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William Rivers Pitt | The Butcher's Repast

Wednesday, December 09, 2015 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
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An FBI agent gathers evidence at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, TN on July 18, 2015. An attack on the center was carried out on July 16th, 2015. (Photo via Shutterstock)An FBI agent gathers evidence at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 18, 2015. An attack on the center was carried out on July 16, 2015. (Photo: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com)

On New Year's Day, five people were shot in Memphis.

The next day, five people were shot and one killed in Savannah.

Two days later, four people were shot and three killed in Dallas.

On that same day, six people were shot and two killed in Roanoke.

One day later, four people were shot and one killed in Miami.

A day after that, four people were shot and one killed in Chattanooga.

A day after that, four people were shot and one killed in Boston.

The next day, four people were shot and killed in San Francisco.

The day after that, three people were shot dead in Moscow - not Russia: Idaho - and one was wounded.

The next day, five people were shot in San Jose.

That same day, two people were shot dead and five others were wounded in Hope Mills.

Also that day, one person was shot dead and three others were wounded in Lakeland.

Also that day, five people were shot in Tuskegee.

The next day, two people were shot and killed and two others were wounded in Wichita.

The day after that, five people were shot in Portsmouth.

The next day, two people were shot dead and three others were wounded in Rockford.

Five whole days passed before two people were shot and killed and five others were wounded in San Antonio.

A day later, one person was shot to death and three others were wounded in Clarksville.

Three days later, six people were shot in Boston.

The next day, three people were shot to death and five others were wounded in Omaha.

On that same day, four people were shot to death and one was wounded in Queens.

Two days later, four were shot and a fifth killed in Stockton.

Two days after that, one person was killed and three others were shot in DeKalb.

One day later, five people were shot to death in Troup County.

That was January.

On the first of February, six people were shot in Syracuse.

That same day, four people were shot and another killed in Manhattan.

Three days later, four people were shot and killed in King.

The next day, three people were killed and three others were wounded in Warrensville Heights.

The next day, one person was killed and three others were wounded in Tulsa.

The next day, five people were killed and two others were wounded in Douglasville.

The next day, six people were shot in Crockett County.

The next day, three people were killed and one was wounded in New Port Richey.

Five days later, five were shot in Long Beach.

Two days later, one was killed and three were shot in Little Rock.

Five days later, three were killed and two were shot in Habersham County.

That same day, four were shot in Charleston.

Also that same day, four were killed and one shot in Killeen.

Three days later, three were killed and two were shot in Houston.

Two days later, eight were killed and one was shot in Tyrone.

One day later, one was killed and three were shot in Baltimore.

On that same day, four were shot and killed in Tarboro.

Also that day, three were killed and one was shot in Columbia.

That was February.

Forty-two shootings involving four victims or more in only two months.

Memphis. Savannah. Dallas. Roanoke. Miami. Chattanooga. Boston. San Francisco. San Jose. Hope Mills. Lakeland. Tuskegee. Wichita. Portsmouth. Rockford. San Antonio. Clarksville. Omaha. Queens. Stockton. DeKalb. Syracuse. Manhattan. King. Warrensville Heights. Tulsa. Douglasville. Crockett County. Troup County. Habersham County. New Port Richey. Long Beach. Little Rock. Charleston. Killeen. Houston. Tyrone. Baltimore. Tarboro. Columbia.

That's the country. That's all of us. That's only the first two months of this one year.

The year is scant weeks from ending, and already has 355 mass shootings to its name. Moreover, that number is racially skewed and paints an incomplete picture of overall gun violence: It does not take into account most of the Black men who are being shot down weekly in smaller-scale attacks that do not make it into the tally. The number does not at all tell the whole tale. As Lois Beckett of ProPublica recently wrote, "It doesn't actually provide a clear estimate of how often the country has seen shooting rampages like the one in San Bernardino. And it obscures the broader reality of gun violence in America."

After Colorado, after San Bernadino, after all the other shootings large and comparatively small, only the wind knows what blood the remaining splinter of 2015 will seek to let.

I stake no claim to any deep wisdom regarding these matters; the Smart People on TV tend to do a sufficiently efficient job explaining away our nation's annual butcher's bill to the point that we shrug and move on whenever bodies bite the dirt, even when those bodies belong to children. There's money to be made, you see, and the business of the country is business.

I do, however, know this much. According to all available evidence, the massacre in San Bernadino was an act of ideologically inspired terrorism. Nothing about that is anything other than frightening ... but what should frighten more is the body count delivered by all the other mass shootings and massacres which have happened this year alone, delivered to the Beloved Homeland virtually every day by the idea that freedom somehow means being armed to the teeth.

Walt Whitman wrote, "If you want me again, look for me under your boot soles." I know arguments like mine get trodden under the boot soles of those who think wild gunplay is some American joy, who husband their Red Dawn fantasies in basements and back seats. I don't have an answer for that. Frankly, I don't have an answer for any of it.

But I see the butcher's bill and know this is wrong. Something has gone sideways. They want us to fear terrorists. We need to fear ourselves.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

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William Rivers Pitt | The Butcher's Repast

Wednesday, December 09, 2015 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

An FBI agent gathers evidence at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, TN on July 18, 2015. An attack on the center was carried out on July 16th, 2015. (Photo via Shutterstock)An FBI agent gathers evidence at the Armed Forces Career Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 18, 2015. An attack on the center was carried out on July 16, 2015. (Photo: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com)

On New Year's Day, five people were shot in Memphis.

The next day, five people were shot and one killed in Savannah.

Two days later, four people were shot and three killed in Dallas.

On that same day, six people were shot and two killed in Roanoke.

One day later, four people were shot and one killed in Miami.

A day after that, four people were shot and one killed in Chattanooga.

A day after that, four people were shot and one killed in Boston.

The next day, four people were shot and killed in San Francisco.

The day after that, three people were shot dead in Moscow - not Russia: Idaho - and one was wounded.

The next day, five people were shot in San Jose.

That same day, two people were shot dead and five others were wounded in Hope Mills.

Also that day, one person was shot dead and three others were wounded in Lakeland.

Also that day, five people were shot in Tuskegee.

The next day, two people were shot and killed and two others were wounded in Wichita.

The day after that, five people were shot in Portsmouth.

The next day, two people were shot dead and three others were wounded in Rockford.

Five whole days passed before two people were shot and killed and five others were wounded in San Antonio.

A day later, one person was shot to death and three others were wounded in Clarksville.

Three days later, six people were shot in Boston.

The next day, three people were shot to death and five others were wounded in Omaha.

On that same day, four people were shot to death and one was wounded in Queens.

Two days later, four were shot and a fifth killed in Stockton.

Two days after that, one person was killed and three others were shot in DeKalb.

One day later, five people were shot to death in Troup County.

That was January.

On the first of February, six people were shot in Syracuse.

That same day, four people were shot and another killed in Manhattan.

Three days later, four people were shot and killed in King.

The next day, three people were killed and three others were wounded in Warrensville Heights.

The next day, one person was killed and three others were wounded in Tulsa.

The next day, five people were killed and two others were wounded in Douglasville.

The next day, six people were shot in Crockett County.

The next day, three people were killed and one was wounded in New Port Richey.

Five days later, five were shot in Long Beach.

Two days later, one was killed and three were shot in Little Rock.

Five days later, three were killed and two were shot in Habersham County.

That same day, four were shot in Charleston.

Also that same day, four were killed and one shot in Killeen.

Three days later, three were killed and two were shot in Houston.

Two days later, eight were killed and one was shot in Tyrone.

One day later, one was killed and three were shot in Baltimore.

On that same day, four were shot and killed in Tarboro.

Also that day, three were killed and one was shot in Columbia.

That was February.

Forty-two shootings involving four victims or more in only two months.

Memphis. Savannah. Dallas. Roanoke. Miami. Chattanooga. Boston. San Francisco. San Jose. Hope Mills. Lakeland. Tuskegee. Wichita. Portsmouth. Rockford. San Antonio. Clarksville. Omaha. Queens. Stockton. DeKalb. Syracuse. Manhattan. King. Warrensville Heights. Tulsa. Douglasville. Crockett County. Troup County. Habersham County. New Port Richey. Long Beach. Little Rock. Charleston. Killeen. Houston. Tyrone. Baltimore. Tarboro. Columbia.

That's the country. That's all of us. That's only the first two months of this one year.

The year is scant weeks from ending, and already has 355 mass shootings to its name. Moreover, that number is racially skewed and paints an incomplete picture of overall gun violence: It does not take into account most of the Black men who are being shot down weekly in smaller-scale attacks that do not make it into the tally. The number does not at all tell the whole tale. As Lois Beckett of ProPublica recently wrote, "It doesn't actually provide a clear estimate of how often the country has seen shooting rampages like the one in San Bernardino. And it obscures the broader reality of gun violence in America."

After Colorado, after San Bernadino, after all the other shootings large and comparatively small, only the wind knows what blood the remaining splinter of 2015 will seek to let.

I stake no claim to any deep wisdom regarding these matters; the Smart People on TV tend to do a sufficiently efficient job explaining away our nation's annual butcher's bill to the point that we shrug and move on whenever bodies bite the dirt, even when those bodies belong to children. There's money to be made, you see, and the business of the country is business.

I do, however, know this much. According to all available evidence, the massacre in San Bernadino was an act of ideologically inspired terrorism. Nothing about that is anything other than frightening ... but what should frighten more is the body count delivered by all the other mass shootings and massacres which have happened this year alone, delivered to the Beloved Homeland virtually every day by the idea that freedom somehow means being armed to the teeth.

Walt Whitman wrote, "If you want me again, look for me under your boot soles." I know arguments like mine get trodden under the boot soles of those who think wild gunplay is some American joy, who husband their Red Dawn fantasies in basements and back seats. I don't have an answer for that. Frankly, I don't have an answer for any of it.

But I see the butcher's bill and know this is wrong. Something has gone sideways. They want us to fear terrorists. We need to fear ourselves.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.