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Murder Thy Neighbor: A Recap Of Mass Shootings In 2023

Above photo: The number of mass shootings between Dec. 14, 2012 ( the day of the Sandy Hook massacre) and June 25, 2022 .Gun Violence Archive; map: Eamonn Fitzmaurice/The 74.

An Anti-Imperialist Perspective.

Mass shootings have become ubiquitous in the US, as part of a gun-obsessed culture that manufactures and exports violence around the world. This pandemic of violence is a creation that serves ruling class objectives.

(This is part I. of a longer sociological analysis on this pressing topic)

2023 was the Year of the Mass Killing, with only 2019 ranking higher in terms of total mass shootings and death in the United States.

ABC reports 627 “mass shootings” in 2023. That means that in “the world’s leading democracy,” as the U.S. government likes to present itself both within the empire and across the globe, we collectively endure roughly two random murder sprees per day.

While feigning concern, the corporate press predictably engages in sensationalism and fuels this pandemic. The ruling class refuses to touch the ideological cornerstones of U.S. society that undergird this ongoing fratricidal saga – a white supremacist, hypermasculine, gun-obsessed culture, a proliferation of untreated mental health issues, profits over human needs, violent conquest abroad and promoting hatred and divisions at home. The human carnage we are witnessing from Gaza to Donbass to the malls, streets and homes of the United States reflect the billionaires’ agenda that is at its root thoroughly anti-democratic.

National Organizer of the Black Alliance for Peace, Ajamu Baraka rhetorically posed a vital question that the pompous punks in power dodge at all costs: “​​Can someone help me? Why are the most vocal, liberal gun control advocates also some of the most vocal supporters of war in Ukraine? These are the same “bleeding heart liberals” who pilfer the national budget to wage Hybrid Wars and war on Russia, China, Venezuela, Palestine and any oppressed nation striving for genuine independence.

For over a generation now, it is no longer a question of if there will be another headline about a mass shooting. The only question is which school, office or public space will be the site of the next “random” shooting. A self-reflective and healthy society would have posed the questions by now: what is going on? Why are we doing this to ourselves? How can we really get up under and ahead of this pandemic of shootings?

This article will focus on two aspects of the societal-crisis that fuels “random, mass shootings:” the corporate media and white supremacy.

Domestic Terrorists and white Supremacists, Made in the USA

Anti-racist activist and self-described “truck-loving redneck” Dixeywhitey hosted a Southern mother on his popular Instagram page issuing an impassioned call to all white mothers to intervene to stop the heinous violence. Have we heard any parents take responsibility for raising mass murderers? The unnamed woman and Dixeywhitey’s intervention is long overdue, considering 79 percent of all mass shootings since 1982 were perpetrated by white murderers. Almost 100 percent were perpetrated by male shooters. Lost in the atrocity-driven, sensationalist, click-bait headlines is this very specific demographic data. Far right shootings are by far the most common Ideologically Motivated Mass Shootings .

There are no “lone wolves.” There are Fox News-guided wolves, New York Post-guided wolves and Breitbart-indoctrinated wolves. And there is a reserve army of them; these are the foot soldiers of United States fascism. Who will they turn their 400,000,000 guns on? Us or them? Their true class enemy or the social forces who fight back?

Most shootings are not “random” at all. Many shootings are white supremacist hate crimes that are racially motivated, targeted terrorist attacks. In June of 2015, 21-year-old Dylan Roof infiltrated a Black church in Charleston to hunt down Black people. In May 2022, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron opened fire at a supermarket in the Black community in Buffalo. On March 16, 2021, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long opened fire at two spas and a massage parlor targeting Asians. 48-year-old Jason J. Eaton shot three Palestinian students last month because of the anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic messaging from the media in the wake of Israel and the U.S.’s-proxy Zionist genocidal campaign of violence against Gaza. These are but four examples of shootings that are anything but random. These are Hate Crimes. This is white supremacist violence.

The Battle of Ideas necessitates the correct framing of this pandemic. Shootings caused by Mass Alienation and media indoctrination points us towards adopting accurate terminology that explains instead of obfuscation.

The Shock Troops of Ruling Class Ideology

The fascist chickens are coming home to roost. The talking heads indoctrinate society with hatred, fear and ignorance about Palestinians, Arabs, African-Americans, Chinese people and other oppressed nationalities. They run stories for months, years and generations producing an ideological line that blames targeted communities for “terrorism,” “urban riots ,” “mass rape ” and “unleashing a deadly virus on humanity,” to cite four common racist tropes they feed us.

The mass shootings the oligarchs unleash serve their agenda by keeping people fearful, and thus wanting more “protection,” from cops, the surveillance state, etc. The police continue to gun down Black Americans and others at consistently high rates , three and a half years after the torture and execution of George Floyd. There is no discussion of disarming them. The state and extra legal vigilantes hunt down Black people and Latinos at the highest rates .

This is the social formula politicians from both sides of the aisle ignore. The shepherds, with their chauvinist doctrines, set the white supremacist sheeple in motion. The ideologues are perfectly conscious of the role they play. Their corporate Board of Directors and CEO’s have placed them there precisely to scapegoat the victims. Malcolm X’s words are foundational to a class analysis: “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Sinophobia, Islamophobia, white supremacy and hypermasculinity are the unofficial religions of our time. The brainwashed act as today’s Brown Shirts , ideologically trained, set in motion and mimicking the fascist violence of the state.

The ruling class is trapped in infinite hypocrisy. They champion the 2nd Amendment for their shock troops, rhetorically pronouncing, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But we know the history of removing guns from those who posed a threat to the system. Gun control is popular and effective when it targets those who pose threats to the system. The example of the Deacons for Defense, Robert F. Williams and Negroes with Guns and California Governor Ronald Reagan’s disarming of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense are but three examples of U.S. government attacks on the 2nd amendment rights of the masses.

The ruling class’s agenda is clear: arm the state and its attendant ideological allies and disarm the multinational working class who pose a threat to their dictatorship over society.

“It’s Impossible for a Chicken to Produce a Duck Egg.”

Ajamu Baraka explains why another way forward outside of the corporate duopoly is necessary: “The democrats want war with Russia, the Trump administration wants war with China, and the rest in both parties don’t care who the U.S. wars with as long as both parties are still committed to the pro-imperialist doctrine of full spectrum dominance.”’

It is only another anti-capitalist way forward that can imagine a genuine solution to this crisis.

Dr. Martin Luther King led an anti-war rally in Chicago in 1967 exclaiming: “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home—they destroy the dream and possibility for a decent America.” As King concluded shortly before his assassination, there is no disentangling the violence meted out by the white supremacist, colonial project, spearheaded by U.S. imperialism, and our polarized society that is wantonly and cannibalistically consuming itself. As Malcolm X explained at a Socialist Workers Party Forum in New York City on March 29, 1964, U.S. society can only produce what it is designed to produce. Only a society that breaks with the old could begin to implement policies that truly protect us and our children from the most violent society human history has known.

Malcolm continued that night: “​​And if ever a chicken did produce a duck egg, I’m certain you would say it was certainly a revolutionary chicken!” Both King and Malcolm were cut down at 39 years of age as they evolved into anti-capitalist thinkers and leaders. They were beginning to envision a society that could move beyond genocidal violence at home and abroad.

It is clearer than ever that the “revolutionary chicken” Malcolm spoke of is anti-imperialist struggle, building multinational class unity, collectivity, socialism and communism, to transcend a society addicted to a war on all nation’s sovereignty, plunder across the planet and century-to-century Holocausts against Native peoples.

Thank you to the organizers in Black Alliance for Peace and the Solidarity Committee for contributing ideas explored in this piece and in the longer analysis that will be published in the upcoming weeks.

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