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On the weekend’s shooting–

January 10, 2011
Vina del Mar, Chile

I abhor violence. Non-retaliatory violence is a desperate act of intolerant men who cannot sort out their differences reasonably and peacefully.  Violence is the answer for those who lack the intellectual merit to win a battle of ideas and can only resort to more animalistic behavior to impress their point.

The greater the violence, the more unfortunate the outcome– major acts of violence result in loss of life, collateral damage, destruction of property, changes in social mood, and more.

Every single day, crazed lunatics claim the lives of innocent people; sometimes it’s a premeditated crime, sometimes it’s a crime of passion, sometimes it’s a complete accident, sometimes it’s an act of terror, and sometimes people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time when a 500 pound bomb is dropped over Afghanistan.

Each instance represents a theft upon humanity.

A shooting took place this weekend in Arizona which was devastating, to say the least… but in my mind, no more or less devastating than any other murderous rampage, whether in the United States or anywhere in the world.  Because a US Congresswoman was ostensibly the intended victim, however, it’s captured worldwide attention.

Speaker of the House John Boehner summarized many politicians’ reactions to Saturday’s shooting when he said, “an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society.”

I’m inclined to believe that acts and threats of violence against -all people- have no place in any free society. The life of a politician is not worth more than the life of the nine year old girl who was shot and later died at the hospital, or the 76-year old man who died on the scene as he was protecting his wife, or of any of the other victims.

I’ve seen mainstream media reports that portray the apparent shooter as an anti-government subversive whose favorite books include Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto. This makes absolutely no sense– what kind of anti-government proponent counts Hitler, Marx, and Engels as his favorite authors?

Rather, it’s more likely that the shooter was just another loony who owned a firearm and decided to use it. If the victim had been Gabrielle the bus driver instead of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, it would have barely registered a few words at the bottom of the CNN news ticker.

With one of their own victimized, however, I’m concerned that politicians will close ranks, capitalize on the social mood to generate a renewed faith in government, and pass a host of reactionary policies… all after sanitizing their Twitter feeds for any reference to violence, of course.

Perhaps some form of gun control is in the works… though with a Republican controlled Congress, I’d think new legislation targeting suspected ‘Anti-American subversives’ could be on the table, or something that gives sweeping new powers to government agents and police forces.

In 1946, the 79th Congress of the United States passed public law 601 giving permanent standing to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. This committee was authorized significant powers to investigate ‘subversive and un-American propaganda’ and assist Congress in ‘necessary remedial legislation.’

Ironically, in its efforts to ensure that America was nothing like the Soviet Union, the US government began turning the country into a fascist collective.  Given what may come after the weekend’s shooting, I fear we may be returning to a time when it is increasingly dangerous to be a free thinking individual anywhere in the West.

With Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano perched above WalMart shoppers encouraging Americans to spy on each other, I sense the boiling frog may soon be getting a few degrees warmer.

I would suggest that if your ideals and beliefs make you increasingly isolated from your neighbors, maybe it’s time to find new neighbors.

Vibrant expat communities are starting to blossom all over the world, and as we routinely discuss, it’s possible (and in many cases easier) to live a much freer life and earn a great living by applying your skills overseas.

There are plenty of great options out there… dozens of places where you could feel more alive, more at home, and more at ease; it simply starts with the willingness and courage to take action, start the research, and develop relationships with like-minded people.

About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MikeSmarr

    I agree. Have you seen the “Police State” and FEMA episode from Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory. I’m not a huge conspiracy theorist, but I don’t think this is far from happening. If we stay in the US, FEMA residential camps will be home to most of us free thinkers in the near future.

    As one frog said to the other, “Is it hot in here?” – Yes,…yes it is.

  • Veritabletruth

    Yes, and they will definitely use this ‘opportunity’ to create an attitude of ‘dissent is baaaaaaaaaaaad’-the media is already saying that the shooting has led ‘Americans to wonder if divisive politics is the cause of pushing someone over the age’….
    No, Americansare not wondering this-but I am sure they will be once they are told to.

    Now, it will be ‘We have to get along and compromise’ paving the way for ‘reforms’ and other regulations that are less than ideal. Anyone disagreeing in any situation, will be shunned-the PC culture will expand.

    and, I predict new law ‘keeping the public away from congressmen’-ie, must be more than 10 ft away, etc….there will be less access to ‘public officials’.

    btw, does the ‘shooter’ have 3 names? And I love the usual ‘found in a safe, a note that says he did it’….
    this stuff is a bad B movie.
    Maybe it was a lone crazed maybe it was something more orchestrated-one never knows. But I called AZ months ago to my spouse…I knew AZ would be the ground for the next (IMO manufactured pudrama-I thought it would involve immigration and maybe mccain though, and would be the distraction/excuse for more regulations. THEN Palin announced recently she was moving here-
    oh gawd-=2012 election ‘script’ is already being implemented. It’s so obvoious- and yet everyone I know will pick a side and think these political parties and their acts are real, instead f part f the divide/conquer strategy. uugh.

  • Sharon

    Simon, can you comment somewhere about whether citizenship is required for gun ownership in Chile and other South American countries that do permit handgun and other gun ownership? Also, I’d like to know where to find out about concealed carry laws.

  • Brian

    Thank you Simon. As a young American, I abhor not only violent acts committed against innocent people, by a ideological whack job, but also the mainstream media (entertainment) industry that bombards Americans with the crippling non-stop analysis of the events. Sadly, it seems people are less and less willing to think for themselves and use critical thinking when watching television, or reading the multitude of opinions and angles journalists come up with.

    Politics, media, and popular culture have all taken a turn for the worst and are continuing down that road at an increasing and terrifying rate…

    I’m afraid for the future of this country to say the least. More Americans should travel and reflect on what it really means to be patriotic and gain perspective on their individual worth.

    I’ll be in Central America… Thanks again for the post, your commentary resonates deeply with your readers.


  • Taylor Conant

    Hi Simon,

    A truly impressive write-up, I would have to say your best one yet. You are a force of intellectual honesty and consistency that must be reckoned with. Thank you for putting things into perspective for those clamoring to martyr and inflate the significance of this incoherent act.

  • Duane

    Hello, Simon,

    I know you know this, but governments are the cause of almost ALL of the problems of the people. Here is something that you might consider:

    With regard to the Arizona congresswoman who was shot, along with other people who were associated with her that were either injured or killed, the press, the politicians, the sheriff’s, the know-it-all news commentators, everyone, are all saying the shooter was a ‘nut case’, ‘crazy’, ‘mentally deficient’, and all kinds of other inuendo.

    Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t, I don’t know.

    However, this shooting was not an isolated case. Across the country people are shooting cops, they are shooting at offices of politicians, they are trying to kill politicians, they are beginning to destroy government property, they are sending inflammable letters, they are leaving relatively harmless bombs, a small airplane was flown into an IRS building, and the list goes on and on.

    Yet no one, NO ONE, is seeing anything but crazy people. No one comes even close to considering that they are simply people fed up with the government. If that is the case, it seems no one understands the situation. The people are becoming so frustrated with government that they are starting to boil. In due course they will boil over and all hell will break loose.

    And why are they boiling over? Because the government does what the government wants to do in its own self-interest and not what the PEOPLE want. In the congresswoman’s case it was initially reported that it was about the Obama so-called healthcare legislation. Many politicians and the majority of people see it for what it is…another government grab of their freedom and control of their lives. They don’t want it, yet this woman voted for it.

    It may or may not be true, I don’t know. Maybe the shooter, like others showing up across the country, was so frustrated he boiled over. Under normal circumstances people will not do those things, but there comes a point…

    In any case, it is worth looking at the undercurrent in present-day American life versus government, rather than just saying someone is crazy.

    In any case, it doesn’t concern me directly because I escaped from America two years ago.


  • Cleve

    Looks like the “closing of ranks” has already begun…

    Congressman Jim Clyburn (D-SC) is already calling for ‘beefed-up’ security for us peasants and special treatment by TSA for members of Congress.

    Clyburn said specifically that “We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else… the fact of the matter is, we are held to a higher standard in so many other areas, and I think we need to take a hard look at exactly how the TSA interact with members of Congress.”

    Lovely… Our members will exempt themselves from TSA’s deep probes, while us common folks will get the new and improved “beefed-up” version.

  • Sockpuppet

    I, too was thinking that the next “crisis event” would be in Arizona, and I don’t even live there. The fact is, they are the most defiant state of any of the states when it comes to the fed. gov. It’s also a little suspicious that this was the second “incident” in a week, the first being that defense analyst who wound up in a garbage bin. Turns out he was an expert in WMD’s. Maybe it all has something to do with the start of a new year (wait ’till after the holiday season is over for this kind of stuff).
    This Democrat/Republican govn’t is like a pair of sock puppets: one on the left hand, one one the right…but the SAME puppeteer! This contrived duality is also done in professional wrestling…”good” wrestler vs. “bad” wrestler…but at the end of the day it’s fake…they both draw paychecks from the same company. I think that Gov. Jesse Ventura has been spot on with seeing the truth…he was a governor…he KNOWS how government works. He was also a professional wrestler…he KNOWS how the “us vs. them” act works!
    Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. The puppeteer does not want Americans to have guns. The puppeteer wants the borders open -like a sieve. I’m sure the puppeteer would like members of CON-gress…especiallly so-called “blue dog” Democrats…like the Arizona woman…to stand firm on these political issues. Get’s ya thinkin’ don’t it? Oh, yeah…the puppetter has another message…this one for YOU…”people who believe in FEMA camps are loony.”

    • Nibbly

      Ironic that on a site about living across borders, you whine about open borders in your own country….

  • Martin

    Well put. I also would like to think that my life is as important as that of any politician. As is the life of any other person.

    As a Canadian I hope that US politicians don’t enact some type of gun control as was done in Canada in response to an incident that was somewhat similar in the 90′s. It has been a hideously costly exercise, and has accomplished absolutely nothing. And right now the US economy is too fragile to absorb this kind of useless expense.

  • Jbecket

    Excellent essay from a human not a partisan perspective. And there will be a temptation to tighten the surveillance and repressive state.

  • Localhero100

    Gee, I wonder where an impressionable young person would get the idea that violence is the answer? Oh, yeah. Maybe its because every day we drop bombs indiscriminately, or target with unmanned drones, innocents all over the planet. Maybe its because we have ‘death squads,’ under US control (Mossad, CIA, MI6, etc), roaming the world “taking out” undesirables. Yes, I’m afraid that’s where these ideas originate. We all have buckets of blood on our hands.

  • Chuckfire

    Recombinant DNA (sexual reproduction is the source of insanity; it’s also the source of briliance: it just depends on whether Nature’s experiment works (viability=gain) or doesn’t (insanity=loss). If briliance is to prevail in a society of individuals, they must arm themselves against the ever-present crazy elememt of human nature. Perhaps more lives could have been saved if the heros in the crowd had more than thier bare hands to go up against a gun- weilding lunatic. Or, we can listen to the collectivist media, the county sherrif and the gun CONTROL lobby and repudiate our right to self preservation. You decide: be response-”able” for preserving life or abdicate to the State while the next one empties his 30 round clip into the crowd.
    In the socialist paradise where I live, Canada, we have no more hope of this form of personal liberty than any other left-wing nation. When you listen to the government-supported CBC, its “all-complaining, all-the-time”. and victim-hood has political currency. It’s not just the mentallly ill that are easily persuaided that they are blameless for their lot in life and we should all agree to vote ourselves tax dollars; oh and don’t forget to make the rich pay (it’s all their fault – everyone says so). At least the enterprising people of America still have a constitutional guarantee of the right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. Oh wait, that was in the last century. You were our last, best hope.

  • Peter

    Non-retaliatory violence is a desperate act of intolerant men who cannot sort out their differences reasonably and peacefully.

    Not so. For instance, some people do it just because they find it more convenient than the other way, not because they can’t do it the other way, and they might be both tolerant and not desperate.

    Because a US Congresswoman was ostensibly the intended victim, however, it’s captured worldwide attention.

    Don’t flatter yourselves. Here in Australia there has recently been extended news coverage – and practically all of it has been about the Queensland floods (which, after all, have had a higher death toll, closer to home). I think there may have been a brief mention of this US incident – but not because “a US Congresswoman was ostensibly the intended victim”, which nobody else cares about, because it’s currently making US headlines – just as other US mass murders get coverage. Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing got a similar, low key mention, again probably because of its significance to people overseas.

  • Peter

    Non-retaliatory violence is a desperate act of intolerant men who cannot sort out their differences reasonably and peacefully.

    Not so. For instance, some people do it just because they find it more convenient than the other way, not because they can’t do it the other way, and they might be both tolerant and not desperate.

    Because a US Congresswoman was ostensibly the intended victim, however, it’s captured worldwide attention.

    Don’t flatter yourselves. Here in Australia there has recently been extended news coverage – and practically all of it has been about the Queensland floods (which, after all, have had a higher death toll, closer to home). I think there may have been a brief mention of this US incident – but not because “a US Congresswoman was ostensibly the intended victim”, which nobody else cares about, because it’s currently making US headlines – just as other US mass murders get coverage. Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing got a similar, low key mention, again probably because of its significance to people overseas.

  • Sy

    I don’t condone violence as a principle. That much I agree with.

    This is going to become a much larger issue, and it will happen with greater frequency. Politicians are the visible aspect of an untouchable government that does what it will despite persistently overriding the wishes of its constituent population. Therefore, they become targets.

    As with what is happening in Algeria and Tunisia, among other locations, the violence that has erupted is effectively self-defense on a social level. Governments have ignored their citizenry to a point where there is no alternative to violence left in the eyes of the citizens.

    Government IS the problem and is not necessary in the industrialized world. It acts as a focal point of control (finance, military, police, law, etc…) that also acts as a single point of failure: control gov’t, control the collective power of an entire people.

    Decentralization of centralized power will become a trend as the monolithic behemoths begin to collapse in upon themselves. It’s a matter of time, and it will be extremely tumultuous, but there is no way to prevent it. Violence and catastrophe will become the norm in many places around the world.

    Sadly, this is what we have to look forward to.

    The only thing anyone can do is prepare. This site is one of the best resources I’ve come across for that. To everyone who is part of this service, thank you.

    • Guest

      You are correct. Complexity, created by centralized governments, is undoubtedly the leading cause of social misery. Looking forward to better times through decentralization, although the path will not be all “fun and games”!

  • Trident

    Politically, this tragedy will be interesting. First of all, several liberal pundits have already tried placing the responsibility for this tragedy in the hands of ‘divisive’ people and their rhetoric (note the irony of this), of course referring to people in the Tea Party movement, who are depicted as “anti-government”.

    I fully expect liberals to start the actual virulent rhetoric they supposedly lament, once they find out the Tea Party ‘movement’ has no intention of being bullied and emotionally blackmailed into silence and compliance.
    On the other hand Republicans have won the last elections, but mostly on the “Tea Party” ticket. So now they will have to drop trou and show what they really represent. Will they reject the attempts at moral and emotion blackmail by their political opponents? Or will they comply and show themselves to be the manifestation of the very thing that has driven people out of the mainstream and toward things like the Tea Party in the first place? By once again using tragedies or crises as an excuse for curtailing more liberties and increasing spending on so-called ‘security’ measures or departments (like Homeland Security and the TSA) they may temporarily ingratiate themselves with neocon Republicans and liberal Democrats (at least as long as Dems have their own “man” in the white house), but in the long run they would only plant the seed for even more anti-government sentiment and an even bigger downfall of the Republican Party.

    Like spending themselves into ever further debt and laying the consequences onto future generations of citizens and politicians, putting off necessary curtailing of the growth of government and its intrusions of people’s privacy, rights and liberties – that which more and more people demand – , will only make the crash that much louder when it finally comes.

    At some point, people will finally be fed up with the vile, cynical exploitation by politicians and pundits of tragedies and the emotions they cause, to the advantage of their own ideological and political aims and interests.

    And when it comes to anti-government rhetoric when that finally happens, today’s volume of it will be child’s play.

  • AvidSMreaderAndFriendofGG

    I know the Congresswoman personally. She’d be the FIRST person to say that her life is no more precious than any other’s. And please do remember that she did not go looking for this attention. She has no idea any of this media coverage is going on: for the past few days, the woman has been largely unconscious, not even breathing on her own, with a hole ripping out part of her swollen brain. For those of you who have implied that she deserved it, or that politicians need to be killed, please remember that, even if you don’t believe in their policies, these are real people, not symbols. Gabby is a somebody’s wife. Daughter. Many people’s friend and advocate. Can you imagine what her family is going through right now? Imagine this was your daughter or wife, that you got a call that that person was shot through the head. Just imagine what that would feel like.The Congresswoman would be shocked at the media coverage: she’s as down to earth as anyone you’ll ever meet. Good, decent parents. Even her husband, the astronaut, is the son of blue-collar people who are salt-of-the-earth. He’s military and he’s humble, despite his glamorous job. His brother is dealing with all of this from space, unable to hug his family. (Here’s his statement: here might disagree with some of Rep. Giffords’ policies (if they’ve read them). Even I disagree with some of them, and I genuinely care about the woman. Philosophical disagreement is fine — even if your philosophy is that all governments are illegitimate — but violence is not the answer. And even if the Tea Party and other vitriol of the past year had nothing to do with the shooting, it would still behoove us, as a society, to look at the violent rhetoric — used on both sides of the aisle, although largely on the right — that we spew. How does that kind of language help a situation? What does it teach our kids?I want people here who think of her as some anonymous politico to know that Gabrielle Giffords is a genuinely good, kind, decent person who believes that life is about helping people. That’s why she ran for office. Some people help by running businesses. She (who successfully ran and then sold her family’s business to Goodyear) did that, and then decided she wanted to help by serving in state government. (She was recruited to run for Congress.) And on Saturday, she was out there listening to constituents. Nearly every single weekend of her life these past few years, she has sacrificed time with her family, personal time, etc. so that she could really connect with the people she was serving. And listen she did. It’s a divisive district, so not everyone there likes some of her stances. But enough people do agree with them to have elected her to Congress three times.None of the people there Saturday deserved this. I’m heartbroken for them all. And when Gabby wakes up, so will she be. Violence, as terrorism experts will often say, simply begets more violence. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough.

  • stilo

    I have a little bit different take on Arizona. I don’t think it’s because they’re a rebellious state that you could portend a violent event like this coming, but because violence that has spilled over into the state from Mexican drug cartels represents demonic activity. You see, fallen angels are placed over governmental jurisdictions by Satan. These angels or cosmokrators are given a certain amount of authority by God, (because Man gave it over to Satan at The Fall). So, because the violence has been allowed to spill over into the US, it goes from bad to worse.

    The shooter was not apolitical. He was demonic. I would not be surprised if he has many demons residing within. One cannot look at that mug shot without being freaked. Naziism and Marxism are demonic doctrines.

    • Localhero100

      Do you get your insight from cartoons?

      • stilo

        I get my insight from the Bible. Satan has an organized army of devils– demons or fallen angels–who carry out his commands. God has His good angels.

        Angelology is a very interesting study, actually. Cosmocrators are chief princes and are among the most powerful of angels, good and bad. They rule over nations. For example, the angel Michael is the authoritatively highest, strongest angel and he is also the head over Israel. This is why Israel will never be defeated. You would have to obliterate the sun, moon and stars for Israel to vanish as a nation. An example of a bad cosmocrator would be the prince of the kingdom of Persia, in Daniel 10:13, who withstood Gabriel.

        There are lesser fallen angels who inhabit special places, like people. One man in the scriptures, the Demoniac, had a legion of demons in him. What number is that, between 600 and 6,000?

        Angels are created and they are a separate creation from man. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have wings. And they never appear as women or children. They always appear as young men and they appear in order to assist the believer in Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ).

      • daddiogrif

        Cartoons tell stories just like all good books have a story to tell. there is life information contained within all.

        Religion uses stories containing life affirming info and unfortunately warps it into kill them before they kill us. More wars have been fought in the name of religion that any other cause.

        Religion replaces the King, Commander, lieutenant, Boss or any other tribal leader because “he she it” is bigger and is more to be feared. AND who better to die for (77 virgins, forgiving our sins).

        Like the man said your outlook is from cartoons. They are Stories without the violence.

  • Entropy

    The congresswoman in question was a supporter of the NRA and an opponent of further gun control laws. Funny how this is being used by some her less scrupulous colleagues to push an opposing agenda.

  • stilo


  • Morgan Silver Dollar Value

    Its a shame that you cant even make a public appearance anymore as an official in this country.

  • bill

    If the person had chosen to use a Truck as his tool of destruction and driven it into a crow of people at a political rally… would their be cries to outlaw trucks?

    How about pushing for a death penalty that will punish the person who actually committed the crime, rather then seek to take away freedom from those who did not commit the crime.

    • J

      Ritual human sacrifice doesn’t solve anymore problems than banning implements of self-defense.

  • Puzzled

    I agree that divisive and violent rhetoric, and threats, are clearly uncalled for in a civilized society. I call on Congress to immediately cease such behavior. I am tired of receiving threats of physical violence if I do not turn over half my income and buy health insurance. In NYC I was threatened with violence should I use too much salt.

  • TomDark9

    Better to stay right where you are and smarten yourself up. In sneaking away, you bring the bedbugs you so fear along with your baggage. May they proliferate.

  • TomDark9

    Better to stay right where you are and smarten yourself up. In sneaking away, you bring the bedbugs you so fear along with your baggage. May they proliferate.

  • hp

    And then there’s this..
    It’s called the truth and when it pertains to a certain sector of the public it is avoided like the plague.

    “AZ Shooter & Giffords Belonged To Same Synagogue”

    “So a mentally ill, left-wing Jew shoots a Congresswoman and the mainstream media tries to pin the blame on the Tea Party,
    on right-wing White Gentiles and on the pro-White movement. This should be a good reminder to everyone to be suspicious of
    the mainstream media.”

    -James Buchanan

  • Joe

    Why is the death of 6 people in Tuscon a big deal while the murders of 100,000′s in Iraq is not even on the radar?

    Americans have a cranial rectal inversion is all I can say.

  • Modelerr

    Given the Tea-Party enriched Republican Congress it is unlikely that
    proposed draconian gun-control measures will become law. Disagree
    with you on relative safety of world venues; if the shit hits the fan on a global basis
    due to e.g., massive economic meltdown, the U.S. will remain much safer than
    these 3rd world Countries with which you seem so enamored. Their histories of
    violence together with absence of a governing rubric comparable to the US Constitution
    make them highly vulnerable to totalitarianism.

  • Alkymist

    Arizona is big on gun rights and since the shooting gun and ammunition sales have sky rocketed.
    The story would have been much different if there had been an armed citizen shoot, the maniac that started the whole mess.
    Tucson has on of the largest yearly “Die de Los Meurtos” Day of The Dead events that helps people heal over the loss of loved ones which will be real important to help the community heal this year.

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