These are startling figures, but they do not tell us enough about the cult and spectacle of violence in American society. Nor do they make visible the myriad of forces that has produced a country drenched in bloodshed and violence.You're soaking in it, America.
Our emphases below, from personal experience. (Consider bolded terms & phrases like "blind rebellion, depression, rage & willingness of ordinary people to commit unthinkable atrocities" as a direct threat to somebody.)
The grave reality is that violence saturates almost every aspect of North American* culture. Domestically, violence weaves through the cultural and social landscape like a highly charged forest fire burning everything in its path. Popular culture, extending from Hollywood films and sports thuggery, to video games, embraces the spectacle of violence as the primary medium of entertainment. The real issue here is the existence of a pedagogy of violence that actually makes the power of deadly violence attractive. Representations of violence dominate the media and often parade before viewers less as an object of critique than as a for-profit spectacle, just as the language of violence and punishment now shapes the U.S. culture — with various registers of violence now informing school zero-tolerance policies, a bulging prison-industrial complex, and the growing militarization of everyday life. There is also the fact that as neoliberalism and its culture of cruelty weaves its way through the culture it makes the work place, schools, and other public spheres sites of rage, anger, humiliation, and misery, creating the foundation for blind rebellion against what might be termed intolerable conditions. Accepting the logic of radical individual responsibility, too many Americans blame themselves for being unemployed, homeless, and isolated and end up perceiving their misery as an individual failing and hence are vulnerable to forms of existential depression and collective rage. We have seen such violence among students reacting to bullying and among postal workers responding to intolerable work conditions. There is no one cause of violence, but a series of a number of causes that range from the war on drugs and the militarization of police departments to mass incarcerations in prisons to the return from brutal wars of many trained killers suffering with PTSD. All of these factors combine in an explosive mix to create an dangerous culture of violence and cruelty and as Jeff Sparrow points out a “willingness of ordinary people to commit unthinkable atrocities.”Yep, there's more about what shits humans are, exemplified in what Giroux calls neoliberalism. Doesn't seem so new to us, but we s'pose it's the nature (& necessity) of academic jagoffery to come up w/ new labels for humanity's usual inhumanity to itself.
*Howdy, neighbours & vecinos!