Culture · Death · Expatria · Human Rights · Politics

The Culture of Violence

In the wake of the recent assassinations and assassination attempts in Tucson, Arizona I’ve had so much to say, but you know what? I’ve been scared to say it.

I’m scared to end up on a list (if I’m not on one already for my previous human rights work). More than that, I’m scared to end up on Sarah Palin’s list.

Because the people in Sarah Palin’s metaphorical cross-hairs actually get shot in the face.

I’ve never been to Tucson, but the shooting hit close to home. When reporters intoned, “Gabrielle Giffords was shot point blank in the head,” my stomach lurched.

Those two words, point + blank, are enough to send me into a PTSD attack. My own memories of a gun in my face never fade.

Cue the blame game: The shooter is crazy. A fanatic. Schizophrenic. Insane. Let’s all make it seem like these assassinations took place in a vacuum instead of the fearmongering culture of violence advocated by Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and their supporters.

Cut to Sarah Palin saying, “My words have no consequences but words ABOUT my words can incite violence”. My double take was so dramatic I think I pulled a muscle in my neck.

America, what has happened to you? Is your racism so deeply entrenched that having a black man as Commander-in-Chief has pushed you over the edge?

I don’t care what personal problems the shooter had, has or will have. I find these excuses irrelevant.

America, you are the problem.

How can you advocate with the same breath the First Amendment right to buy and own a gun while denying a woman’s right to choose to carry a baby to term? Maybe if you held the right to life as sacred as you claimed then there would have been no means for the Tucson shooter, there would be no more mass murders, no more car-jackings like the one I survived but tragically lost my friend Wendy.

How can you claim to be “for the people” when you won’t even provide universal healthcare like all other developed nations in this world? Maybe this sick young man would have got the help he needed. Couple that with no access to guns…How many problems does that solve right there?

How can you expect President Obama  to fix all the problems created after eight years of George W. Bush’s (fraudulent) presidency?

What is the future of America as democratic state if this culture of violence prevents all effective dialogue? I fear that all of those who do not agree with Sara Palin’s doublespeak will be at risk for assassination, just like Gabrielle Giffords. How many moderates will turn conservative to protect their lives and families? How many people will simply give up, leaving a new black hole from where the vitriolic discourse can disseminate?

I hold Sarah Palin responsible for all the deaths that took place in Tucson.

She may not have wielded the gun, but she and her supporters have created the perfect climate for these politically motivated manifestations of violence. Her gun rhetoric, dumbed down for even (or especially) the most uneducated person to comprehend, is an actual call to arms that has been heeded. Ms Palin: What else would you be referring to when you say, “Don’t retreat, instead RELOAD?”

Sarah Palin’s call to arms resonates throughout America. A boundless echo. Where will her call to destruction upsurge next?

America, I have no faith that you will stand, and stop this monstrous woman from going forth and further soiling the potential of your dream and people’s lives. But, America, you need to. Wake up and smell the blood on your hands. New blood. I can smell it from here.

America, this nonsense has already gone too far. You are rotting from the inside. I can smell that too.

America, please come to your senses before it’s too late to save yourself. Or is it already?

©2011 Sezin Koehler, image via *eddie

You met our multinational Dialogue 2010 cultural innovators last spring in a roundtable discussion of hybrid life at expat+HAREM and followed their reactions to a polarizing book promotion. In this round they offer their thoughts on the recent shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona.

Add your voice to the conversation. Join the discussion on Twitter using #HybridAmbassadors.

More thoughts on this subject from my fellow hybrid ambassadors:
Tara Lutman Agacayak’s Enough
Catherine Bayar’s We the People
Elmira Bayraslı’s The Irresponsible Country
Catherine Yigit’s United in Fear

5 thoughts on “The Culture of Violence

  1. Sezin, good woman for shouting out!
    The prevailing climate in the US is something I can’t gauge very well, but I don’t purely blame Palin for it. She’s just one cog, albeit a large one, in a whole machinery marching forward. And that is what needs to stop and change direction.

    1. @Catherine Y – Agreed, 100%! I have no idea what would stop that war machine, but it’s really up to the Americans who live in the USA to make a stand against it. Maybe it just isn’t bad enough yet.

      @Anastasia – That’s the scary thought: All civilisations fall eventually. And they do. What worries me is how much of the world the USA will take down with it as it crumbles. There was an episode of “Supernatural” that jumped into a future where Sarah Palin is president and she’s effected nuclear war against Iran, North Korea and others. That is a scenario I can totally envision happening if she gets into power.

      @Catherine B – Absolutely. What really got my goat was Palin talking about how her words meant nothing. She really needs to wake up and smell the gunsmoke. Here’s hoping that her poor reactions to this event will affect her credibility in the long term.

      @Tara – Amen, sister!

  2. Thanks for this Sezin, I hear your indignation.

    In many ways we are each microcosms of our country and the dichotomies it suffers from…in this case, a liberal society abused through (and in) its own openness. Gun in your face, freedom of (hate) speech.

    I don’t know if the American experiment will ultimately “work” and self-correct from this low point (there have been others, too) but all civilizations fall eventually.

  3. It’s really as simple as that old phrase my husband uses all the time: “What goes around comes around”. Or that even older phrase: “You reap what you sow”. Thank you for being brave enough to write this, Sezin – I know it’s not easy for you when senseless events involving guns happen. We all need to take responsibility for our actions; most especially those with voices who reach millions. Deflecting blame while flinging it elsewhere may make for good ratings, but this is not a reality show.

  4. We are not responsible for others’ behavior, they make their own choices, but it is false to believe that our actions (and yes Ms. Palin, our words) do not have consequences. So my husband reminds me when I go on one of my angry tirades. If we have ever acted out in our own relationships, then as the building blocks of the larger society, we are also responsible for what happens on that level.

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