Our violent culture

Bipolar culture shares blame

By David Gunn

There is one question that unites most Americans today: What’s to be done about gun violence in our country?

The liberals want to get rid of guns, and conservatives want more people to have them.

We may either ban assault rifles or arm teachers, but the winds of change do seem to be blowing.

But then again, we might get distracted by a scandal and forget about the whole thing.

Who knows?

I don’t believe it matters whether you ban or permit guns. It doesn’t matter if the government hands them out to everyone.

It seems to me we’re rather bipolar about the whole issue, which has led us to our current unhealthy state.

We send a mixed message concerning violence to our citizens, particularly to our young people.

We condone violence in all aspects of our society, then weep when it actually happens. We allow it to exist everywhere — especially in our movies, music and games.

Then, when someone actually commits the same act that we pay to see in a movie, we label him a monster.

The strange thing is that we seem to be just as violent as we are kind. The excessive violence at Newtown is followed by equally excessive mourning.

For some reason, it’s not hard for us to do both.

I have witnessed a family put down their violent video game of killing and maiming strangers to work the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving.

“OK boys, after we feed the poor on Thanksgiving, we can go back home and resume our video killing spree.”

They don’t even see the disconnect.

What are the kids supposed to think about that?

It’s foolish to ask how the Newtown massacre could happen. With our level of cultural violence, it’s just a matter of time until something more horrific happens. It’s like someone who questions the material in National Enquirer, wondering how they get away with it. Simple: People buy it.

If we continue to finance violence through music, movies and games, we no longer have the right to ask how or why. It’s foolish to be shocked when it happens.

We all share blame when these chilling acts of violence occur because we have created a culture that celebrates, reinforces and even encourages graphic violence in so many different mediums.

The laws are immaterial.

Switzerland, Israel and Finland have liberal gun laws that allow for private gun ownership, yet school shootings are rare, if they even happen at all.

France, England and many other countries ban guns altogether. They don’t have a fraction of our gun violence.

The laws don’t matter, the people do, and we will kill with screwdrivers and butter knives if we have to.

As we mourn for these children, we should also weep for ourselves.

David Gunn works for the Walton County Board of Education. He lives in Monroe.

3 comments Add your comment

SAWB

January 12th, 2013
12:21 am

What amazes me is that many of the people responsible for producing this violent “entertainment” and those politicians that profit from their riches are the very people attempting to disarm perfectly law abiding citizens. But, anyway…

Three things:

We live in a free society and one of our freedoms is Freedom of Speech, and whether we like it or not this covers much of this violent material. I am not sure I would call it bi-polar, but that is one of the issues with freedom sometimes you get the good with the bad.

Secondly, several years ago we took all formal teaching of religion out of our schools and I agree with that decision. However, we also took almost any teaching of morality out of our schools. Families no longer attend an organized weekly Church service and Parents no longer teach right from wrong at home. We have always had people who make a conscious decision to do wrong, but now more and more we seem to have people with no clue of the difference.

Thirdly, some people are just evil. Regardless of your belief system and whether you refer to it as evil or something else either way it has always existed. Statistics tell us that we are safer than we have ever been in the history of the world yet bad things still happen.

Starts at the top

January 12th, 2013
12:08 am

We support violence from the top down. Our government is no longer a republic, it is an empire. We have troops (implied violence) in 170 nations on earth in nearly 1000 bases (permanent implied violence). We are at war or engaged in violent actions against the sovereign nations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, the Phillipines, Syria, and countless others that nobody talks about. In these major ones, we continue to kill innocent men, women, and children with drone missle strikes and other weapons despite the fact that none of these countries has ever attacked the US. Even 9-11 was the work of mostly Saudis but certainly was not orchestrated or financed by the government of Afghanistan (or any of the other countries).

We currently imprison more people than any other country on earth. Nearly 50% of them are in jail because our government decided during the 20th century to use violence against people that put substances in their body that “they” did not approve of. Of course behind the “they” is the pharmaceutical and alcohol industries that are negatively impacted by people using substances they do not sell.

Every day there is another story of a police officer or many at once, shooting, beating, assaulting, and even killing innocent, unarmed, sometimes handicapped individuals and getting away with it “because they followed proper procedure.” Virtually every police department in the nation is able to steal from the citizens of their district under the guise of civil asset forfeiture laws (a product of the failed war on drugs) that allow property to be seized and charged with a crime – even if the owner is never charged. This has allowed for the purchase of more powerful and deadly weapons. Combined with that is the virtual militarization of nearly every police force in america via the “surplus weapons” giveaway from the defense department. We now have police with drones operating in our skies. How long before they start killing people with missles?

We have laws like the Patriot Act, the NDAA, the Military Commissions Act and others that now allow the president to kill anyone on earth including american citizens without due process or any presentation of evidence. The government is allowed to imprison anyone indefinitely (without due process) at the instruction of the president (or by his will).

We have sexual assaults taking place thousands of times a day at our airports at the hands of TSA pedophiles and sexual predators. There are no consequences for their actions which also include the theft of over $1 million dollars worth of items every year in addition.

The example is being set right at the top in our society. Government at its very core is violence. It is the only way it achieves funding and the only way its will is imposed on the lowly servants.

Let’s start by disarming the government, removing their power over us, restoring freedom and liberty, and restoring our republic. That would go a long way to ending our culture of violence.

MM

January 11th, 2013
5:03 pm

One of the most perceptive writings on our culture of violence I’ve seen in a long time. It’s the culture, stupid! Guns are just part of it but well worth addressing. Our swaggering, arrogant tendency to violence has gotten us into several wars we couldn’t win and has made it impossible to think clearly about what it takes to solve the complex problems that confront us as a nation. The ease with which guns allow violence to be perpetrated allows us to avoid looking at the internal weaknesses that makes us nothing more than bullies on the world and domestic stage.

I can’t help but note the irony of the author’s name on this intelligent piece.