October 23, 2000
Criticizing the Million Mom's March is like siding with the devil. I'll take my chances.
I have friends and relatives who proudly wear the t-shirts and sweatshirts that evidence their participation in the "march for good" a few months back. They encountered no police with riot gear, no rubber bullets, no pepper spray. And who would need that against law abiding, god fearing women out to march against the evils in society that have now infiltrated the sanctuary of their middle class world. I have two children, so I am not immune to their concerns. Yet I have to weigh in here with some statistics. Five white children were killed in Colorado last year, which I guess was the impetus for getting a million moms off the soccer fields for a day.
But I wonder, how many black children were gunned down that same year. Hard to say. Didn't see it for days on end on the nightly news. OR, how many poor children -- of any color -- survived last year on canned foods and top ramen, with little stimulation other than what the TV could provide, looking forward to a vast horizon of more of the same over the next 50 years? Were those million moms aware -- or did they care -- that in the last 10 years, not five white kids, but over 1 million Iraqis, many children, died from sanctions imposed by this government? That the Indonesian military, supported and armed by this government, mowed down hundreds of thousands of civilians over the last 10 years in East Timor?
It's a violent world, much of the violence created by the same government that congratulates these nice moms on their efforts for peace. This same government which spends more on armaments than the next 10 countries combined. And what is the Number One export of the U.S.? Not democracy, as the government would have us believe. Or culture (such as it is) as Hollywood would have us believe. No, the Number One U.S. export is ARMAMENTS. You know, hand guns, machine guns, grenades, tanks, fighter planes, etc.; even nuclear wars heads to some closer allies. That a few guns would find their way into the hands of our children is no accident. Haven't they already been used by and for children in myriad other countries around the world, by terrorist groups we alternately support, and then, when they no longer serve our purposes, demonize? The Mujahidin, the KLA, the Contras… Fact is, from a profit standpoint, the sellers of these arms win both ways.
Children are gunned down every day -- not by random acts of violence -- but by state sanctioned violence, by governments supported by the U.S. with advisors and an endless variety of military paraphernalia in Colombia, India, and most recently, Israel.
Those million moms would do well to look beyond their suburban lawns and narrow concerns and take the guns from the hands of the real criminals -- the ones to whom we pay our taxes.
Margaret Wyles is a Northern California activist and a Swans' columnist.
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