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I am wondering what country I am living in. I was told, growing up, that this is the best country in the world. But as I became a young adult, the Vietnam draft occurred. The lottery was on TV and everyone held their breath hoping that number did not match our friend or brother. The ones who went were young and fearful. Some thought they were doing a good deed. Many had no way out. Especially the ghettos where finding a 4F standing was hard to come by. The richer neighborhoods sent their kids to college or pulled some strings to get them out of the draft. Many also protested. Some went to Canada, some burned their selective service cards, some went to jail and some were conscientious objectors – given alternate jobs – often in medicine or hard labor. We saw on TV the carnage we inflicted. Little children running in the street attempting to escape poison, burning gasses. When the soldiers came home, addicted to heroin, with PTSD, they were spit on. No one prayed for them. No one called them heroes. It was a time that we chose to forget. More wars, but less TV portrayal of our atrocities. More discussion by TV personalities. No help for PTSD. There were TV shows that portrayed the use of assault weapons that took out entire lines of enemies. Yay! Our kids played video games and the best tool to win is the assault weapon because you can take out more people with it. Yay! I win! Then we had the twin towers and the country began hating Arabs of all countries or anyone who looked Muslim or had dark skin and hair…. It became more acceptable to publicly scorn or even verbally attack an immigrant. Well, they could be trying to kill us, you know. Why would they do that? Don’t they know we are the best country in the world? As a country, we have always taken in immigrants. Most of us are immigrants or our parents or grandparents were. We take pride in opening our shores to those that don’t live in the best country on earth. Except that some of the “fresh” immigrants did really well. In fact, they did better than us who have lived here a long time. It turns out that many immigrants work hard to bring over more family and they live in conclaves with others from the same country and they hold each other up, giving out jobs to those they know. Some started comparing themselves to other immigrant communities and felt their superiority. We are also a country that thought it was ok to steal families from another country and bring them to work as slaves in our large plantations. It would cost too much to hire locals. We really felt superior. We elected a president who loved power and violence and started running a program based on fascism. He encouraged people to come out of their hiding and acknowledge, own and revel in their racial hatred. We let them buy guns. Especially rural America who have used rifles for years to go hunting and provide food for our tables. We have used rifles and pistols to protect our homes from raiders. We have always taken care of ourselves and don’t want anyone coming and telling us how to live our lives. We don’t want handouts for those that can’t care for themselves. We don’t want rules. But what about PTSD and mental illness? Well, that is no excuse! Buck up! None of my money is going to pay for counseling for these namby pansy folks. By the way, unions, which were the savior of the underdog who worked for pennies and often died trying to make a living in unsafe conditions, became an enemy of the middle class as well as the rich. We now have big companies that have CEOs making enough money off the back of the workers and consumers to build rockets and fly to the moon. The insulation of the rich has become quite thick. So, many Americans who are not cared for, respected, given a hand up when needed and are not living the American dream, are fed up. No way out. You used to be able to work harder and get ahead. So, I am angry and want to hurt someone. Best way? Assault rifle. No prayers please. Regulate guns first. Then start the social reforms again.


I loved your encouraging and uplifting comments about a “nation of immigrants.” The sharper critique comments certainly need to be said and said again. If we don’t care to speak to injustice, who will? So thank you.

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