremist terrorism is characterized by the exaltation of acts of violence sealed with blood for the purpose of “teaching the enemy a lesson”, the other, domestic terrorism, stands out for its apparently spontaneous origin. On the one hand, we have people trained from the orthodoxy of fundamentalism, whatever their geographical region, men and women trained to kill, go to prison or give their life if necessary, while on the other we have people of serene appearance who pass for inadvertent, beings of a common denominator whose maladaptation, sociopathy, pushes them to commit murders in public places before the astonished look of an involuntary public.
Both terrorists are based on hate, and both of them provoke horror by using murder as a performance that multiplies its macabre effect when being reviewed again and again through the electronic media, as if it were a circus act. There is therefore a rare assimilation of violence (explainable or not) on the part of our societies, which contributes pitifully to homicide in public being recognized with more and more force, as a common occurrence in daily social life.
Increasingly evident today are images of parents murdering their children and then shooting themselves in the head, people pushing others onto the subway tracks, attacks on moving vehicles or beheadings in malls. A few years ago these same scenes would seem like they were torn from some dystopian novel, nevertheless today we would have to recognize that the creepy scenes of zombies invading the great cities, could well be replaced by the arrival of a group of people who leave their homes or their working hours to head to the streets to kill. Since when did reality exceed fiction? How long ago did human hatred germinate among humans, and we did not realize it?
As a drag on a tragicomedy with large doses of surrealism, groups accustomed to publishing on the social networks their travels, pets, and even what they are going to eat, would now be using those same virtual spaces to transmit live violations, beatings, and even including their own suicides, prior to the publication of emotional letters where an exposition of reasons for the event is made. Amongst likes and selfies, the human requiem exhibits the not-fully-recognized tentacles of domestic terrorism, the most elaborate creation of hatred on our planet.
The very culture of violence assimilated for years by the American society would permeate into ours; the sad images of a student massacring his companions would be repeated in our country, but until now, not with the same amplitude of what happened at Columbine.
Scenes of murders in public places would also be repeated, along with lynchings and polarization, giving way to the excess that seizes the social networks. Addiction to videogames, the exacerbated diffusion of truculence in music, extremism in language or even in clothing, are part of the same culture of violence, a multiplication of all the above but in the Mexican style, where intolerance slowly but effectively replaces peaceful cohabitation among people.
To say that US violence is to blame for what is happening in Mexico would be a moralistic message of impermissible puritanism for the writer of this article; to deny (on the other hand) that along with the weapons that illegally cross the border, we also receive the powerful influence of the cult of violence would also be false. In any case, it is a shared problem because the disproportionate possession of arms and their irregular use in the United States affects not only our country, but also the whole region.
According to figures from the Brady Center, which specializes in the prevention and control of firearms in the United States, 315 people are shot daily in assaults, suicides, suicide attempts, shootings and police intervention. Every day, 93 people die from armed violence resulting from murders, suicides, legal intervention and others. Every day, according to figures from the center itself, in the United States 222 people are shot and survive attacks, suicide attempts and legal intervention. Despite the appalling figures that reflect the infamous use of firearms, all action to regulate them has failed.
Adding to the list of victims of armed violence, the arrival of Donald Trump, an openly racist president, who arrived as President using factiously a rabid speech recharged in white supremacy, which undoubtedly contributed to the reactivating of messages of hate by the fundamentalist groups that defend the rhetoric of totalitarianism in the streets. They even defy the institutions of a country that outwardly tries to teach other countries of the region and intervenes in their democratic processes, but on the inside, have not been able to restore order in their own territory. This message is both contradictory and unacceptable in a world that already requires an urgent reconciliation between opposites.
While the president of the most powerful nation directs his accusations towards an “axis of evil” designed in the manner of his own prejudices and factual interests, the world fades into a spiral of hatred and death that already holds society hostage in its most vulnerable point, the home – a future factory of domestic terrorists, willing to empty their rifles, cars or whatever can be used as a weapon, to discharge their hatred on innocent people, or even ones considered guilty from their sickly logic.
We will wait to see if the world will be prepared to receive dozens of potential thugs who attack from any point or at any time, murderers who prepare themselves from the calm of their houses under the shadow of anonymity. We will also wait to see how America (accustomed to look outward) will face the spontaneous murderers from within, those not recognized in the sobering and moralistic discourse. We will need to see if the puritanical country of the north is willing to recapitulate and recognize its errors, and enter a very long rehabilitation to practice the culture of peace, a fact that seems still very far off.