The Slaughter of the Innocents
By Danny Schechter
New York, New York: The late December holidays in America used to be known as "the season to be jolly," with our streets festooned with bright lights, groups caroling, shopping galore, gift-giving and cheer.
This year, there's a pall over all the light heartedness because of the horrific violence that claimed the lives of 20 young school children and their teachers in a still unexplained shooting incident in Connecticut, the latest of a string of similar events involving widely available deadly weapons often in the hands of mentally ill people.
At the same time, there's fear and trepidation among those who believe there may be truth in ancient Mayan prophecies that predict the world will end this month. Perhaps that's why music critics are reminding us of a country classic by singer Merle Haggard, "If We Make It Through December."
This fear has spread worldwide with l00 arrests in China for people promoting apocalyptic scenarios
The 101 people arrested (including 37 in Qinghai and 34 in Fujian province in the east of the country, according to CNN ) all belong to the Christian "Almighty God" cult, and were spreading doomsday rumors door-to-door or at public venues."
Worldcrunch reports that in Argentina, "an anonymous person on Facebook was inviting people to "a spiritual magical suicide on December 21 at 21:12 on Uritorco Mountain." That is a key day on the Mayan calendar.
Of course, our media treats all of these stories and trends as separate and distinct from each other and offers little analysis about why some are not just becoming ready for the end of the world, but perhaps secretly believing or even hoping it will happen. It has been reported that the slain mother of Adam Lanza, the suspected shooter at that elementary School in NewTown Connecticut. was part of a group (or cult) called "The preppers," people preparing for the end.
Back on earth, in what we think of as the real world, there's been a tendency by President Obama and others to discuss the shooting that shocked Americans and people around the world in cosmic and spiritual terms.
"God has called them home," Obama told grieving parents.
Most of the media treated Newtown as a tragedy that touched the hearts of millions. But, there was more to it, argues the WSWS website:
"The response of the American media and the political establishment to the latest shooting traces a well-worn path. There are the banal declarations of the incomprehensibility and senselessness of "evil."
To the extent any broader response is offered, it is focused on the need for a "national conversation" on gun control and empty promises to do more to address mental health (made by politicians doing their best to slash health care programs to the bone).