American Terrorism  

AstirRelicLatah 64M
1288 posts
8/26/2006 12:28 pm

Last Read:
9/20/2006 3:16 pm

American Terrorism


In Vermont we just had a tragic shooting. I woman got a restraining order to keep her boyfriend away from her. The boyfriend borrows a gun, goes to the girlfriend’s house, shoots and kills the mother, then goes to the school where the girlfriend works, shoots and kills another teacher and shoots several other people. He then goes back to where he borrowed the gun, gets into an argument with the owner, shoots him and then shoots himself but doesn’t do a good enough job to kill himself….He’s now in custody and charged with several counts of first and second degree murder.

This is a very rare occurrence in Vermont. We are one of the safest states in the country to live in…However, it’s not a rare occurrence in our inner cities….As fate would have it, the shooter was from the inner city in Springfield, Mass where occurrences like this are not rare….tragically so.

I’ve been thinking about our inner cities a lot lately….It seems to me that we have our own brand of terror lurking in our very own borders. This terror comes from gangs who rule the cities of this country….or at least the poverty stricken section of those cities.

What’s so different between our inner cities and part of the Middle East where hate, fear and intolerance rule? In our own country we have citizens terrorized by thugs who control the city…random violence is the rule…our infant mortality rate and morbidity rate for teenagers in parts of our country are as bad as anyplace in the world.

We and the leaders of these communities have allowed the hero’s to be thugs, drug dealers, pimps and sports superstars. The smart ones go into the drug business where they have early deaths or a date with prison….Our criminal justice system penalizes crack cocaine at a level seven or eight times higher than ten times the amount of regular cocaine. Crack is the drug of choice in the ghetto for affordability and cocaine is the drug of choice of those with money…

The leaders of these communities want to blame the outside for the ills of our own inner cities. Isn’t it time for them to start looking in the mirror to demand action from their own people. This probably would not be a popular stand, but until it’s done our own country will continue with its own form of terrorism which is much, much more dangerous on a day to day basis than anything a foreign terrorist can do.

I hear that we need to continue throwing money at the problem…The more money we throw, the problem doesn’t go away. We now incarcerate a higher percentage of people in this country than almost anywhere else in the world. Most of these people are in jail for drug related charges….most of them had no other options, or at least that’s what they saw.

I’m very sad for the people in Vermont who are personally affected by our own terrorist activity from earlier this week….I’m much more sad for those who live with this fear on a day to day basis…Why don’t our politicians talk about our own internal terrorism? My belief is because it’s an inner city issue with the poor, they just don’t care…But, we spend millions if not billions on keeping the lid on the problem…why don’t we put our minds together on solving the problem and use some resources towards solutions not incarceration…If that could happen, maybe terrorist events like the one that happened in Vermont would become more rare…

What are your thoughts about this? Do you think we should punish or should we try to solve the problem? Both have valid arguments.

JuicyBBW1001 54F

8/26/2006 1:09 pm

My thoughts are with the people of Vermont. So sorry to hear of more senseless bloodshed no matter where it happens.
I think we should try to do a little of both. As I said in one of my post Human Warehousing is clearly not the answer.
I worked with juvenile offenders for several years. I remember being on a working wagon train with 67 of the hardest core juvenile offenders the city of Pittsburgh ever came up with at the time. It amazed me when one night I went in one of the teepee's to read them a story out of one of the Native American traditions books. Some where crying because I thought to spend time reading them a bedtime story. When I asked then about why some where so moved by it. They all told me about how their parents never bothered to care enough to read to them when they where growing up.
Now I know that doesn't sound like an excuse to go out and hurt and kill others but it did give me pause to think. Parents need to find ways to involve themselves with their children even if it is a simple family meal ritual. Or finding an activity or activities that can be enjoyed by all and do them.
Maybe our prisons and psychiatric facilities wouldn't be so over crowded if families found more time in their days to send with one another.

Juicy


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/26/2006 3:16 pm:
It would be nice if their parents got involved, but many of these people are abused at home and don't have any parents...The community needs to step in, but we keep cutting funds for this sort of activity. Having accountability in programs would be a good start, but providing adequate funding with accountability is what's needed.

wickedeasy 66F  
25415 posts
8/26/2006 1:36 pm

two words

gun control

re: inner cities, i work in one and yes there are drugs and gangs and violence - but the root cause? poverty and the inevitable impact it has on family structure, education and the ability to move forward instead of beign "stuck"

i am all for accountability - and i strongly believe in owning your own shit. but to blame a 10 year old without parents at home, without food to eat for joining a gang where he feels some sense of protection and validation - not so much

jumps off the soapbox

hi - and hugs

You cannot conceive the many without the one.


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/26/2006 3:18 pm:
Amen to gun control...I've had a couple pointed at my head in past years...but, in this case don't think it would do much good, the cat's already out of the bag...

Poverty is the root cause and giving money probably doesn't solve that problem. It reminds me of the saying give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats for his life. We need to find some way to teach our children to fish....New ideas are needed, we can't keep doing the same thing...That's called insanity...

Thanks and hugs to you.

rm_songbird5419 62F
305 posts
8/26/2006 2:27 pm

I'm going to start with your Vermont terrorism. As a victim of spousal abuse twice over, my first question would be how can a restraining order really be enforced when someone like this man is so determined to do damage to other human beings? I certainly don't know the answer to that and obviously the law enforcement authorities don't either.

As to throwing good money after bad in the inner city "drug wars" it's a foolish expenditure, as it has always been. There are communities which have banded together and said to the police, "either you take care of this or we will." You're quite right–if the communities don't look in the mirror and take care of their own business no one else will. These young children who are sucked into gangs are generally sucked in because there's nothing else for them to do. Their parents (if they even have 2 and they usually don't) aren't home.

Yes we should punish and yes we absolutely need to solve the problem. But the solving has to start in the communities involved. They have to want to solve it or it won't happen. So the cycle continues. I don't believe gun control has anything to do with anyy of this. Just like that fellow in Vermont, the bad guys who want guns will find a way to get them. If the laws already on the books were enforced, that would be a start, but they'll still get the firepower they want to maintain and build their power. There is no easy solution to this.

One more thing that really sticks in my throat...cops patrolling in their cruisers. They need to get OUT of the car, walk the streets, and get to know the people in the neighborhoods they patrol. Then maybe the neighborhoods would feel a little more inclined to demand help from the people who could help the most!


If you are strong and push through the pain and the fear, you often find that happiness is waiting for you on the other side.


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/26/2006 3:28 pm:
I'm also more than a little disgusted with community leaders. I'm also really referring to American terrorism...yes, it reared it's head in Vermont, but this is a huge problem in the rest of the country...we are losing way more of your people to this problem every year than we have in twenty years of foreign terror attacks...no one in the media or major government ever talks about the problem in those terms...if that happened, we might actually see something happen...but, those folks don't make campaign contributions.

Thanks for your comments...hugs.

rm_aWench4U 61M/61F
741 posts
8/26/2006 2:52 pm

I'm torn on my response here. A part of me say throw the book at anyone who participates in senseless violence, but another part asks what good will it do?

In order for punishment to be a deterant, it has to swift, severe and sure. Omit any one of those criteria, and it's not an effective deterant. Our justice system, in an effort to be thorough and fair (although that's a whole separate debate) is anyting but swift. Add to that agrument that wickedeasy said about the 10 year old looking for some sense of belonging, and the punishment is not seen as severe when compared to life on the streets.

As an educator, I feel the root of the problem is in the education system. Until such time as the schools in the inner city are every bit as good as those in the wealthy, suburban neighborhoods, the kids aren't getting an equivelent education, and their options are limited. That brings in the whole issue of poverty, funding, and parental involvement, and I don't have an answer for that either.

The whole topic makes me very sad, mainly because I don't see a viable solution on the horizon. The problems becomes self-perpetuating, and escalate over time. Where's my magic wand when I need one?

Remember the past but do not dwell there.
Face the future where all our hopes stand.


~Angela


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/26/2006 3:23 pm:
In the case of the inner city, there is swift and severe punishment, it's called drive by shootings...so, I would submit that this doesn't work either. We need to develop a new paradigm for handling this problem. We need to stop calling at a crime problem and treat it like what it is a terror problem...It's terrifying for anyone who has to live in that situation...it's terrifying for parents who lose children through random shootings...the loss of life and human capacity is just too high...there are ways to solve the issue, but it requires money and accountability...we've not been really good with money and have been nonexistent with accountability. Thanks for your comments.

rm_shannee2006 52F
3355 posts
8/26/2006 9:04 pm

I may have some radical views on this topic...

First is that it's our constitutional right to bear arms. Identifying who has guns and what kind is pushing it as far as I'm concerned. I don't like guns. I don't want one and I don't like others around me having them...but it's one of the fundamental rights we have against a government gone bad and giving up our rights on this issue is simply foolish and we will come to regret it.

Second is that in every single country of Europe, drugs and prostitution may be pursued legally in certain parts of any city. They have a fraction of the crime rate we do, their rate of addiction and sexually transmitted disease is truly a fraction of ours. There would be no drug wars and no need for guns if we stopped trying to tell other people that they can't have drugs and sex when and how they want it.

There's no damned need to police other adults who choose to kill themselves with the vice of their preference. And who cares if someone who's a consenting adult wants to pay for sex? It's not my business and it shouldn't be anyone else's.

If drugs and prostitution were legalized in this country we'd cut our policing budget down to a fraction over night, there would be nothing for thugs to argue about and there would suddenly be a great deal of peace on the streets and it's a sure thing that once the population became used to the new safety, that other enterprise would quickly ensue and education would just as quickly increase, stress would decrease and parents would very likely behave very differently within a generation or two.

People act the way they do because they don't know anything else and they have no hope of anything else.

Take away the reason for keeping them down and they'll rise up to something better. Dignity is human nature when given a chance to thrive.

When you stop treating people like children who need to be controlled by some outside force, they actually act like moral responsible adults...all on their own. Imagine that.

The real act of terrorism is one group of society dictating to others what the morals of a whole society should be. We have one group telling everyone that no one should be allowed to act like consenting adults when it comes to drugs, sex, abortion, guns, religion and a whole host of other things. This is the most insidious form of social terrorism. It is a violence against the humanity of another....

It is subtle and brutal because the results are exactly what we see in inner cities...and everyone is taught to believe that more and more control is needed. That's not true. We just need to let people have the freedom to manage themselves and they will generally do so with equanimity and dignity. The few that don't can be sequestured from the rest of society and hopefully taught to behave differently.

In tribal societies people who behaved with brutality and injustice were given tasks and taken away from the rest of the group to fulfill those tasks. The tasks were ones of survival alone. They were incredibly difficult. Many would die if they didn't use their ingenuity and it taught them to value the ease of life when others were there to work with them. The isolation taught them to appreciate their own souls and they learned to appreciate the presence of others and their companionship. They re-entered society with new respect and generally became a valuable member of the community. Those rare few who didn't, were ousted. Most died in that situation....and that was considered just. They died of their own stupidity and of natural consequences.

That's a good form of rehabilitation I think. We have started using it with some troubled teens and it's shown to work. Those principles were used with my own troubled step son.

My two cents...

Yup...this juiciness is from me....

S


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/27/2006 4:03 am:
Great response...You are right on the money, at least in my opinion. *grin* I wrote an earlier post about losing the drug war and you've captured my opinions perfectly....You also have changed the conversation in what I consider the best manner...Yes, the terrorism in our country is from our government trying to control what we do with ourselves...It manifests itself with children killing children....This is very similar to what we're seeing the Middle East terrorists do...by controlling the actions and opportunities of their people, they are sending they're children off to die for some misguided purpose.

As usual, I've learned much more from the responders than from my own post. Thanks so much for adding your two cents....and in my opinion, you're not off base, you have the most rational argument I've heard yet.

rm_shannee2006 52F
3355 posts
8/27/2006 5:36 am

I refrained from saying the group that I truly think is the terrorist in this country to avoid a deep offense to others...but the honest fact is that I think it's fundamentalist Christians who are the terrorists in this country. Their role in government is the problem, not the government itself. When non-fundamentalist Christians are in control of our government, it is far more benevolent and it often corrects itself in terrific ways...balancing the budget, reducing or eliminating deficit, improving social programs and the educational system, cleaning the land, controlling big business' impact on the land, improving diplomatic relations...you name it, the outcomes are far better. Christianity is not the problem...fundamentalism is. No matter what religion we discuss. Fundamentalism in the form of big business and governmental controls are the strangle hold terrorism in this country...

In my opinion.

Yup...this juiciness is from me....

S


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/27/2006 3:19 pm:
I agree the fundamentalist are a problem, but when the dems ran the place, they didn't do anything about the issue either...I think you were correct in your first response when you said the babysitting big government provides is part of the problem....a major part. Any organization that wants to control individual behavior is at fault...The religious right is a major proponent of social control...but, the liberal left allows it to happen by not stopping legislation that is controlling. So, in my opinion both are a real problem. Thanks as always.

foghorn49 59M

8/28/2006 2:01 pm

Wow where to start. I am probably the minority here because I don’t believe that any control can stop that type of violence. You call it terrorism, I call it plan and simple violence. Banding guns will not stop this sort of thing. That will only leave guns in the hands of the criminals. You can always get them somewhere. I do not believe that making drugs legal will solve anything either. As well stated that crack cocaine is the drug of choice in inner cities due to the cheap cost. Legalizing drugs will not make them cheaper or curb the violence due to drugs. It would be hard to compare the actions of the Europeans to Americans as one responder used as a comparison. What works there does not always work here. There two complete different cultures.
So what will fix the problem? If it were easy it would be fixed now.

I’m just an old country boy but do understand that when there is no fear of repercussions people will do about anything.. When the death sentences is taken off the table and prisons are more like Holiday Inn then what reason is there to fear payment for your actions. For some prison life is a better life then they have now.
Life is about survival. Despite our modern world and civilized nature most still take each day and just try to survive it. Violence comes from depression, unhappiness and fear. Eliminate those and you will make some progress in curing the world of violence. Until then it is something we have to deal with and until we deal approbate penalties for criminals nothing will change.


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/28/2006 3:28 pm:
When others in a community are scared to leave their house, it's terrorism, when your children are randomly killed through gun violence it's terrorism, when public institutions provide laws that prevent individual accomplishment and are prejudiced against the poor, it's terrorism....

Why can't we compare our level of violence to Europe or Canada...Our murder rate is much higher and are laws are more restrictive. We incarcerate a higher percentage of our citizens....and, by the way, if you haven't been in a Max A prison, I recommend you make a visit, they are no Holiday Inns....If there ever was hell on earth, it's a Max A prison.

The argument that prison life is better than what they have now is a worn argument that doesn't hold under and scrutiny....so, sorry I do disagree with you...Violence in the inner city comes from lack of opportunity and lack of hope...

What sort of penalties would be appropriate? How about penalties for our leaders who don't concentrate on the problem at all? They just throw a little money, and very little money at it and hope it goes away...

Thanks for stopping by and adding an alternate view. I'm sorry I have to disagree, but my experiences are different than yours.

attentive2u58 58M
251 posts
8/28/2006 2:43 pm

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree. Within this truth gives the direction. The How? Now that is truly the question.
Skier...yes, neither the left nor the right will allow a saner moderation approach.
Angelornot4u...I believe the education system should be the forerunner of the answer.(Bending the twig) The home is the seed and the nurturing of the sapling.
Shannee2006...I always look for your comments, strong are your words and give me much thought. Thugs however will always find something to "thug" over. I also don't believe European countries have a lower rate of incidence of STD's. I would be interested in reading/reviewing your sources on said topic. (By the way was your step son able to re-enter our society?)
If people (adults) don't know anything else and you remove the constraints, how can they(we..I'm saying all of us.)rise up to something better -moore moral- if they have no example...and what would that example be? Or is one not needed? I generally do not believe dignity can be achieved by the "normal" individual without some outside influence. I do agree that that any one group dictating social or individual morals is the most insidious of social terrorism.


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/28/2006 3:31 pm:
So, a question for you...how to solve the problem? We are past thugs in the inner city...we have people who have lost hope and have not help in getting it back...All of our institutions and leaders have failed, most of them haven't even tried...The black and hispanic leaders don't call for change, the leaders in congress don't call for change and we build more prisons....This is not the answer...There are better answers and everyone needs to be accountable, our leaders, our media, ourselves...we have to stop pointing our fingers.

rm_shannee2006 52F
3355 posts
8/28/2006 5:05 pm

Foghorn, I think that you have a popular opinion. Most people in American think about this problem as you do...but it's not true that stiffer penalties will change anything of these people's behavior. People with nothing to loose and little to gain, just don't care. They are motivated by thier passions and nothing else. The death penalty is not the answer because they face death in their own beds and streets. What do they care if anyone gives them a shot in 10 years?

I totally agree with you that fear and depression are the problem.

I don't think it's going to change the price or make people choose better or different drugs to legalize them. That's not the point. Much violence happens over drug sales territory and over the millions that can be made from the illegal sales of them. It is simply going to confine the buying, selling and using of drugs to one area of each community and once the drugs may be imported and sold legally we can now collect tax dollars on them and not spend much at all on policing the sales of it other than keeping it peaceful and in the district chosen for it's sales.

As for whether it's moral to have drugs or sex legalized. To me it's not a matter of moral attentive. It's a matter of rights. People have the right to put poison in their bodies if they friggin want to. They have the right to screw whom they want and pay for it. It's not up to you and I to tell them that they can't...and I shouldn't have to pay to police someone about that either.

YOu are right...education will go a damned long way toward repairing the damage done by the control and neglect of society on this population of our countries communities....but it's not the total answer. Only the parents having a better life is really the answer.

It would take time for the situation to calm down about selling drugs and sex...it would create confusion at first...but in the end, we'd have a situation similar to Europe with red light districts and reduced crime.

As for statistics...that was a tv show from a few years ago attentive. Sorry...the fact that they have a lower std rate is also a factor of public health care and that prostitutes can get care and condoms freely. In this country, it's not that easy for prostitutes to get health care...so I guess I can't tell you the source of my facts. If you know they are inaccurate, then I withdraw my statement.

yes attentive, my son did re-enter society...and he's now an honor student

Attentive...there are no constraints now that hold meaning for these people...that's the point. If you take away the source of the argument for these people; the sex and drugs, they will have to start paying taxes on things and having a legitamate business within their community. Being legal puts a whole new perspective on things. They could have store fronts and it would be off the street. No need to sneak or steal...so again it's off the street. Making it legal means that our policing budget would have a positive cash flow that would enable us to find solutions for those people who are displaced by this change...on both sides of the problem ....the police and the drug lords.

Yup...this juiciness is from me....

S


AstirRelicLatah replies on 8/29/2006 8:19 am:
Well said, I really don't get the issue about legalizing all drugs...I've said this before, but I'll say it again.....My children had an easier time in high school getting heroine than cigarettes...We've already lost the war...let's regulate, tax and move on...we can then release at least fifty percent of the people in prison and let them join society...the only losers in this game is law enforcement and prison management. I can live with that.

crazygurl2xx 56F

9/1/2006 4:40 pm

that's not terrorism at all. we call it domestic violence here in texas. unfortunately it's all too common and usually directed at women by men.
ridiculous.


AstirRelicLatah replies on 9/2/2006 6:26 am:
So, my question for you is what is terror? My definition is living in a situation where at any time someone can take your life for no reason, based on a set of beliefs that others live by. That's very similar to how gangs operate and they do terrorize their communities. It's also clear that for the 20% of the country who live in those situations, their life is one that is very different than the rest of the country. Locking up a whole generation has not and probably won't work in the future.

MovingOn001 61M
900 posts
9/20/2006 1:09 pm

I couldn't agree more with what Shannee said about legalizing drugs in this country. Prohibition against alcohol didn't work in the 20's and prohibition against drugs doesn't work now. I feel that marijuana and hashish should be sold legally, much as alcohol and tobacco are sold today, with the government receiving tax revenues from sales.

For harder drugs, we should treat them as a medical problem rather than as a legal or moral one, much like Switzerland has done with heroin. By legalizing heroin, and making it available to addicts at clinics, the Swiss have dramatically reduced the number of overdoses, crimes committed by addicts trying to support their habits, and the spread of STDs. The Swiss have also been able to get a large majority of the addicts off of welfare and into productive jobs so that they are again contributing to society.

Another major problem, especially in the inner cities, is the lack of marketable skills among the young. I have just posted on my blog a proposal for how the hard core unemployed can obtain skills in the building trades by having them rehabilitate abandoned houses, all of which could be paid with a one time start up grant.

By ending the drug wars and by providing alternatives such as the inner cities rehabilitation program, the formerly hopeless young people there will then have a stake in the future of their neighborhoods, where now they have no hope for the future. Once the attitude of hopelessness is overcome, I think we will see some dramatic changes in the inner cities, and a very great reduction in the violence currently running rampant throughout our society.


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