You can remember learning in school or at a museum or maybe on the Discovery Channel about human sacrifice in ancient or distant cultures, whether it was the temples of the Aztecs and Incans down south or the bogs of the British Isles, where the Celts performed their rituals. You can remember how you felt: the gruesome fascination followed by disbelief at the stupidity of the reasons. Killing the slaves of a dead master? Ludicrous. And the tribes and nations that sacrificed children, virgins, whoever to appease angry gods just seem insane in retrospect. The circular logic was mind-boggling: We must cut out the hearts of these kids so the gods will make the crops grow and keep away the storms or volcanoes. But if there is a storm or volcano and the crops all die, we’ll just sacrifice more kids because obviously we didn’t please our mad deities last time.
You know that there were many people in Incan villages in Peru who thought the whole thing was bullshit, that slitting the throat of the woman who lived down the road was entirely unnecessary, that maybe they could spend more time learning about weather and crop rotation. But they didn’t dare say anything because they didn’t want to piss off the priests and their most devoted followers who might decide that they needed to be sacrificed next. People die all the time because cowards don’t speak up.
The mass shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, hit home, literally, for the Rude Pundit. That’s where he grew up. It’s where he went to college. It’s where his family lives and where he visits twice a year. He can’t count the number of times he has been to the Grand movie theater on Johnston Street, right across from the Judice Inn and its delicious Cajun hamburgers. From the Grand, you go northeast on Johnston and make a left on Jefferson Street to get to Parish Ink, the t-shirt and design shop where he regularly bought souvenirs from home to give as gifts, where family bought gifts for him. He spoke a few times to co-owner and designer Jillian Johnson, praising her work and laughing at the puns on the shirts. Johnson was one of two women who were shot and killed by John Russell Houser while they watched the film Trainwreck in the bone-chilling air-conditioning that makes the Grand an oasis in the smothering Lafayette summer.
Many on the left have focused on Houser’s despicable beliefs, which are not really that far out of the conservative mainstream anymore. It’s an awfully short journey from Scott Walker to Stormfront. On the right, they’re more concerned about Houser’s mental illness, which is what they always talk about when a white Christian is the one doing the shooting, as if a Muslim man can’t have depression exacerbated by drug use that is exploited by a radical ideology to inspire him to violence that ultimately ends his life, as he had wanted.
The Rude Pundit thought about the Inca, the Mayans, the savage tribe of Skull Island when he began trying to piece together something to say about the Lafayette shooting. It’s long been apparent that the United States is now a death cult built around the worship of guns. The dead in each shooting, whether it’s gang-related in Los Angeles, accidental in Virginia, or mass shooting after mass shooting, are treated as a necessity in order for us to stay safe. How is Sandy Hook any different than the Aztecs stabbing a child to keep the city from destruction? How did that work out for them?
Multiple massacres ago, the Rude Pundit could say he knows someone who knew one of the kids murdered at Sandy Hook. Now he can say he actually met one of the murder victims in Lafayette. What’s next in this macabre progression? At some point, despite your faithful devotion, the priests come to sacrifice your family members. Or you. Our firearm-centered death cult is based on a deliberate misinterpretation of the Second Amendment. No matter what courts or lobbyists or corporate-manipulated citizen-tools say, the Second Amendment has a conditional phrase, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” You can pretend that that doesn’t matter or you can lie about what it means, but “well-regulated” is in there, and we live in a country that is far, far from regulating guns, let alone militias, well. The Second Amendment wasn’t meant to be a murder-suicide pact. It was meant to deal with a widely-spread, small population that wanted to kill the British and some Indians. A rational nation would revisit it to clarify or change it. In the United States, that would probably just mean craven politicians frightening Americans into taking out the opening phrase so no one can bring up the argument against more guns anymore.
In Louisiana, the death cult is practically having a blood orgy on a constant basis. Writes Adam Duvernay in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser, “In 2013, 446 people in Louisiana were killed with with guns, according to statistics collected by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. By body count, that placed Louisiana 7th in the nation. In terms of murders per 100,000 residents — 9.6 — the Bayou State was 1st.” This is in an article titled, mournfully, obviously, “Analysis: Theater shooting won’t change a thing.”
If we continue to do nothing, we are all mentally ill and we are all extremists. We are just another bunch of Mayans, watching the high priest politicians cut out the hearts of the children in Newtown, the churchgoers in Charleston, the women in Lafayette, all to appease the malicious gods of the NRA, holding the gore aloft so all may see it, hoping that our sacrifices are deemed worthy, not realizing that the gods are illusions and that we’re just killing our way into oblivion.
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on July 27, 2015, on The Rude Pundit, a website featuring commentary by Lee Papa. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Papa.