In Good Repair

I believe the gun ownership debate detracts from the real issue of America’s interior psychic violence, which manifests itself in so many escalating ways these days. Said violence is very deeply ingrained. Every day I watch a hundred little social and interpersonal brutalities and attitudinal cruelties, which seem to go unnoticed by the public at large (though not unfelt,I am sure). And they seem to be growing.

To me, even the school shootings and the attending meaningless discussions about gun ownership are a distraction from the real problem. And that problem is a complex one having to do with such things as the decay of our social support network and families, the unacknowledged fear permeating this collapsing empire, the exploitation of the citizenry by telling them there is danger at every turn — Muslims, crime, etc., and the vast unarticulated rage and insecurity that lies just beneath the surface if everyday life here. It’s hard to see it if you are a visitor, but even harder to endure if you happen to be a citizen of a country that holds a quarter of the world’s prison population, yet represents only six percent of the world’s population — a system that teaches us to value punishment and revenge over keeping our common society in good repair.

—Joe Bageant


~ by Jay Taber on December 24, 2007.

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