Four people dead. Three others wounded.* And a community in mourning. Such is the all-too-familiar aftermath of yet another mass shooting in yet another gun-free zone. As details roll in about yesterday's attacks upon two separate military sites in Chattanooga, TN, the wheels of propaganda have already begun to spin. Though in the noisy haze of the usual talking points, a couple of things are clear to me: who's deserving of sympathy and how to mitigate these massacres.
Given the function and occupations of the deceased and injured, these were not the innocent heroes that many are now remembering them to be. Not at all. Among the victims were five U.S. Marines, a Navy sailor and a police officer. Seven individuals - some of whom helped occupy Iraq and Afghanistan - who each made a conscious choice to wear the empire's uniform. Inflicting brutality on behalf of corporate interests; that's their job description. Consider the knee-jerk outpour of sadness in that context. My empathy and solidarity are reserved not for State mercenaries, but for their innocent victims - from Ferguson to Fallujah.
What is also painfully obvious is the gun-free zone sign displayed prominently on the bullet-ridden door of the recruiting office (where the attack began). As if someone intent on murder can be deterred by gun laws. As if an AK-47 is rendered useless by a sign on the door. Because, of course, people can certainly trust the local police to come and save them when a mass shooting ensues, right?
Not quite. While the military's policies against personal protection should give every service-member pause, I think it's important for all humans to understand that no sign, no police officer, no legislator, no president is capable of fixing this problem. That the powers-that-shouldn't-be care not when their enforcers perish; be them five or five thousand. And that self-ownership and self-defense are the most effective tools against lethal threats. The sooner We The People accept that, the more lives will be saved.
* The wounded sailor later died of his injuries.