A recent news item caught my eye: “Whiteman Air Force Base [in Missouri] to salute health care workers with flyover on Tuesday: Flyover will include B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, four T-38 Talons and two A-10 Thunderbolt lls.” New York City had its own flyover by the aerial demonstration teams of the Navy and Air Force. “America Strong” was the theme of the latter.
Isn’t it curious that we celebrate our life-saving medical workers with flyovers by warplanes that are designed to take life? And, regarding the B-2 stealth bomber, a life-taker on a truly massive scale, since it’s designed for nuclear warfare.
Maybe there’s a weird form of (unintentional) honesty here. We use death-dealing machinery to celebrate life-preserving medical workers, highlighting a bizarre cult of death in America, one seemingly embraced and advanced by Donald Trump’s policies on Covid-19, among other policies working against the health and welfare of ordinary people.
As Tom Engelhardt notes in a new piece for TomDispatch.com, Trump is only America’s latest assassin-in-chief, but this time the killing is happening here in the homeland, rather than being exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries across the globe. Speaking of violence coming home, together with homeland insecurity, is there any other country in the world in which gun sales have soared during this pandemic? From an article in The Guardian:
Estimated gun sales also soared to 2.58m in March, Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting reported, an 85.3% jump from the same time last year.
An explosion in gun sales during a pandemic suggests something about the American psyche that is truly scary. So too do combat jets screaming in the skies as a celebration of heroic lifesavers.