Factoring Culture in the Gun Debate – By Yvonne Sam

Factoring Culture in the Gun Debate

By Yvonne Sam

Let us include culture at this juncture, for there is something deep in the American psyche that remains undiagnosed and unaddressed.  Reciprocal causation must not be overlooked.

The Las Vegas massacre of Sunday October 1, 2017 resulted in the highest injury and death toll following any mass shooting by a lone gunman in modern U.S history. Mass shootings are becoming more common and more deadly.   

A mass shooting occurred in the USA every 200 days between 1982 and 2011, and every 64 days between 2011 and 2014 http://reason.com/blog/2015/08/03/mass-shootings-study. Of the 13 mass shootings with double digit fatalities over the past 50 years, 7 took place in the last 9 years https://www.vox.com/cards/gun-violence-facts/mass-shootings-rare-united-states.

Swift on the heels of every shooting is a search for answers, motives, background information and all pertinent revelation.

Ascertaining why a mass shooter struck can prove illusory, recording how he hatched and carried out his plans—-and how insights into those behavioral patterns can assist in averting other attacks—is a totally different story. The FBI has been studying what drives people to commit mass shootings ever since the Colombine mass shooting in April 1999.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/10/mass-shootings-threat-assessment-shooter-fbi-columbine/ . As investigators endeavor to gain deeper insight into what could explain the attack, feasibly the most compelling background on the shooter goes way back: His father, a notorious bank robber, was once on the FBI’s wanted list, and in 1969 classified by the Bureau as a dangerous psychopath with suicidal tendencies. http://www.motherjones.com/crime-justice/2017/10/the-las-vegas-shooter-didnt-just-snap-they-never-do/.

Now days after the killing spree and before any recorded burial of victims, authorities remain stumped regarding a motive, even after bringing back the killer’s longtime girlfriend who was away in the Philippines during the massacre. His two ex-wives have declined speaking to the press. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2017/10/what_we_know_about_vegas_shooter_stephen_paddock.html .

Gun control does matter, but sadly it is a solitary factor in the culture of institutional and symbolic violence that has taken such a powerful grasp on the everyday workings of American society. There may be something in the culture that is wrong, sick and festering. I opine that the controversy surrounding violence in America goes far beyond the controversy of gun control, demand for new legislation or justifiably attacking the pernicious policies of the NRA, for it is blatantly apparent that the NRA is a  biological symptom of an extensive and longstanding aspect of the American character.

However, when the issue of gun control becomes the focus, rather than an extended consideration of violence, it only serves to divert the most important question(s) that needs to be raised. A reality that must be faced is that violence interlaces almost every aspect of North American culture.

Domestically, violence meanders through the cultural and social landscape like an electrical wire on fire. The display of violence as the primary medium of entertainment is further embraced by popular culture stretching from Hollywood films and sports thuggery to video games. https://www.thespec.com/opinion-story/2251417-gun-violence-in-america-what-canadians-can-learn-from-the-u-s-/

In addition as the American citizenry continues to forsake religion for entertainment, ingest unparalleled quantities of pharmaceuticals ranging from opioids to mood altering drugs in order to hide the emotional and mental pain, should we not be curious as to how this affects culture?

So if we are going to engage in yet another gun debate we must in some significant measure discuss culture also?  Furthermore, can we wonder about what pathology has stimulated so many mass shootings in the past few years?  There are more guns and more gun crimes in America than any other place in the world. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1017/kass100517.php3

In essence gun control is part of a tangentially related policy switch on which America can in principle pull, but she cannot afford to choose only one aspect of an obvious correlation. Plainly put this will only mean a continuation of ignoring or misdiagnosing the problem, and further shooting and dying. So straight out the gate, culture must form part of any gun debate.

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