A Culture of Hate and Violence in the US
By Connie White
June 1, 2022
First, before I get into what I want to discuss today, I would like to say that the members of the LCIP Continuations Committee extend our continued condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims murdered and injured in the mass shootings that occurred in Buffalo, NY, and in Uvalde, Texas. We grieve with you at the loss of your loved ones, and we want you to know that you remain in our thoughts and in our hearts.
According to Bloomberg online in an article regarding gun violence in the United States, the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde are only 2 of the 214 mass shootings that took place in the first 145 days of 2022. Twenty-seven of those mass shootings were at schools. (Gun Violence In the US Far Exceeds Levels in Other Rich Countries, May 26, 2022, Bloomberg online, Citing Mass Shootings in 2022, Gun Violence Archive).
The shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24th evokes memories of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut in 2012 where 26 people were shot and killed – 20 of whom were children. The racist attack and mass shooting in Buffalo, NY on May 14th, where 10 mostly elderly Black people were gunned down while shopping at a supermarket, was followed by another hate crime perpetrated on a Taiwanese church congregation in Southern California on May 15th, where 6 were injured and one murdered. “These types of tragedies feel unique to America, where there are more civilian-owned guns than people.” (Bloomberg online, May 26, 2022.) Unfortunately, mass shootings and hate crimes have become commonplace in the USA.
In the aftermath of the hate crime and mass shooting in Buffalo and Uvalde, many are waving the “gun control” banner again and lambasting government representatives for not passing stricter background checks or more comprehensive “gun control” legislation that they believe will curtail gun violence in the United States. However, statistics regarding gun violence and mass shootings, coupled with statistics about police murders, are indices of an environment of violence, bigotry and hate in the USA.
Regarding police shootings, in 2021, police shootings resulted in 1,145 deaths. The statistics also show that people of color are 2.9 times more likely to be murdered because of police shootings. Already in 2022, out of 645 incidents where gun violence involved police, the police have murdered 393. (Gun Violence Archive2022.)
As related to mass shootings, there have been 267 deaths so far in 2022. US deaths from all non-suicidal causes related to gun violence total 9,003. (Gun Violence Archive 2022.)
“Among 64 high-income countries and territories, the United States stands out for its high levels of gun violence. The US ranks eighth out of 64 for homicides by firearm (age-adjusted). Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, two US territories, rank first and third on that list. ‘Firearm injuries tend to be more frequent in places where people have easy access to firearms,’ according to findings from the 2018 Global Burden of Disease study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).” (May 31, 2022, On gun violence, the United States is an outlier, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation online, IHME).
The increase in incidents of gun violence, mass shootings and hate crimes in the US reveal the culture of violence in which we are socialized. Furthermore, the intense culture of hate and violence against people of color and against poor and immigrant communities results in not only cultural biases against whole communities and groups of people, but also creates a culture of oppression that often results in feelings of hopelessness, depression and mental illness. Add to this culture of hate, violence, mental illness and depression the fact that the US is the only industrialized country without universal healthcare wherein medical help is available to all who need it, we end up with violence within the family, within the community, and perpetrated at all levels of society, including within the criminal [supposed] “justice” system.
The US foster care system is riddled with reports of abused children, and the jails and prisons, as well as police in general, perpetrate violence against citizens even during a routine traffic stop, and against immigrants seeking asylum.
Within this social environment of gun violence, mass shootings and hate crimes, international corporations and oligarchs increase their profit margins and wealth holdings while the US taxpayer competes for the financial and legislative crumbs meted out by a government that represents the interests of corporations and oligarchs!
It is not enough to gather statistics and discuss. We need to do something about the issues that adversely affect our very livelihood! Additionally, we need to be directly involved in deciding the US budget and how our tax dollars are being allocated and spent! However, the US system of government – the two-party duopoly – does not represent the masses. In other words, where decisions are being made that directly affect the quality of life that we experience in the US, the laboring masses have no representation in those halls of governance!
Laws are being passed or rescinded, as the case may be a la Roe v. Wade, US wages are under attack from rising inflation which exacerbates skyrocketing gas prices, food shortages and supply chain shortages engender soaring food prices that exacerbates hunger in the US, and the out-of-control cost of housing creates a rising homeless population.
Under this economic system that we call capitalism, the oligarchs and their corporate minions are taken care of with bailouts and tax shelters, but those of us who create wealth and help to create corporate profit margins can’t even get a higher minimum wage and universal healthcare! The representatives that the masses of voters put into office give only lip service to what WE really need!
Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) was formed to advocate for an independent political party that is built from the ground up via the organizing of labor-community assemblies and coalitions that become the base for accountability of so-called representatives in the halls of government and for building a labor party.
With the recently renewed discussion around gun control, anger has been directed at representatives who fail, time and again, to represent the interests of the US citizenry. These representatives are elected to office after claiming to fix things like the growing unhoused population, or promise to bring discussion to Congress to implement universal healthcare, or promise to increase the Federal minimum wage. However, no legislation has occurred to alleviate these conditions – representatives refuse to bring Med4All to the vote or end the Senate filibuster but they quickly increase the US military budget by $29.5 billion and $13.6 billion! It is clear, on both sides of the aisle, that these so-called representatives are not our representatives. Therefore, a strategy to remove these non-representatives is long overdue, and to organize and develop labor-community assemblies and coalitions.
Let’s open a discussion regarding how to ameliorate the rising incidence of mass shootings and police murders, how we provide much needed universal healthcare to the US population, including mental healthcare, and how we provide low-cost and affordable housing, just to name a few. Join LCIP in this discussion and in organizing labor-community coalitions to build a real political party that represents the interests of the majority. “The capitalists have two political parties; we need one of our own.” Join us… LCIP
[Connie White resides in Southern California and is an active member of the Continuations Committee of Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP).]