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eXiled Alert! / March 11, 2009

APTOPIX South Alabama Shootings

Whenever I hear about a rampage massacre like the one that just took place in southern Alabama a few hours ago, so far leaving 11 dead and untold wounded (casualty numbers seem to tick up every hour), the first thing I look for is how the company treated the shooter or the workforce as a whole: did they recently fire him in the usual callous manner that companies do it these days, leaving him desperate and devastated? Has the company been following the typical post-Reagan management model in which workers are squeezed with endless downsizings, slashed benefits, and more time at the job for less pay, all in order to fatten the filthy-rich executives’ already-obscene bonuses?

The answer in the case of today’s Alabama shootings already appears to be yes.

It turns out that the plant where the rampage shooter, 27-year-old Michael McLendon, worked–Reliable Metals Products in Geneva, Alabama–just laid off a sizable portion of their workers a couple of weeks ago, devastating the local community. But so far little has been mentioned about it in connection with the shootings.

According to a report dated February 18 from a local TV station, WTVY:

Local prefabricated metal manufacturer lays off worker

Last Updated: 8:46 AM Feb 18, 2009

At one time, Reliable Corporation based in Geneva employed 800. We’re being told by those who work there that fellow employees have been receiving their lay-off notices.

Reliable Corporation has been manufacturing pre-fabricated metal products for more than 50 years. Over recent days, News 4 has received several calls from those who’ve been laid-off.

They haven’t been told if it’s temporary, or if it’s a permanent job loss. In one correspondence, we’ve learned that those who’ve been laid off will meet with a delegation of company and state officials early next month in Geneva. Following the loss of a body-armor company late last year, Geneva Mayor Wynnton Melton says any loss of jobs for his city is tragic.

News 4 was unsuccessful in getting a statement from reliable officials in Geneva. In the 1990′s, Geneva lost more than 2,000 textile jobs as they went to overseas’ countries.

At this time, we’re not being told if the layoffs are due to the national recession. We will continue to follow this story as details become available.

As the local news crew reported, it’s almost impossible to find out any news about the layoffs because Reliable was keeping quiet.

There’s something creepy about the way locals weren’t able to get any information out to the public about the layoffs, even though they happened, and even though it was big news in the non-official world there in Geneva. I wonder if this is symptomatic of some larger problem with Reliable’s treatment of its employees.

You get some clues to the answer via the three lonely comments at the bottom of the WTVY story:

Posted by: Rudy Location: New York on Feb 18, 2009 at 04:28 PM
My heart goes out to the layoff victims of Reliable Corp. I found immediate advice and strategies in an iTunes app called “Pink Slip.” It helped me know my rights and keep my head during and after the meeting with HR.


Posted by: Gwynn Location: Westville on Feb 18, 2009 at 07:56 AM
I have been laid-off from Reliable. I have not been informed of any meetings. We were told that the lay-offs were due to lack of work and that if work picked up,we would be called back to work. If work orders didn’t,we would be terminated at the end of the month.


Posted by: RELIABLE WORKER on Feb 17, 2009 at 10:35 PM
COMPANY LAYING OFF EMPLOYEES AND GIVING OVERTIME TO OTHER WORKERS IS MORE OF A LOSING BATTLE EITHER WAY YOU LOOK AT IT!EMPLOYEES WERE TOLD IF THEY WERE CALLED BACK BY MARCH 2ND THEY WOULD HAVE A JOB IF NOT THEY NO LONGER HAD A JOB!CUT OUT OVERTIME AND PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK , NOT ONLY ARE YOU HURTING YOUR EMPLOYEES BUT THE CITY OF GENEVA AS WELL.LOSS OF INCOME IS A LOSS OF SALES FOR THE CITY .NOT MANY JOBS IN THE CITY MAKES PEOPLE SEEK NEW JOBS ELSEWHERE . MAKES YOU THINK WE SHOULD HAVE VOTED WET ON THE WET DRY BALLOT. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN A LOT OF TAX MONEY FOR THE CITY ,WHICH IS NOW BEINGG LOST BY LOSS OF JOBS!

Here you can see the anger, typical yet marginalized for decades, now expressed in the comments section. Reliable is following a classic Reaganomics corporate policy of treating workers like disposable assets rather than as human beings. After all, if you fire employees en masse, and squeeze the terrified remaining workers into overtime work, the result is that it saves rich shareholders and executives a few extra bucks. And that’s a good thing because the rich need to be taken care of first and foremost, or so we’ve been told for the past 30 years by all the vile little Ayn Rand kommisars who somehow worked their way into power in this country. We’ve been conditioned for 30 straight years to accept the insane idea that companies only exist to serve shareholder/executive interests, and that workers are there by the grace of the plutocrats, and if they don’t like it, well, they’re free to quit and find another job. Which is to say, anyone who’s not an executive can fuck off.

As I wrote in my book Going Postal, these rampage massacres at workplaces are an entirely new and distinct species of murder which first arose in the mid-1980s; it began with post office shootings, and quickly spread across America to the private sector, with rampage shootings at companies and factories from coast to coast, year after year. Why did it all start in that point in time, in the mid-1980s? Why did these shootings start then, and not in the 1970s or 1960s? What changed?

It wasn’t as though guns suddenly became legalized in the 80s, or that movies just started to get violent. No, what changed was the Reagan Revolution, and the massive transfer of wealth from the majority of America’s workforce up to the tiny plutocrat class. Reaganomics changed the corporate culture, and since we spend most of our lives working, it means our lives were changed–our lives were literally transferred into the offshore bank accounts and Aspen cabins of our bosses’ bosses. For the rich to get richer, they had to destroy the old corporate culture which emphasized a mutually beneficial relationship between company and employee, thereby limiting how obscenely rich they could get, and put in its place an ideology which dictated that companies only exist to enrich the executives and major shareholders. Workers could fuck off and die if they didn’t like it. So from 1981 on, companies squeezed workers of their “unlimited juice” (in the words of GE’s former CEO “Neutron” Jack Welch, nicknamed that for his firing of 120,000 GE workers while he took in hundreds of millions of dollars in personal bonuses), firing them en masse and stripping more benefits from them whenever the executives and shareholders wanted to drive up their quarterly earnings a few cents. This kind of treatment pushed people to the brink. While the executives’ lives got better and better, the average American middle-class worker’s wages stagnated, their benefits were slashed, and their work hours soared. The rich got so rich that they even left the rich behind to create a new super-rich class of their own, creating what the New York Times called the “hyper-rich”:

June 5, 2005

Richest Are Leaving Even the Rich Far Behind

When F. Scott Fitzgerald pronounced that the very rich “are different from you and me,” Ernest Hemingway’s famously dismissive response was: “Yes, they have more money.” Today he might well add: much, much, much more money.

The people at the top of America’s money pyramid have so prospered in recent years that they have pulled far ahead of the rest of the population, an analysis of tax records and other government data by The New York Times shows. They have even left behind people making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Call them the hyper-rich.

They are not just a few Croesus-like rarities. Draw a line under the top 0.1 percent of income earners – the top one-thousandth. Above that line are about 145,000 taxpayers, each with at least $1.6 million in income and often much more.

The average income for the top 0.1 percent was $3 million in 2002, the latest year for which averages are available. That number is two and a half times the $1.2 million, adjusted for inflation, that group reported in 1980. No other income group rose nearly as fast.

The share of the nation’s income earned by those in this uppermost category has more than doubled since 1980, to 7.4 percent in 2002. The share of income earned by the rest of the top 10 percent rose far less, and the share earned by the bottom 90 percent fell.

This isn’t rocket science. Workers from management on down had their wealth stripped and transferred up to the plutocrats. That’s why these massacres make so much sense to us. If looked at historically, these workplace-inspired shootings are a logical consequence of this savage ideology.

The details of today’s massacre suggest that over the past few months, as the Great Depression-2 deepened, a new pattern in these “going postal” shooting sprees has emerged: now, killers take their families down with them. In today’s rampage, the shooter began by killing his mother and torching her home, then driving to where other family members lived and killing them, before ending it all at his former employer’s, Reliable Metals. This sequence strongly resembles a couple of other recent high-profile family-massacres: one in Los Angeles which left 7 family members dead this January, and another in Ohio a few weeks later leaving 3 dead. In those massacres, the shooter and his family were left financially devastated by the Great Depression-2. It’s interesting that McLendon began his attack by taking out his family, but ended it off attacking the source of the pain–inside the company premises, where he ended his life. It was as if he didn’t want his mother to see how it ended.

For years, these shootings were considered “random acts” committed by people who “snapped for no reason.” Now, hundreds of dead victims and a massive financial collapse later, we know better: they’re reactions against corporate oppression. If the super-rich and the corporations constantly squeeze their workers of time, money and health, a few are naturally going to “snap” and fight back with guns.

These “going postal” shootings are, in many ways, like Nat Turner’s slave rebellion: gory, horrifying, resulting in scores of “innocents” dead, led by a nutcase (Turner was a paranoid-schizophrenic), but  justified given the intolerable conditions that pushed Turner to rebel. People didn’t see it that way 1831, just as we don’t see these shooting rampages as rebellions today. Back then, Americans asked why did Turner have to slaughter so many women and children, entire families, while they were sleeping? What kind of “rebel” is that? Turner was considered the incarnation of evil, and was only celebrated much later. Just as Turner’s contemporaries were horrified, we’re shocked today by the gruesome details of the Alabama shootings and the scores of others. And some of us are wondering under our breaths why he didn’t kill the people who actually created the economic Armageddon that destroyed him?  Why kill so many innocents, even desperate as he was?

When my book Going Postal came out explaining workplace massacres as rebellions against Reaganomics, and comparing the workplace shooters to slave rebels of the past, most people reacted violently or tried to dismiss my argument with a roll of the eyes. The total economic collapse over the last year has finally exposed once and for all the awful truth: that the last 30 years has been little more than a Roman plundering of America’s wealth, with America’s hyper-rich as the Roman colonials stripping the rest of the nation’s wealth while giving them a few coliseums and togas to divert their attention; a ruthless class war that in the end destroyed even our hyper-rich class, much as the Russian oligarchs’ boundless greed eventually led them to devour each other and their country with it. These past few decades have been nothing short of a one-way class war, and we’re all now kicking ourselves too late for not realizing it. Only those few workers who took up arms against their companies have any claim to posthumous dignity.

Schopenhauer was right as always: ”All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

Today was just another bloody battle in America’s Thirty Years’ Class War.

Update: Newest reports coming in suggest that McLendon may have stoppped working at Reliable Metal a few years ago, rather than during last month’s layoffs. Instead it appears he lost a job at a different plant last week: sausage-maker Kelley Foods, in nearby Elba, Alabama. As predicted, the workplace is already being fingered as the trigger-motive. Kirke Adams, district attorney for Geneva and Dale counties where the shootings took place, told CBS’ The Early Show, “It appears to be something involving a domestic dispute plus a disgruntled employee from his former place of employment. Also, as so often is the case, the rampager wasn’t a Marilyn Manson-loving Guns ‘N Ammo psycho or a godless liberal moral relativist the way people want him or her to be after every such attack; instead, a fellow classmate described him as “an A student” who “never got into trouble.”

Latest Update: Now it’s official, the workplace drove him to murder, according to Bloomberg: “Authorities in southeastern Alabama investigating what prompted a man to kill 10 people in a shooting spree discovered a list of former co-workers and supervisors in his house, a prosecutor said today. While Tom Anderson, a Coffee County assistant district attorney, said he wouldn’t characterize it as a hit list, “next to those names he had written descriptions of having been reported for infractions or being reprimanded.” The descriptions of how McLendon carefully handled the bodies of his mother and 4 dogs suggests not a serial murderer’s rage but something much more tragic and painful: it was as though he was arranging a kind of funeral pyre.

Here is the first photo of McLendon that’s appeared. He looks like a casting agent’s idea of the “nice all-American kid.” It’s going to be hard to make him out to be a monster unless they can find a more villainous-looking photo.

mclendon1

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

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58 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. wengler  |  March 11th, 2009 at 2:14 am

    This whole family-killing aspect does seem new and probably will continue to be a part of these shootings. It’s as if the shooter is killing his family to prevent the shame of his act from affecting them, or perhaps because their future will be likewise doomed by the act or the overall state of existence.

    In all those southern states workers are treated like shit. The government has been in bed with the local businesses even longer than on the federal level, and subsidizing the cost of a multinational corporation’s factory while making sure their never pay taxes again is standard operating procedure. Places like these are where the phrases “private-public partnership” and “right-to-work” come from, with the sheeple lapping up the bilge from their master’s sewers.

    I’ve always told people that if you want to know what the future of the country is if it continues down the same path, first go to the deep South, then to Mexico, then to China. Follow the labor supply chain to the very bottom. It’s the Wal-Mart model writ large: cheap crap built by slaves for other slaves, with the masters reaping benefits on both sides of the transaction.

    As for target selection, I never question anymore which people the shooters kill. This guy was literally taking care of his own, with the self-sufficiency of any Randian superman. Any quest to off an actual plutocrat would have required a deliberative mindset and cool and collected thought process. People almost always kill people they know, however, the haste of homicidal emotions favors it, as well as the ease of access.

    The systematic and deliberate alienation that the plutocratic class has created largely shields them from much of the destruction and carnage they cause. The only good side effect of this is that they are clumped somewhat together, and while most people will never drive past their palatial estates, they are not hard to find on a map. If there is any time for them to sit down, shut up and keep their head low, now is certainly it.

  • 2. Starvid  |  March 11th, 2009 at 2:29 am

    While I do agree with the class war/Reaganomics idea (in the words of Warren Buffett “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”).

    But how do Ames mean school shootings fit into this picture?

    Neutron Jack didn’t run the Department of Education, did he?

  • 3. Jon  |  March 11th, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I’m from Alabama. Wengler’s comments on “right-to-work” mentality are dead on. When you talk to workers down here, many balk at the idea of unions. There are numerous reasons for this: (1) they don’t want to get fired [especially now]; (2) they listen to Rush Limbaugh [I worked contract labor with a carpenter a few years back and he insisted that shit be on]; (3) they have a sense of filial piety to their employer, dislike the antagonistic relationship between employer and the union, and expect that if they do right by him, he’ll do the same.

    This probably worked fine for the pre-globalization mill towns, but it leaves workers wholly unprepared for the shit that management learns in MBA programs. Reliable’s management behaved in a way that is inexcusable, but, given our shitty feudal laws, probably legal.

    Anti-union sentiment is strongest in the areas, like Geneva, that weren’t ever really industrialized, or that have, more recently, been destinations for out-sourcing from countries that have stricter labor laws. Foreign manufacturers set up shop here because we grant them HUGE tax breaks and they can restrict the unions in their shop and in related shops (the factories that supply the factories). Pay, for the area, is relatively very high, so people are more than willing to take the jobs, while municipalities are happy to just get the revenue back from the INSANE sales taxes that the workers will pay (9% in my county, and they tax food, clothing, school supplies, etc.).

    The comments from the website that Ames posted point out another problem about 1/3 of Alabama counties are going to have in terms of collecting revenue–no booze! In almost half of the state, you not only have the economic depression, you have bible-belt prohibition as well!

  • 4. Greg Foreman  |  March 11th, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Glorifying the murder of innocent people for political purposes is sick. It doesn’t matter if it’s Bush standing on the thousands of dead from the World Trade Center or Ames standing on the eleven dead from this latest tragedy. Equally vile.

  • 5. cobblers  |  March 11th, 2009 at 5:37 am

    As I recall, critics of your book, of which Greg Foreman is only the latest, accused you of moral bankruptcy. It’s like something out of Robert Anton Wilson’s “Wilhelm Reich in Hell”.

  • 6. Spanky  |  March 11th, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Just got Going Postal, and it’s a fine read so far. Does an interesting job of tying together the causes and outcomes of rage in the US.

    Hilarious, IMHO, that the UK (a country with few to no massacres in the average decade) version of the book has a red stain from a leaking pen/.22 bullet just under the pocket, whereas the US version has to make do with a sweat stain.

    Wouldn’t want to increase America’s incidence of rage murder even further with a pictorial suggestion of a bullet wound.

    Whaddaworld…

  • 7. Mac  |  March 11th, 2009 at 6:25 am

    Jon:

    “INSANE sales taxes that the workers will pay (9% in my county, and they tax food, clothing, school supplies, etc.)”

    Sounds like utopia to me. Try 12% on food and 25% on EVERYTHING else. Plus additional taxes on food, gas, booze and everyting else that’s “bad”. Welcome to Sweden.

    Of course we get some stuff like free health care and education, but our taxes sure makes you want to go postal sometimes.

  • 8. Mac  |  March 11th, 2009 at 6:26 am

    “additional taxes on food” should be “additional taxes on junk-food”

  • 9. WelcomeToTheBoomtown  |  March 11th, 2009 at 6:31 am

    this is sad, when will these things end?

  • 10. Phil  |  March 11th, 2009 at 6:50 am

    While I think Ames’ thesis in Going Postal has merit, in this case I’m not seeing the connection between the dead and the shooter’s employer.

  • 11. geo8rge  |  March 11th, 2009 at 6:51 am

    At the time Nat Turner’s rebellion was seen as a slave rebellion, not the act of a lone lunatic. At the time slavery was considered the natural order of things.

    Your class based analysis does not note that in addition to the plutocrats the other group to do very well are government workers.

    BTW, Ames you might enjoy the Costa Gavras movie Le Couperet, French take on murder and layoffs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Couperet

  • 12. Doom  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Looks like Europe’s starting to catch on to the school shooting craze…

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/03/11/germany.school.shooting/index.html

  • 13. 28  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:22 am

    Ames, while I agree with your general thesis, I have to disagree on the “transfer” of wealth.

    It was a transfer of productivity.

    Americans haven’t earned less than they had, and, in fact, they have more purchasing power on the same stagnant allowance, generally, on account of technology. Generally speaking people are better off, marginally.

    But what gets happily left out of that picture, which every sexually repressed College Republican triumphs, is that the increases in productivity–which has doubled in the past three decades–and technology trickled up, not down. The wealthiest 30,000 people in America earn 500 times more than they did in the early Eighties. And likewise, the engine of that productivity in america isn’t faster/more powerful workers. It’s longer hours–an average of 8 hours a year increase in the working year.

    Which points out another problem. The average working week is down to 33 hours, and 7% of the population wants to work full time but is only working part-time. In other words, the people working full-time are getting squeezed. One of my company’s client’s employees put in 7000 hours in two years.

    And since the miracle of productivity has gone into a few people’s pocket, they’ve had plenty of money to send on the PR campaign.

  • 14. zatfig  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Hey Mark, did you pay your writers fat salaries with time off and generous pensions when you ran the eXile? If so, why not? If not, wouldn’t Rudnitsky have been justified to bring in a glock in for show and tell one day?

    I’m sure you have a good reason why you didn’t pay your workers enough to live a comfortable Leave it to Beaver life. So why can’t you emphasize with business owners and executives in the same position? No, it has to be all black and white. Good and evil. Maybe nuanced, sane pieces don’t bring the big traffic to your site?

  • 15. Zitfag  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    zatfig: no one at the exile made any money everybody in moscow knew that, but all those guys had exile perqs like scads of sex, drugs and comped meals and drinks all over town. they were assholes about it but they were like local celebrities and lived pretty well in that way. knowing what i know about those guys i bet ames would be happy that rudnitsky would bring a glock into office, they all seemed to be pretty suicidal in a funny way. i say all this b/c i was an expat tehre for a few years and hung out with one of the editors sometimes.

  • 16. MQ  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:53 am

    They are now reporting the shooter did NOT work at the Reliable Metals plant, he worked at a saussage plant.

  • 17. A Riveted Fan  |  March 11th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Hey zatfig, that’s a great point. Oh, wait, no it isn’t — take your “emphasize[d]” nuance and clear the fuck off. Christ. The eXile’s comments section is second only to the Guardian’s (or perhaps YouTube) in terms of sheer cringe.

  • 18. happyhead  |  March 11th, 2009 at 8:25 am

    People need to chill.

    So you just lost your lame-ass job in some factory? Great! Try something else perhaps. No need to take out the gun from the closet and start shooting people.

  • 19. Baltimoron  |  March 11th, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Ames, you should refine your analysis of workplace shootings to include the sort of work performed by the shooters. While it can’t be disputed that McLendon benefited from inflated first world wages, the fact that he was employed in actual production stands out given Amerika’s service economy. It would be interesting to see if producers or service workers are more likely to snap.

    Also, a question: do you believe that the Reagan-era abandonment of “mutual benefit” ideology actually changed the nature of class relations in productive labor or was it just an acknowledgement by the capitalist class of the essence of the wage labor system?

  • 20. John  |  March 11th, 2009 at 9:40 am

    One thing that’s strange about American capitalism is that there doesn’t appear to be any capitalists left. When congress wanted to kick around the guilty people in the banking and automobile sectors all it could find was a bunch of lousy executives to scold, none of whom really had any pride or cared whether their company sank like a rock.

    Michael Milken tried to purge the corrupt executive class in the 1980′s and they threw him in jail for it. Now America is ruined and all of its industries are worthless, except Apple Computers that is still a capitalist-owned business.

  • 21. aleke  |  March 11th, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Yeah there’s no two-way about it, Ames is right. You don’t have to really even put it along class lines. Ever since Nixon broke the Keynes pact of increased profit for businesses mean increased wage for labor, we’ve been on a steady progression towards serfdom. If that’s your America, where “people need to chill” and work their land and shut up, then that’s great. But that’s the late Confederate States of America, not the United States of America.

    So fuck off reactionaries.

  • 22. zatfig  |  March 11th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    empathize/emphasize.. big deal, coulda happened to anyone typing an angry retort. as soon as i read it again i caught it before i even saw your comment.

  • 23. xyz  |  March 11th, 2009 at 11:06 am

    @zatfig
    “So why can’t you emphasize with business”
    I believe the right word you are looking for is empathize. Didn’t they teach you the difference in your business school? Ah, I forget empathy is not something that is valued by businesses.

    There is a big difference between small businesses that make small profits and the rich ruthless corporations. Empathy can be reserved for the small fish.

    This website is no doubt offensive, but that is the only way to convey the ugly truths that Fox and conservative radio cover up.

  • 24. Gooftroop  |  March 11th, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Funny, I don’t see workers that are actually treated like slaves in countries like China and other Asian countries shooting shit. “I lost my job, waaaahhh. I’m going to shoot people.” Dude was fucking 27. What a little bitch, get a fucking skill set if you need to. Oh right, I guess Ames is spot on, dumb people should be given great job security and higher paying jobs. I’m so sick of this rhetoric. The same people who bitch about this are the same people who bitch about bailing out GM. Ok, where has Ames ever put forth a better solution?

  • 25. carlos  |  March 11th, 2009 at 11:11 am

    So CNN is now reporting he quit his job, at the food company, a couple of weeks ago. But Ames, who’s a one trick pony, pulls out his trademark blah blah blah Reagan blah blah soulless job blah blah Reagan” mantra, because it’s all he knows how to do. Reagan’s dead for years by now, hasn’t been President since 1988. We get it, you didn’t like him. But his name is not some sort of magic synonym for all that’s evil or disordered in the world. Ames, we get your thesis — everyone who’s been shot in a mass American shooting was in effect shot by Reagan. Really, you can shut up about it by now.

  • 26. cobblers  |  March 11th, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Michael Milken? The Ponzi racketeer who followed Bernie Cornfeld and preceded Bernie Madoff?

  • 27. Ol'ga Kirylenko  |  March 11th, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Ames, either shill the book or write a coherent article. Get back to eXile’s roots: snapper and muckracking. Leave the rest – ALL of it – to someone else. ПОНИМАЕТЕ?

  • 28. John Sawyer  |  March 11th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I agree with Ames’ statement that what tips many shooters, is the rape of employees that has become widespread, and the fact that too many companies still take the short-term view, rather than hunkering down, doing the best they can for their employees, etc., and riding out bad times–once a few quarters go by where the bottom line doesn’t look good enough, they pack it in.

    But obviously not everyone who gets laid off kills their family. Many of these laid-off gunmen who kill their family and others, are also the ones who keep lists of people who “done them wrong” (either in reality or in their overly sensitive imagination), which they find unforgivable, and that’s what’s being reported about this Alabama shooter today. These are the same nuts who would kill their wives, family, etc. if their wife left them, or had an affair, apart from any beefs they have with their employer. These nuts think they own their families. And some of them would flip out even if the company that fired them, did everything they could for that employee prior to the firing–all they see is the fact that they got fired, and are too lame to figure out how to support themselves and their family after that. So there’s a lot more going on in their heads besides “I just got laid off, and I’m going to show The Man I’m pissed.” One could make a hyper-extrapolation, and say that one reason some of these guys think they own their families, and will kill them if they see themselves at wits’ end, is that they’re following the same model as some of the companies they work for–companies that think they own their employees, and will take them down if the company thinks it’s at wits’ end–and maybe there’s something to that, but there are still factors at work in the shooter’s head other than “I’m mad because I was laid off.”

  • 29. John Sawyer  |  March 11th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    In other words, there are also other factors, in addition to Reaganomics, corporate greed, etc. that fuel serial/family/revenge/laid-off shooters. Cultural factors that strangely have led to people who think they own their families, who can’t see a boundary between themselves and their families, and hence to kill themselves must include killing their families too. But in the case of this guy in Alabama, he may have simply had his mother on his enemies list. One can’t paint all these cases with the same brush.

  • 30. firewalkwithme  |  March 11th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    What stupid people tend to do when they encounter an idea that challenges the way they justify their pathetic little lives is to attack the messenger. Of course, we all know that this is an ad hominem and, therefore, invalid attack. Sometimes, their poor little brains become so overloaded by the terrible strain of grinding into long avoided action that they will mistakenly show their true hand in the argument. Opposing the argument for moral or aesthetic reasons, they will honestly attack it on a moral or aesthetic basis even though the argument is descriptive rather than normative in nature. Gooftroop @24 manages to combine these two blazingly obvious argumentative mistakes in one of the most revealing demonstrations of the working of the self-hating wage slave’s minds in my memory. Well done, you twat.

  • 31. captain america  |  March 11th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    the couple in LA who killed their five…or was it seven…kids were ludicrously financially irresponsible. don’t know the details on the other shooters, but it looks to me like factors other than reganomics were involved.

    protip to people depending on a paycheck as their main source of income: have a plan for what to do if you get fired tomorrow. this may involve indignities like driving a hyundai or forgoing a big screen TV, thus allowing you to save up a few months salary. horrible i know, but trust me, it’s worth it.

    anyway, i’d say that people who murder their families and bunches of random coworkers are, generally, bad people. then again, i’m a bit of a randian.

    heh…maybe if i get famous someday i’ll have the distinction of ames calling for my murder. but then again, most likely the reality will be no one will ever know my name and i’ll be writing anonymous comments on sites like this in support of big business interests, because i am big business’s little bottomer bitch…

  • 32. Morgan  |  March 11th, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you for saying this. I don’t want to kill anyone and won’t but sometimes goddammit it makes sense.

  • 33. no  |  March 11th, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    Oh dear. And what about the school shooting in Germany that happened, like, today? In what fancied war is that a battle? Or the recent ones in Finland?

  • 34. Morgan  |  March 11th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Captain America? Does he know he is referencing a (unappealing) character from Generation Kill?

  • 35. 16 Shells from a 30.06  |  March 11th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    I wish it was the beginnings of class war, really I do. Sadly, it’s just the end to a long and wacky winter in the northern hemisphere.

    The ref to the crazed and murderous slave sent me diving for a Robert Anton Wilson quote (out of Schroedinger’s Cat):

    John Brown, motivated by Idealism, had set out to abolish slavery in the nineteenth century. On one of his first raids he murdered a whole family of slave owners. An associate, who was less Idealistic, had suggested sparing the children, but John Brown refused.

    “Nits grow up to be lice,” he said.

    Idealists were like that. You were much safer falling into the hands of the Cynics. The Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt.

    The Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.

  • 36. J  |  March 12th, 2009 at 4:04 am

    “…stripping the rest of the nation’s wealth while giving them a few coliseums and togas to divert their attention…”.

    If Ames meant that literally, then even he underestimated our hyper-rich slime. The same NYT journalist quoted in the article, David Cay Johnston, revealed that none of the major 4 U.S. sports leagues are profitable; they live off taxpayer subsidies. This includes their coliseums. This is how Dubya made all his $ millions, with the Texas Rangers.

  • 37. Jon  |  March 12th, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Mac:

    I’m referring to a 9% sales tax in a state with a very low standard of living. I agree, in Sweden, you pay more taxes and they seem to go a much longer way (when you figure insurance, transport, goddam heatin’ bills). Our taxes primarily go to paying for air conditioning in City Hall.

    However, if you’d like to visit our anti-socialist paradise in the South, I’d be more than happy to put you up! If you like Bergman films, you’d love it here, because nothing ever happens. Except people get shot a lot and doctors are fucking expensive.

  • 38. SOB  |  March 12th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Gift of fear anyone ?
    There are apparently some predictors of workplace violence: inflexibility, paranoïa, poor relationships, etc, don’t remember exactly.

  • 39. John Mac  |  March 12th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Talk about being a tool, I’m the type who’d never try to find meaning in a murder spree like this. The nice thing is that I’ve been patted on the head for it now and again. Anyone with an ounce of experience sucking up to human beings (this apparently does not include law enforcement or the news media) can see why I try to defend the status quo: Where in all the media reports have you seen a mention of all the rest of us who never would shoot or support a shooting, huh? And why do I not have a wife or girlfriend? Why don’t women like me? You don’t have to be Freud to connect my loveless and sexless existence to the fact that I’m here posting a comment in a desperate attempt to communicate with someone, hopefully a woman. How much do you want to bet that out of my HS graduating class no one remembers me? This shooting had everything, EVERYTHING to do with economics. But I won’t admit that, because if I do, who will pat me on the head? No, instead I’ll try to win their favor by denouncing the stimulus package like all the other tools I know.

  • 40. Pablito  |  March 12th, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Yeah, if only we had a socialist state controlling the entire economy. Things would be fantastic.

  • 41. aleke  |  March 12th, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    @40 Yeah, things would be absolutely dreadful. Kinda like living in that hell hole Sweden :(

  • 42. Franco  |  March 12th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    But shouldn’t a killing spree in the spirit of class war be directed towards those how have by does how have not?

    I’m just surprised nobody has gone on a killing spree on Wall Street yet.

  • 43. j-dog  |  March 12th, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    EXILED READERS: Euro’s need not apply. You don’t GET IT.

  • 44. WE  |  March 13th, 2009 at 3:47 am

    I think people don’t go after the source because it is psychologically intimidating and discomforting. I think that strange notions of safety, familiarity and orientation even apply to someone on a suicide mission. Why didn’t LA rioters burn down Beverly Hills (outside of the fact that martial law would have been instantly declared the minute they stepped foot in the area with a shoot on sight policy in effect), is it really the Korean grocer who has created this systemic poverty? Why would you rather shoot your mid-level manager who makes a few thousand more a year than you do and fucks the same ugly women in the same ugly prefabricated housing that you do when he is almost certainly nothing more than the overseer who institutes the policies of the elite? Is it too abstract, do they not connect the dots, or is it once again that fear, that fear of walking away from the rude Korean grocer or that bucktoothed prick foreman whom you know for a fact to be an asshole and to go after mythologized strangers who are the real source of your misery? It’s like Immortal Technique said, “It’s funny how on the block niggahs that kill you for cash but never raise the gun to cry out freedom at last.” I think we have a slaves mentality, even those who lose the crippling middle class instinct for self-preservation might kill or be killed by a random passerby on the yellow brick road, but they’d never even think about touching the Wizard of Oz. How do you kill God, how do you kill your master, who will feed you, who will take care of you, even when we rebel against hell we still want to die in it, the hell we know, the one that makes sense. We need our lines, our barriers. There are many atheists in America who still live in a world of gods, they still draw the lines of right and wrong around everything, they still see the uniqueness and value of themselves, the continue to walk down a path even though the are surrounded by open space. Because what are we without those lines, even if they are lines we resent and hate on some level, many of us cannot handle the space, that vast expanse of everything stretching out forever with someone or something to catch, to hold us, to tell us it’s okay. No, we’ll kill the abstraction of God and still live by his rules, just as we’ll rebel against injustice within the confines of our cell as we brush the key under the mat. The abyss is just too dark, for me as well as you.

  • 45. Gooftroop  |  March 13th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I can’t believe people mention Europe. Europe is irrelevant, all the Scandinavian states are moving away from it because of immigrants. If the US even tried to implement that system, it would completely collapse. I don’t understand how there are still people who can;t figure out that what works for some tiny scandinavian state would never work for America.

    Also, this guy is still a whiny entitled bitch.

  • 46. aleke  |  March 13th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Again, when mentioning the Swedish model, it seems like the only argument against it is some weird racial one. Europe isn’t going nowhere, they’re too rich and too well-organized to “fall.” And those Scandinavian countries ain’t small, not by any measure.

    America was never a nation founded on ethnic nationalism. It might frequently dip into it, but everyone agrees immigration is good for the American national idea.

  • 47. gordonsson  |  March 13th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Mr Captain America,
    Clinical tests have proven that an inserted baseball bat would scarcely impinge upon the rectal walls of “big business’s little bottomer bitches.”
    However, I (and I’m sure many others) do appreciate your input. It would be rather dull if we were to all engage upon an exercise in luvvy-duvvy groupthink.

  • 48. Krackonis  |  March 15th, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    If you do plan on killing your superiors please go after the highest at the company with the fattest bonuses. They are the cancers in our midst which need to be cut out.

    Some say “It’s a sad thing he killed people”. No… It’s not. He killed people who were killing people. Starving them to death and riding around in Mercedes while his whole community is devastated by corporations and their fat cats.

    Cutting these creatures out of our communities with violence appears to be the only avenue left for us after years of “Just wait, be patient, things will turn around etc…” That time is gone. It that attitude of appeasing the tyranny in our midst which we must get rid of. They buy the media, they buy the government and make peaceful revolution impossible.

    The only avenue left, to paraphrase a JFK is making violent revolution possible.

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”

    The Requirements for Violent Revolution:

    “The author stresses the point that all of these preconditions have now been met to one degree or another in the current U.S.:”

    1. Soaring then crashing standards of living
    2. Rising class war/disillusionment
    3. A generation of abandoned intellectuals
    4. Incompetent government
    5. Failure of leadership
    6. Fiscal Irresponsibility
    7. Inept and inconsistent use of force

  • 49. Zimbabalouie  |  March 15th, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    The time to learn the lessons of history is upon us all. This nation was founded with the guns of the citizens rebelling against the wealthy and the corrupt government that imposed misery on them.

    Our constitution gives the power to the citizens and even spells out their right to take up arms against the government when conditions warrant.

    Perhaps that time has arrived.

  • 50. Animadverto  |  March 15th, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    This is an excellent article that touches on “some” truths, especially with regards to the destructive forces of “corporatism”. People do not shoot/kill their family members, co-workers and community members for no reason. If you would like a more in depth understanding, I would suggest that you “google search” “community stalking” AKA “gang stalking”, “terrorist stalking”, and “vigilante stalking”. It is a dirty secret that many communities dare not speak of and it is rampant throughout this country today.

  • 51. Chuck  |  March 15th, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Tragic, Sad and probably not the last.

    People need to learn how to survive a depression because it will be all that and probably more.

    “We are spending more money than we have ever spent before, and it does not work. After eight years we have just as much unemployment as when we started, and an enormous debt to boot”. – U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau…May 1939

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Pbiv1iuEes&feature=related

  • 52. A. Magnus  |  March 16th, 2009 at 6:46 am

    28 wrote:

    “Americans haven’t earned less than they had, and, in fact, they have more purchasing power on the same stagnant allowance, generally, on account of technology. Generally speaking people are better off, marginally.”

    You must be educated in American public schools, which have deliberately misinformed students on the value of economics for decades. American purchasing power since 1971 has been more than halved thanks to unlimited fiat currency production which leads to monetary inflation. This inflation has effectively transferred private wealth to government bureaucrats and monopoly corporate lobby interests. Anyone who understands economics would know this.

  • 53. Flem  |  March 16th, 2009 at 7:33 am

    The actual problem here is overpopulation. In a world with too many people, the only way for you to have more is to take the food out of someone else mouth. There’s not enough for all of us. Have you ever noticed it’s not good people that have more? Have you noticed that you have to be screwing someone over to have more? The baby boom was the worst act of selfishness ever committed. And were all paying the price.

  • 54. Dirk Diggler  |  March 16th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    He should have done us all a favor and carried out his raid against the local synagogue, where the perpetrators of our economic crisis are located. This is all the work of greedy, parasitic Jews, and more americans will suffer while they live in luxury.

  • 55. aleke  |  March 17th, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    are these anti-semitic ramblings just joke comments or is someone hurling spare change around and hiring freepers to attack websites like a pack of zombies

  • 56. CSI  |  March 21st, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I’m not sure Jimbab remembers what happened the LAST time entire communities of people with guns rebelled against the Federal government.

  • 57. matt  |  October 11th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    I think it was Shay’s Rebellion. Or the Whiskey Rebellion

  • 58. Concerned Gramma  |  December 26th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    You have a posting on here that is incorrect. He DIDN’T work at Reliable Metal Products & never had. He only went out there to kill a person (man) that he felt “wronged him” in his past. His letter that he left listed names of people that he would “do away with” before killing himself. I live 11 miles from where this took place & my sis & family live where it began. My nephew witnessed one being shot. My son in law works at Realible where the massacre ended.


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