The Empire State Shooter


                  Another Slaughter on an American Street

 A Sign of the Times!

Mass shootings have become almost a routine affair, a sad fact of life in the USA today.  They may not happen all the time, but they can happen anytime. Not everywhere but anywhere. And as I write they are happening with such frequency it’s hard to keep up with them. However while most appear to be senseless, or at any rate unfathomable to the average citizen, today’s shooting near the Empire state building, in which ten people were shot an two killed,  appear to be crystal clear.

A laid off worker decided to kill the man who fired him.  A few years ago this type of shooting was routinely referred to as “going postal,” because the most dramatic instance of a mass shooting at the time was perpetrated  by a fired postal worker who decided to exact vengeance on his former co-workers  by returning to the job site and opening fire on as many people as he could.

This kind of mass slaughter differs from those in Columbine, Arizona, Virginia Tech, Colorado, Wisconsin, et al; in which the shooter had some vague and generalized discontent with the world.  Here the shooting is work related and the target was a person the shooter feels is the cause of his economic plight; the boss who took the bread off his table and threw their life into chaos. From all appearances this seems to be the motivation behind todays shooting.

Recently the question was asked on a cable talk show as to whether the prolonged unemployment crisis will result in civil unrest; the way it has elsewhere in the world.  I think we are already seeing civil disturbances due to the stress of economic desperation; the unending anxiety experienced by people facing homelessness and starvation.

But because it is expressed in anti-social behavior like an escalating crime rate, and the increased incidence of mass shootings, it is not recognized as social unrest.  It is simply dismissed as criminal behavior or a fit of madness, with no connection to the brutal protracted economic crisis that is swelling the ranks of the dispossessed in the richest society the world has ever seen.

The Republicans who speak so glibly of shredding the social safety net and leaving the poor and unemployed to starve, while accusing them of being lazy good for nothings looking for a handout, are playing with social dynamite.  In some parts of the world violence is targeted against the rich by the poor; like Knee capping in Italy and kidnapping in Latin America.

Right now disgruntled workers in the US have advocates in the organized labor unions that have fought for programs that help the unemployed maintain the basic necessities of life. But if the Republicans succeed in destroying these government entitlements, shredding the safety net  and destroying the power of unions to fight back through the political system, we shall many more acts mass slaughter and the danger zone will be everywhere!

Nowhere to run….


Nowhere to hide!


Playthell G. Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 24, 2012


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