An American Problem

Posted on Wednesday 18 April 2007

One of my on-line friends, Alex, recently posted this message in response to the killings at Virginia Tech.

I have been watching the news here in the US… What drives young people to go to a school and shoot people like that??? And its not the first time either… God help America….this is so crazy…..

Why???? why????? why so much violence? Is it because you guys have too many guns??? too many laws??? why??please??? I don’t really understand…we have none of this in my little place…its soo confusing…

My prayers and condolences go to the families of the victims…

I’d have to agree with him—I don’t really understand, even though I was born here and grew up here. Alex is not an American, he is from Portugal, but his work brings him to our fair country on occassion. I think that the reason such an attack can occur is based in what is wrong with our society today.

Part of the reason this type of attack occurred is that parents in today’s society are often not home as much as they were in previous generations. The stay-at-home mom, or the father who only works a forty-hour week has long since all but vanished. This lack of social structure is a big part of what has lead our society to a point where such attacks have become possible.

Television, the “electronic babysitter” generally has content that I would not let my dog watch… the level of morals and the behaviors shown on current television, have set a rather a low bar to pass… and the amount of violence seen on it is rather unreal. Family oriented programming like the television shows I grew up watching are basically non-existent. Instead of Happy Days, and The Waltons, we have reality TV, crime-based dramas and sex-centered situation comedies, like Survivor, CSI, and Sex In The City.

Also, how is it that our society has trouble with nudity in the movies and on television in this country, yet very little problem allowing massive and irrational amounts of violence on those very same screens. Nudity and the human body are part of the natural order of things… massive violence, where someone guns down a dozen human beings or takes a chain saw to them is not. I think part of the problem is the religious conservatives see sexuality and nudity as a problem, but don’t have the same issues with violence. Go figure.

Another part of the puzzle is the way society has become so concerned with political correctness and not violating the rights of people. It is almost impossible to punish a bully for being a bully. Parents are told, that’s just part of children growing up.

When I was a child… if a bully picked on the wrong kid, he got the ever-living daylight beaten out of him. My twin and I were among those that the bullies found to be the “wrong” kids to pick on. Today, the child defending himself would most likely be punished for using violence. This is also the case in the adult world, where the courts have become so concerned with the rights of the criminals, that the rights of the public and the victims of crime have essentially disappeared. The zero tolerance policy towards violence in many schools punishes both the aggressors and those merely defending themselves. Shouldn’t our children have a right to defend themselves without punishment?

1 Comment for 'An American Problem'

    April 21, 2007 | 4:55 pm

    Dan, I agree completely about violence in the media, and the way violent solutions are portrayed as heroic. But I would add to your complaints the ease of getting guns in this society, even for the mentally ill.

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