JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
It's not at all hard to believe that our most popular national priority right now is to see how many more new and effective weapons of death we can supply our troops with, supply foreign dictators with, supply our cities' paramilitary police with, supply every rabid gun-nut and gangsta in the country with and/or also supply ourselves? Geez Louise!
And can you also believe that we just spent over 300 billion dollars on developing an F-35 bomber which, despite its crappy design, construction and performance, is still an ultra-deadly weapon of mass destruction on a post-Godzillian scale?
What ever happened to knives, shivs, nunchuks, baseball bats or even fists? If you really want to kill someone that badly, shouldn't you be required to do it with just your bare hands?
Over in this pile on my left we have all kinds of stuff we could be spending our money on that would make us healthy, happy and safe. And over in that pile to my right we have all kinds of stuff to kill people with. If you were to compare these two piles right now, one pile would about the size of a wedding cake -- maybe. And the other pile would easily dwarf the Empire State Building or even the Twin Towers -- the one that all the gazillion weapons we own couldn't save. How misguided (or even sick) is that!
We Americans need to get a hold of ourselves. We need to put our blood-lust in check.
On the one side we have drones, robo-cops, tasers, lasers, assault weapons, white phosphorus, torture chambers, chemical weapons, biological weapons, gun shows, Blackhawks, Bradleys, hummers and atomic bombs.
And on the other side we have ballet. The symphony. Arts and crafts and music in the schools. Yawn. To most Americans, this side is a joke. "All that sissy stuff won't protect us from The Enemy," you cry. But guess what? With almost all our wealth and experience and knowledge and intentions going toward developing even newer and better ways of killing people, the enemy is already within our own walls. We ourselves are the ones who are slowly but surely destroying America -- physically, financially and morally.
And we ourselves have now become all those scary nightmares in the closet, angels of death, schoolyard bullies, serial killers, relentless attackers and masters of our own doom that we fear so much.
That's beyond sad. That's psychotic.
Imagine if we had spent seven or eight trillion dollars on stuff like healthcare, jobs, schools, food and parks -- instead of on constantly inventing new and better ways to turn human beings into fetid and rotting corpses and cadavers? Sure, we might all have been murdered in our sleep by the Bad Guys. But at least we would all die happy. And there wouldn't have been all that many bad guys to begin with either. Or we could have just bought them all off.
Not only that, but having all these nasty cold-blooded weapons instead of having adequate healthcare, decent housing, infrastructure improvement, etc. is already killing us on a gargantuan scale. More Americans die of hunger, homelessness, untreated diseases, unregulated firearms, domestic violence, child abuse, corporate greed, agribusiness pesticides and GMO epidemics, Wall Street shadiness, prescription drug "side effects," over-the-top industrial pollution, improper nuclear waste disposal, prison-industry callousness, heartless pension cuts, bankster housing scams, etc. than have ever died as a result of any "enemy" action.
And according to journalist Mark Karlin, the NRA is currently trying to sponsor legislation that supports selling guns to terrorists on our watch list, violent abusers of women, and the legally blind! How many Americans would that kill in a year? Osama bin Ladin woulda been so proud.
Despite all our good intentions, bravery, wisdom and even common sense, America's largest and most popular industry right now is still designing, manufacturing and selling weapons that kill men, women and children.
America today is not a country I can be proud of.
PS: I am currently reading Peter Barus's new book, "Matters of Life and Death" -- all about Japanese sword-fighting and the honorable philosophy and art of "engagement" with an opponent.
But guess what? No one is ever "engaged" by a nuclear weapon. No one is ever "engaged" by a drone. There are no heroics involved in wholesale murder and slaughter. Just ask the surviving victims of Hiroshima and Auschwitz.
PPS: And speaking of Auschwitz, my very favorite holocaust museum ever is located in Terre Haute, Indiana. Founded by Eva Kor, a survivor of the Mengele twins project, this museum is based on Kor's heart-felt philosophy, "Forgive your worst enemy. It will heal your soul and set you free".
But the house-sitting/dog-walking gig ended yesterday and now I'm renting a SRO up on Parker Street for three nights. Hopefully I'll be moving back home on Monday, although who knows? They just discovered black mold in the apartment above me and that might take some more time because they gotta call out the haz-mat guys in white suits. But that's okay. I'm sort of actually starting to enjoy being pseudo-homeless and constantly "On the Road" -- just like that other Berkeley resident, Jack Kerouac.