Monday, December 17, 2012

Violent Society

A society that celebrates violence cannot escape being a violent society, and it is doomed to remain violent with no escape from violent actions since it is incapable of censuring them.  It is not enough to tolerate violence to create a peaceable society; it must actively condemn it.  The recent mass massacre in a Connecticut school, a rerun of the Columbine massacre, makes it patent that the problem lies in our society’s underlying violence.

Psychologically unstable individuals existed everywhere at all times and always do, and one way or another, one time or another, they work havoc; there is no way preventing it, no way even predicting it.  But before the age of fire arms, the damage was small. A gun can slaughter many in a single action.  Gun control, even if less aimlessly debated than heretofore, is no solution. Guns are already widely spread among the citizens; there are too many supporters of gun sales; and restricting sales and possessions will only promote undercover gun trade.  The proposal to arm school principals and teachers is insane; the proposal to man school yards with police is absurd.  Improving mental health care is no guarantee that potential malefactor can be so easily identified in advance of acting out their violent fantasies. 

It is essential that the society realizes that children taught that the show of physical strength -- in the form of hitting and clobbering -- is bravery as a way of solving a conflict or of defending one’s right grow into adults with a penchant for destruction of property and lives as a means of resolving anger, general or targeted.  Teaching children to manage anger without violence early in life is of utmost importance; and yet they are today given, if not toy guns, full exposure to fashionable movies and video games which inculcate in them the excitement of vicarious shooting and killing.  It is sad that politicians are virtually silent on this obvious fact; it is deplorable that the media is failing to address this point.

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