Merchants Of Death: America's Toxic Cult Of Violence Turns Deadly

Authored by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

We are caught in a vicious cycle.

With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country’s fragile ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

Take the school shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Valentine’s Day: 17 people, students and teachers alike, were killed by Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student armed with a gas mask, smoke grenades, magazines of ammunition, and an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.

This shooting, which is being chalked up to mental illness by the 19-year-old assassin, came months after a series of mass shootings in late 2017, one at a church in Texas and the other at an outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas. In both the Texas and Las Vegas attacks, the shooters were dressed like a soldier or militarized police officer and armed with military-style weapons.

As usual following one of these shootings, there is a vocal outcry for enacting more strident gun control measures, more mental health checks, and heightened school security measures.

Also as usual, in the midst of the finger-pointing, no one is pointing a finger at the American police state or the war-drenched, violence-imbued, profit-driven military industrial complex, both of which have made violence America’s calling card.

Ask yourself: Why do these mass shootings keep happening? Who are these shooters modelling themselves after? Where are they finding the inspiration for their weaponry and tactics? Whose stance and techniques are they mirroring?

Mass shootings have taken place at churches, in nightclubs, on college campuses, on military bases, in elementary schools, in government offices, and at concerts. In almost every instance, you can connect the dots back to the military-industrial complex, which continues to dominate, dictate and shape almost every aspect of our lives.

We are a military culture engaged in continuous warfare.

We have been a nation at war for most of our existence.

We are a nation that makes a living from killing through defense contracts, weapons manufacturing and endless wars.

We are being fed a steady diet of violence through our entertainment, news and politics.

All of the military equipment featured in blockbuster movies is provided—at taxpayer expense—in exchange for carefully placed promotional spots.

It’s estimated that U.S. military intelligence agencies (including the NSA) have influenced over 1,800 movies and TV shows. And then there are the growing number of video games, a number of which are engineered by or created for the military, which have accustomed players to interactive war play through military simulations and first-person shooter scenarios.

This is how you acclimate a population to war and cultivate loyalty to a war machine.

Why is the Pentagon (and the CIA and the government at large) so focused on using Hollywood as a propaganda machine?

To those who profit from war, it is—as journalist David Sirota recognizes—“a ‘product’ to be sold via pop culture products that sanitize war and, in the process, boost recruitment numbers.”

In order to sell war, you have to feed the public’s appetite for entertainment.

Not satisfied with peddling its war propaganda through Hollywood, reality TV shows and embedded journalists whose reports came across as glorified promotional ads for the military, the Pentagon turned to sports to further advance its agenda, “tying the symbols of sports with the symbols of war.”

The military has been firmly entrenched in the nation’s sports spectacles ever since, having co-opted football, basketball, even NASCAR.

This is how you sustain the nation’s appetite for war.

No wonder entertainment violence is the hottest selling ticket at the box office.

No wonder the government continues to whet the nation’s appetite for violence and war through paid propaganda programs (seeded throughout sports entertainment, Hollywood blockbusters and video games)—what professor Roger Stahl refers to as “militainment“—that glorify the military and serve as recruiting tools for America’s expanding military empire.

No wonder Americans from a very young age are being groomed to enlist as foot soldiers—even virtual ones—in America’s Army (coincidentally, that’s also the name of a first person shooter video game produced by the military). Explorer scouts, for example, are one of the most popular recruiting tools for the military and its civilian counterparts (law enforcement, Border Patrol, and the FBI).

No wonder the United States is the number one consumer, exporter and perpetrator of violence and violent weapons in the world. Indeed, the war hawks have turned the American homeland into a quasi-battlefield with military gear, weapons and tactics. Domestic police forces have become roving extensions of the military—a standing army.

So when you talk about the Florida shooting, keep in mind that you’re not dealing with a single shooter scenario. Rather, you’re dealing with a sophisticated, far-reaching war machine that has woven itself into the very fabric of this nation.

You want to stop the gun violence?

Stop the worship of violence that permeates our culture.

Stop glorifying the military industrial complex with flyovers and salutes during sports spectacles.

Stop acting as if there is anything patriotic about military exercises and occupations that bomb hospitals and schools.

Stop treating guns and war as entertainment fodder in movies, music, video games, toys, amusement parks, reality TV and more.

Stop distributing weapons of war to the local police and turning them into extensions of the military—weapons that have no business being anywhere but on a battlefield.

Stop falling for the military industrial complex’s psychological war games.

Nikolas Cruz may have pulled the trigger that resulted in the mayhem in Parkland, Fla., but something else is driving the madness.

We’ve got to do more than react in a knee-jerk fashion.

What we need is a thoughtful, measured, apolitical response to these shootings and the violence that is plaguing our nation.

As I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the solution to most problems must start locally, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our communities. We’ve got to de-militarize our police and lower the levels of violence here and abroad, whether it’s violence we export to other countries, violence we glorify in entertainment, or violence we revel in when it’s leveled at our so-called enemies, politically or otherwise.

Our prolonged exposure to the toxic culture of the American police state is deadly.


A Sentinel WillyGroper Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:47 Permalink

People were far more heavily armed in the past, certainly in %. Skill mattered more perhaps: if you were able to shoot accurately and quickly, you lived longer than anyone shooting you.

This applied to war technology too: being able to shoot a bow from horseback kicked butt until someone used a canon.

But regular people eventually kill the bad guys, so far at least (the real danger of the future is government lead mass extermination.)

So yes, it only takes one messed up crazy kid to kill a few dozen completely undefended children.

That ANY idiot proposes that the solution is to disarm more flies in the face of the history of civilization. It denies the right to life, literally, if you are not able to defend it.

The disarmament view can only be held by 1) complete idiot simpletons, 2) people so extremely lazy that they don’t care to think about their very lives or 3) extremely evil people with mass-scale murderous intent.

In reply to by WillyGroper

Rico Jumanji1959 Wed, 02/21/2018 - 08:44 Permalink

I have met the devil and he is me.

After you wipe out the one percent, are you then going to go after 20-30% that administer the scams? (politicians, media, attorneys, business leaders, academia,  think tanks) After you wipe out those guys are you going to wipe out the next 30%, the true believers - those who believe hard in what they are sold by the sycophants administrators no matter how ridiculous it is- those whose irrational belief makes the scams possible? So after your killing spree, you are left with the remainder - dumbasses- not smart enough to care one way or the other how they are being scammed..sounds like utopia..

Oh yeah, a new crop of predators/sociopaths are being born every year, so how long after your killing spree before we are back to exactly where we are now?

Here is human society:

Sociopaths- 1%

Sycophants - 20-30%

True believers - 30-40%

Dumbasses - the rest

So if you really want to address the problem you should just wipe out humanity as a whole..- problem solved - 


In reply to by Jumanji1959

HRClinton ebworthen Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:16 Permalink

Dogs of war and men of hate
With no cause, we don't discriminate
Discovery is to be disowned
Our currency is flesh and bone
Hell opened up and put on sale
Gather 'round and haggle
For hard cash, we will lie and deceive
Even our (((masters))) don't know the web we weave.

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world, one world.

Invisible transfers, long distance calls,
Hollow laughter in marble halls
Steps have been taken, a silent uproar
Has unleashed the dogs of war
You can't stop what has begun
Signed, sealed, they deliver oblivion
We all have a dark side, to say the least
And dealing in death is the nature of the (((beast))).

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world, one world.

The dogs of war don't negotiate
The dogs of war won't capitulate,
They will take and you will give,
And you must die so that (((they))) may live
You can knock at any door,
But wherever you go, you know they've been there before
Well winners can lose and things can get strained
But whatever you change, you know the dogs remain.

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world, one world.

In reply to by ebworthen

commoncourtesy Jumanji1959 Wed, 02/21/2018 - 07:28 Permalink

The PHARISEES just vanished! 

Did they?

What is still in plain view? Have a look at the wigs supposed judges and Barristers wear, have a closer look at old Queenies coronation robes, the jewels on her crown and the steps she is crowned on, what is on dollar notes and many company logo's?, where do the obelisks come from in London (Cleopatra's needle), New York and Rome, where does Amen come from and what does it mean? Where have we seen 'kilts' before?

Who is Abraham (Amenemhet?), Moses, David, Solomon et al? Do Bible stories match real egyptian facts? Did Jesus really die or was he still alive after being taken down from the cross? did Jesus turn the Roman Empire into the Holy Roman Empire (The Vatican/Holy See)? Could Cleopatra be his Mother/Caesar his Father? Did Jesus marry his half-Sister (Mary Magdalene) whose parents were Cleopatra/Mark Anthony? Is there a closer connection between the Pharisees and the Bible? Are their stories one of the same? Have we been hoodwinked by religion? Have a look at Unum Sanctum. What are Canon Laws and how do they relate to our laws? What does the triple crown represent (as worn by the white pope)?      

All roads still lead to Rome (and the PHARISEES).

The following video is fairly boring at the start but parts of it are very enlightening:

In reply to by Jumanji1959

gadzooks lloll Wed, 02/21/2018 - 08:25 Permalink

Its more a lack of self dicipline for witch the exploitation of self mystification(harnessing the belief of afterlife) 

dosn"t make it any better. A good reference is the tribes of Machu Picchu, for witch great engineering feats were made

only to have their populations cyclicaly turn on themselves(no rival foreign tribes involved) and kill themselves off..

and than of course the Spanish landed and decimated everything. Its in my view a lack of Awareness of our Own Withdrawls and a need to consider how we Value Human life in reality and not by mystical standards. id rather ask

Todays teenagers on how and why they value life, than any corrupt hi·er·ar·chy of theologians or leaderships

In reply to by lloll

besnook Tue, 02/20/2018 - 21:18 Permalink

why are the white mass shooters mass shooting for? what is missing that separates them from other ethnic groups? what are you doing to fuck up your little white boys?

not dead yet kbohip Wed, 02/21/2018 - 01:25 Permalink

Actually parents for decades took the advice of the experts and raised their kids as pussies who can't handle rejection or being left out. Deep down insecure as hell. Thus the college campuses with exploding time bombs known as snowflakes. After this shooting some expert said schools aren't snowflake enough. Years ago stuff like this didn't happen because children were to be seen but not heard unlike recent years where we've been propagandized that children come first. Adults came first back then. If the little snot acted up either the belt came out or the punk got knocked on his ass. Do it away from home and your neighbors would smack him and you were grateful for it. Sixty years ago when I was in grade school it was a regular thing for a teacher to smack a misbehaving snot. Smack a kid today and your in the slam and the kid under protection. When it came out recently the Vikings player had smacked his kid a few times he was benched then fired. Lots of parents went to the slam when they told the kid no or wouldn't kiss his ass so they lied about getting smacked or assaulted and off to the big house you go. What's pathetic is the social workers believed it and even coached the kid on his lying testimony.

It's the black leadership that secretly condones black on black violence. Keep the kids in ghettos and steal the bucks whitey allocated for them and claim there was no money cuz it's another example of whitey out to get them and put them down. Black leadership getting rich as well as BLM which is raking in the bucks. Yet you won't see these black clowns or BLM people anywhere near the ghetto and the dead bodies. Only money is accepted as any criticism is silenced by the race card.

In reply to by kbohip

Mr Hankey Tue, 02/20/2018 - 21:21 Permalink

'Muricais a turd-world shithole with the most sophisticated propaganda apparatus in history.

What an evil,shitty open - air rape gulag.

Land of the fee,

Home of the depraved.

MK ULTRA Alpha Catahoula Tue, 02/20/2018 - 22:07 Permalink

Hankey pumps his hate for the US, it's because he's a loser victim coming here to cry about it. He never adds to any debate, nothing except the most hate filled anti-American comments and then he insults posters to prove he's somebody.

The quality of the ZH boards are real low. It changed over the years from a behind the scenes business site to a site which doesn't offer much value.

The articles have gone overboard with the anti-American hate rant and nothing of value is offered, but the slanted tabloid hate articles appeal to the most deranged.

This degenerate  doesn't read the article, no, his contribution is to pour out his sad depressed state of mind on people, it's his way of saying he's a loser and his hate rant is his crying about it.

There are many mentally ill obsessed America haters.

In reply to by Catahoula

MK ULTRA Alpha Shemp 4 Victory Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:50 Permalink

Another fruit cake, even his photo proves he's out there. This nut always attacks posters personally, never adding any value to the board. It's funny, when his nerve is hit by a comment, he not only yells out in pain, he will list every painful sentence written and tells why it hurt him so.

He thinks by attacking the person it discredits the issue. Because he is afraid to debate the issue because he has nothing to offer. What he does do is bring attention to the issue thereby helping the posters he's trying to hurt.

He's a victim lashing out and anything that hits a nerve, then he'll yell out in pain, explaining his pain of being a loser victim in detail. He's obsessed with his anti-Americanism and I suggested he was mentally ill. So it looks like his connection to mental health has been established, he knows the mental diseases and medications by heart. LOL a mental case who has actually PROJECTED his mental incarceration and his pain. Can't make this up! 


In reply to by Shemp 4 Victory

OverTheHedge MK ULTRA Alpha Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:29 Permalink

You're right. Zh is in no way the p!ace it used to be. You are here, for a start. 7 months in, and you are claiming to be a long-term veteran poster.

What was Headbanger'' avatar? Why was Frances Sawyer banned the first time? Talk to me about Radio ZH. Marla. Quick! Rummage through the archives for the answers!

Oh, and people are always posting about how awful the US is, because your government tends to do awful things. Currently trying to start WWIII and destroy the world, for example. Not likely to make us all warm and fluffy and caring and sharing, and wanting to embrace the American Way, now is it?


In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

MK ULTRA Alpha OverTheHedge Tue, 02/20/2018 - 23:41 Permalink

I've posted on the internet since 1999. I was reading ZH over eight years ago. I read many sites, from Seeking Alpha to Drudge, and when I read an article, I read it from all directions by putting the subject in Google and clinking "news".  I do this everyday, I don't come to ZH to take a dump on Americans because they're Americans like you do.

So me signing up to participate on ZH is your reason to make personal attacks?

I was wondering is that your real photo, it seems like some deviate, could it be the photo of a transvestite?

So help me here, I have an anti-American Transvestite foreigner telling me how to live my life in my country?


In reply to by OverTheHedge

HedgeJunkie OverTheHedge Wed, 02/21/2018 - 02:28 Permalink

Many of us, over the years, have been forced to undergo a change of nom de plumes due to indignant rants, frenzied rants, passionate rants and alcohol fueled rants.  I, myself, am a long termer once going by the name of OldPhart.  Something related to calling the FBI a bunch of pussies got me renamed.

There are many who appear to be new, or relatively new, who are, in fact, old school Zero Hedgers under a new cover name.

In reply to by OverTheHedge