Americans like to use the phrase, 'Lest we forget' when speaking of the Japanese attack on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, December 7, 1941. Never again would America be caught napping. The attack was part of World War II, a war that started in 1939, after the war to end all wars didn't end any of them.
As part of America's war operations in the Pacific Theater, the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, killing 66,000 people immediately. Atomic and nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them swiftly and accurately became America's primary policy. We have the nukes - you don't. The Soviet Union responded, we have nukes, too, and the Cold War was engaged. Countries around the world were being forced to take a side, America or Soviet Union. In this corner, representing freedom and democracy, was the United States. In that corner, representing brutal repression and communism, was the USSR. America loved to make jokes about how poor the Soviets were. Their people were starving. They had no freedoms. To go anywhere, they had to show their papers. Voting was considered a sham.
Other communists countries existed and still do. The PRC demanded to be part of the show. We had Vietnam, Korea, and many other skirmishes and wars. Then the Soviet Union dissolved. Freedom and democracy had won! Russia inherited most of the USSR's nukes. The US still had a substantial stockpile, ready to threaten anyone getting out of line. Yet, Osama bin Laden and other terrorist groups kept getting out of line despite American nukes. Their plans and strategies culminated on 9/11/2001, when concurrent attacks were carried out via commercial aircraft. Thousands of people of many nationalities died that day but they were attacks on American soil.
America took to war. Afghanistan harbored the terrorists so we went in there. Saddam Hussein was deemed a threat so we invaded Iraq. After tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of death - we didn't bother to keep official count, or at least, we won't tell -- and tremendous destruction, combat forces have left Iraq. We're still in Afghanistan, an undeclared war that doesn't get much attention. Once in a while, another attack takes place and the press sits up and barks, like a watchdog that lets us know the burglars have left the building.
Earlier this year, Libyans fought for freedom. Egyptians. Syrians. Meanwhile, here in free America, a man went on a rampage with a gun or some guns, I haven't vetted all of the details, and killed six people. He is also dead, bringing the tally to seven. Last month, in Aurora, Colorado, a man shot 70, killing 12. Recent stats indicate that each year, America loses 52,000 people to murder at the hands of people with guns and point out that this is equal to a shooting incident like Aurora, Colorado, every day.
Every day. Every holiday. Every school day. Every business day. Every vacation day. Every day, spring, summer, fall and winter.
Other than having the most nukes and the biggest military budget, the number of gun victims per year is one of the few things where America is still a leader, along with CEO compensation and corporate profits. Education, health, technology, manufacturing, infant mortality rates, are all sliding down the charts.
So where does it take us? That despite the nukes and terrorism, wars and guns, violence has solved nothing.
Lest we forget.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com