Societal Norm?

“We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level.”

President Donald Trump

 

I’ve been holding off on addressing the topic of gun violence here in the U.S. not only due to its sensitivity but mainly because of the contradicting/nonsensical arguments that tend to follow. As many of you may know, there was a recent mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL that killed 17 people; 14 students and 3 facility members. This shooting sparked another (yes, these incidents are cyclical at this point) nationwide debate over gun control. And after hearing about this story, I was left with a few questions that needed to be answered.

  1. What does the Second Amendment entail?
    • The Second Amendment to The United States Constitution, ratified on December 15, 1791, protects the right to keep and bear arms. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
  2. How many mass shootings have occurred in America?
    • There have been a total of 150 shootings (not including gang and domestic violence), with many of the deadliest occurring within the last few years.
    • 1,077 people have been killed in mass shootings since August 1, 1966; the first one taking place at the University of Texas.
    • There have been more than 153 shooters and most of them were between the ages of 20 and 49; all but 3 were male.
    • 41 states and the District have experienced mass shootings, with most occurring in offices and retail establishments such as restaurants and stores.
    • 292 guns were used, with semiautomatic rifles (particularly the AR-15) causing the deadliest throughout the country.
  3. At this point, has this become a societal norm?
    • Yes

After reading the Secondment Amendment, I interpreted it as a right to carry for the purpose of self-defense and not assassination. However, with every mass shooting, which seems to happen annually, there tends to be an onslaught of people who’ll voice their outrage but still defend the assassin by stating, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Which supports President Trump’s statement about gun violence being a mental health and not a gun problem.

Contradiction? Yes. But I then decided to approach this issue from a different perspective. What if this is a mental health problem? What if the masses are being socially engineered to commit acts of violence on one another? And if so, what is the main influencer? My guess would be the obvious…media.

collage

According to the American Psychological Association, The Surgeon General’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behavior, formed in 1969, assessed the impact of violence on the attitudes, values, and behavior of viewers. Their report, along with the follow-up 1982 report by the National Institute of Mental Health advised that there are major effects of seeing violence on television, especially for the youth.

  • Children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others.
  • Children may be more fearful of the world around them.
  • Children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or harmful ways towards others.

Psychologists Leonard Elon and L. Rowell Huesman also found that children who watched a lot of violence on TV when they were 8 years old were more likely to be arrested and prosecuted for criminal acts as adults. But it doesn’t stop there. Violent video games and social media vids are also contributing factors, with Psychologist Craig A. Anderson stating,  “the evidence strongly suggests that exposure to violent video games is a causal risk factor for increased aggressive behavior, aggressive cognition, and aggressive affect and for decreased empathy and prosocial behavior.” And with social media, the internet can provide unfiltered images of real-life violence—murders and gang violence, uploaded live on Facebook, YouTube, etc—that can potentially lead to increased “copycat” violence from the youth who watch.

As a society, we can continue to debate and unpack the causes to these acts of violence but, in my opinion, it’s too late. It’s already ingrained in us to be this way. Aside from media influences, America was built and has been sustained off of violence; lest we forget the genocide of Native Americans, the enslavement and continued genocide of African Americans, and 12 major wars. The only feasible solution going forward would be stricter gun laws, but even with that, I’m not sure if much would change.

Until Next Time…

 

 

 

(Sources)

Berkowitz, B., Lu, D., & Alcantara, C. (2018, March 14). The terrible numbers that grow with each mass shooting. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/mass-shootings-in-america/?utm_term=.485a0640e029

Gansner, M. E. (2017, September 5). “The Internet Made Me Do It”—Social Media and Potential for Violence in Adolescents. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/couch-crisis/-internet-made-me-do-itsocial-media-and-potential-violence-adolescents

Grinberg, E. (2017, November 6). Gun violence: More complicated than a ‘mental health problem’. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/06/health/guns-mental-health-texas-trump/index.html

Levenson, E. (2018, February 21). These are the victims of the Florida school shooting. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/15/us/florida-shooting-victims-school/index.html

Violence in the Media — Psychologists Study Potential Harmful Effects. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2018, from http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/protect.aspx

CRS Annotated Constitution. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt2_user.html#amdt2_hd2

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s