Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Week of Explanation 2: Violence

There has been a marginal upswing in violence and violent crime since the pandemic.* The "consensus" is that covid lockdown and black lives matter have brought things to a boil. I disagree.

Here is the thing.Covid hasn't so much driven people crazy because of the lockdown, but HAS made people so much more aware of crap that has being going on. And violence and crime is the logical answer to it. I see four things pushing this:

(clockwise from upper left) Covid Inequality, Guns, Unequal Policing and Political Lawlessness

1) Covid Shows the US Inequality. 

The United States population is used to inequality. We (mainly white people) have been told from a young age that inequality can be overcome based on merit. We have been told if you work hard, you will succeed and if you do not, it is your own fault. Covid showed what a fucking lie this was. 

During 2020, the year of the lockdown, 631 Billionaires increased their wealth by $931,000,000,000.00. that is $931 Billion dollars. Where did this money come from? It came from us, who had to buy their products during a lockdown. And it came from the government, who helped the rich get richer with loans, graft and direct payouts.

This was on top of the gigantic tax cuts the rich and businesses got under Trump.

Covid has shown us that "playing by the rules" is a sucker's game, and the rich get richer. If you eliminate the path to income growth, people will find another path.

2)  Guns - and the Impossibility of Avoiding Them

Criminals need guns (in the United States). More guns mean more chances to use them. Just since Trump, laws were changed to allow more people to carry guns without any checks. People with a history of mental illness are allowed to carry guns. We put less restrictions on gun ownership and carrying them than we do on people getting a driver's license. It is easier to get a gun than a license to cut hair. Dogs require more licenses than guns.

Do guns "cause" more violence? Yes. The more people that have guns, the more people use guns. Then those victims want more guns, which leads to more gun deaths.

Can it be stopped in America? We will not get rid of guns in America. But we should be able to limit automatic weapons and cartridges with hundreds of rounds. We did this before (and violence was reduced).

3) Black People Are Killed Indiscriminately - And Therefore We All Trust the Police Less

Policing tactics have long been aimed at Blacks and other minorities over white middle class folks. It's just a fact. Blacks have always been more routinely stopped, arrested and killed. Covid lockdown happened when cell phones made documenting this inequality of justice easy. 

And I stupidly thought that documenting inequality would reduce the inequality. It has not. It has just shown this injustice to all of America. For a large portion of America, the response was "so what"? If a 12 year old was killed in the part for playing with a toy gun (which was marked correctly with the red muzzle), surely justice would occur.  If a women EMT was shot to death in bed while sleeping, surely justice would occur. If a black man was killed while jogging by off-duty officers and white guys, surely justice would occur.

Justice did not occur. So something else occurred, we have collectively tossed belief that the police bring equal justice to America. It is up to the people. And the people are armed (because #2).

4) Lawlessness in the Political Arena Teaches that Rules Are For Suckers

Donald Trump broke the Constitutional laws of enriching himself and his family with no consequences. Matt Gaetz paid minors for sex, and no consequences. Two Attorney Generals and 2 acting Attorney Generals broke the laws of surveillance and had no consequences. I could go on but you get it.

Before you say that this doesn't lead to violence, consider the 55 MPH speed limit. It was routinely ignored and people no longer felt the law was fair. People blew that law off.

Well, now Americans know that the laws are not fair. Not only are minorities over policed (see #3), white politicians are not policed at all for graft, bribery or perjury. When the few are prosecuted and convicted, they are pardoned.

When we prove that breaking the law had no consequences, people will break the law.

I don't know if we can fix it. We have a political system now that reinforces lawlessness like the Jan 6th insurrection, and there are more donations for politicians that promote breaking the law.


* Note that I would say the increase in crime is not that large. We are still have much lower rates than the 1980s. But Fox News and Republicans see this as an issue they can ride back into power. Since they have nothing else they believe in.

1 comment:

  1. #5, if I may. Nothing is being done legislatively to fix any of it. If we want change, we have to vote people into Congress who will do stuff to fix it and get rid of those who refuse to.


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