Readers consider the causes of the Jonesboro tragedy

I was surprised by your article, 'The Jonesboro murders --Why?'

I expected a lot worse from a web site about socialism. I figured you'd be jumping on the anti-gun bandwagon and riding it into the sunset. But it looks like some actual thought went into the article, much of it along my lines of thinking. Kudos.

13 April 1998

To the Editor and to David Walsh:

Thank you for an insightful analysis of the recent tragic shootings in Jonesboro.

I agree with you that crime and violence in our society are products of an unfair system that creates hopelessness and ruthlessness in our society. I am really glad to see that you have made this clear in your excellent commentary.

As a member of the NRA and an avid defender of the second amendment of the US Constitution, I often find myself reluctantly 'in bed' with politicians and their policies which promote the ever widening rift between rich and poor.

It's very hard to convince people that 'guns' are not the problem, but that society and its structure is. I feel that it is hard to convince some gun owners that their responsibility to society means more than protecting the Second Amendment, but it is even harder to convince most citizens that the current American capitalism with its 'Devil take the hindmost' mentality is leading us to societal collapse.

Thanks again for your excellent commentary.

Cincinnati, Ohio, US
1 April 1998

Now here I completely agree with you Mr. Walsh. Our society may as well be one gigantic corporation. The corporations own the media. The media itself is a smaller corporation within the larger one we all live in. If the people of this country actually still believe that they are running this country, I for one have to disagree!

Once television made its headway into our lives in the early 50s, the government had to decide what to do with it: will it be a private medium or public (as it was becoming in some European nations)? Of course, our government turned it into a private commercialized medium where money could be made.

Who runs our government now? Big business. Big corrupt business. They own television and they ultimately bring us the 'educational' programming we find every night on Fox, NBC, CBS etc. (Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, etc., etc.). Now, not all TV programming is violent in nature, but most of it is sedating in nature. They want us (the 80% of this country that is middle to lower class) to sit in front of the TV, sedated, with our brains turned off, mindlessly watching their programs. It is as if they are saying behind our backs, 'Don't let those people start thinking, because if they do, they will want to change what we have so long been trying to establish.'

AHHHH! I sound like I am one of those conspiracy theorists. But I believe that our 'government' (these big businesses) almost wants us to kill each other off. They bring us this message that says, 'Kill that guy, fire that lady, kill that person because he is getting in the way of our happiness.' Here we have a government that is going around telling us how they plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein. WHAT? Why? Because he is destroying the lives of the civilians of his country or because of almighty OIL? And what gives us the right to go around invading countries and killing their leaders anyway? Aren't we in the practice of condemning that sort of thing?

So here we have a young overweight boy wanting to do away with a girl that made him feel bad. No, I am sure he didn't pick up the paper or tune into the TV that morning and say, 'Well, hell, man, if the government can go around and kill people that make them mad then so can I, so here I go.' But throughout his young life he has been fed this ideology through television, through even perhaps his parents, through even what he learns in school and so on and so on. It is ingrained in him. He may not believe he understands how an actual corporation like that of Ford Motor Company runs. But, alas he does. As a young child he doesn't know that he has behaved exactly as one of the CEOs that run our country, just blasting away at whomever stands in his way.

1 April 1998

See the WSWS comment by David Walsh, The Jonesboro murders - Why? [28 March 1998]