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Overkill and The Great Disconnect Printer friendly page Print This
By Mankh (Walter E. Harris, III), Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic exclusive
Friday, Dec 21, 2012

At least the suiciders of the East -- self-immolating Tibetan monks and East Indian farmers -- only do in themselves, while the US West grapples with its history of violent rampage followed by the killer typically killing himself.


Then, there's a bigger, global issue.


"As US mourns 20 children killed in gun massacre amid calls for greater gun control, landmine blast leaves Afghans mourning." [1]


In Norway, July 2011, Anders Behring Breivik "bombed government buildings in Oslo, resulting in eight deaths then carried out a mass shooting at a camp of the Workers' Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party on the island of Utøya, where he killed 69 people, mostly teenagers." Part of the motivation was his "far-right militant ideology." [2]


Militancy proved significant again:


"Besides the three weapons found at the school, Adam Lanza also had access to at least three more guns, a law enforcement source said. Investigators recovered a .45-caliber Henry Repeating Rifle, a .22-caliber Marlin Rifle and a .30-caliber Enfield Rifle, though it's unclear where they were found, the source said. Investigators believe Lanza killed his mother and then took her guns and made his way to the elementary school wearing black fatigues and a military vest, according to a law enforcement official." [3]


The word "sui-cide" means to "self-cut-down, self-kill." Teen cutting is a recent, though milder, variation.


"It is estimated that 1 in 200 girls have cut themselves. 13% of 15 to 16-year-olds have deliberately harmed themselves. Cutting occurs most often with girls/women between the ages of 13 and 30." [4]


Among a list of reasons, suicide tends to be prompted by a great disconnect and/or feeling there is no other way out of a painful situation.


The spiritual lifestyle of Tibetan monks is being squelched by policies of the Chinese government.


The humble lifestyle of the East Indian farmer is being severely affected by the egregious practices of agri-businesses; some farmers have killed themselves so their families would get the insurance money.


Many Native Americans -- after much of their lifestyle and their spiritual traditions were taken from them -- turned to spirits, aka alcohol, which, in these circumstances, is too often a slow suicide.


Thus, one can assume fairly that Adam Lanza and those before him were, in some form, deeply disconnected.


In the article "What Is it About Men That They're Committing These Horrible Massacres" Meghan Murphy cites other articles to present these statistics:


"In 31 of the school shootings that have taken place since 1999, the murderers were all men. Out of the 62 mass murders which happened over the past 30 years, only one of those shooters was a woman. The overwhelming majority of the gunmen were white." [5]


With the outpouring of recent articles on the topic, one of the best overviews I've read is the concisely written "A Culture That Condones The Killing Of Children And Teaches Children To Kill" [6] by Lucinda Marshall, Founder and Director of the Feminist Peace Network.


The question of personal psychosis versus a sick culture may not be as simple as either/or. Perhaps it is during the teen years that institutionalized de-feminization of boys puts macho-masculinity on a pedestal, thus adding to the already challenging issue of sexual identity. I'm no Freudian analyst, but I do see a correlation between repressed or distorted male sexuality and the shooting-off of bullets and other projectiles from phallic weaponry. As national military budgets show, the age-factor is irrelevant.


Considering that teen cutting is predominantly done by girls, perhaps issues of self-loathing and self-image are to blame; how much of that is related to sexuality is yet another question.


Six degrees of desperation

A Chinese man recently went nuts with a knife at a school but no one was killed, thus proving that guns do kill people, despite the saying "guns don't kill people, people kill people." In that incident there were no deaths but some suffered major injuries.


Of this "latest in a series of periodic rampage attacks at Chinese schools and kindergartens", it was reported that, "Most of the attackers have been mentally disturbed men involved in personal disputes or unable to adjust to the rapid pace of social change in China..." [7]


The "rapid pace of social change" is another form of the aforementioned disruptions of lifestyle and spiritual connection: Tibetan monks, East Indian farmers, Native Americans, troubled teenagers …


Soon after the Newtown massacre, in Newport Beach, CA, "A man stood in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Southern California … and fired 50 shots into the air," thus proving that neither guns nor people always kill people.


"The gunman who fired more than 50 rounds at busy Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach on Saturday was described by police as a "destitute individual" who decided that "this was his way of venting his life problems."" [8]


In April 2012, "a 77-year-old man [a Greek retired pharmacist] committed suicide … According to a note published by local media, the man said it was the only dignified path he could take. He also compared the current Greek government to the one the country had under the Nazi Germany occupation and warned that the cabinet would eventually face the same fate as Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini."


The retired pharmacist did not take a bunch of pills, rather he "committed suicide in central Athens by the nation's parliament, shooting himself with a handgun in apparent financial desperation … A suicide note has been found on the old man, saying 'The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival. And since I cannot find justice, I cannot find another means to react besides putting a decent end [to my life], before I start searching the garbage for food and become a burden for my child.' " [10]


We need more than a modest proposal

"A Modest Proposal … is a Juvenalian satirical essay written and published anonymously by Jonathan Swift in 1729. Swift suggests that impoverished Irish might ease their economic troubles by selling their children as food for rich gentlemen and ladies. This satirical hyperbole mocks heartless attitudes towards the poor, as well as Irish policy in general."  [11]


A modernized Swiftian proposal would be the encouragement of (typically white) male suicides. That is, if these deranged killers simply killed themselves, a lot of lives would be saved, a lot of trauma avoided.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti, in the documentary "The Coney Island of Lawrence Ferlinghetti," cites the May 4, 1970 Kent State University massacre as a turning point in American history, i.e. the political revolution died, though the social and consciousness revolutions continued.


The country is still dealing with police-state sponsored brutality, as the more peaceful rubber bullet, tear-gas and night stick crackdown on the occupy movement encampments proved.


The Kent State massacre "involved the shooting of unarmed college students by the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis. Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30." [12]


Pardon the dark humor, but "67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds" is overkill, a similar pattern recently witnessed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.


Though debatable, reports that the Japanese were already in the process of or willing to surrender raises the question: were not the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki examples of overkill? [13]


Is not the reported number of humans killed (from around 100,000 to 1 million plus) from the war on Iraq (based on false information) not overkill and cause for weeping? [14]


Are not the drone strikes and killings of Arab children and civilians not overkill and cause for weeping? [15]


Is not the US military with its 700 to 1000 global army bases perpetuating a culture of overkill? 


We need to look again at and further discuss the huge sums of money being spent on surveillance and so-called security, neither of which stopped hurricane full moon Sandy nor Adam Lanza (the difference being that the former was a natural phenomenon).



Let the weeds grow

The America People have been known to be suckered into Corporate-America's destruction of others. Think of how the perfect lawn -- with every blade of grass the exact same color, at the exact same height standing at attention like little green chemicalized nazis -- got so promoted and accepted that it led to a big bucks herbicide industry of weed-killers, with the cheery dandelion as one of the perennial victims.


Yes, in quiet little sleepy neighborhoods across America, stocked on quaint little hardware store shelves and sold by innocent teenagers on their first job, sit an overkill of weed-killer products. Recently, however, small hardware stores as well as big boxes have started carrying organic and Mother-Earth-friendly products.


Until we as a species make the connections that, for example, a culture that embraces a seasonal ritual of overkilling living things in its own yards is fostering emotional numbness and disregard for life, those prone to violent outbursts will more severely teeter on the fence.


If we do not examine the concept, nay, the reality of overkill, as well as the great disconnect from Nature, we will continue to argue over whether it is guns or knives or a bad hair day or people with mental conditions or the culture that kills people.


Let's get to the root of the overkill and disconnect sociopathology. Let's do it so we don't have to keep watching that damned breaking news. Let's do it for the precious children. Let's do it for the divine variety of grasses and for all the kids that, deep in their hearts, really want to grow like weeds and make wishes by blowing on dandelion seeds.



1. “10 Girls Dead Following Deadly Blast in Afghanistan”

2.  “Anders Behring Breivik”
3. “Connecticut school victims were shot multiple times”
4. “Teen Cutting Facts” & “Teen Cutting Defined” 
5. What Is it About Men That They're Committing These Horrible Massacres
6. “A Culture That Condones The Killing Of Children And Teaches Children To Kill”
7. “Chinese man attacks 22 children” & “China attack illustrates U.S. gun law divide”
8. Newport Beach mall shooter called 'destitute'
9. “Pensioner's suicide over 'occupation govt' sparks riots in Greece”
10. “Pensioner shoots himself at Greek Parliament, refuses to 'search for food in garbage'” 
11. “A Modest Proposal”
12. “Kent State shootings”
13. Was Hiroshima Necessary?: Why the Atomic Bombings Could Have Been Avoided”
14. “Casualties of the Iraq War”
15. “Do Arabs Cry For Their Children Too? The Obama Hypocrisy”

Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet on Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. He edited the anthology, The (Un)Occupy Movement: Autonomy of Consciousness, Practical Solutions, Human Equality, and hosts an audio show "Between the Lines: listening to literature online." You can contact him via his literary website.


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