Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Abominable Events Took Place Last Week, Not 1 But 3.

There were three monstrous events in the USA last week, one of them took up most media space and time, the others remained largely buried beneath what were seen as more screen-worthy dramas.
Pierre Tristam pinpointed one of the other two abominations; here's the last paragraph of his piece Gun Worship’s Perversion: Just Don’t Call 10,000 Murders a Year “Terrorism”,
Last week’s enduring moral isn’t authorities’ swift and commendable ability to hunt down two amateur terrorists. It’s the shame of a nation that has perverted the meaning of violence. There is the unacceptable kind. That’s “terrorism.” And there is the acceptable kind. That’s the 30 daily murders by gun. The kind the Senate said there’s no need to do anything about. The kind we cannot allow to interfere with gun worship and the NRA’s five-times-a-day call to prayer.
Gary Younge's piece at Common Dreams echoed the same feelings:
On Wednesday the Senate declined to pass even the most anaemic gun control measures in response to the Newtown shootings. Twenty children, aged between six and seven, are slaughtered in school and the American polity takes five months to decide do nothing. Unable to break the filibuster limit, it didn't even come to a vote. Hiding behind the National Rifle Association's (NRA) talking points, gun rights senators cloaked themselves in the constitution, insisting support for gun control would violate the second amendment "right to bear arms".
The greatest threat to US citizens is not one-off terror attacks, but the menace that comes with mass gun-ownership.
Hat tip to http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/tag/u-s-senate/ for illustration

We could not do even "the least we could do", could we? Why? Because our representatives no longer represent us.

The third tragedy was highlighted by Dave Lindorff: The Real Terrorists are the Corporate Execs Who’ve Bought the Regulators.
The way I see it, we had two acts of terrorism in the US this week. The first took place at the end of the historic Boston Marathon, when two bombs went off near the finish line, killing three and seriously injuring dozens of runners and spectators. The second happened a couple days later in the town of West, Texas, where a fertilizer plant blew up, incinerating or otherwise killing at least 15, and injuring at least 150 people, and probably more as the search for the dead and the injured continues. The villains in the West Fertilizer Co. explosion can be much more easily identified: the managers and owners of the plant.

West Fertilizer was built starting back in 1962 in the middle of the small town of West, TX, a community founded in the 19th century and named after the first local postmaster, T.M. West. It makes no sense, of course, to locate such a facility that uses highly toxic anhydrous ammonia as a primary feed stock (a compound that burns the lungs and kills on contact, and that, because it must be stored under pressure, is highly prone to leaks and explosive releases), and one that makes as its main product ammonium nitrate fertilizer, around lots of people. Ammonium nitrate, recall, is the highly explosive compound favored by truck bombers like the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. It was the fertilizer, vast quantities of which were stored at the West Fertilizer plant site, which caused the colossal explosion that leveled much of the town of West.

Building such a dangerous facility in the midst of a residential and business area, and allowing homes, nursing homes, hospitals, schools and playgrounds to be built alongside it, is the result of a corrupt process that is commonplace in towns and cities across America, where business leaders routinely have their way with local planning and zoning commissions, safety inspectors and city councils. Businesses small and large also have their way with state and federal safety and health inspectors too.

I gleaned from comments at a blog called Lawyers Guns and Money where the issue was being discussed a few days ago, that the owner of the plant is a man in his 80s, he bought it a decade ago. He is a well respected member of the community and owns other businesses in the area. Obviously the plant owner, unlike the terrorists in Boston, had no intention of killing people - and yet, and yet - he, or his managers, did not appear to have the safety of people in their community high on their list of essentials.

What happened in West, bad as it was, now known to have killed 14 first responders, voluntary firefighters and medics, could have been very, very much worse had local people not received early warning of a disaster about to happen. On another occasion in another place, in a similar situation a warning might not be possible. Terrorists of the known kind are a known danger - this is an equally dangerous but largely hidden situation which would benefit from a similar amount of attention and force of authority as was seen in Watertown last week.


R J Adams said...

Well said, Twilight. While the atrocity in Boston was a rare event, the carnage wrought in this country by freely available firearms occurs daily. Death and mutilation due to health and safety legislation that is either not effective, or ignored by bosses who use corruption to bypass it, is a close second.
Corruption is frequently cited as rife in other countries (Russia and China being prime examples) but I doubt their legislative bodies are any more corrupt than the federal and state governments of the USA. It's become blatant here to the point of acceptability.
The folk of this nation need to rise up and shout, "Enough is enough."

Anonymous said...

"Republicans did not have the votes for a filibuster, so there will be a debate about the gun bill. And given the recent rash of gun violence, Republicans said it was the least they could do. Literally, they had a meeting and said 'What is the least we can do?'"
Bill Maher

Gun control appears to be a non-issue with most politicians. Perhaps the "sin tax" could assist. Here's a letter to the editor in my paper today:

"Gun control through taxes

We all know that smoking (and secondhand smoke) is hazardous to your health. Guns, bullets, high-capacity clips and assault weapons can also be hazardous to your health. So why don’t we just start enacting new tax laws on handguns, assault weapons, ammo and related items? Let’s start with a high federal and state tax on ammo purchases and high-capacity clips. If we can charge high taxes on cigarettes then we can enact this new tax.

This is NOT gun control. You can buy whatever you want and as much as you want, but you’re going to pay these new high taxes. This new tax could be used to support federal, state and local law enforcement and victims of gun violence.

All of this would be dependent on Republican lawmakers who claim to be the party that protects the unborn but are unwilling to protect the living."

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ 100% with you on all counts, RJ - especially that The People should by now be rising up and raising voices to a much higher volume that can presently be detected. Enough has been enough for long enough now!

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Oh my! So they've found an even lesser least than extending background checks! They'll talk about it. Well, isn't THAT special?!

The idea of raising taxes on weaponry is such a sensible solution that I doubt it would ever be considered in the USA. Best potential solution I've seen so far! Thanks for letting us see that letter.

Chomp said...

I cannot but agree with this link http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/1686

Of course there are still “material” terrorists but this other kind of terrorism is occult in our world...


“My moral suasion is composed of some extremely important advice, with lichened licking licentious license…”
“Use the lug when it luffs!”

(Source: http://www.myspace.com/noamchomsky_fandiscussion/blog/531137435)

Twilight said...

Chomp~ Hi! Yes, I always admire Dave Lindorff's articles - that's an excellent one - this para puts the issue of lack of safety in a nutshell:
How can this be so? Because the entire health and safety regulatory apparatus of the US, from the federal level to the states and right down to local government, has been effectively neutered by corporate interests, who have used everything from threats of relocating to campaign contributions and outright bribes of officials and elected representatives to buy or win the right to basically operate as unsafely as they like, free of supervision.

PS I'll add your blog to my links

Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting Washington Post article discussing the US' secret world of intelligence gathering:


Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~ Thank you for the link - I've skimmed through the article - it's long, so I shall go back later when fully alert and read it in detail. Sounds veh--erry interesting!