Murder! Bloody murder!
How horrid was the video image showing George Floyd being murdered in cold blood by a uniformed officer of the state last month, eliciting such a visceral reaction that had to be true for millions beyond my own deeply pained soul. No wonder the ongoing rage, the ongoing resolve of so many to demonstrate, to put their own souls on the line for really meaningful change this time.
But now watching Trump rallying his minions into arenas and churches that function in the context of an ongoing deadly coronavirus pandemic as petri dishes for contamination of our mortal human flesh is eliciting a similar response.
It is a horrible, ugly display that can, perhaps, be matched only by scenes of the Jonestown cult’s massacre in Guyana in 1978. Helicopters flying overhead on the morning after that cult’s White Night mass suicide/murder of more than 900 showed the dead bodies spread over the field, bloated and twisted, including children being held in the arms of would-be guardians.
Scenes of slaughter in wars, especially those of the Great War, World War I, when uneven technologies of weapons of mass death, are different if only because of their wider frameworks, where the expectations of human slaughter are there and in the minds of all the victim soldiers. Many could deal with their fates only by internalizing a sense of purpose for their sacrifices, whether valid or not. For others, sheer fatalism was their only solace. The famous saying went, “In war, there are no winners or losers, only widows.”
Scenes of genocidal slaughter in concentration camps, like those run by Hitler and the Germans against mainly Jews, with the filmed images shown during the Nuremberg Trials after World War II portraying the emaciated bodies of the countless numbers dumped into mass graves, are not for any with sensitive constitutions to witness. They were shown as indicative of the most extreme exercises of man’s inhumanity to man, and the victims were trapped and pressed against their will into the poisonous ovens of mass killings.
Wars, almost always senseless, and enforced genocides, as despicable as they have been down through human history are not quite as damaging to the human psyche as those mass deaths and sufferings imposed on people by some sinister force that causes them to turn against their own valued selves in apparently voluntary mass suicides.
In this vast universe of ours, of which we are all a part and all interconnected, it is a sobering reality to contemplate that it contains within it forces that can express themselves on this plane by inducing mass suicides. That is a special form of evil.
It can account for the suicidal mass attacks of volunteer Confederate soldiers in the Civil War at Shiloh and with Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Their leaders obsessed to defend the institution of slavery, they were driven by a senseless set of non-values to willingly throw their lives to the wind and subject themselves to kamikaze-styled assaults.
Jonestown fits into this category, as well, although there is evidence that some of the suicides were enforced at the end of a gun barrel.
This brings us back to Trump and his mass rallies in the belly of the Covid-19 pandemic. Trump knows he is leading his lemmings over a cliff, endangering them and risking their lives, and those of friends and loved ones, by cramming them into a finite space with no, or few, facial masks.
To this madman’s mind, the virus is indistinguishable from a political or personal enemy. He argues that people who wear masks are doing it as a political statement against him. The virus needs to be denounced with name calling and racial epithets.
Minions who are unwilling to put their lives at risk of the virus by staying away from his events or by wearing facial masks at them are held in contempt, as if insulting him personally.
And his influence, of course, arises from the fact that he is President of the United States of America, and as such he can hold sway over the wills of millions.
This is unspeakable insanity and evil.
Nicholas Benton may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.