United States of Anxiety | the Commercial Messiah

Yet another mass shooting in the United States of Anxiety. Why did he do it? Where does the anger come from? or feelings of powerlessness?…Well, after watching the newscast which switched to a commercial break (which I usually mute and ignore), I looked at the commercials as a stranger in a strange land. Advertisements about happy, carefree, beautiful people who are laughing and having fun together … about to purchase more things to embellish their perfectly happy lives. Thou Shalt Buy I thought to myself; these messages are enough to drive a person who is already borderline weak and emotionally unstable, to feel even less worthy and more resistant & envious; magnifying what they lack, and increasing their loneliness and neediness…

I’m looking at this (shooting trend) not from a behavioral standpoint of an individual who’s been diminished and criticized with words by their parents -emotional abuse, physical abuse, or neglected completely – or as someone who perhaps all his/her life was deprived of comforts and security. I’m not looking at it from a psychological or chemical imbalance standpoint or the lack of nurturing families.

I’m just looking at it from the container of the cultural message packaged and sent out – of which TV is the most powerful medium – the lure of the commercials within the belly of this heavily lopsided consumerism bent world. The message; to buy more, purchase this or that and you’ll be happy. The message is laden with competition, to strive to be as cool as your peers.
Buy More
Television and film/video is such a powerful medium: images fused with music to hit the emotional chords. The messages could be: the world is a wonderful place and we are in this together… kind and loving people here to help you and guide you… this world is awesome with all of its creatures and look at how happy and joyful you can be through the simplest activities. Well, yes, these messages are out there, and yes, one can turn off the television and electronic devices. Yet instead, the predominant messages coming from the TV is, if you don’t have this, or own that, you are ‘left out’ and socially bankrupt. If you don’t get in with the action and buy this or have this, you won’t get the attention you want and you won’t be able to pretend to fabricate this gleaming and glittering reality. If you are unattractive or weak or not in the ‘in crowd’, these commercial messages will be even more venomously received with anger and hatred.

That was my response looking at the commercials after listening to Obama’s words to the nation after yet another massacre. For the most part, the perpetrators of mass school killings are not doing it out of racism or inequality – they are typically caucasian males who randomly shoot without much care of the target. The killings seem to be rage from people who feel outcast within their own groups/schools/communities who see reality and their prospects as bleak.

Add the easy accessibility of guns to the equation and it gives the people with the anger, emotional rage, chemical imbalance or a history of being victims of torment and abuse the ability to easily carry out their impulsive or well-thought-out plans of (suicide / homicide ) with ease.

Buy what thou hast no need of

Buy what thou hast no need of

So I’m saying that this stems from the dis ease of the messages of rampant consumerism infiltrating our culture. It’s the slickness of the mirage that advertisers create for the companies who wish to sell their merchandise, at any cost. Okay, i’ve said enough, or not enough. Buy NowWestern culture is so bent on profit and short-term, short-sighted goals – at the risk of genuine human happiness and the welfare of all the different creatures that share our planet – that both the haves and the have-nots, have anxiety; the former, because of the threat of it being taken away, the latter, because of the material things dangling before them, which they can’t have.

 

Just a theory about a culture that keeps getting further and further away from the real, simple joys in life, enjoyment through sharing company with oneself, with others and with the natural world around them.

better place DaykEgner Mamasweed Kurci and Kay Degner

better place DaykEgner Mamasweed Kurci and Kay Degner

Go out into Nature and get Lost, without anything

Go out into Nature and get Lost, without anything

Certainly this epidemic can not be reduced to blaming it on capitalistic commercialism. What’s the remedy? Go out into nature, without any electronic gadgets or stuff, and get lost.

Carol Keiter horse NYC Climate March '14

Carol Keiter horse NYC Climate March ’14

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Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address Rocks | They Deserve a Vote

Congratulations once again President Obama on giving a great heartfelt speech. In much of it he addressed the economy in need of repair. He stressed closing the loop holes that people of wealth and power tend to use to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. In much of it he talked about investing in America; in providing pre-school education to all kids across America as well as to offer joint high school and business sponsored technical training, to prepare kids who have received a high school diploma to join the work force. He spoke a lot about rebuilding America, incorporating the same type of public works (WPA) which Roosevelt employed which I alluded to in my blog about Obamaworks Notch Up the Government’s Role with “ObamaWorks” | A Version of Roosevelt’s WPA | to bring the country out of recession and ensure a stronger economy, by rebuilding the infrastructure to attract companies here. He spoke again of offering tax incentives to companies to keep their plants here on U.S. soil, to employ Americans; saying that for the first time Apple will be building its products here in the United States.

Barack Obama as usual, gave a flawless speech; fluid and candid. If he does use a teleprompter, I never see his eyes flickering to read from it. He definitely has a strong intellect and integrity of word. I simply ‘believe him’.

His reasoning was sound, if you invest in education and the infrastructure to lay a foundation for bringing more opportunities, then the children growing up here will make more educated and intelligent choices, resulting in fewer teen pregnancies and less violence (stemming from the rift between the haves and the have nots). He talked about more transparency in general. And of reforming the U.S. voting procedure; starting with a bi-partisan group to oversee this, so that people (like the 102 year old woman from Florida sitting in his audience) won’t have to wait for 6 hours in line to vote, as she had done in order to ensure that her voice would be heard.

Finally, he ushered in the topic of gun violence; regarding increasing the back ground checks, limiting the amount of assault weapons and ammunition magazines. President Obama had a number of people in the audience who were direct and indirect victims of this violence. He ended his speech with the powerful and emotional words imploring both parties to vote on this issue, echoing the words ‘they deserve a vote’. In fact, much of his speech talked about the importance of thinking beyond one’s own immediate, personal wants and needs; thinking of the larger picture and doing things for the benefit of the whole.

Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, a U.S. Representative, attended the event with her husband. She was among eighteen other shooting victims at a public political event in which six people died. A mentally ill individual whose aim was to assassinate Giffords, shot her at close range in the head, managed to acquire a weapon.
Democracy_Now_feat_President_Obama_They_Deserve_a_Vote

Gabby_Giffords_State_of_the_Union_Address
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now interviews Cathy Cohen, founder of the Black Youth Project in Chicago, regarding gun violence.

Hadiya Pendleton was shot in a park in Chicago, a victim of a stray bullet by gang gun violence. She had performed as a majorette with her group for Obama’s 2nd Inauguration just a week before her death.
Hadiya_Pendleton_15year_old_Chicago_girl_caught_in_gang_gun_crossfire

Easy Access to Guns | Violence in Video Gaming | Role Playing of a Disfigured Youth |

Bet you any amount of money that the black trench coat sporting, automatic weapon carrying kid that blew away his mother and 20 children and 6 teachers at her school, regularly played video games…that lovely multi billion dollar industry whose number one participants are 17 to 37 year old males worldwide – involving extreme violence and compulsive playing tactics. [I’ve since learned that he lived in a windowless basement, bunker type atmosphere and played World of Warcraft and Call of Duty.]

Promo_for_Video_Game_Call_of_Duty_re_Norway_massacre
The only reason that i know a little bit about video games, is that my German ex boyfriend (who was physically violent towards me a number of times) was an alcoholic in addition to being a compulsive gamer. He’d prefer to stay in his room smoking cigarettes, in need of incessant stimuli (mediocre to lowbrow TV), instead of engaging in nature, hobbies to develop himself or interacting with real people. I hadn’t known about this until after I’d already been enamored and charmed by the otherwise gregarious & friendly sportsman who played on my team.

Seems that a number of these black trench coat wearing guys with weapons and ammunition tucked in their coats are playing out an imaginary role, because they have ‘no life’ to engage in to otherwise empower themselves and feel happiness, satisfaction and pride.

Instead, the laziness combined with psychological disturbances and feeling lost in an already misguided society (which puts greed, money and superficial accoutrements ahead of honesty, an esteem for learning and education, curiosity, appreciation and love for life). So that distractions, drugs, games, TV, various stimuli and artificial identifications take place of real life, real people, real engagement and active involvement in things in which one can develop feelings of pride, satisfaction, a sense of achievement and feeling a part of a community.

The drugs of choice differ in the different countries. Otherwise, the fantasy and gaming are the same. The only problem is that in the United States, guns are so easily acquired, like buying a six pack, that the sickest individuals can play out their darkest uncontrolled fantasies of power, devastating the lives of innocent people as fast as it takes to pull a trigger. I think that not only are the manufacturers of weapons to blame, but the dominant war happy country that we live in, the Hollywood idealization of violence and the gun lobby of the narrow minded people who think that their rights are wrapped up in their ‘right’ to protect themselves. I bet that this kid’s mother who bought the weapons in her name, thought that she was doing the right thing, that people need to protect themselves in this ‘dangerous’ world.

However, the more this mentality is toted; of locking doors, fearing strangers and being afraid, the more people will keep buying weapons, and arm themselves. I find the huge number of SUVs that blanket America, sport utility death machines to save their own ass in case they’re involved in an automobile accident also alarming. In which the owner who sports this oversized machine will typically inflict massive damage and more than likely death, to whoever is involved in an accident with them and their over-sized vehicle. Yes, I rant about the U.S., yet there are plenty of countries throughout the world with very misguided priorities and more maligned actions; towards people with less power, woman, animals which can’t defend themselves and the environment. Yet there’s something terribly wrong about this opulent country with a preponderance of fat cars, fat guns, fat houses, fat drug use, fat bodies and fat denial. Yes, I’m angry and listened to this information with tears running down my face.

And it appears that this is the case, looking at the headline in the British newspaper, the Independent “Adam Lanza: A head full of video games and a house full of guns” “When investigators found his computer at the house, the hard drive had been smashed, presumably by Lanza. He is said to have been a fan of computer games featuring warfare and killing.” Perusing the internet on this subject, I also found this article. “College Killer Crazy for Violent Video Game” “The man who gunned down five people and wounded 16 in an Illinois classroom rampage was a loner who preferred studying to partying and was obsessed with an ultra-violent video game, dormitory mates said yesterday.”

And this one in The Daily, “Video Game Killer”, regarding the Norway massacre. “For years, people have been trying to link video games and violence. Yesterday, Norway’s Muslim-hating mass murderer made the connection.Anders Behring Breivik, on trial for last summer’s bombings in Oslo and shooting massacre on an island summer camp that killed 77 people, testified that he used an edition of the first-person shooting game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare to train for his heinous crime.”

In his most recent “Note From Michael Moore“, he states “I’m convinced the majority of Americans will now back strong gun control laws. And a better mental health care system. And perhaps a few are willing to look at the deeper issue of how this country officially sanctions violence as a means to an end…you know all those nuts that fear you’re going to take their guns? You can take their guns now.”

Dr. Drew Pinsky has some thoughtful words to help those people who were immediately involved to heal, and is negotiating and talking with a lot of people to come up with ways to avert these crisis in the future.

I just learned through the Independent News broadcasters, Democracy Now, that there had been another mass shooting in Newtown Australia. “In the wake of the Newtown killings that left 27 people dead on Friday, we go to another New Town — in Australia — the home of a mass shooting that killed 35 people in 1996. Just 12 days after what became known as the Port Arthur massacre, Australia’s government responded by announcing a bipartisan deal to enact gun control measures. There have been no mass killings since. We’re joined by Rebecca Peters, an international arms control advocate who led the campaign to reform Australia’s gun laws after the Port Arthur massacre. She also produced the landmark report, “Gun Control in the United States: A Comparative Survey of State Firearm Laws,” with the Open Society Institute in New York.

Gun Violence in America | Sponsored by Hollywood Ills | Sensationalized in News Media

Several days ago there was the case of a bright, witty and caring 17 year guy shot several times and killed by his 72 year old grandmother,with her automatic weapon. In a separate incident, an emotionally sick individual (ironically who had studied the biological origins of neurological and brain disorders) open fired in the packed midnight screening of the Batman sequel “Dark Night Rises”, living out his fantasy, and getting a hell of a lot of media attention for his, in Obama’s words, heinous act. All of this points to the absurd availability of guns, and with their accessibility, how ridiculously simple it is for an individual to, in a matter of seconds, pull a trigger and end someone’s life. Let’s wake up AmeriKa. As written in this New York Times article, “Once again, with a squeeze of a trigger, just 20 miles from Columbine High School, scene of the 1999 student massacre, the nation was plunged into another debate about guns and violence. He had purchased four guns at local gun shops.” Read more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/21/us/shooting-at-colorado-theater-showing-batman-movie.html This is not about the right to carry a weapon, we aren’t living in the Wild West. We already slaughtered the Native American Indians with our weapons 200 years ago. This is not about the ‘right’ to bear arms, it is about the absurdity of thinking that one ‘needs’ to bear arms. We need to rethink, educate and really rock the boat in a different direction. Obama’s message of valuing life and acknowledging your blessings, could not have been a better response. This isn’t about the enemy and evil empires (Bush’s response to 911), this is about what this empire has spun and created. Now it’s time to start gracefully taking a dramatically different stance. Respecting life, respecting one another. War is a crime. Battles between gangsters is a crime. Intolerance is a crime. Anything can become a weapon, even something healthy, food, can be used for toxicity rather than nutrition, but that doesn’t imply that it’s okay to mass market extremely unhealthy food, nor mass market extremely dangerous weapons. Eyes wide shut with the gun lobby greed, let’s wake up and get our priorities straight!

Though this report took place soon after the incident, at which time Amy Goodman had not had a lot of information, it nevertheless approaches the subject of the endemic gun violence in the United States. She interviews Mary Kershner, a registered nurse, gun control advocate, and founding member of Nurses Advocating Gun Safety, speaking from Denver, Colorado. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/7/20/denver_shooting_rampage_leaves_12_dead Ironically, the Gun Show will be taking place in Colorado in the next weeks.

Here’s a more recent interview on Democracy Now with Colin Goddard, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting who was shot 4 times, and is now an active participant with the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence.

And well, what’s more poignant than this /-)) http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-july-23-2012/aurora—gun-control

Here’s a more recent article in the New York Times, “Military Suicides Rising a Focus on Private Weapons” discussing the rate of suicides among soldiers, and the fact that they are predominantly occurring with the individual’s private fire arm. “According to Defense Department statistics, more than 6 of 10 military suicides are by firearms, with nearly half involving privately owned guns. In the civilian population, guns are also the most common method of suicide among young males, though at a somewhat lower rate. When active-duty troops who live on bases or are deployed are identified as potentially suicidal, commanders typically take away their military firearms. But commanders do not have that authority with private firearms kept off base.”