rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Las Vegas attack not merely terrorism, but symptom of failed state

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

American Flag/Photo: University of Missouri System/flickr

"At least 58 dead and 500 hurt in Las Vegas after gunman rains bullets on concert," the main page of the New York Times's website said yesterday morning. By nightfall, the death toll had risen to 59; the numbered injured to nearly 530.

A smaller headline beneath read: "Trump Calls for Unity After Act of Pure Evil."

But will United States President Donald Trump do anything about the metastasizing gun violence in the U.S., where, count on it, some gunned up, NRA-card-holding, paranoid lunatic -- almost certainly white, male, and "Christian" – is already plotting to break that record? Unlikely.

Beyond meaningless platitudes about prayer and unity, Mr. Trump is about as likely to do something, or even to say anything helpful, as he is to dispatch aid to hurricane-battered colonial Puerto Rico with alacrity and generosity.

However, as many have observed, it’s likely the Great Divider is beavering away behind the scenes to ensure nine million American children are immediately deprived of health insurance. The Great Deceiver is working on a plan to extend America's 17-year war in Afghanistan for another decade. The Great Denier will try to ensure that nothing is done about climate change -- or said about it, or taught about it, or studied.

These are easy criticisms to make because Mr. Trump makes them easy. He is so clearly not up to the task, so patently incompetent, the truth of the assertions is painfully obvious.

Mr. Trump is not just disinclined to help, however. He is largely powerless to do anything about the domestic firearms terrorism that stalks -- and, increasingly, paralyses -- the United States.

The serious question we Canadians really need to be pondering, as the United States’ next-door neighbour, is, can any other American do anything about it either?

It's not just Mr. Trump, after all. We have recently seen a much better man try, and fail, to deal with America’s unique brand of home-grown terror -- the inevitable spawn of the nation’s slave-holding heritage and its subsequent constitutional and jurisprudential history.  

Mr. Trump’s own party is certainly not up to the task. After this, the Republicans are more likely to make it easier for lunatics to buy machine guns than harder. Neither is the other party. The U.S. Constitution is broken, unfixable.

So, this may not just be what terrorism looks like, in these apocalyptic times. It could very well be what a failed state looks like.

Why is this important for Canadians, other than the obvious facts that the failing state in question is a very large one, and right next door?

Well, where did most Ukrainian refugees flee as things in their country started to fall apart? Mostly, the narrative of the mainstream media and the Canadian political classes notwithstanding, to the bosom of Russia. Where do you think Americans are going to go if this keeps up south of the 49th?

In geopolitical commentator Pepe Escobar's inspired phrase, the neoliberals who wormed their way into control of the U.S. state a generation ago -- and who have not let go despite several attempts by the U.S. electorate to prize their fingers from the levers of power -- set out to create a worldwide Empire of Chaos.

Now it would appear instead of assuring the survival and prosperity of the class they represent, Chaos has slipped its leash and invaded the Homeland, George W. Bush’s Orwellian foreshadowing of America’s troubled present.

Yes, we have our own challenges here in Canada, as the events of the past few hours have shown right here in Edmonton. And we have our own dividers, as pathological as any of Mr. Trump’s congressional allies. But we also have an evolving constitution that, by and large, works as intended, and a historical as well as constitutional predilection toward peace, order and good government.

Alas, we can hardly build a wall along the U.S. border. Even if we could do so, we couldn’t expect to make the Americans pay for it. Not because they are too mighty, but, increasingly, because the opposite.

Things can’t fall apart? The centre’s sure to hold?

Never mind poetry. Think geopolitics. Do you remember how likely the collapse of the Soviet Union seemed to all but a few in 1988 or 1989? I do. Not very likely at all.

This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, AlbertaPolitics.ca.

Photo: University of Missouri System/flickr

Like this article? Please chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.