‘US urban violence backlash from Washington’s incendiary measures’
Police in the US city of Chicago are investigating over two dozen cases of gun violence that happened over the Christmas holidays. At least 50 people were shot, a dozen of them fatally, over the weekend. We have spoken to author and commentator John Steppling about the root causes of gun violence in America.
Steppling said the violence American citizens are facing these days is actually the backlash from the violence Washington is exporting to different parts of the world through its arms sales.
“When discussions take place about gun violence or gang violence, as in Chicago this weekend, you really have to understand that the United States is the number one manufacturer of weapons globally. We sell weapons to everybody. This is a society that is carrying out seven wars as we speak. You can’t separate the export of violence and weaponry to the Global South from the institutional violence, police violence against communities, poor communities in the United States, especially blacks. None of these things can be separated,” the analyst said.
Steppling also referred to the biased media coverage as another important factor which is exasperating violence in the US society through demonizing African American and Native communities.
The way the media covers these stories is usually very telling, he explained. “Gang violence will perpetuate an image that you see in Hollywood about the dangerous inner city and criminal black youths. There is very little coverage of the white rape culture on university campuses. There is a very selective coverage and it is to perpetuate a certain kind of mythology.”
Inequality and lack of proper infrastructure are among the other elements which Steppling maintains can trigger violent reactions among masses in major cities.
“You have populations with no opportunity, no education, no chance for social advancement of any sort and they’re the ones that are the most policed, the most violently oppressed by the institutions of authority and the most demonized in the coverage of this violence. The infrastructure is in decay now and there’s also a kind of criminalization of poverty taking place in the United States.”