A Valley resident told me it was common in the 1990s for his friends to take shotguns and put them in the trunks of their cars. They parked the cars in the school parking lots. After school, they went hunting with their dads and uncles. None of the teenage friends ever thought of going to a public mall to randomly shoot people. What has gone wrong?

There are over 393 million guns in America with a population of 326 million people, according to The Washington Post. This turns out to be 120 guns for every 100 citizens. The movies and videos glamorize the gun culture as an easy heroic solution to every problem no matter how trivial or complicated.

The disintegration of the American family means parents no longer have any significant authority on what is wrong and right in guiding the behavior of children. Whatever pathological thoughts go on in the child’s head is a matter of debate, self-expression, Freudian psychoanalysis, human rights and individual freedom.

When I was growing up in a close family of nine siblings in a small house, there was no privacy especially for pathological thoughts and moods. If I had been depressed, moody and had thoughts of killing myself or people in large numbers, my mother and my family members would have gasped and interrogated me very bluntly. If she determined a serious case of depression, she, my dad and the community had immediate effective treatment. Situations today are that children are experiencing serious emotional pain and physical threats may be at school, and the parents may have no clue until it is too late.

The internet normalizes any abnormal or pathological behavior. If you can think of the most serious, depraved and sick behavior or thoughts, the internet has numerous groups who will normalize that pathological behavior. Public shaming for destructive and extremely abnormal behavior no longer works because people are too busy trying to normalize what used to be unacceptable behavior.

The media and the public have already fallen into a trap, which has created a vicious cycle. When a gun massacre happens, some news outlets vow not to mention the name of the suspected perpetrator. Then the internet media begin to discuss the massacre for the next 24-72 hours. This is precisely what the people who commit gun massacres including terrorists crave: Publicity. Is there a solution to this?

Not all possible causes of gun massacres have been covered. The few discussed causes suggest that even if today Congress passed one gun control law, the gun violence would not be significantly reduced. The best solution is comprehensive gun laws, changes in the media, the family and changes especially in the culture and hearts of citizens. If the failure to pass comprehensive immigration law is an example, gun violence is not going to end any time soon. A lot more effort than a few laws are needed to stem the tide of gun massacres.

Mwizenge S. Tembo lives in Bridgewater.

(3) comments

Donald

I am in partial agreement with you, Mr. Tembo. I do agree that adding yet another gun control law to the plethora of such laws already on the books would accomplish nothing. I disagree with your contention that what is needed is “comprehensive gun laws”. To me that reads like a code phrase for banning, severely restricting, and/or confiscating of privately owned firearms. I also disagree that movies and videos are a cause of mass shootings -- though some may attract and fascinate an already damaged individual. I think the same is true of the Internet. Censoring disagreeable stuff would have no real impact on violence carried out by someone with or without a firearm. Would it not make more sense to encourage immunity to bad stuff on the Net, Movies, and videos? Would that not be more in sync with your suggested familial and cultural changes?



Where I am in major agreement with you is in recognition of the “disintegration of the American family” (I think the disintegration has been intentional, but that is a topic for another time). I think primary damage has and is being done through the lack of an in-the-home father to serve as a male role model and guide to young boys. Let us look at the percent of out-of-wedlock births between 1964 and 2014. Out of wedlock births went from approximately 8 percent to 40 percent, a 5 fold increase. Black Americans went from approximately 23 percent to 71 percent, a 3 fold increase. Hispanic Americans went from approximately 13 to 53 percent, a 4 fold increase. White Americans went from approximately 3 percent to 29 percent, a whopping 10 fold increase. By contrast, Asians are at a relatively low 17 percent. The damage of not having an in-home father as a male role model has been particularly devastating to young black boys and surely contributes to the approximately 75 percent of mass shootings being perpetrated by black shooters against other Blacks (that number is derived from the New York Times – a mass shooting being 4 or more casualties). This is where I would to an extent agree that videos, TV, movies and songs have an impact. One need only look at what is portrayed in the media as a male role model for boys. Fathers are portrayed as bumbling incompetent, ignorant, irresponsible, perpetually adolescent oafs or gangster rapping, gun-waving, female dissing purveyors of a murderous violence-is-the-ultimate-in-manly-coolness ethos. A role model choice between Homer Simpson, Tony Soprano, or Ice T is not really a choice if a healthy society is desired. Of course, lack of an in-home male role model is itself a symptom of an underlying social or cultural pathology that would need to be further investigated to make – dare I say it – restorative change possible.

Donald

A caveat: An in-home male role model can be a bad role model or simply no role model at all, and single mothers can and do raise boys that turn out just fine.

bootsielawson

As we watch the zombies coming out in their antifa crowds. We will thank our founding fathers for the second amendment.

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