Pervasive violence, mental health, lots of guns to blame - Albuquerque Journal

Pervasive violence, mental health, lots of guns to blame

The news media and much of the topics of conversation around the country and world will be directed toward Tuesday’s tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Two things rise to the top of the discussion — gun ownership and school security.

Precautions need to be taken to ensure these heinous crimes cannot be perpetrated in the environs of a school. I had the occasion to visit three schools recently and was surprised by the high level of security. It is a dishonor to our culture that we must implement such measures. Of course, with the shooting in Buffalo, should we have such security measures in all our shopping facilities as well?

Would a change to the Second Amendment have any impact? With 400 million guns in the hands of private citizens, would restricting gun ownership in any manner be effective? Many law-abiding citizens would refuse to give up their guns because of the violation of the Second Amendment, assuming it was overturned, and those with sinister objectives would hide their weapons. The bad guys would have the guns, and the good guys would not.

There are three very notable aspects of our society that contribute to a person’s proclivity to commit such acts that are rarely mentioned. The entertainment media presents extreme violence as a part of their offerings. We need more than a footnote that cautions parents about the “appropriateness” of the content for those under certain ages. The news media has a responsibility to condemn such mindless violence in our movies. While the internet will allow these kinds of films to be distributed without limitations, the movie theaters should police themselves to not show such violence.

The social media of the internet have become an unbelievable path for violent talk. The extreme level of conversation is a result of having the ability to say outlandish things to people because you are not having to say it to their face, thus it is easy to disrespect someone.

Many of the video “games” we buy for our children are filled with gratuitous violence. We have a deep responsibility as parents to carefully select what we allow our kids to play. The divorce rate presents a lack of cohesive parental guidance that too often results in the neglect and abuse of children, and a lack of respect for life is a result.

Another factor to consider here is we have no effective means to evaluate individuals for their mindset. We closed down institutions that formerly housed those whose minds were deemed too dangerous to themselves or the public to be out on the street.

America is the most violent country in the civilized world, not just because of these kinds of crimes, but because we have the highest incarceration percentage of our population. … We need to objectively look at our society and decide how we will respond to this kind of “terrorism” and what is wrong with our culture that incites such violence. While some might suggest that only a few of these mass murder crimes occur each year out of the 330 million in our population, I would remind them I don’t recall any when our population was “only” 200 million.

T.J. Spitzmiller now resides in Palmetto, Florida. He is a graduate of New Mexico State University and a former resident of Rio Rancho.

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