The bombing at the Boston marathon last Monday left at least three people dead and many more injured.
As Socialist Worker went to press there was much speculation and no clear evidence as to who had carried out the bombing. But it immediately led to increased security measures across the US, restricted air space over Boston and front pages cleared across the world.
The Boston bombing reminds us that violence is anything but an aberration in US society. The marathon was dedicated to 20 school children and six teachers who died in a shooting massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary school just five months ago.
They were running a mile for every life lost and held a 26 second silence at the start of the run. The school is in the neighboring state of Connecticut. Families of the victims have been at the heart of the raging political debate over gun control.
Violence is endemic in the US and in its foreign policy. The US executed 43 people last year, and its police killed another 583. It imprisons a higher proportion of its population than any other country.
The position of the US in the world relies on its ability to inflict deadly violence on its foes. It is the world’s most powerful superpower.
Its government likes to denounce other countries as “rogue states”. Most recently North Korea has been in its sights. North Korea carried out a nuclear test last month.
But the US’ response has been to increase the military threats to the country and surround it with military hardware. This only increases the potential for a deadly war.
On the same day as the Boston bombs at least 61 people died in Iraq in over 25 separate bombings. The US invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003. The West claimed this was because Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Hussein, like Osama Bin Laden, was a former ally of the US who had become unreliable.
Yet Iraq after US intervention has become an ever more violent and dangerous place. Innocent civilians are the main victims of the US state’s threat and use of deadly violence. This is true whether in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.
The US is the real rogue state. Its imperialism brought us the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. This remains the only time that nuclear weapons have been used in war. The number of casualties will never be known, but more that 200,000 are thought to have died as a result of the bombings.
Is it really surprising that such a state also breeds the use of deadly violence within its own borders?