By Alberto N Jones
HAVANA TIMES — Saturday March 24th 2018 will go down in US and global history as the day that schoolchildren, young people, their parents and millions of people who are determined to stop the uncontrollable violence that is devouring the United States, took to the streets in hundreds of capitals, cities and towns in this country to shout, “Enough” and “No to violence!”
US society has been characterized by violence for hundreds of years, slaves were preyed on and lynching Black men and women became a festive activity every Sunday after mass, which led to a hundred-year struggle for justice, equality and harmony, which has yet to be achieved.
Indians or native Americans were sentenced to a worse fate still, as they were murdered in mass, stigmatized as “savages”, had their land stolen from them, their women raped and today, millions of them vegetate uneducated, alcoholics, addicted to drugs and living in poverty in the poorly named “reserves” in the west of the country.
Both of these acts of racial supremacy and impunity created a culture that worships weapons in the US unlike anywhere else in the world. Hollywood played a lead role in encouraging this culture with its Westerns or cowboy movies first, then gang wars, the murder of political leaders in and outside the country, fights and pushing people through glass walls in skyscrapers.
However, video games, and some TV channels with violent and degrading programs, are what have really impacted the minds of millions of young people and adults negatively, which has converted them into killing machines.
Different US governments accepted the wild killing sprees between young Black and Latino men in marginal neighborhoods as valid, which were full to the brim with drugs imported by the upper class in their yachts, planes or submarines from Asia or Latin America, without any legal or political authority questioning how these drugs entered the country in the first place.
The breakout of AIDs and other communicable diseases in the ‘80s, drug addiction and the violent wars between drug dealers to control retail points in the neighborhood, exarcebated racism and there were myths that accused Haiti of having introduced AIDs into our hemisphere.
President Ronald Reagan took advantage of this situation and introduced the Three Strikes Law around 1984. This law stipulates that any minor criminal that is arrested three times for selling drugs, would be put in jail for life, which is why the US incarceration rate has quadrupled and is the largest in the world, today.
Nothing similar was applied to importers, national, state or county distributors, who have only filled their pockets, laundered billions of bloodstained dollars and built skyscrapers or exclusive communities.
This love for weapons has led many US citizens to have a real arsenal in their home and to reduce the meaning of violently dying in a country where being shot in a workplace, hospital, church, movie theater, headquarters, beach or school is an everyday occurrence.
The recent march was in response to the straw that broke the camel’s back in a series of massacres across the US that were the attacks that led to 58 fatalities in Las Vegas in October 2017, the 49 people who were killed in Orlando’s Pulse Club in June 2016, the 32 students who were killed at Virginia University in April 2007, the 26 primary school children who were shot dead in Sandy Hook in December 2012 and the 17 college students in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, which has unleashed a wave of national indignation that other hundreds of massacres, which date back to 1770 more or less, haven’t achieved.
For centuries, the US government has been distant and turned its back to the cries of it citizens to change gun possession laws. Controlled by a handful of families, figures who are well handed by the National Rifle Association, nobody has been able to stop war firearms such as the AR-15 or AK-47 from being up for unregulated sale.
Today, the US government feels like it has been backed into a corner, silent and taking refuge in its lair, waiting for the gale force winds that threaten to oust them out of power to pass by.
This cry for attention needs to come to Cuba, where nothing similar has taken place in half a century, but the country can’t ignore precursors of violence, social decline, TV programs and the Weekly Package, human needs not being met, vulgar acts, alcoholism, urinating and defecating anywhere, a lack of care for the environment, social discipline etc., without the authorities intervening or regulating and penalizing these acts.