Yet another massacre has occurred in the historically war-torn region of the Southern United States – and so soon after the religious festival of Easter.
Brian McConkey, 27, a Christian fundamentalist militiaman living in the formerly occupied territory of Alabama, gunned down three men from an opposing tribe in the village square near Mobile, the capitol, over a discussion that may have involved the rituals of the local football cult. In this region full of heavily-armed local warlords and radical Christian clerics, gun violence is part of the life of many.
Many of the militiamen here are ethnic Scots-Irish tribesmen, a famously indomitable mountain people who have killed civilized men – and each other – for centuries. It appears that the wars that started on the fields of Bannockburn and Sterling have come to America.
As the sun sets over the former Confederate States of America, one wonders – can peace ever come to this land?
if you’re ever feeling overdramatic just remember that zelda fitzgerald once threw herself down a flight of marble stairs at a party because her husband was talking to someone else
Among the more than two hundred thousand men of color who fought in the Civil War, some escaped Southern slavery and others fled the Confederate-controlled Indian Territory. As war veterans they expected that their service would be rewarded and the Constitution would protect them. And for a brief time it did. In the former Confederates states, US troops protected African Americans as they voted and were elected to local, state, and federal offices. But by 1877 a grim curtain again descended upon the lives of African Americans in the Southern states.
At about the same time, the US Congress moved against other people of color and of mixed descent. To punish Native American nations who had been forced to aid the Confederacy—and as an excuse to seize Indian lands—the United States moved against Native Americans. Creeks were forced to sell half of their territory for thirty cents an acre. Seminoles had to sell land at fifteen cents an acre. Then, in 1871, Congress decided to sign no more treaties with Native American Nations and instead treat all Indians as “wards of the state.” They came under strict federal control and officials, such as US secretary of the interior Columbus Delano and his new policy: “…[I]t is our duty to coerce” Native Americans into adopting “our habits and customs.”
Whites, eager to gain Native American lands in the West, discovered a new way to reach their goal. Between 1872 and 1874 they attacked the huge buffalo herds native people used as a source of food, income, and clothing. Four million buffalo were killed, and hides, which usually sold for thirty dollars each, flooded the market, selling for one dollar a piece. This severe loss drove native people into wandering, poverty, and dependence on federal aid.” —William Loren Katz, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, p. 205-207 (Part one)
There’s no way to be informed without devoting effort to the task, whether we have in mind what’s happening in the world, physics, major league baseball, or anything else. Understanding doesn’t come free. It’s true that the task is somewhere between awfully difficult and utterly hopeless for an isolated individual. But it’s feasible for anyone who is part of a cooperative community - and that’s true about all of the other cases too. Same holds for “intellectual self-defense.” It takes a lot of self-confidence - perhaps more self-confidence than one ought to have - to take a position alone because it seems to you right, in opposition to everything you see and hear. There’s even evidence about this: under experimental conditions people deny what they know to be true when they are informed that others they have reason to trust are doing so (Solomon Asch’s classic experiments in social psychology, which were often held to show that people are conformist and irrational, but can be understood differently, to indicate that people are quite reasonable, and using all the information at hand). More important than any of this is that a community - an organization - can be a basis for action, and while understanding the world may be good for the soul (not meant to be disparaging), it doesn’t help anyone else, or oneself very much either for that matter, unless it leads to action.
Noam Chomsky, On Staying Informed and Intellectual Self-Defense