MY NEW year’s resolution is to worry more about the affordability of Botox and devote more time to thinking about my cellulite, writes Suzanne Harrington
No, not really. Just kidding. It’s to wonder more. And not just at sunsets and dolphins, but at the real mysteries of the universe. Like, I wonder why those heavily armed maniacs in Oregon are being called ‘militants’ and ‘patriots’, while heavily armed maniacs elsewhere are called ‘terrorists’. I wonder if they were black or Arab, would they all be dead by now? What if these gun-waving white adults were 12- year-old black kids with toy guns?
It’s only a few days into 2016 and already there is so much to wonder at. Like, by January 5 there had already been 141 American citizens shot dead by other American citizens, on the day Channel Four interviewed a chap from an outfit called Armed American Radio.
Try, if you can, to visualise what those words actually mean — microphones and assault rifles?
During the interview, the British journalist asked the American representative of the weaponised radio station about the 13,338 American gun deaths in 2015. “In a free country, these things happen,” said the pro-guns guy. It’s “just part of life”.
He all-but shrugged and said “Meh”. During the course of the short interview, another 17 Americans were shot dead. Part of life, right? In a “free” country, obviously.
It was heartening, therefore, to see Obama in tears about those little kids who died at Sandy Hook primary school, and all the young lives lost to the American right to bear arms. Never mind all the young black kids shot by white American police officers. But it left me wondering — why wasn’t Obama crying about all the little brown kids and their families elsewhere who have been killed by the drone attacks authorised by his administration?
Could he have maybe shed a few tears over the wedding parties and the hospitals that his minions blew up in 2015? Or are non-Americans not worth crying over? You also might be wondering quite a lot about how we define goodies and baddies.
Baddies are fairly easy, aren’t they? They dress in flowing robes, mask their faces, oppress the living hell out of women, and are prone to decapitating anyone who disagrees with them about anything, even about stuff as esoteric as the existence of an invisible being and how best to honour this invisible being by doing lots of head chopping.
Hang on. Sorry, my mistake. Those are the good guys. The Saudis, to whom we all continue to suck up. They are terribly rich, and we do business with them, so we tend to excuse their fondness for public decapitation as a cultural thing. You know, a religious tic.
A bit like the American gun fetish, which is accepted by many Americans as a human rights issue, unless you happen to get shot dead by someone exercising their human right to shoot you, in which case your own human right to remain alive has been overruled. It makes you wonder.
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