Saturday, October 21, 2017

Modern American Massacres: Wounded Knee to Las Vegas, or Just the Last Few Years?

REFERENCE: The Nation, 23 Oct. 2017p. 3, George Zornick, "WMDs in Las Vegas"

What do the Associate Press, misc. media, and George Zornick in his fine essay "WMDs in Las Vegas" in The Nation mean when they refer to the shootings in Las Vegas on 1 October 2017 as "the worst mass shooting in modern US history"? 

* The American Republic only goes back to 1776, so in one sense of "modern," all of US history is part of modern history.

* I once had to date the Modern/Modernist period, and rather arbitrarily I had it begin in 1895, with the invention of movies (bringing together some central technologies of the Modern) and in literature H. G. Wells’s The Time Machine. Is that sort of "modern" — ca. 1900 on — used to exclude the massacre of 29 December 1890 at Wounded Knee? If so, it still allows the Balanglga Massacre of 1901 in what had become the US Philippines, and the following killings: 48 or more US military dead — mostly killed without firearms — and Filipino dead in a series of retaliations in numbers estimated in the thousands, with many of the deaths by gunfire. And the Slocum, Texas, Massacre of 1910 involved guns and might have had a death toll of up to 200 Black Americans. 
* The shootings at My Lai in Vietnam killed well over 300 people, and that massacre occurred 16 March 1968.
We’re not giving out The Mort Sahl Grimmy Award, so it’s a bad idea for the media to habitually find some horror "the worst"; but if you must have "the worst _____ since," please get specific. Apparently the reference by the AP et al. is worst slaughter of US civilians by gunfire by one or more civilians since the late 20th century. Come on people: don’t make it look like you’re excluding massacres very much part of US history and not all that long ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment