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Violence in the United States

Retrieving the dead and wounded at Virginia Tech, Apr. 16.

 

 

La Jornada, Mexico

A Culture of Violence …

 

"… that violent attitude is exacerbated by the warmongering spirit of the George W. Bush government, which has ignited much of the world with its war on terrorism. "

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Douglas Myles Rasmussen

 

April 17, 2007

 

Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

At least 33 people died yesterday (Monday), as a consequence of two armed attacks in a pair of buildings at Virginia Tech University, in the east of the United States. It is one of the worst school shootings ever in the nation’s schools. 

 

They must comb their records to find a slaughter at a U.S. university of greater proportions than the one that has just occurred (in 1927 a man exploded a bomb in a Michigan school, causing 45 deaths). In fact, one needn't go very far to find cases in which a subject - a professor, student or employee at an institution - takes out a pistol or rifle and fires upon people that have had the bad luck of being nearby. In the beginning of April, for example, two people at the University of Washington in Seattle (northwest United States) died of gunshot wounds.

 

The list is a long one: on January 17, 2002, three people died and another three were wounded after a student opened fire on authorities at a private school in Appalachian, Virginia. On March 5, 2002, an armed student at a school in California killed two and injured 14. On the 23rd of the same month and year, two young people received bullet wounds and another seven were slightly wounded in a High School near San Diego. On October 29th of the same year, a young shooter killed three people at the University of Arizona. 

 

The most memorable case, however, is the attack on Columbine High School in Denver . On April 20th, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire on their classmates and teachers: 15 passed away in that incident, among them the attackers who then committed suicide, which is somewhat common in these situations. 

 

This is an alarming tendency that must cause the authorities in that country to reflect: what has occurred that things should have come to this?

 

Filmmaker Michael Moore has no doubt: the school massacres are due to the pathology of violence and fear that prevails in the country, which has the highest rate of gun killings in the world and where there number of firearms exceeds that of voters or television sets.

 

Moore won the 2003 Best Documentary Oscar for Bowling for Columbine WATCH , in which the director looks for an explanation to these events, with facts and frightening images. For example, the film points out that in Canada, every family owns a gun, but nevertheless deaths by gunfire are minimal. 

 

“Americans are a uniquely violent people, using our massive stash of guns to kill each other and to use them against many countries around the world,” he said. For the movie director, “The United States is immersed in a culture of fear directed at the population by the government and special interests and orchestrated by the news media, mainly television stations.” It is a form of control, he emphasized, similar to that which was used by the Nazi regime in Germany between 1933 and 1945. 

 

Without a doubt, that violent attitude is exacerbated by the warmongering spirit of the George W. Bush government, which has ignited much of the world with its war on terrorism. “Schools should be places of safety, sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community,” the president said after being informed of the killings in two buildings at Virginia Tech WATCH .

 

The President failed to mention the impact that his aggressive policies have had on his own people, to say nothing of those affected by his combat operations. Bush has ordered his generals and troops to search for Osama bin Laden anywhere in the world, nevertheless it is clear that the real tension preventing the United States from living in peace and harmony exists in his own country, the achievement of which is the supposed objective of the Pentagon's military campaign. 

 

This is not only about the attacks on universities. A gun culture exists in this country. According to data from a diverse array of U.S. organizations, there are 80 people killed by guns every day in this nation, including 17,000 suicides, 11,000 homicides and 762 accidental firings every year. It is calculated that between 1979 and 2002, a total of 95,761 children and adolescents have died from gunshot wounds. 

 

In fact, it cannot be forgotten that one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history was perpetrated by an American citizen. On September 11, 2001 [actually, April 19, 1995], Timothy McVeigh exploded a bomb at a federal building, killing 168 people and wounding 500 others.

 

[Editor's Note: The author and/or copy editor is mistaken about the date of the Oklahoma City Bombing. McVeigh is said to have been solely responsible that bombing, which took place on April 19, 1995 . September 11, 2001 is the date of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon].

 

These are facts, figures and tragedies that speak of a profound crisis of values in a nation that claims to embody them.

 

Spanish Version Below

 

La violencia en Estados Unidos

 

Al menos 33 personas murieron ayer lunes, como consecuencia de dos ataques con arma de fuego en un par de edificios del Tecnológico de Virginia, en el este de Estados Unidos. Se trata de uno de los peores tiroteos ocurridos en escuelas de ese país.

 

Se tienen que revisar los archivos para encontrar una matanza en una universidad estadunidense de mayores proporciones a la que acaba de ocurrir (en 1927 un hombre hizo explotar una bomba en una escuela de Michigan, que provocó 45 muertos). En realidad no hay que ir muy lejos para hallar casos en los que un sujeto -profesor, estudiante o trabajador de la institución- saca una pistola o un rifle y dispara contra la gente que tenga la mala suerte de estar cerca de él. A principios de abril, por ejemplo, dos personas murieron por disparos de bala en la Universidad de Washington en Seattle (noroeste de Estados Unidos).

 

La lista es larga: el 17 de enero de 2002, tres personas murieron y otras tres resultaron heridas luego de que un estudiante abriera fuego contra las autoridades de un colegio privado en Appalachian, Virginia. El 5 de marzo de 2002, un estudiante armado de una escuela en California asesinó a dos personas e hirió a otras 14. El 23 del mismo mes del mismo año, dos jóvenes resultaron heridos de bala y otras siete personas con lesiones leves en una escuela secundaria cerca de San Diego. El 29 de octubre del mismo año, un joven pistolero mató a tres personas en la Universidad de Arizona.

 

El hecho más recordado, sin embargo, es el ataque en la Escuela Columbine, de Denver. El 20 de abril de 1999, Eric Harris y Dylan Klebold dispararon contra sus compañeros y profesores: 15 personas fallecieron en este incidente, entre ellos los atacantes que se suicidaron, algo común en este tipo de hechos.

 

Se trata de una tendencia alarmante que debería hacer reflexionar a las autoridades de ese país: ¿qué se hizo para llegar a esto?

 

El cineasta Michael Moore no tiene duda: las matanzas en escuelas se deben a la patología de violencia y miedo prevaleciente en el país con el mayor índice de asesinatos por armas de fuego del mundo y donde el número de las mismas sobrepasa al de votantes y aparatos de televisión.

 

Moore ganó en 2003 el Oscar al mejor documental por Bowling for Columbine, en el cual el director busca encontrar una explicación a esos hechos, con datos e imágenes estremecedoras. Por ejemplo, señala la cinta, en Canadá cada familia posee un arma, sin embargo, las muertes por este concepto son mínimas.

 

"Somos un pueblo singularmente violento y utilizamos nuestra tremenda acumulación de armas para matarnos los unos a los otros y contra muchos países en el mundo", dijo. Para el director de cine "los Estados Unidos viven inmersos en una cultura de temor dirigida a la población por el gobierno y los poderes fácticos y orquestada por los diferentes medios de comunicación de noticias, principalmente los canales de televisión". Se trata, puntualizó, de una forma de control similar a la que uso el régimen nazi en Alemania entre 1933 y 1945.

 

Sin duda, esa actitud violenta es exacerbada por el ánimo belicista del gobierno de George W. Bush, que ha incendiado buena parte del mundo con su guerra contra el terrorismo. "Las escuelas deben ser lugares de seguridad, refugio y aprendizaje. Cuando este santuario es violado, el impacto se resiente en todas las aulas y comunidades estadunidenses", dijo el mandatario tras enterarse sobre la matanza ocurrida en dos edificios del Tecnológico de Virginia.

 

El mandatario omite mencionar el impacto que su política agresora ha provocado en su propio pueblo, sin olvidar a la gente afectada por sus acciones bélicas. Bush ha ordenado a sus generales y tropas buscar a Osama Bin Laden en todo el mundo, sin embargo, es claro que existe crispación en el interior de su propio país, que impide que los estadunidenses vivan en paz y armonía, supuesto objetivo de las campañas del Pentágono.

 

No se trata únicamente de los ataques en las universidades, en este país existe una cultura de la pistola. De acuerdo con datos de diversos organismos de Estados Unidos, cada día mueren en esta nación 80 personas por armas de fuego, incluyendo anualmente 17 mil suicidios, 11 mil homicidios y 762 disparos no intencionales. Se calcula que entre 1979 y 2002, un total de 95 mil 761 niños y adolescentes han muerto por heridas provocadas por armas de fuego.

 

De hecho, no hay que olvidarlo, uno de los atentados terroristas más mortíferos de la historia de Estados Unidos fue perpetrado por un estadunidense. El 11 de septiembre de 2001, Timothy McVeigh hizo estallar una bomba en un edificio federal, matando a 168 personas e hiriendo a otras 500.

 

Son datos, cifras, tragedias humanas que hablan de una profunda crisis de valores en una nación que dice repetarlos.




































Virginia Tech students try to come to grips with what's happened, Apr. 16.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Monday morning class turns into a massacre in Virginia, Apr. 16, 00:03:14RealVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWS PHOTOS: Massacre in Virginia].

—EURO VIDEO NEWS: Massacre re-ignited gun control debate in America, Apr. 16, 00:01:41RealVideo

Front Page of La Jornada, April 16.





Cover of Le Prensa, Honduras, Apr. 17.


Front Page of British Newspaper, The Independent, Apr. 17.





Front Page of Irish Newspaper, The Irish Independent, Apr. 17.


Front Page of Italian Newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Apr. 17.