Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Creating a Deadly State of Mind

Home grown killers with a diversity of motives have inflicted the overwhelming majority of casualties from mass attacks and terrorism over the last decade. A few have been radicalized by the influence of foreign entities. Others have been driven by mental illness. Some attacks were hate crimes against racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities. Still others were motivated by revenge or desperation. US Mass Shootings 1982-2016

Donald Trump has pledged to keep us safe by proposing increases in spending on the military and Homeland Security designed to protect us all from the Enemy at the Gate, while slashing funds to social programs.

The budget proposed by this administration threatens our security far more than any measures to stop the Enemy at the Gate protect it. Drastic reductions in access to health care, food, and housing for the most disadvantaged among us threaten to create a vast community of the desperate and will damage the health and development of a generation of children, who will be ill-equipped to rise from the poverty in which they are raised.

Desperate people do desperate things. How many will be driven to crime in order to survive and how many of those crimes will be violent? How many of us will die at the hands of the hungry? How many at the hands of the homeless or sick? How many will die at the hands of the disillusioned and enraged? And how many at the hands of the mentally ill who no longer have access to care that quiets the storm within?

Desperate people do desperate things and are drawn to desperate solutions. The hungry, homeless, and angry are most vulnerable to radicalization. They can be seduced by ideologies that appear to sympathize with their predicament and they have little to lose. Why not strike back at a society that seems to have forgotten them? How many of us will die at the hands of the radicalized poor? And how many at the hands of their children who grow up impoverished, uneducated, and even more desperate than their parents?

We are closing our borders and sending people back to war torn countries to suffer in squalor and chaos or to die. How many of those we turn back, who might have become loyal citizens, will become disillusioned, enraged, and radicalized. How many of us will die at the hands of the spurned and abandoned? And how many at the hands of their grieving and enraged friends and family who live among us?

When we deprive millions of our citizens of basic subsistence and close our borders to those fleeing war and chaos, how can we expect to be safe? How can we expect to be free? And how can we live with the shame of abandoning our needy neighbors in a nation that is supposed to be devoted to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...for all?