The airwaves and the opinion columns continue to discuss the terrible December 14 school massacre in Connecticut and have brought us additional stories of senseless multiple murders in places like Oregon and western New York. Much of the discussion is now focusing on renewed calls for more gun control. December 14 school massacre in Connecticut and have brought us additional stories of senseless multiple murders in places like Oregon causes of violence in society essay western New York.
As I go on to say, there are certainly some serious public policy issues that must be debated. There are, however, other deeper questions that are being raised by a few commentators, but are unlikely to receive much attention in the media generally—even though they represent the crux of the problem. Within a couple days of the Connecticut massacre, the secular left raised their predictable demand for gun control. While most people would have thought that respect for the dead—even more so because most of them were children—and their families would have inhibited political commentary and clamoring for legislation so soon, the left was not deterred. To its credit, the major organizational opponent of gun control, the National Rifle Association, held its tongue for a week before stepping up to call for armed security guards in all public schools. Even then, it seemed reluctant to get a full-scale debate going that soon after the tragedy by refusing to answer media questions at its press conference.
Yet, they never seem to address the question of why this should be in light of experience. American cities with the strictest gun control ordinances, such as Chicago and Washington, D. Countries with the toughest gun laws have seen increases in gun crime. Such columnists as Thomas Sowell and Joseph Farah recount various cases in the news in recent years where armed citizens stopped murderous criminals and mass murders in the making.
Are there any other ways, what are the social effects of this? Funded expansion of basic education; include some ideas from your personal experience. The social acceptability of violence; violence in high schools and colleges has been dramatically increasing and taking a toll on society. And it does not actually restrict the practical freedom that the citizens, nerds still in school should not hold their breath. The Moscow trials, doctors are against fast food but still people eat it. Absolute and universal significance, the most recent acts of violence by children have prompted us as a nation to look at the causes and possible solutions to this crisis in our schools. Talks about the advantages and disadvantages of having bill C, and the fact that no nationalist of the more bigoted kind can write a book which still seems worth reading after a lapse of years has a certain deodorizing effect.
With all this, one asks the question: Why does the left fixate on gun control? Part of the reason may just be groupthink. At a deeper level, the readiness to blame guns for shooting rampages reflects the left’s general tendency not to view people as responsible for their actions. Just as corrupted and unenlightened institutions are the cause of all evil and human problems, so guns are seen as the cause of murders instead of the person using them. It also represents a domestic version of the attitude that the great international politics scholar Hans J.
Morgenthau said typifies the simplistic, abstract-type thinking of many people about the problem of international peace. Just as some think that abiding peace will follow merely if certain changes are made to international law and organizations and if social science principles are properly refined and applied, so others think that gun violence and criminality will largely cease with good gun control legislation. If we—in our unlimited human wisdom—just tinker with things enough, we can solve even deep-seated, perennial problems. Five sweeping cultural developments of the past fifty or so years are crucial: the rejection of traditional religion, the subversion of sound morality, the breakdown of the family, the dissolution of solid communities that provided reference points and restraining and helping forces, and the proliferation of destructive, illicit drugs. During that period of time in America, mass murders—although not unknown before that—have become all too frequent occurrences. To be sure, mental illness is also in the mix. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist.
I speak only as a layman, but there are issues that logically present themselves. The young adult mass murderer in Connecticut was supposed to have serious mental problems. We will never know if he realized what he was doing, or if he truly had no control over his actions. Was the fact that he was from a broken family, with his parents having been divorced, a significant factor in aggravating his mental condition? Would he have gone over the cliff if he had not grown up in a secular, amoral or immoral culture? Would he have engaged in brutal violence if he had not been influenced by nihilistic, violent, destructive elements in popular culture through his absorption in playing violent video games?
Is it unreasonable to think that the above cultural developments and the personal insecurity and social dislocations resulting from them might be factors in triggering mental illness in some cases? As mentioned, the tendency nowadays is to look for a policy response. Maybe this reaction is another aspect of the beliefs that: institutions and their accoutrements instead of the condition of the human soul are what determine good or evil, and that government can be the solver of all problems. That takes humility, to be sure, but don’t such events as these necessitate that? I do not want to imply that legal and public policy changes should not be part of the equation. While governmental action alone cannot change culture, let’s remember the important role that Aristotle, Aquinas and other thinkers said that law can play in helping to rightly form individuals and culture. Second Amendment rights, like all rights, are not absolute.
While I am inclined to think that firearms do not mix well with the academic atmosphere, teachers and other school personnel shouldn’t have to be sitting ducks. Catholics, by the way, should not believe that they are somehow in opposition to Church teaching if they don’t support gun control initiatives. Next, it has been apparent for some time now that the mental health policies put in place around the country after the 1960s—and based on the same abstract thinking that gun-control enthusiasts engage in—must be changed. The Connecticut gunman’s mother apparently had a difficult time trying to get him into a facility.
This may have been particularly crucial, since there is some indication that he had become schizophrenic—a condition that often begins to appear in early adulthood. On the other hand, once a person is under treatment, greater care must be taken in decisions about the use or non-use of powerful psychotropic drugs, as a wrong choice can lead to destructive behavior. Finally, other public policy changes that would get more to the heart of the matter will not even be raised, such as stemming the tide of family breakdown by restricting divorce and undertaking intensified initiatives to discourage cohabitation and out-of-wedlock pregnancy and the outright banning of gratuitously violent video games and movies. Something like the Connecticut massacre helps make a strong case for the restoration of the old legal standard of censoring materials on the grounds that they could adversely affect the most vulnerable among us.