"Oh yeah," he said matter-of-factly. "Don't feel bad. That's not a bad percentage." Indeed, in real war it's a lot higher. Depending on whom you ask, the US in Iraq killed between 150,000 and 1.1 million Iraqis, and reportedly only 20,000 of them at most were enemy fighters. That means our "heroes" in Iraq killed civilians at a ratio of between 13 % and 98% of the time! That explains the latest news that American troops have been expending 250,000 to 300,000 rounds of ammunition to kill each enemy fighter in Iraq and Afghanistan--a rate so prodigious that the domestic armaments industry can't supply enough shells (the US has been buying half its bullets from an Israeli manufacturer). Just imagine where most of those missed shots went. A lot clearly hit the wrong people, including many very little ones.
And yet at every indignity, every international disagreement, every terror act by some foreign nutcase or angry jihadi, Americans are quick to call for massive military retaliation. "Blast them back into the stone age!" is a common refrain, even when nobody knows who "them" is. "Kill them all and let God sort them out!" is a popular line too.
No wonder a certifiable whackjob like Jarod Lee Loughner, when his twisted and fevered mind got angry at whatever demons were tormenting him, turned to a gun and headed out to kill him a congresswoman. He may have been nuts, but he was acting out a very popular American fantasy, at the very least: Kill the bastards!
Don't get me wrong. I'm not for banning guns. I had a gun when I was 12, and I loved shooting it. If I hadn't sold it when we were low on money shortly after I got married, I'd still have the thing.
But nobody needs an assault weapon. And nobody should be able to carry a concealed weapon around town, crazy or not.
More importantly, though, this obsession with killing and war has to stop.
We need to recognize that the people who call for ever higher military budgets, who justify blasting the sh*t out of a poor country like Afghanistan, the people who argue for bombing Iran, and the police departments that send cops to demonstrations armed with assault weapons, as well as the politicians and the fascist radio and TV pundits who call for killing political opponents, are all every bit as sick and twisted as a lone gunman who goes to a Safeway parking lot and shoots a Congresswoman in the head.