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Las Vegas and the Ghost of John Brown.

Having abandoned all legitimate claims to moral authority the federal government is left to rule through power, chaos and terror. In this moral vacuum the most righteous and courageous commentary has come from a small group of television entertainers.

Jimmy Kimmel, already embroiled in a moral tug of war with second rate conmen over the idea that healthcare is a human right, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, the elfin and lightweight Jimmy Fallon, James Corden and Stephen Colbert (having most recently lubed himself up to provide Sean Spicer a point of reentry into what passes for civilized society) have become the expression of the nation’s conscience, sadness and outrage.

The mass murder in Las Vegas, this act of domestic terror, about which the federal government will do nothing and for which they are responsible, is the raid on Harper’s Ferry in our time. Gun control is to the 21st century in America as slavery was to the 19th. We do not mean to suggest that Paddock is a later day John Brown but rather precisely by being the inverse of Brown – devoid of political motivation, political consciousness, devoid of any ideological motivation but consumed by a complete defenestration of the civic, of any attachment to the commons – we find his significance. And the significance of this latest act of domestic terror is to our time as the raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry was to the narrow moment before the Civil War. It is the warning; the last moment before the storm. Paddock is the first post-ideological terrorist. The civil war between violent action for the sake of violent action as means to assert that one exists and that one’s existence has meaning vs the argument without end within the bounds of civil society has begun. This post-ideological terror is the enforcement of a new slavery. It is the denial of freedom and the enslavement of the civic mind to a state of bondage in which fear of potential yet inevitable and catastrophic violence is a chain and a lash that can strike at any moment.

The entertainers are right – no amount of prayer or good wishes will produce change. The federal government, utterly corrupt and beholden to money and fantasists who have substituted the pathologies of gun ownership for the delusions of state’s rights and slavery will never willingly surrender. They will stand in the schoolhouse doorway until the only thing left is the doorway and a pile of dead bodies. And in doing so they have created Paddock and the inevitability of duplicates. Their adherence to an utterly soulless historically bankrupt set of illusions has given life to a terrorist without a cause. For every psychopathic neo-nazi state’s right thug who gets behind the wheel of a car and drives it into a crowd there is now the spectre of the ideologically deprogrammed killer reduced to a state of mechanical ferocity.

Given the combination of voter suppression, gerrymandering, and the tidal wave of money injected into the whore house of the government, there is only one peaceful alternative to secure greater safety for the people of this country.

We propose that the entertainers who have so eloquently spoken out against this terror, who have so courageously condemned the absence of moral leadership and the immoral collaboration between the NRA, the government and the terrorists, should as a unified group stage a one day strike. They should encourage their friends and colleagues in television, music, theater and film to join them. They should demand federal legislation banning semi-automatic weapons. They should demand the enforcement of background checks. They should make it clear in no uncertain terms that they are capable of inflicting massive financial damage to the economy. And they should make it clear that the strike can be repeated and expanded.

The cowards are trying to silence debate. They are insisting that this is not the time to discuss politics and that there are no solutions to this crisis. As has been pointed out they are the first to offer strident, even draconian solutions to terrorism committed by foreigners or by Americans with affiliations to foreign organizations. And as has been pointed out, it is too late for the dead to discuss politics and gun control.

For the living the question is how long do we have before it is too late for us.

Postscript: It is crucial to keep in mind that the Las Vegas shooting is an on-going investigation and new information may come to light. That may alter or significantly change our view. However, it seems unlikely that the shooter was “radicalized” in the way that word is used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

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