Did you know there’s a war going on? One you haven’t heard of? It’s not a terribly well organized war. Not too many people are dying though this is changing, fast.
It’s not very well reported the established media has been slow at coming to terms with what’s actually transpiring here. They are blinded by their own complacency, and this war is partly their responsibility. Yet they, much like the rest of society, continue to look elsewhere, continue to deny their, our, reality.
Over a year ago, the reality came home. The G8/G20 fiasco was perhaps the greatest single broad, collective violation of Canadian human and civil rights the nation has ever witnessed. It was claimed by the Police State that they were acting in their defence, that they were only doing their job. The buck was passed, but the video doesn’t lie. And more than a year later too few have been held accountable. After all, you’ve got to justify building the Police State, and when there aren’t enough terrorists around, you go after your own.
Across the Arctic, one of our circumpolar neighbours is reeling from what was initially reported and in my opinion misleadingly reported to be a terrorist attack. The News Corp owned Wall Street Journal went ahead with that headline today, despite the fact that the Norwegian authorities had already detained a self-described Christian fundamentalist yesterday. The truth is never convenient.
And we’ll certainly know the truth soon enough. The man responsible has been outed by the Norwegian national broadcaster. His home has been raided. His forum posts and electronic exchanges have been found and the picture is becoming very clear. A delusional man hyped-up on thoughts of the impending Islamization of Europe, decided to blow up a government building, and then (dressed as a cop mind you) go on a shooting rampage at a summer retreat sponsored by the governing Labour Party’s youth wing. At the time of writing there are 97 confirmed dead, most of whom are youth. Precious youth gunned down in the prime of their lives because of their political affiliation. Gunned down because preaching racial intolerance and reactionary nationalism sells newspapers, and pulls in advertising. Gunned down because it’s easier to kill your fellow man than to try and understand him. The son-of-a-bitch is apparently cooperating with the police. He is doubtless certain that upon explaining he was merely acting in the defence of his nation, he will be pardoned. Perhaps he thinks he is now a martyr for his cause. It’s sick isn’t it?
Down South, the once great American Republic is being held hostage by the same kind of people who encouraged Norwegian shooter Anders Behring Breivik online prior to his deadly spree shooting. The same kind of people who fuel a deception/propaganda machine, and ultimately, perhaps unwittingly, produce their own home-grown terrorists: Timothy McVeigh, David Koresh, Randy Weaver, William Pierce, George Lincoln Rockwell, Fred Phelps, Jared Lee Loughner, James Earl Ray all of these people led to believe that they could provide the solution to troubled times. It is a solution that comes, invariably, from the end of a gun.
When was the last time the Left produced a bomber?
When was the last time an anarchist assassinated someone?
Who was the last Progressive spree shooter?
I can’t think of anyone, but the aforementioned list (which is far from complete) resonates deeply in my mind. What’s sickening is that there this a collusion, possibly an international collusion of media, corporate interests and conservative political movements. The people involved push their flock to the edge of hysteria, and set them loose.
In other words, there is nothing stopping exactly this kind of tragedy from happening here in Canada. There is no preparation, no equipment, no police force, capable of preventing insane Fascists from acting â€˜in defence of their nation’. Just like with Islamic terrorism, you can’t stop it. And the home grown threat is always invisible. Whether it’s someone pretending to be a cop or an actual cop, there’s nothing the State can do to stop dedicated killers, oppressors and those who believe the best change is executed with great vengeance and furious anger.
But perhaps the State can go after the media that feeds this insanity.
I would hope that’s what President Obama is thinking right now. In light of John Boehner’s refusal to accept a compromise to ensure the United States doesn’t go into default, it occurs to me that there is a pervading sense amongst nearly all Conservatives that cooperation is a kind of weakness. The child refused to cooperate, and left the meeting room in a huff with the issue unresolved. This is the Republican Party, holding a nation hostage for the sake of the elites. This is the same party, which through its lobby and media tentacles, has convinced countless â€˜lone-wolves’ time and time again to wage their own personal war against whomever they disagree with. Boehner doesn’t need to put a gun in anyone’s hand the NRA’s already taken care of that. Boehner doesn’t need to tell people who to kill, Fox has already declared the Muslims/Anarchists/Liberals (etc, etc) are coming to get us. And Boehner doesn’t need to cooperate to make the American government work either. He’s gambling on an RNC landslide in 2012. He’s gambling on â€˜lone-wolves’ to create new problems, new distractions.
Something must be done,
Because it doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s interest to protect the Left anymore.
We’re sitting ducks,
And involved in an undeclared and spontaneous war of attrition with a force that doesn’t seem to place much value on human life in the first place.
* Photos: carissacancel.tumblr.com, thestar.com, mississippiautoarms.com
I find that if the media actually makes you go out of your way to kill countless people, then there is something already wrong with you in the first place. Normal people don’t go out and do things like this except if they suffer from some sort of mental illness. In which case, the right-wing media is simply the “trigger”, albeit not in the literal sense. However, with this being said, the extreme left can just as easily drive someone as insane as the extreme right. If someone really doesn’t agree with something on either side, and having to constantly listen to it, then I don’t see why only the right is to blame.
There’s nutcases everywhere. And we all have dark thoughts every now and again, but when you actually make do on your thoughts and take part in something I can only classify as sickening, then you obvious have a lack of a conscience.
It’s like anyone who says that violence in the media leads to violence in real life. I learned in university how violence doesn’t make people want to commit more violence — all it does it gives us more of a tolerance for it. For example, being able to watch a very bloody film without ever looking away.
Good article, but I feel the media isn’t really the ones to blame as much as the shooter himself. He was clearly weak-minded and probably had some sort of mental illness.
No progressive or left-wing bombers or terrorists??
C’mon I’m a lefty but even I know that eco-terrorists are just that, terrorists.
As a direct victim of terrorism, I can certainly sympathize with the victims and their families.
The media, as we know them, are mainly used as tools by the corporate government and work mainly for the ratings guide, and television media channels are often in fierce competition with one another. as a result the most sensational news is always headlined. last week, for example, they ran the same “Human interest” story two days in a row, probably because they weren’t to report on something else.
… Don’t say “it can’t happen here,” let’s not forget the attacks in Montreal area schools by such sociopaths as Marc Lépine, Valery Fabrikant and Kimveer Gill.
I think your last comment says it perfectly. “Don’t say it can’t happen here.” Because it happens everywhere and there’s always potential for it. You mention sociopaths, and oddly, 3% of males are diagnosed as have anti-social personality disorder and 1% of females. That’s a lot. And with these people, they feel no empathy and never can, so it’s impossible to relate to them or make them understand they’re wrong.
I think what’s to remember is that the media can always be blamed. But bias is inevitable and always exists. For example, to say FTB isn’t biased would be an utter lie, but you’re never supposed to admit you’re biased, rather just imply it. But it’s up to the people to understand what’s crossing the line and what isn’t.
The media is the perfect excuse because it’s everywhere. You can’t live a day in your life without utilizing any sort of medium, and because all media are biased, you have to be able to differentiate for yourself what’s to be taken seriously and what’s not.
I’m right wing, but I don’t listen or watch Fox News because I know they’re so bar to the right they just come across as stupid.
Mental illness is the best bet here. It’s just that not everyone can handle the media the same way as normal people. If the media was *that* dangerous, then we’d have wayyyyy more killing sprees every single day in the same locations.
Food for thought.
Thanks for all the comments, I really enjoy the feedback.
There are a few points I take issue with however.
First – to Cynical User; with regards to Montréal’s three major spree-shooting cases (in other words, our three principle school-shooting cases) not one of the men responsible were acting on their impulse to foment a conservative revolution. One was the victim of years of parental abuse, culminating in a deranged attack on women (he was a self-described anti-Feminist, hardly a candidate for the rank and file Progressives). The second had a history of violence and paranoid tendencies (which had been brought to Con-U’s attention prior) and went on a killing spree because his work had been used without reference by his superiors. Again, no political motive. The third was just bat-shit insane, and I still don’t think the SPVM has established exactly what Mr. Gill’s MO was, other than to try his hand at a Columbine.
What I’m saying is that I don’t think a sane Liberal Progressive would ever consider using targeted acts of violence to further their agenda, personal or political. Moreover, the Progressive establishment doesn’t condone this, considers it anathema to the success of the movement. Any true Progressive would take this to heart and our media reflects this non-violent attitude.
By contrast, there are plenty of examples, at home and abroad, of a direct connection between various schools of conservative/regressive thought in which violence is considered a ‘necessary evil’ to protect an ideology portrayed to be constantly under siege. Not only are major conservative political parties supported by militarists, gun-enthusiasts, self-described militia types etc, but there’s a popular perception that Conservatism is somehow ‘tougher’ than Liberalism, somehow more in-tune with military/defense/security thinking than other political parties. They in turn re-frame political issues in terms of defense, security and various wars on concepts (terrorism, drugs etc) – constantly placing those on the Left in an apparent position of being tolerant of ‘insecurity’ in terms of socio-economic agenda inasmuch as defense-planning. When the so-called Centrist Right is responsible for heinous acts of physical barbarity and political interference against its own citizens, you know the conversation has been contextualized along their lines in the first place.
Second, to Stephane and Mike, yes – spree shootings can happen anywhere, but libertarian/fascist-motivated spree-killings are a very specific type of crime, one which has a dark and well documented history. What I find to be overly distressing is that it seems to be that irresponsible corporate-driven media plays a role in a lot of these attacks. Look no further (and by that I mean wiki-it, very well done entry) than the late-1980s ‘satanic ritual abuse’ moral-panic: it culminated in the West Memphis Three case, one of the greatest injustices of our time, and all because the media recognized this smut sold a lot of ad revenue. Consider the series of American and Canadian school shootings throughout the mid to late 1990s – another Moral Panic stimulated by gory pictures of school hallways eerily reminiscent of a Doom level on the six o’clock news. How many of those school-shootings were copy-cats of previous school-shootings? The media has a responsibility to report, it sensationalizes because it is largely driven by greed. The attack in Norway isn’t that different from Oklahoma City or the Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt. The People must be able to exercise better control of the media (through regulation and State intervention) so that we can effectively remove the sensationalism, the money drive. Citizen-focused Media is more important that a corporate-driven one, and preventing this kind of violence, like other moral panics, is precisely why it ought to be in the hands of the People.
One final point. Is the man insane? He wrote a coherent 1500 word explanation of what he was intending to do (instigate a Christian-Fascist revolution and drive out all the immigrants, apparently). He corresponded with far-right organizations across Northern Europe, and was a respected regular in a variety of online forums and chat rooms. So was Kimveer Gill, though net-presence today is a whole different animal than it was back in 2006, but I digress. Point is he was present, efficient, direct. I’m planning on reading his manifesto – I’d like to hope that I am peering into the mind of a madman, but I’m cynical too – he could be nothing more than a Fascist Ideologue, driven by religious fervor to commit a calculated act of extreme violence. I don’t think his dog told him he was Satan, if you catch my drift. And given that he’s been fully cooperative with the police and surrendered peacefully, and that he had the presence of mind to dress like a police officer to make his killing more efficient, this all adds up to a stone-cold murderer. A terrorist. A man no longer worthy of being called a man. Someone worthy of immediate demise. I can’t forgive him – he doesn’t seem insane to me, and thus could never be rehabilitated.
I choked up when I was watching the news, seeing this grief-stricken woman in Oslo say how ‘hopefully, in time, he will understand what he did was wrong, he will be able to re-join society’. I was touched by her compassion and her sincere belief in the concept of rehabilitation. What a shining example of the progressive humanist spirit. I suppose I am not so shining an example, because I believe this man’s actions are so heinous he needs to be executed. I’m generally not in support of the death penalty and think it’s over-used, especially in the United States. That being said, when an individual can be so precise and methodical as this, and carry out an act of ‘libertarian-fascistic’ violence against the People, and expect to be lauded for his efforts, that’s the line. And example must be made. McVeigh’s execution was fully justifiable, he wasn’t crazy either. So were the executions of the Nazis.
Inasmuch as the Right has engineered the conversation in their preference, and have pulled the dividing line between Right and Left far into their field, and in so doing have encouraged violent acts with violent rhetoric. The hand of the Left has been forced once again by the Right, and this action requires a measured reaction. Norway must execute Anders Behring Breivik. The Left cannot tolerate this action, and to those who say he’ll become a martyr, I can only ask “to how many? Who will turn to these ideas in a world where fascism is prosecuted with extreme prejudice?” There are no Nazi martyrs because Nazis have been largely ostracized by the civilized world. Now let’s extend that to fascists in general. At a certain point Conservative ideology goes off the deep end and stops making sense, I don’t think this is true of the Left – the horse-shoe model used in poli.sci classes is far from accurate in my opinion.
I think he poses considerably more danger to the world alive – what do you think?
You make an interesting point when you bring up the man’s 1500 word explanation. However, my simple counter-argument to that would be to look no further than Hitler. Even the insane can write well, or even paint, in the case of Hitler.
I think it’s clearly obvious the man is insane. He’s a psychopath. I mean, clearly he’s not 100% sane. I’d say he’s really simply so caught up in his delusions it’s become normal for him.
Very fine article though, sir, and I do admire the long reply. This could be quite the debate, left-wing or right-wing, clearly we all agree the man is going to hell.
I can’t. There’s no hell, no heaven.
And I’m not prepared to accept that Hitler was insane. I think it is easy for us to call extreme evil insane. It is easy for us to identify that which we do not understand as insane. I think by defining him as insane after his death, after the Holocaust was discovered, we did a great disservice to humanity. Because if Hitler was the opposite of insane, and was in fact a rational, calculating but above-all clear-headed individual, then we all become susceptible to any Hitler coming down the road. By claiming he was insane, we can all throw our hands up collectively and say there was nothing we could do about it. Otherwise, we need to take steps as a society that we are very uncomfortable thinking about.
I don’t think the insane should be executed – they have no control over their actions. But Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, McVeigh or this guy, they all exercised extreme control in making their decisions, and thus are worthy of death.
Sorry to end on this dark note – you’ve inspired me to write a follow up! Thanks for the feedback.