Go ahead, make my day
--Sudden Impact (1983)
What if I had a spear?
--Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Signe's cartoon shows a bullet with various American sites of gun violence, and the caption, "Does not discriminate by race, creed or national origin." Except when it does. Maybe we should not use the word "discriminate", but "select" or "target".
Why does this political cartoon not include Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen and all the other places in which the U.S. government kills people with firearms every day? We act shocked when the violence on our home ground is occasionally fed to us in the headlines, but that is a disingenuous posture. Violence is us.
We focus on the local and obvious while ignoring the larger problem, which is: We are a society which officially condones violence.
We are engaged in an illusion when we think to turn violence on and off. We are not separate from that anger or violence. We cannot hold it and only express it over there, or only sublimate it via some word or action. We are violent, and until we find a way to understand that, violence continues, sometimes more, sometimes less spectacularly. The National Rifle Association's unofficial motto, "guns don't kill people -- people kill people" is half right; the modality does not matter -- if violence is there, it will find expression.
We often call violence a good when expressed as competition, or protection born of divisiveness or a sense of high and mighty righteousness, but it is all violence, expressed in more or less socially acceptable forms. Thinker J. Krishnamurti said:
Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence. When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent.
And we do these things every day of the week.
--Jim & Lisa