The first thing I have noticed is that every side of the debate is blaming every other side instead of doing any self-inspection. Perhaps if some of the energies and efforts being applied to deflect any responsibility for the documented recent violence in our society, it might be better invested by turning it inward and seeking what each of us and every segment of our society can accomplish to repair the broken people and the broken societal functions that have collapsed rather than stand and deflect the problem. The first hint is that Government is not going to repair this as they may be at the real root of the problem with their replacement and funding of a Nanny State which has taken over the functions in society by replacing parents with childcare and school systems, replacing religious assistance with Government programs, replacing youth organizations with after school activities, and replacing the one stay at home parent, be they the father or the mother, with almost a forced need for two salary families through high taxation and the encouragement of a consumer based society instead of a value based society. But what about the different groups and what part do they really play?
The ever so blamed and presumed evil gun lobby is always the first to be brought to the fore whenever there is one of these tragedies. Their defense that guns do not kill people, people kill people is as valid a point as any given by any of these groups to excuse any responsibility they may carry. I will grant that it would make firearms more expensive initially but there is a solution that would make the handgun or rifle nothing but a club if stolen or attempted to be used by any unauthorized individual. What I am talking about is the smart gun which has a bio-reader built in to the trigger which is keyed to only those approved by the owner to be able to fire the weapon. The argument that no such function can be installed into firearms that would survive the impacts of firing the firearm is ridiculous. When we can send vehicles to Mars and bounce them onto the surface or fire military rounds with cameras and guidance systems which work after the shock of being fired or launched but we cannot build into a firearm a trigger system, really?
The movie and entertainment industry is another and let’s leave video games out for special consideration later in the article. We will simply talk about movies and, ever more often, television shows, especially on cable and satellite. The excuse we often hear is that they have made numerous movies which are explosion and violence free and they always completely fail. I would be willing to bet that they fail in the theaters but do quite well once they make it on to HBO, pay for view, Netflix, or other mass distribution venues. One reason behind this is that the vast majority of movie goers are teens and young adults and not so much young families. One of the reasons for this is the price forces families to take the less expensive view at home option while by watching it at home they do not have to view violent previews. The other truth is that the road to the levels of violence we have witnessed is also influenced by these movies and television shows with a reality factor that makes it indiscernible from actual real world events. If Hollywood is to return to what is often referred to as a more moral and nonviolent fare, it will take at least the same amount of time, possibly longer. The warning to Hollywood is that you may not continue to be forever in with the politicians in Washington or in the State Capital. There may come a day when the politicians will no longer be enamored with you and may finally listen to the public who will still be demanding responsible limits to be placed on the entertainment industry. Trust me when I tell you that you would be much better served to manage yourselves and not continue to push a larger segment of the population than you appear to realize to finally demand actions to force change and limits on your industry.
The video games industry is quite possibly in a difficult position because it can likely be proven that first person shooter games if made too real-life-like depictions of violence, killing, and general mayhem actually do desensitize vulnerable individuals who may have other problems and are far more impressionable making them particularly susceptible to such influences turning them into stark raving mad murderous lunatics. Granted that the average youth can play these games, possibly endlessly, and never have even the slightest urge to go out and shoot up the neighborhood or whatever. But, as is often said, it only takes one out of a million to really ruin your day if that individual is set off near you. The problem is that these first shooter games are using a proven method which has been utilized by the Military and law-enforcement personnel to desensitize their numbers so that when the time comes, they will be less likely to freeze and instead will react taking shooting a person and equating it with shooting silhouettes as they have been trained. Perhaps the video game industry could adopt some alteration to the first person shooter games which would remove a measure of the real feel and graphics such that there is a disconnect between the video shooting victim and a real world shooting victim. Many of the first person shooter games now have such high definition and extensive algorithms that they can approach realistic visuals even to the point of allowing for differences between each shot and other such minutia which add to the real feeling of the game. Such detail is not necessary for the function or scoring of the game but has been driven by a demand for more realism. Perhaps the makers can decide among themselves before they are forced by the heavy hand of Government to take a step back and make an alteration or substitution that allows for just that amount of unrealistic depiction that it removed the ease of linking the game to reality.
Lastly, the real root of the problem which is seldom considered the role of Government. The largest factor which has changed from the supposed times before these mass murders were seemingly almost a common and repeated problem is that we no longer have as many live and work at home parents. The loss of an at home parent does make a difference and there are endless studies which have measured numerous different deficiencies and problems resultant from the two working parent family. The people who point out that a large part of the problem is due to our consumer lifestyle are not entirely on target as with newer technologies the consumerism has become affordable or at least more affordable at levels much higher than simply fifty years ago. The largest and most damning of the stay at home parent has been the cost of Government. All one needs to observe is the tax rates from then and now. Taxes, fees and licensing were well under twenty percent of an employee’s salary when everything is taken into consideration. Even if you pay no income tax and just pay all the other forms of tax, such as FICA, and have to pay sales taxes, property taxes, licensing, fees, and other miscellaneous money snatching mechanisms that fund our over-bloated Government, your payments to fund government is still very likely close to double that of your grandparents paid. By comparison to the investment, as the politicians like to euphemistically refer to their robbery, your ancestors paid; you are very likely paying so much more that a second income is necessary for you to earn a comparable salary and have equal purchasing power as your ancestors.
Further proof of this symptom that has altered our society and allowed for Government to become a full partner in parenting can be found in numerous studies which have been published and then ignored over the last fifty plus years. That is another part of the voiceless conspiracy that has made the demands of affording government and raising a family so demanding that who has time to notice much of anything, which is exactly the point. Perhaps we would be better off with far less government and having those in need of our society again be cared for by volunteers and not by a Government licensed employee. Just maybe things were better when those who cared for the special needs of our neighborhoods and communities were from among those neighborhoods and communities and not sent by Government with a briefcase and a thousand forms which mostly were used to prove that the government employee was necessary. Has surrendering our freedoms to care for those among us to the Government really proven to work that well? The fact we are asking the questions after tragedies at a disturbing rate is all the proof we need.
Beyond the Cusp