Our American Myth Publicity ImageWe like to think we live in a relatively safe society, and that acts of political violence and civil disobedience are isolated, and few and far between. You know, except for those few brief periods of history when they flared up. But overall, violence isn’t a part of our culture. Unfortunately, that’s just our American optimism shining through. Here’s a sneak peek at our working script: 

1. Okay, let’s pretend
3. No—why?
1.  Let’s pretend -something like the shooting is happening
3. Why are you doing this?
5. Because it’s important—you have to face it.  It’s happened over and over throughout our history, and chances are, it’s going to happen again.
3. I think that’s a bit of an overstatement. This kind of thing doesn’t happen to us. I mean, here, in America. We have a political process for a reason, and it works.
1. Charles Guiteau assassinated President Garfield, July 2nd, 1881 in a Baltimore Railway Station.  Without political violence, we wouldn’t even have a country. The Stamp Act riots, the Liberty Riot, the Boston Massacre, the Battle of Alamance, the Gaspée Affair, the Pine Tree Riot, and the Boston Tea Party were all politically violent stunts and battles which led to the American Revolution.
2. In 1856 Rep. Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner so severely he broke a cane over his head—ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE—because Sumner was for Emancipation, and civil rights for freed slaves.
5. Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy; Governor William Goebel; Mayors Carter Harrison, Anton Cermak, and George Moscone; Senators Samuel Wood, Huey Long and Robert Kennedy; Representative James Strang; Judges Curtis Chillingworth and John Roll; activists Carlo Tresca, Medgar Evers, Malcom X, George Rockwell, Martin Luther King Jr., Fred Hampton, and Alex Odeh – all killed – not to mention all the innocent civilians wounded and killed in assassinations and assassination attempts.
4.  The whole Revolutionary war, which we also use as fodder for our current violent political rhetoric.  Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there have been 25 rebellions and wars within the United States, over 200 riots, and at least 11 attempted assassinations of political figures – well, at least 11 that actually got reported to the public. Bricks through windows of representatives offices during the Health Care debate; WISCONSIN UNION STRIPPING! (to audience) Have we missed anything?
3. OKAY!

So…what do we do about it? We start talking! We would love to hear your thoughts on political violence in the US. What is it about our culture that enables these events? Would we be better off with less free speech or more gun control? Or is violence the price we pay for our freedoms? How do we create a culture of peace?


Producing Artistic Director



Bindlepunks is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the purposes of Bindlepunks must be made payable to Fractured Atlas and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.




  • Thu, Oct 27th at 8pm @ Works/San Jose Gallery
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