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  • For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

    Timothy 6:10 (KJB; there are other translations, all similar, mostly less poetic)

    This well-known sound bite of scripture indicates the source of many of the evils that Turtle has recently and nicely cataloged.

    I won't dwell on it, but Monday's mass shooting at the Washington DC Navy Yard that left at least 13 dead is an example of getting what we pay for, but not to hear our president say so:

    WASHINGTON -- President Obama on Monday called the victims of the Navy Yard shooting "patriots" and vowed that federal authorities would work closely with local police "to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible."

    From USA Today

    Really? If random government workers shot to death by a lunatic are patriots, then every black American should receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. When it comes to terrorism, black folk have seen it all and gotten damn few instant eulogies for their sacrifices.

    When did we start labeling casualties of mass killings "patriots"? I thought patriots are people who sacrifice themselves fighting for high principles – not victims of homicides that the FBI and DHS get called in to investigate. Let's simply call them victims and honor their lives as best we can. We don't need to transmogrify them into pawns in an imaginary global chess game.

    Speaking of victims, look at the interactive map of mass shootings from USA Today shown here and ask: Why is this happening, and why in America more than anywhere else?

    Almost all this violence has one fairly obvious root cause, and it isn't firearms. It's spelled m-o-n-e-y. Money that people couldn't make to live decent lives. Money that banks stole from them. Money for drugs, weapons or promises of phony dreams. Most commonly, money that corporations make every day for investors who don't know or care how it was gotten.

    They do it not just because they can, but because the rules of the game require that they fuck people over. Corporate charters make it very clear that the only criterion of success for a company is "return on investment." When calculating that, only shareholders count – not workers, communities, consumers, our children, the natural environment, or the public at large.

    Until these rules change to include all stakeholders – not just investors and executives – in profit-and-loss statements, nothing about our sorry-ass situation can truly change for the better.

    And until that happens, let's describe victims of mass killings the way the military does, as collateral damage. That might more accurately indicate the nature of the game we've all been forced to play, and increasingly lose.
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