June 7, 2007


OK, here’s just one reason I’m tired of the focus on the huge, media-vulture events and our knee-jerk compulsive-obsessive responses to them. I’m as exasperated as most Americans with our lack of progress to end this stupid Occupation of Iraq, and the ongoing disaster in Afghanistan. The fact is, though, I would be immensely exasperated even if we didn’t have these occupations going on, even if we weren’t the biggest arms dealers usually to both sides of any conflict anywhere in the world.

On average every year since 9/11, about 20,000 young people from ages 10-34 die violently – they either commit suicide or are murdered.

We’re supposed to have a “terrorism” crisis, and it’s supposed to be coming from outside the US, with some “homegrown terror cells” too. We’re spending billions (let’s just forget “millions” as a large measure anymore, when we’re dealing with budget deficits in the trillions) to “prevent terrorism”. We’re spying on regular people’s web surfing habits, emails and phone calls because over 3,000 people were killed in a one-day attack.

Meanwhile, our young people, as young as age 10, are being murdered or committing suicide at the rate of 20,000 a year. These young people, people who could be (hopefully already haven’t been) our nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, young parents, grandchildren, cousins, brothers and sisters – all were not killed in a war. What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, we’re rightfully protesting the deaths of almost 4,000 soldiers now, along with the lifelong injuries of tens of thousands more. That’s been in four years. That’s about 1,000 soldiers a year – while 20,000 young people of about the same age as those soldiers (some much younger) are dieing right here in that same year.

Why don’t we care about these “domestic” deaths? Why don’t we demand, with equal vehemence, that our government deal with these deaths as a crisis? Twenty times as many people as soldiers in Iraq, some as young as 10, most between 15-34, die of violent causes every year. Another 9,000 or so people between 35-44 die violently, either by murder or suicide. That's almost 30,000 people between 10 and 44 years of age dieing violently in the US per year! Between the ages of 44-64, another 10,000 who haven’t been felled by cancer or heart disease or accidents are also murdered or commit suicide! In one year!

Inside our country, in one year over 27,000 people commit suicide; another 13,000 are killed. I'll bet you didn't know suicide kills more people than homicide, eh? You don't see a huge movement to arrest all those suicidal people and throw away the key [yet!] - your news only tells you that you must distrust your neighbor and expect to be murdered anytime, anywhere.

These 40,000+ violent deaths are from CDC statistics from 2004 – and as poverty spreads, despair and violence spread, and poverty has increased for millions of people in America. Expect higher numbers for 2005 and 2006.

So what do I want you to take from this? Well, keep it in perspective, please. While we’re being jerked around by our media and politicians to focus on things they control completely, we are letting these daily atrocities go, for the most part, unchallenged. These 40,000 murder/suicides per year are ripping at the very fabric of our existence. It’s as if we were being attacked by an outside enemy and mustering no defense whatsoever.

If it were an outsider killing this many in our country, even most of us who oppose empire-wars would join to defend ourselves against such a virulent attack. Why don’t we demand some national defense against this institutionalized (as in "routine", "ignored", "treated as normal") attack on our humanity?

Mental health PACs and interest groups aren’t in the news much (unless there’s a massacre!). They’ve never been busted for bribing legislators or singled out by those wonderful millionaires and actors who push the “liberal” agenda. Yet really, what’s more likely to impact our lives, our families, our homes? Are you or your loved ones more likely to die from global warming this year, or terrorism – or murder, or despair?

Take a look at the figures, and if life at home here in the US isn’t what it should be, let’s start demanding changes here, too, not just in our policies overseas. We won’t really value life any more elsewhere until we start valuing life (and not just fetuses) here. There are more demonstrations to protect fetuses than there are to stop the despair and violence within our own communities. It’s no coincidence that so many feel so helpless to change national and foreign policies when we live so tenuously right here.

We need mental health care for everyone that is fully paid for and available at many times the levels we have now. We need real mental health care, not pharmaceutical-industry-sponsored pill-pushing and “Ta-ta! See you when you need more!” We need to stop ignoring the despair that’s so close to home and so frightening to us all. We need to reach out to those who are close to the edge, not run from them – there’s nowhere to run; they’re in our communities, they are “us”.

Even in the presidential election endless season, only John Edwards stresses mental health for everyone, and Barack Obama wants improved mental health care for troops and veterans. None stress anything other than the methods and treatments that are obviously woefully inadequate. The 40,000 needless deaths will continue, year after year, while we wait for government and the media to even acknowledge it's a real problem they can help change.

As long as we have such easy access to weapons that easily kill others (and we always will so long as the US is the biggest arms dealer – by multiples! – in the world), we have to treat the epidemic of violence against others and ourselves as what it is – A CRISIS! Leaving millions of people in a state of poverty, anxiety and despair that could drive them to kill others and/or themselves is a stupid and cruel domestic policy.

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