taking the words of Jesus seriously

The in a small school against OUR six-year-olds perfectly reflects the nature of our violent retributive society. Mass killing is the new American “normal.” In fact it’s our idea of patriotism.

I spent the last two days in tears “seeing” the faces of my beloved four grandchildren and three children in the faces of the killed children. I can’t even read or listen to the news now.

So forgive this RANT. I’m so sad and so angry.

She was the ideal NRA role model: a white upper-middle-class mom collecting semiautomatic weapons, stocking ammunition, a gun enthusiast and regular user of gun ranges while teaching her son – who shot her in the face — to shoot.

armed to the teeth and ready to defend “what’s mine.”

She was prepared for every eventuality if, that is, you believe the NRA/rube/fool/fact-free “logic” that the possession of multiple weapons, knowledge of how to use them and plenty of ammunition makes you safe.

Her son shot her in the face and then moved on to murder 20 children and six more adults. He fired with the kind of accuracy that would make the shooting range instructors he had worked alongside proud.

My son learned to shoot too but not at home. He learned to shoot on Parris Island when he was a Marine recruit and qualified as “expert” on the range. He served two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. He’s long since out of the USMC now after 5 years of honorable service. He never talks about “his” wars nor does he own a gun. As he says “I did enough of that over there. I hate guns.” That’s because my son is a rational grownup. He didn’t play war– he went to war.

I own a gun, a single shot old 22 with which I keep the woodchucks who decimate my garden at bay from time to time. I don’t think that this gun makes me “free.” I think my right as a citizen to vote, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights, our military men and women and my participation in town meetings in our town hall, my friendship with the local selectmen, my ability to write and express myself, and my neighbors and fellow citizens looking out for my rights keep me free.

But these days this freedom is starting to look like crap.

Yes you read that right I am beginning to think that our country is a blood-soaked monstrosity that mostly won’t admit what it is we are.

I know hate is not cool, even wrong. But there are things I loathe and despise and ridicule. And among them is the sort of rube fools wandering around in forests in various militias practicing with their lethal toys thinking that somehow that what they are doing has something to do with freedom.

I loathe the sort of urban white moms and dads who think that a couple of loaded handguns in their house keep them safe.

I mock the secessionists that have sprung up in racist reaction to the election of our black president and are joining new versions of the sort of twits who used to put on sheets and pointy hats and burn crosses thinking that somehow they stood for something too.

But my anger – yes I know it’s unfashionable to be angry but I’m mad as hell – is not just aimed at the obvious white trash, rubes, Glenn Beck followers, Rush Limbaugh clones, Fox News-watching idiots, stupid, ignorant persons, blockheads, boors, bucolic buffoons, bumpkins, oafs, peasants, yahoos, yokels… and other Republicans.

I am also furious with the sort of Democrats who think that targeting innocent civilians as part of our counter-terrorism efforts and firing missiles at them and their families is a good substitute for foreign policy and diplomacy. I despise the neoconservative and Christian Zionist movements and the radical hate-filled bigots occupying the West Bank that have goaded our government into uncritical backing of the state of Israel to the point where we have made every right-thinking Arab or Muslim in the world our sworn enemy. That too is part of our national guns-solve-all-problems climate of perpetual violence.

Our militaristic posture also infects and “inspires” our crazies with a virus of lethal scope. It’s in the air so to speak.

I hate the idea that we have a military about 10 times bigger than we need for self-defense. That too is insane invitation to murder.

Yes, that’s right — murder.

George W. Bush was a serial killer of children too for no better “reasons” than the shooter in the school was.

Why were we in Iraq? Bush also went on a senseless killing spree. It was birthed by insane Christian Zionism, defended by neoconservative anything-for-Israel idiocy. Period.

I live in the state of Massachusetts where not so long ago the inside a stockade as Christians stood outside reading Old Testament Bible verses justifying their violence. I live in a country that incarcerates more people in our jails percentage wise than the rest of the western world combined. We have watched blacks, Native Americans, and other minorities marginalized, targeted killed, raped, shot, and imprisoned.

We live in a country so isolated from the rest of the world that we don’t even know what a civilization looks like anymore. “Right-to-carry” laws are a loud declaration that rubes and hayseeds are now running things here.

There are some fools who even say that what we need is more guns! Arm the teachers! Arm the preschool kids!

Why stop there? Let’s move back into caves!

Let’s just kill any stranger we see! Let’s have “right-to-carry” laws in all states and demand that everyone is armed, armed like the killer’s well-armed mother.

We hear nonsense about being the “best country on earth” when not just educational standards in every testable form put us at the bottom of the ladder of what we call civilized nations, but even with declining crime rates — since we locked up millions of people — the level of gun death in proportion to the number of people in our population is than any other Western country.

So much for being “Number One.”

And yet we accept this is mass killing state as “normal.” We also accept as a normal state of affairs that children stare into little stupid screens 24/7 playing violent video games that greedy nihilistic a-hole game designers churn out. And then there are the creeps who pump out the anti-woman misogyny-saturated porn that should make any civilized person vomit. (I am not talking about explicit erotica many men and women enjoy but the ejaculate-on-her-face-make-her-gag garbage a generation of young men now think is sex.)

They create crap barbarity on cable television that passes for irony as “entertainment” like South Park. And then the only thing missing from this sophomoric juvenile nihilistic cynical shit aimed at young men is half a dozen semiautomatic weapons and stock of ammunition to complete the picture these pigs, these vermin, these profiteers from the destruction of our souls have drawn for us.

I have news for us Americans: We are no longer a civilized country. Actually, we never were. It’s always been South Park here. His name was Thomas Jefferson, our “hero.” He was a slave owning rapist who had sex with his 14-year old slave. Some “founder.” (I love the way “liberals” love Jefferson and say his raping children and slave owning was just a “blind spot.” I guess the Holocaust was Hitler’s blind spot too. And he was nice to dogs. Or maybe slavery isn’t as bad as killing white people.)

Yes, the phrase “love it or leave it” applies.

Will the rubes, secessionists, gun collectors, NRA members, leaders and cowardly Republican Party leaders please get out of our country? Clearly you don’t love it so please leave.

Take your guns, ammunition, secessionist parties, militia groups, NRA, video game designers, misogynistic porn producers, Hollywood moguls — and for that matter the education policy directors who have had the “great insight” to cut art, music and civilization from our curriculum — with you. You’ve reduced childhood to puerile vomit and “education” to a feeder for “jobs” instead of souls.


Maybe if the mother who got her face blown off by her well armed son had been taking her sons to art museums instead of teaching them how to use mutant semiautomatic handguns she’d still have a face.

Maybe if the educational system was not teaching “to the test” but instead teaching to the soul that troubled child who grew into a murderer would have sat down and talked with someone who loved him instead of grabbing a gun.

Yes this is judgmental! It’s ugly! It’s angry! It’s moralistic! It’s uncool!

It’s time to take back our country. No that’s wrong. We never had our country.

This whole place stinks of the blood that’s been shed, from the Native Americans slaughtered and lied to, to the 3 million buffalo shot down from train windows and wagons by swaggering fools for no reason, to the glorification of weapons by the lynch mobs surrounding one black man hanging from a tree to all the “sporting rifles and shotguns” that somehow turn out to be military weapons just-for-fun.

We never had this country.

America was built on a Calvinistic theology of retribution and hate of the “other” from the start in the North. And it was built on the slave trade in the South. So much for our enlightened founders.

And when our deadly “Christian” and “enlightened” founders’ spirits take an insane twist and “the other” turns out to be a six-year-old trying to go to school, say a big “Thank You” to every gun-toting, chauvinistic, revenge-filled, scared, ignorant violence-as-entertainment-loving-American NRA rube and to their supporting cast of “helpers” on the “Free Speech Left” who glorify cynicism and irony-about-everything for fun and profit and defend it as freedom.

We now have the perfect formula for horror: cut mental health funding, cut education in the arts and everything else that builds empathy and the human spirit, worship a military industrial imperial “culture” of violence sold as “defense, ” desensitize our young men with violent porn, abandon all gun regulation, accept irony and cynicism as entertainment and “higher education” and then teach unstable young men to shoot and to glorify violence all round.

We’re getting so cynical that we probably won’t even care or notice when there is a mass killing a week or a day, instead of “only” once a month or so. Shoot-the-toddler video games anyone? already had a “funny” episode on incest.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of

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