Wednesday was yet another painful, and maybe not so surprising, mass school shooting in this country. As a parent with 2 children in a public school, this is very disturbing and worrisome. Everyone on social media, in the “normal” media, and all politicians are shouting from the rooftops, “We must DO something- right now!”. Of course I agree, but the devil is in the details. What do the citizens of the USA truly need to do? What will actually bring us the desired results of no more mass and random school (and other) shootings?
It seems half or more of the population is fixated on gun control, be it semi-automatic weapon bans or otherwise. If we banned all semi-automatic weapons from public ownership, I just don’t believe that would have a meaningful impact on this situation. On a related note, AR-15 guns have been in wide use since the mid-1960’s, yet these mass shootings have been prevalent only over the past 20 years. Why weren’t there a myriad of school/mass shootings in the years between 1965 and 1995?
There are plenty of meaningful data points from a sociology standpoint over the past 20-25 years of American culture. The following facts and/or anecdotes would all lead to MORE of the kinds of people who would consider and act out a senseless and random act of violence like a mass shooting:
- More youths and teens growing up in a fatherless home. In 1960, only 9% of children lived with an unmarried parent. In 2014, that grew to 34% of American youth.
- Violent and extremely realistic video games on the rise, since the late 1990’s. Many psychologists believe there is a link between adolescents and young adults who regularly play these types of games and those who partake in violent behavior and outbursts.
- Lack of respect for human life. This takes place in 2 main areas, abortion and doctor-assisted suicide. Since the early 1970’s American culture has validated and approved the rightful taking of human life in utero. On the other end of the life spectrum, 3 U.S. states now allow for physician-assisted suicide. Canada passed a national law allowing the same in 2016. Both of these conversations seem to tell a story that perhaps human life is not that important.
- Suicide, and drug-overdoses, are on the rise. Much of this stems from an underlying current of hopelessness.
- Church attendance has been declining overall since the late 1950’s. Less moral/spiritual guidance.
None of these points by themselves adequately answer the question of why this is happening, yet when one looks at them together- a pattern can be seen. Maybe if the politicians and other leaders spent more time addressing and trying to correct these 5 points rather than AR-15 bans we would actually start to see an improvement in society and less mass shootings.
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