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America Is Killing Itself

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CHICAGO – January 30, 2019

If we look closely, we will see that US civil culture, or rather its prototype based on the chimerical structure of American society legitimizes violence, primarily within the US itself. For example, legal interpretations of various "atrocities" appeared in the US in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which justified the use of state-sanctioned torture.

In the US, it is officially allowed to torture people. In the Justice Department's view -- contained in a 50-page document signed by former Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee -- inflicting moderate or fleeting pain does not necessarily constitute torture. Torture, the memo says, "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

If a government employee were to torture a suspect in captivity, "he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the Al Qaeda terrorist network," says the memo from the Justice Department's office of legal counsel, written in response to a CIA request for legal guidance. 

The 2002 memo, for example, includes the interpretation that "it is difficult to take a specific act out of context and conclude that the act in isolation would constitute torture." The memo names seven techniques that courts have considered torture, including severe beatings with truncheons and clubs, threats of imminent death, burning with cigarettes, electric shocks to genitalia, rape or sexual assault, and forcing a prisoner to watch the torture of another person.

"While we cannot say with certainty that acts falling short of these seven would not constitute torture," the memo advises, ". . . we believe that interrogation techniques would have to be similar to these in their extreme nature and in the type of harm caused to violate law."

For more details, see: Memo Offered Justification for Use of Torture.

In 2007, the case "El Masri against US" became known. Earlier, in 2003, the Macedonian authorities handed over to the CIA a German citizen of Lebanese descent. CIA agents held him in one of their prisons in Afghanistan for nearly five months without charge, where they tortured him. He was subsequently released because, according to the victim’s lawyer, he was detained by mistake. Despite the fact that a complaint was filed against the actions of the CIA agents, the US Supreme Court rejected it, which caused an international scandal.

 Another precedent that took place in 2009 is known as “Arar v. Ashcroft.” The victim, who was a Canadian citizen, was taken in 2002 from New York to the Middle East, where he was tortured for ten months. The court dismissed the charge and did not even offer any compensation to the victim.

But we do not intend to list all the crimes. The behavior of the American military in countries where military facilities of the US are located has remained a subject of controversy and debate for many years. Crimes of varying degrees of severity have long accompanied their "service" almost anywhere in the world: Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Japan, Secret Prisons, Blackwater crimes and more. Much has been said about this. But all this is somewhere far away. And what about the US?

Here is just a small part of the headlines of the leading American media outlets in January, which more and more resemble reports of military actions. The Latest:

1 of 5 officers hurt in shooting out of hospital

4 Girls and Women Shot at Newark Vigil

A small child seriously wounded his mother with a shotgun, which he found in the family car

Suspect Shot, 2 Hostages Freed at UPS Facility in New Jersey

Man dies after being shot by child playing with gun

3 killed, 4 injured in California bowling alley shooting

Here you can see the official statistics about mass shootings in the United States in January this year.

According to the Gun Volence Archive website, there have been 27 mass shootings already in the United States in the first month of 2019.

These figures are very saddening.

Meanwhile, the authorities and all sorts of official sources are constantly saying that violent crime in the US has fallen sharply over the past quarter century. The two most commonly cited sources of crime statistics in the US both show a substantial decline in the violent crime rate since it peaked in the early 1990s. One is an annual report by the FBI of serious crimes reported to by police in approximately 18,000 jurisdictions around the country. The other is an annual survey of more than 90,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which asks Americans ages 12 and older whether they were victims of crime, regardless of whether they reported those crimes to the police.

Using the FBI numbers, the violent crime rate fell 49% between 1993 and 2017. Using the BJS data, the rate fell 74% during that span. (For both studies, 2017 is the most recent full year of data.) The long-term decline in violent crime hasn’t been uninterrupted, though. The FBI, for instance, reported increases in the violent crime rate between 2004 and 2006 and again between 2014 and 2016.

America Is Killing Itself

Are the official statistics lying? Has the rate gotten worse with time?

Experts say people are poorly able to assess the real extent of large-scale phenomena, therefore they incorrectly estimate the real extent of violence in the world.

For example, if the death rate from violence was the same in the 20th century was during the time of tribal wars, then two billion people would have died in the two World Wars and the Holocaust. We often forget that early civilizations praised murder and even genocide, as we see in the Bible, for instance.

Throughout human history, the number of violent deaths has been gradually decreasing, and especially quickly since 1945.

So why does it seem like violence is increasing? Experts cite several reasons:

Media and modern means of communication

Market demand for opinions and propaganda

New standards of morality are behind the practice

All this of course may be to some extent true, but perhaps the opposite is true. After all, in 2018 alone in the US there were more than 300 mass shootings! See the full statistics on the website Gun Violence Archive.

The death rate from firearms in America is very high - an average of 11,000 people per year are victims of gunshot.

There is no generally accepted definition of “mass execution”. The Gun Violence Archive calls a mass execution a single incident in which four or more people, not counting the shooter himself, are “wounded and / or killed in one piece of time in one place.”

The authorities also have no official definition. In 2013, a report by the Congressional Research Service called mass executions cases in which the shooter “chooses victims at random” and which lead to four or more deaths, it is a stricter standard than the Gun Violence Archive, since it does not take into account the wounded.

Earlier in 2013, a threshold of three or more deaths was set.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, more than 12,000 people died from firearms in 2018 and more than 24,000 were injured.

Is it impossible to prevent this?

Author: USA Really