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1 Randall Gross  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 4:54:21am

The BBC story
[Link: www.bbc.co.uk...]

2 Randall Gross  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 4:56:15am

Local news
[Link: www.9news.com...]

More

[Link: www.denverpost.com...]

3 Randall Gross  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 5:00:38am

It's a tragedy at best, and already the wingnuts are turning the comment threads to some of those articles into debates on guns rights.

4 Destro  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 5:50:21am

I know this will be controversial but gonzo journalist Mark Ames of the online Exile equates these mass shooting "going postal" episodes in America (school, workplace, etc) as a result of the mental damage caused to society by the imposition of the Darwinian capitalist model after Reagan fired the Air Traffic controllers.

OK, I know as soon as you read that your first instinct is to become incredulous. I was too but I actually read the book and it is not as far fetched as it sounds.

Basically, Ames equates these going postal episodes to the slave revolts of the past. The slave revolts also were violent episodes that had no organization and resulted from slaves 'snapping" as a result of their condition.

Read an interview with the author here @ Alternet: A Brief History of Rage, Murder and Rebellion

An interview with Mark Ames, whose book about rage murders in American schools and workplaces claims these violent acts are, in effect, failed revolts.

October 3, 2005

It's not easy to stare this country square in the face and bear witness to the pandemic of horror, misery and rape-the-fields viciousness that abounds. I can do it at the most for 10 minutes at a time... and then find myself drifting back to my Comfortable Place. It's far harder to sit down and write about what's really going on in America; there are entire publications -- like Newsweek or New York Magazine -- that give every sign of making it editorial policy to scour each article and delete any hint of reference to the scales on our dark underbelly.

So it's a fairly powerful event to find a decent-sized book that does nothing but articulate a series of truths about the American Life you've hardly read about or spoken about, but just simply felt.

Mark Ames' "Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion -- From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond" (Soft Skull, 2005) is such a book.Ames takes a systematic look at the scores of rage killings in our public schools and workplaces that have taken place over the past 25 years. He claims that instead of being the work of psychopaths, they were carried out by ordinary people who had suffered repeated humiliation, bullying and inhumane conditions that find their origins in the "Reagan Revolution." Looking through a carefully researched historical lens, Ames recasts these rage killings as failed slave rebellions.

Mark Ames lives in a kind of self-imposed exile, editing an expat English alt-weekly in Moscow (The eXile) where he regularly writes about the culture, politics and society of a country he could not live in. It's his simultaneous distance from life in America and deep familiarity with it that makes his book such a chilling read.

AlterNet contacted Ames in Moscow to talk about his book and what he sees as the underlying cause of the "Going Postal" phenomenon.

5 freetoken  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 5:53:49am

re: #4 Destro

I doubt it.

Any of us who have been around for awhile know that we humans are indeed violent apes. There are a few in any population which do not, or can not, exercise the normal thought processes wrt dealing with life.

6 DeepBlue  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:03:27am

re: #3 Randall Gross

There should be more debates about gun rights & gun responsibilities.

7 andres  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:08:57am

re: #6 DeepBlue

In a more opportune time. Not when a nutjob killed 15 people, and wounded 50.

8 Destro  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:10:09am

re: #5 freetoken

I doubt it.

Any of us who have been around for awhile know that we humans are indeed violent apes. There are a few in any population which do not, or can not, exercise the normal thought processes wrt dealing with life.

I know you doubt it. Ames points out that such "going postal" work places episodes were unheard of until Reagan.

More from the Mark Ames interview (link above):

Your thesis that these rage murders are effectively failed slave rebellions takes you back in your book to consider in some depth the circumstances of slave rebellions in the antebellum South. At what point did the parallels start to dawn on you?

I really started with the idea that in every age, there is some awful oppression that is not yet recognized and therefore doesn't exist, but later seems horribly obvious. This became clear to me working in Moscow in the '90s. No one in the "liberal" Western press corps, academia, world financial aid organizations or Clinton Administration had a shred of sympathy for the millions of Russians suffering from so-called "privatization" programs that we rammed down their throats. Literally millions of Russians went to their graves early in the '90s, yet many respectable Westerners openly said that the old generation would "have to die off" before the proper mindset set in to allow full Westernization in Russia.

Those millions of deaths are still not seen as part of something larger and evil. Later I looked at the details of these American rage murders -- they were all similar, mostly normal Middle Americans attacking seemingly "at random." If they weren't psychopaths, which they aren't, then that meant their attacks were very deliberate, that they were attacking something as a response. That's when I decided that it was the culture which was viewing the murders "at random," the culture which refused to see the purpose.

I simply assumed, from experience in Russia, and from looking at modern rage rebellions, that early slave rebellions would be completely misunderstood in their day as random acts of crazed evil just as modern "rage rebellions" are, and from the evidence I uncovered, it seems they were.

9 Destro  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:11:46am

re: #5 freetoken

I doubt it.

Any of us who have been around for awhile know that we humans are indeed violent apes. There are a few in any population which do not, or can not, exercise the normal thought processes wrt dealing with life.

More (and again I understand why you would not accept this thesis):

How much blame do you place on Reaganomics for the changes in the workplace that you argue lead to rage attacks?

Put it this way: rage murders in the workplace never existed anywhere in history until Reagan came to power. Reagan made it respectable to be a mean, stupid bastard in this country. He is the patron saint of white suckers. He unleashed America's Heart of Vileness -- its penchant for hating people who didn't get rich, and worshipping people who despise them, and this is the essence of Reaganomics.

I hate to sound like a Clintonite here, but let's remember Hillary Clinton became the most hated human being alive because she tried to give most Americans the opportunity to lead longer, healthier lives, while these same Americans adored goons like Sam Walton, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Donald Trump -- everyone who has dedicated their lives to transferring wealth, health and pleasure from the masses to a tiny elite. Liberals are hated in America precisely because they want to help people, which is seen as "patronizing."

You can see how this kind of cultural insanity, unleashed by Reaganomics after decades of New Deal (relative) harmony, could make someone snap, when the cognitive dissonance suddenly strikes on a very personal level, and you realize that you've been screwed hard by your own dominant ideology.

The implication of your thesis, of course, is that millions of Americans are living lives in many respects no different from slaves -- in some respects eagerly, and willfully. I suspect that's a realization for many people out there that they just won't be able to face, and you will no doubt draw some attention for saying so. You also argue that part of human nature -- despite conventional precepts about a universal human desire for freedom -- is our capacity and desire to be ruled, to obey, and to accept hierarchy, as well as adapt to almost any circumstance at all and eventually regard it as normal ... until there's a breaking point.

Why do you think we have all of these "wage slave" and "temp slave" T-shirts and e-jokes around? Americans like to turn everything painfully true into a little quip, as if by quippifying the painful truth, as if by becoming self-aware of one's shameful and intolerable existence, one partially nullifies one's pain. This is what you'd call "slave humor." Slaves did the same thing, turning their pain into quips. And remember, there were almost no slave rebellions at all in America, less than a dozen.

As for the slave tendency in humanity, I think it's a lot stronger in America than in most other countries in part because no other country on earth has so successfully crushed every internal rebellion. Slaves in the Caribbean for example rebelled a lot more because their oppressors weren't as good at oppressing as Americans were. America has put down every rebellion, brutally, from the Whiskey Rebellion to the Confederate Rebellion to the proletarian rebellions, Black Panthers, white militias... you name it. This creates a powerful slave mentality, a sense that it's pointless to rebel.

And this in turn creates pointless rebellions like modern workplace and school rebellions, just like our early slave rebellions were carried out in totally pointless, seemingly random ways. Or it creates a mass of quipping slave-comedians, like we have today.

10 Gus  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:28:57am

What in hell? I wake up to this?

11 Gus  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:30:34am

Suspect in custody, 12 dead in Aurora movie theater shooting, suspect named James Holmes

...NBC News has confirmed through two federal sources the shooting suspect's name is James Holmes. He is 24 years old.

Police say Holmes "appeared" at the front of one of the theaters, threw some type of gas or explosive device and started shooting. Police recovered a rifle, a handgun and a gas mask when they arrive on the scene. Another gun was discovered later inside the theater. Holmes was wearing a bulletproof vest, according to federal authorities...

12 Randall Gross  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 6:51:42am

re: #6 DeepBlue

There should be more debates about gun rights & gun responsibilities.

Yeah, and every single freaking news event is the opportunity to extol the virtues of guns. New play opens? Let's talk about guns. People dead? Let's talk about guns. Sick fucks.

Just as a bad as that are all of the people (left and right) trying to make this into a political commentary before the bodies cool.

13 b_sharp  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 7:46:18am

I see this and I go into a mild shock. I can't understand how the rest of you can be so cavalier about so many deaths, then I realize you have to, it's a survival instinct. Without it the pain would burn every time a similar event happens and it happens too often.

Right now this shouldn't be about guns, it should be about people.

We've lost something.

14 b_sharp  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 7:48:52am

re: #9 Destro

More (and again I understand why you would not accept this thesis):

The author is making a lot of ridiculous and unfounded assertions and is turning a simple correlation into causation.

15 Destro  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 7:59:15am

re: #14 b_sharp

The author is making a lot of ridiculous and unfounded assertions and is turning a simple correlation into causation.

The author DOES not do that but I understand why you would think this just reading an interview and a synapsis. You have to read the book where he proves his case. Like I said, just hearing the premiss also made me incredulous till I read the book.

Also, Mark Ames is the guy (along with his partner Yasha Levine) who broke the Koch brothers story first.

16 EiMitch  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 9:35:51am

re: #4 Destro

re: #6 DeepBlue

If we enact this kind of law or that kind of social reform, then maniacs will become a thing of the past. /sarc

Like Jon Stewart said once before, you can't outsmart crazy.

re: #15 Destro

You have to read the book where he proves his case.

Thats the impression books are supposed to make! When one has read it through, they're convinced the author knows what he's talking about. That doesn't mean he actually does. I know because I've read very convincing books that I later realized were full of it.

I consider "you have to read the book to believe it" to be a red-flag for biased bulls***. Why? Because I've used that excuse before, much to my shame. Is Mark Ames a scientist? Did he complete a peer-reviewed study on the subject? Did he at least reference to such studies?

Anyone can write a book and make a convincing case for whatever pet belief. Thats not the same as evidence.

Also, Mark Ames is the guy (along with his partner Yasha Levine) who broke the Koch brothers story first.

Oh, okay. And how does that make them qualified on abnormal psychology?

17 Destro  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 1:56:50pm

...

18 Destro  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 2:00:25pm

re: #16 EiMitch

Ames approaches this as a journalist. He does touch on the psychology of the "Going Postal" phenomenon which is also mentioned in the article.

You demonstrate that there is absolutely zero accuracy in the psychological profiles that "experts" have assembled to predict what kind of young student might start another Columbine, and you instead advocate profiling schools that could prompt a deadly massacre. What are some of the tell-tale signs to look for?

White kids. Just look for white kids, and you'll have a potential Columbine. When I said that the school should be profiled rather than the kid (since the Secret Service and FBI have both concluded no profile of a Columbiner is possible), I meant something larger than just the school campus -- I meant the entire culture. Our culture today is completely insane, the disconnect between how our propaganda says our lives are, and how our lives actually are. And let's face it, white middle-class kids are far more deeply invested in the dominant cultural lies, and therefore more easily destroyed by the rupture when those lies become untenable, than minority urban kids are.

And boom. Ames just profiled the killer to a teeh years before it happene., a phd candidate from a white suburban middle class home.

19 EiMitch  Fri, Jul 20, 2012 2:28:35pm

re: #18 Destro

Ames approaches this as a journalist. He does touch on the psychology of the "Going Postal" phenomenon which is also mentioned in the article.

Yeah, because I completely trust journalists. /sarc

Maybe you completely missed the point of my previous post: Quit trying to sell me a f***ing book. Quit trying to sell me on the author's credentials. I only care about the evidence. Show me the peer-reviewed studies. If Ames referenced such evidence in his book, give me links. Or tell me what the studies are called and who did them so I can google it myself. Something better than "it'll all make sense once you read this book" like some ufo/illuminati/911-troof conspiracy nut.

Or to put it in 4/chan speak: Studies or gtfo. Peer-review or it didn't happen.

And boom. Ames just profiled the killer to a teeh years before it happene., a phd candidate from a white suburban middle class home.

What a revelation! /sarc

Seriously, "middle-class white suburbanite in school" is the most specific he could get? That describes a ridiculously large number of guys. Between that and the fact that serial killers are typically white males anyway, it was a pretty safe bet.

Bragging about Ames hitting the broad side of a barn does not make me any less skeptical.


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