Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Outrage Over Gun Violence: ADDENDUM

Media discussion compelled me to more thoughts on the mass shooting at The Pulse in Orlando Florida:

Interestingly, the very highest statistical percentages of homicides fall into these two categories: white male on white male and black male on black male. This is about power and control; mostly about which alpha (or wannabe alpha) male has power over another. I would really like to see more specific research findings on this. A friend calls this alpha male aspect “toxic masculinity.”

The specious lie is that black men, "radical Muslims," or indeed members of any minority group, in possession of guns is “the greatest danger to our society.” This is completely incorrect and always has been.

White men with guns are the greatest danger to American society, by sheer demographic numbers, not to mention the stats on gun ownership. Research from 2014 found that while black men were more likely to be homicide victims, they are half as likely to have a gun in the home as non-Hispanic whites. (

In 2010, black members of our nation represented 13% of our total population; black men represented 55% of homicide by gun. Much can be inferred from this simple data.

Shockingly, 2004 national firearms survey ( reported 48% of individual gun owners have four or more guns, and suggested about two-thirds of all guns are owned by just 20% of all gun owners. Over 6 million Americans own 10 or more guns. (

Guess which demographic is most likely to own an arsenal? What a surprise: White men are more likely own guns, and also to amass an arsenal because of societal entitlements that allow greater access.

Does all this ownership of guns constitute a well-regulated militia? Only if the “enthusiasts” are members of the police, military or National Guard. A woman retired from active military service suggested that everyone who wants to own and operate an arsenal really just needs get over themselves, needs to enlist and serve. Like that will ever happen…


The greatest challenge to our world is finding an equitable balance in which all people can have a decent life, where they needn't fear others and where anger is a rare occurrence. The anger and rage that is allowed to billow like wildfire must be checked.

I believe capitalism is greatly responsible for all of this -- or, to say it in another way, I think this is a primary failing of capitalism. If you don't tend the garden of consumers wisely—providing jobs that enable them to live and buy another day—they’ll eventually morph into a raging mob you can't control unless you have a well-regulated militia. Of course, this is just precisely how the NRA likes it; the “garrison state” butters their bread.


One of my readers expressed this in response to my blog of ___ : “… the attack on the LGBTQI community, particularly at a Latinx drag night, is an attack on alternative genders as well as the right of Latinx, people of color and whites of all genders to live or express an alternative gender. Given the shooter was not white but was American it is unclear what the racial / political dynamics of this incident were. We may never know but based on the questionable coverage it seems like a massive conflict between internal struggle with sexual orientation and external machismo and militancy.”

By way of response, I must emphatically agree.

However, most to the point for me is that people of multiple race, ethnicity, gender (alt, queer, straight, trad) and even nationality are the likely to have been the complete demographic makeup of those celebrating in The Pulse on the night of the shootings.

PEOPLE were killed or critically injured: mothers, fathers, children were killed or critically injured. I think this mass shooting attack is best defined as a crime against humanity. Really, it was our entire collective, culturally diverse and ever-evolving, beautiful society that was attacked by this shooter, who ultimately did not know or care about the humanity of any of those individuals, having (for whatever reason) objectified them all—or at least having abandoned his own humanity.  

While we can and should continue lobby with and through our identity constituencies, we must also lobby as a united front of American Citizens. Identity politics is fractured politics; equal rights and justice must be for all, no matter the demographic. To quote the old left wing anthem (from the 1880s!): “The international ideal / Unites the human race.” We need all our fragments, all our identities and cultural perspectives  to come together for this to be true.

On the main, our politics has become overly fragmented and polarized, rather than holistic. Our party system is antiquated and does not serve the collective or even the constituent voice. Suffrage has been eroded by legal dirty tricks, state by state. Party conventions used to be a forum during which a policy and program platform was built from among the delegate voices representing all various constituencies (this is how we used to be represented*); now they are merely rah-rah rallies for the nominees. Votes and consensus are socially engineered by a political elite (using the divide and conquer method) and receive plebiscitary endorsement at the polls.

I firmly believe there can be no stronger coalition for freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association, equal rights, equal justice, equal protections (such as gun control) than a united movement of diverse citizens. I think our lobby will be strongest and most fully represented from that position.

© 2016 by Elisabeth T. Eliassen

*See Walter F, Mondale’s essay: “Atlantic City Revisited; The Mississipi Freedom Democratic Party and the 1964 Democratic National Convention.” This is a very important read; you find out, first hand, the convention dynamics that contributed to the Civil Rights Act and LBJ’s reelection. I contend that the kinds of compromise toward political change that took place at the 1964 and 1968 conventions can no longer happen in the party conventions of today. This link leads you to a version that includes interesting commentary in italics: