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America's Focus on Terrorism Blinds Us To Everyday Violence and Suffering

There’s something amiss about disregarding everyday violence, just because it’s the rule and not the exception.

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Any competent mental health professional pays close attention to the stories that people tell themselves about their beliefs and actions. By labeling the bombing as terrorism, the government and mainstream media elevated one exceptionally violent act to a level that is not accorded to the everyday violence that afflicts American society.

Individuals who are no more mentally ill or obsessed than the Boston bombers can carry out mass shootings, but Congress cannot bring itself to pass even the most watered-down gun controls. Industrial accidents can kill a dozen volunteer first responders and destroy a swath of a small rural town, but that’s business as usual—flouting workplace safety laws.

Humanity certainly has dark sides that are expressed in violent rage. But there’s also something very wrong and dark about disregarding everyday violence, just because it’s the rule and not the exception.       

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting" (AlterNet Books, 2008).

 
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