Herb Ruhs: Crime — The Substance of American Life…


The Compassionate Misanthrope

For the last fifty years, based on actual personal experience in Viet Nam during the war and a young life in the sub basement of American society where I had plenty of contact with criminal minds, supplemented by a medical career caring for incarcerated youth (kids tell their doctor everything) and my work as a court qualified child abuse expert, I have been telling folks that we life in a fully criminalized society. Understandably I was discounted as some sort of kook, but I was really a Cassandra. Along the way I have compared notes with countless well meaning and honest folks who observed accurately what I was seeing but couldn’t bring themselves to connect the dots and believe in the tsunami of criminality that has now, finally, become apparent to almost everyone, but is still not understood in its entirety by the vast majority who cling to the comfortable fiction of law and order and individual rights.

Growing up as a homeless and abandoned child in the US and being related by blood to a variety of criminals, left me with a perspective on crime that I only encounter in folks with similar backgrounds, many of them incarcerated. One of the fringe benefits of being an American seems to be being entitled to ignore reality and choose any false reality that appeals. As acute observers of the current scene opine, this national psychosis has only exacerbated the problem of crime and allowed it to insinuate itself into nearly every aspect of American life.

The outrage in Cyprus is interesting, but having the government raid peoples bank accounts fraudulently has been pretty common here in the USA for a long time, though raiding ALL bank accounts simultaneously is new. Frankly, that might happen here without our knowing about it, may have happened already for that matter. People like to believe that their money is safe in their demand accounts but that is wishful thinking. I know because it happened to me. In my case it was a ridiculous phony car registration bill on a car that went to the junk yard many years ago, a 1987 Nova, and which the State had been dutifully informed of said junking. One day I got a call from Mendocino Savings Bank (thankfully no longer my bank) saying that they had emptied my account at the direction of the State of California. I would have just lost the state stolen $800 without recourse, if someone at the bank had not noticed the next day that that account only held monies from my Social Security payments. Turns out that the State can not raid such an account, so they put the money back. I went for months withdrawing all my money as soon as it arrived from SS lest they change their minds and decide to take it again. I have now switched to a credit union where I hope I have a better experience, though they to are required to send your money away to the State if directed.

This is not the only false billing from government that I have received either. Yes boys and girls, your accounts may be insured by the government in case of failure of the bank, but it is not ensured if the government decides to raid them. Sorry. Another comfortable illusion threatened. If you are an ordinary person without vast sums at your disposal, or connections to powerful people, your “rights” are just convenient fictions intended to disarm you mentally.

It is important to always restate the obvious that the individuals carrying out these crimes need not be, in fact most often are not, criminals themselves. They just work for them. It is the criminalized system that is causing this. So it is that we live in a fully criminalized propaganda universe where nothing is allowed to make sense. I have been living with this reality, and kept up with its growth and activities, since I was a small child being told that my grandfather was murdered by the mob (actually he ran away and changed his name and lived out a long secret life as an ambulance driver in a distant city). There are some good books written on the subject. My favorite being Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America by the political journalist Matt Taibbi. The reading list on organized crime in America is long but, unfortunately, mostly unfamiliar to the public.

Only the unfortunate can easily confront the truth, if they want to, and I understand why they might not want to raise their eyes and take it all in as it crashes down around them. The fortunate are seeing their ranks thinned, but because of the myth of meritocracy, they ignore the threat to themselves as they denigrate the most recent victims of our criminal country as somehow deserving of their fate. Just mindlessly waiting their turn like buffalo standing in a herd unconcerned as, one after another, they fall victim to distant rifle fire.


Thanx for sharing your heartfelt story. That you chose to face and accept the unfairness and the darkness of Life and then chose to become a healer, is a great metaphor for us all to learn by.

Peace, or the absence of ill will and crime towards others, will only come about by individual choice first, not by some great awakening by any governing bodies that then direct us all as how to behave and act from the top down. Ghandi, MLK, etc. showed the way physically, mentally and Spiritually, so that others would realize what potential in themselves was possible. This is the way of the sacrificial (sacred) warrior.

Maybe, somewhere down the road, we come together once again in Unity through diversity. It would seem that only when we all are suffering greatly as equals, we will come to the collective realization once more that, like air, we all need each other to thrive and survive.

I like to dream that maybe in a few hundred years we will have learned and connected to each other enough through our own suffering, that even when one person is suffering on the planet we all can feel their pain and want to help in the healing.

In this time of such great awakening, change and uncertainty, we all need to imagine new visions of much better ways, whether we are here to see the fruits ripen or not, while we set about to stop the massive internal bleeding going on in us and around us. Only then can we begin to clean the deep wounds and create a peaceful environment in our person, so that healing can begin anew for all.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath J. Lee. Concentrated wealth has no other alternative than crime and impunity to hold power. And it gets worse and worse until it collapses. Americans live under the illusion that the New Deal somehow was a deal offered by concentrated wealth in order to get along with the rest of us. Wrong. It was a temporizing measure until such time, which seems to have come, as working people were so confused by propaganda and so divided into “special interests” (guns, gay marriage, abortion, etc.) that the resistance that concentrated wealth experienced in the thirties was no longer possible. They think their time of absolute power has arrived. Can’t prove them wrong, although their destruction of the climate and nuclear brinksmanship will soon bring down the curtain on evil as well as good. It is emblematic of the insanity of power that that outcome is seen as positive as opposed to a triumph of justice and love. Activist continue to believe that the struggle is over policy and law. It is not. The struggle is between insanity of power and mere survival of the species. No signs of deep enlightenment yet seen outside of scattered and powerless individuals.