This latest mass shooting in Las Vegas that left more than 50 people dead and more than 500 injured is as obscure as they come: a 64-year-old retiree with no apparent criminal history, no military training, and no obvious axe to grind opens fire on a country music concert crowd from a hotel room 32 floors up using a semi-automatic gun that may have been rigged to fire up to 700 rounds a minute, then kills himself.
We're left with more questions than answers, none of them a flattering reflection of the nation's values, political priorities, or the manner in which the military-industrial complex continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.
For starters, why do these mass shootings keep happening? Mass shootings have taken place at churches, in nightclubs, on college campuses, on military bases, in elementary schools, in government offices, and at concerts. This shooting is the deadliest to date.
What is it about America that makes violence our nation's calling card?
Is it because America is a gun culture?
Is it because guns are so readily available? After all, the U.S. is home to more firearms than adults. Curiously enough, the majority of gun-related deaths in the U.S. are suicides, not homicides.
Is it because the government continues to whet the nation's appetite for violence and war through paid propaganda programs (seeded throughout sports entertainment, Hollywood blockbusters and video games)--what professor Roger Stahl refers to as "militainment"--that glorify the military and serve as recruiting tools for America's expanding military empire?
Is it because the United States is the number one consumer, exporter and perpetrator of violence and violent weapons in the world? America spends more money on war than other countries. America polices the globe, with 800 military bases and troops stationed in 160 countries. And the war hawks have turned the American homeland into a quasi-battlefield with military gear, weapons and tactics. In turn, domestic police forces have become roving extensions of the military--a standing army.
Then again, could it be, as some have speculated, that these shootings are all part of an elaborate plan to incite fear and chaos, heighten national tensions and shift us that much closer to a complete lockdown? After all, the military and our militarized police forces have been predicting and preparing for exactly this kind of scenario for years now.
Perhaps there's no single one factor to blame for this gun violence. However, there is a common denominator, and that is a war-drenched, violence-imbued, profit-driven military industrial complex that has invaded almost every aspect of our lives.
Ask yourself: Who are these shooters modelling themselves after? Where are they finding the inspiration for their weaponry and tactics? Whose stance and techniques are they mirroring?
In almost every instance, you can connect the dots back to the military.
We are a military culture.