Local police departments blame several factors: the spread of methamphetamine use in some Midwestern and Western cities, gangs, high poverty and a record number of people being released from prison. But the biggest theme, they say, is easy access to guns and a willingness, even an eagerness, to settle disputes with them, particularly among young people.
“There’s a mentality among some people that they’re living some really violent video game,” said Chris Magnus, the police chief in Richmond, Calif., north of San Francisco, where homicides rose 20 percent and gun assaults 65 percent from 2004 to 2006. “What’s disturbing is that you see that the blood’s real, the death’s real.”
-The New York Times
In the most serious incident, the Afghan Government said 48 civilians - mostly women and children - were killed and 117 injured when a US AC-130 plane opened fire on a wedding party.
A US investigation concluded that the air crew were justified in attacking because they had come under fire.
The United States garrisons troops on 700 bases in more than 100 countries around the world. There are 150,000 regular soldiers and uncounted, uncountable numbers of mercenary contractors, intelligence agents, and other irregulars occupying Iraq. There are tens of thousands of soldiers and another untold number of mercenary whatnots gallivanting around Afghanistan. The US recently bombed Somalia in support of an Ethiopian invasion. American arms and munitions supported the Israeli campaign against Lebanon. American arms supply both sides of the neverending India-Pakistan dispute. Regarding our various arbitrary enemies--Iran chiefly among them--we're endlessly reminded that "all options are on the table" by the current dauphin and the clamoring claimants to the Sun Throne from all quarters of the bipartite war party. That's abroad. You can read Radley Balko daily for an expanding compendium of the ongoing militarization of our police--shocking, heartbreaking stories of the habitual (you could now say, "instinctual") brutalization of guilty and innocent alike at the hands of government agents without respect for person, property, or privacy.
But, yes. Of course. There are "violent video games." There is "the spread of methamphetamine use." "A record number of people [are] being released from prison." (This, largely, in order to make room for a record number of people going in.)
Justin at Americana has a series of posts on our "military-industrial culture" that covers this territory in some detail.
Me, I just read the punch lines--"easy access to guns and a willingness, even an eagerness, to settle disputes with them," and, "a mentality among some people that they’re living some really violent video game"--and wonder if we'll ever understand that joke that precedes them.