This article was originally published at Mises.org on August 7, 2019. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., is founder and chairman of the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, and editor of LewRockwell.com.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. – August 23, 2019
This past weekend, 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas and 9 in Dayton, Ohio. There have been a number of other mass shootings in the past two decades or so; the largest was in Las Vegas in 2017, with 58 killed. This is sad, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to the real perpetrators of death in America — the US military.
It has been well-said that “it’s time for America to reckon with the staggering death toll of the post 9-11 wars.”
“Brown University’s Costs of War Project this month released a new estimate of the total death toll from the U.S. wars in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The numbers, while conservatively estimated, are staggering. Brown’s researchers estimate that at least 480,000 people have been directly killed by violence over the course of these conflicts, more than 244,000 of them civilians. In addition to those killed by direct acts [of] violence, the number of indirect deaths — those resulting from disease, displacement, and the loss of critical infrastructure — is believed to be several times higher, running into the millions.
The report, which uses data spanning from October 2001 to October 2018, compiles previous analysis from nongovernmental organizations, U.S. and foreign government data, and media reports. In a statement, the report authors said the figures still just ‘scratches the surface of the human consequences of 17 years of war.’ Due to challenges in data collection, their total estimate is an undercount, they added.”
If we want to end mass killing, this is what we should be trying to stop. Instead, the military is glorified. Deaths in war are downplayed, but when a mass shooting happens in an American city, the media saturates us with propaganda calling for gun control.
This is ironic not only because of the enormous disparity between the numbers killed by the military and those killed in mass shootings. It is also ironic because many of the mass shooters are people the military has trained to become mass killers. In the aftermath of yet another mass shooting in the United States, the internet and broadcast news alike are inundated with commentary about why this keeps happening in America.
But one commonality among numerous mass killings in the United States remains absent from these conversations. It is always reported when details of the shooter are published, but the widespread connection is rarely acknowledged: A mounting number of mass shooters have ties to the military. The United States has indulged in a culture of ‘patriotic’ militarism for decades, glorifying this institutionalized violence as a sign of strength and morality.
Indeed, this glorification of violence bleeds over into the United States’ unique problem of individuals committing acts of mass violence. Here is a brief sampling of perpetrators of some of the most high-profile mass shootings in recent years. Many were either members of the military at some point, were rejected by the military (but clearly wanted to join), or came from a military family:
- Chris Harper Mercer, who shot up a school in Oregon, was kicked out of the army and often wore military fatigue pants as a regular outfit. He was described as “militant.”
- The Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, was a Navy reservist before he became a contractor and conducted his rampage on military grounds.
- Nidal Hassan, the Fort Hood shooter, was a psychiatrist in the military and committed his shooting on military grounds.
- Wade Michael Page, who opened fire on a Sikh temple, was kicked out of the military.
- Devin Patrick Kelly, who killed 26 people in a chapel in Texas last year, was also kicked out of the military.
- Esteban Santiago-Ruiz, who shot up the Ft. Lauderdale airport, was a member of the National Guard.
- Chris Dorner, who notoriously began murdering police officers over deeply-rooted frustrations over racism and injustice within the Los Angeles Police Department, was a Marine before he became a cop.
- Micah Javier Johnson, who went on a cop-killing spree in Dallas in 2016, was a member of the Army Reserves and fought in Afghanistan.
- At least one member of a foiled plot to blow up a mosque in Kansas had served in the military and then continued in the National Guard.
- Eric Frein, who ambushed Pennsylvania state troopers in 2014, came from a military family, reenacted military battles, and carried military gear and camouflage face paint. Police found an Army sniper handbook in his bedroom.
- One of the infamous Columbine High School shooters, Eric Harris, came from a military family and was rejected by the Marines over his use of antidepressants.
Other shooters, like Paul Ciancia, Adam Lanza, and James Holmes showed up to their shootings donning battle gear, and while this does not implicate a direct tie to the military, their decision to show up to a massacre of innocent people in tactical outfits (most commonly associated with the military and police) arguably demonstrates their mentality: one of battle, which is constantly glorified in American culture.
Ii is hardly surprising that Connor Betts, the shooter in Dayton, Ohio, showed up in body armor.
Instead of ending foreign wars, the greatest single contribution we could make to ending killing and violence, the power elite plays up mass shootings as part of its dual campaign to take away our guns and impose cultural Marxist mind control on us, in the guise of opposing “racism”.
As part of this agenda, the FBI and CIA spy on us and plan to ship dissenters to concentration camps.
We do not need “gun control.” As David Gornoski has well put it, “No family, no matter their race, income, or zip code, should have to face the violence of government gun bans. Although the irony of government assault rifles facing down children in search of assault rifles speaks for itself, it would be just as immoral if the agents were armed with pistols. Owning an AR-15 in the house does not victimize anyone. Enforcing laws against an AR-15 owning family does.” [What] We need is an end to American militarism and killing.
Image source: Getty