"In April 2007, all the news seemed to be coming from Virginia and was about murder — the murder of Indigenous farmers that commenced four hundred years before with the founding of Jamestown and the rampage at nearby Virginia Tech University on April 16, 2007. Yet no one commented in the media on the juxtaposition of these bookends of colonialism. Jamestown was famously the first permanent settlement that gave birth to the Commonwealth of Virginia, the colonial epicenter of what became the United States of America nearly two centuries later, the colony out of which was carved the US capital, Washington, on the river whose mouth lay up the coast. A few years after Jamestown was established, the more familiar and revered colony of Plymouth was planted by English religious dissidents, under the auspices of private investors with royal approval, as with Jamestown, and the same mercenary activities personified by Captain John Smith. This was the beginning of British overseas colonialism, after the conquest and colonization of Scotland, Wales, and Ireland turned England into Great Britain. The Virginia Tech killings were described in 2007 as the worst 'mass killing,' the 'worst massacre,' in US history. Descendants of massacred Indigenous ancestors took exception to that designation. It was curious with the media circus surrounding the Jamestown celebration, and with Queen Elizabeth and President Bush presiding, that journalists failed to compare the colonial massacres of Powhatans four centuries earlier and the single, disturbed individual's shootings of his classmates. The shooter himself was a child of colonial war, the US war in Korea.
"Meditating on the five major US wars since World War II — in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq (1991), Afghanistan, and Iraq (2003) — with flashes of historical memory of Jamestown, the Ohio Valley, and Wounded Knee, brings us to the essence of US history. A red thread of blood connects the first white settlement in North America with today and the future. As military historian John Grenier puts it:
" 'U.S. people are taught that their military culture does not approve of or encourage targeting and killing civilians and know little or nothing about the nearly three centuries of warfare — before and after the founding of the U.S. — that reduced the Indigenous peoples of the continent to a few reservations by burning their towns and fields and killing civilians, driving the refugees out — step by step — across the continent. . . . [V]iolence directed systematically against noncombatants through irregular means, from the start, has been a central part of Americans' way of war.' "