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Archive for Friday, December 28, 2012

Letter: Violent culture

December 28, 2012

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To the editor:

Leonard Pitts, the columnist, dismisses the notion that violent video games played a role in the recent killings. Certainly, video games were not the cause of the tragedy in Connecticut. Not even games such as “Call of Duty,” which the U.S. military uses as a recruiting (and desensitizing?) tool and the Norwegian mass murderer used as a training program. The constant violence on TV and in the movies was not the cause. Nor were our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor was the rise of disrespect, demonizing and paranoia as national character traits. But put it all together, and we have a culture of violence, which surely affects how we all react to the stresses and disappointments of life.

Banning assault weapons and restricting access to guns would limit damages to some extent. Re-funding our mental health system would prevent some of these tragedies. We need more. We need a society in which murder, both state-sanctioned and not, is seen as inhuman and unacceptable, a society in which differences and frustrations are expected to be settled peacefully and with respect.

Don’t allow our government to resort so easily to war. Don’t pay for movies that offer little more than graphic violence. Complain to networks and sponsors about TV shows that do the same. Don’t allow your children to grow up with violence and murder as daily entertainment. Teach them to deal with each other peacefully (this necessarily includes teaching by example).

This must start with us. Let’s start today.

Comments

Gandalf 1 year, 12 months ago

And you say the US has a violent culture? Feb 2012 Cairo (CNN) -- Egyptians, angry at reports of inadequate security at a soccer match where 79 people died Wednesday in a riot, clashed with police, leaving two dead in the city of Suez and at least 900 injured in Cairo, officials said Friday. The injuries occurred near the Interior Ministry headquarters in Cairo, said Dr. Adel Adawi, a health ministry spokesman.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 12 months ago

What does violence in Egypt have to do with the fact of a violent culture here in the US?

grammaddy 1 year, 12 months ago

I find it funny how everyone wants to blame video games now.In the 60's and early 70's we had VietNam in our living rooms every night at dinner time on the news accompanied by the number of casualties for that day like it was a badge of honor. Seems like"real" violence would have sent more folks over the edge than the "pretend violence" of a video game. I guess the NRA has to blame someone. NRA= Not Responsible for Anything.

Clint Church 1 year, 12 months ago

And it didn't last for hours and hours.

08Champs 1 year, 12 months ago

And the coverage in Vietnam was watched - in Call of Duty you get to do the killing, etc. A ban? No - but common sense? I've been in homes where children as young as 5 were playing these types of games. Fascination replaces horror -

Mercy 1 year, 12 months ago

Joe, did not mention the most frequent act of violence performed, the killing of our children through abortion. This voilence is killing our families and in reality killing the mom's and dad's who give their children over to this violence. Lord have mercy on us!

Richard Heckler 1 year, 12 months ago

Joe Douglas is a thinker who is right on the money. The USA is the largest weapons dealer in the world. Which means to say wars need to be active to keep this industry profitable.

Which begs the question why is the CIA constantly involved in destabilizing governments around the world?

This week on radio news it was disclosed that the USA government violates weapons treaties and weapons bans with a good deal of frequency. In fact it also begs the the question of why the USA government allows sales of weapons to dictators?

We arm the world which means a lot of dictatorships.

--- http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/4120/we_arm_the_world/

--- http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm

--- http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/execsum.htm

A Bush family member/banker supplied the Nazi movement with weapons. http://rationalrevolution0.tripod.com/war/bush_family_and_the_s.htm

The Carlyle Group is a weapons dealer among other things. BOD - http://www.angelfire.com/indie/pearly/htmls/bush-carlyle.html

Richard Heckler 1 year, 12 months ago

Abortion numbers have dropped considerably over the past few decades which is always left out of the hateful rhetoric. Even since 1990 abortion numbers have dropped 25%. 41% of children are born to single moms which is another indication abortion numbers must be dropping.

These same voices campaign against birth control. What's up with that? Birth control is a plus for their cause yet constantly campaign against such practical measures. These voices rail against Planned Parenthood which provides info on Abstention as a means of birth control like at the top of the Planned Parenthood list.

What is their campaign against? Are these voices against having sex?

Are these voices living in fear that the white population is becoming the minority group?

Again these voices slam Planned Parenthood which provides information and services that which prevent pregnancies which is a plus for their nasty campaigns.

At least 97%-98% of Planned Parenthood Budget goes to a wide variety of health services for those who might not be able to afford otherwise. Mens and women's health services in addition to providing a program to educating teen-agers if parents find some matters difficult to discuss.

--- http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/

--- http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm

I know of know one or of any organization that campaigns for abortions. I'd say a ton of misinformation is out and about.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Well snap, then I guess parents shouldn't let their children watch FoxNews either. Don't want kids growing up believing Gallup polls, now do we? Otherwise, they too will grow to be disappointed regressives just like their parents.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 12 months ago

Yes there is a ton of violence on television and in the movies no question about it.

Of course it would be kinda cool if movies and TV would glorify people who commute to work and play on bicycles or glorify those who are able to walk as a means of travel to work and play.

Or glorify green industries as a way to new prosperity.

Or reveal how many of our legislators are making big bucks sending USA jobs to China and Mexico. Based on facts.

Or show how how the FBI finally decided to bust our elected officials for allowing themselves the privilege of insider trading.

Or turn all of the CEO's into bad guys that are killing USA jobs instead cutting their own packages which could save a lot of USA jobs.

These would be fun movies to watch.

Bob Harvey 1 year, 12 months ago

I recently saw a cartoon that I found interesting. It stated that 4 hours of playing violent video games have no effect on the player, but sponsors pay $3.5 million for a 30 second ad on the Super Bowl in the hopes that people will run out and buy their product.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

If I play 4 hours of Monopoly, will I want to become a real estate tycoon and drive my family members into bankruptcy? Or if I play 4 hours of Risk, will I want to attempt to take over the world?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Um ... no. Reasonable limitations on extended magazines is not exactly the same thing as getting rid of guns. Why jump to the extreme?

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

There are very real differences between board games and video games.

Also, I think that the games we play as kids certainly do affect how we look at the world as adults - don't you?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Yes, games can have an affect on us and how we see the world. They won't turn someone into a killer, any more than Madden Football will turn someone into a quarterback. People who have the inclination to be a quarterback might play Madden Football, but it doesn't make someone a quarterback. I would say the same is true of someone who wants to kill others and the games they choose.

Think the old jerk who recently shot the firefighters after setting a house on fire played video games? So where do we place the blame? Only similarities in that case and the Newtown case are mental illness and availability of guns. (That is not to say I am wanting to ban rifles, for anyone wanting to make that leap. It is simply stating the obvious.)

Who knows, for some, playing video games might even give them their release so they don't then have to act out their fantasies in real life.

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

It's a complex issue.

And, as is often the case I find both "sides" unsatisfactory. I think that all of the points made are valid, and deserve consideration. Trying to find one definitive answer is a bad idea, in my view.

So, I think that violence in our culture, including movies and video games, is part of the problem. Experiencing them raises adrenaline levels, stimulates the fight or flight response, and is overstimulating.

As are the loopholes of background checks, irresponsible behavior, lack of security at schools, mental illness, etc. If we really want to prevent/reduce these sorts of tragedies, we have to take a more diverse and multifaceted approach - there's no one thing that will solve it, since there are many causes.

emceelean 1 year, 12 months ago

"People who have the inclination to be a quarterback might play Madden Football, but it doesn't make someone a quarterback."

Sorry, but that is an awful analogy. For someone to be a quarterback they have to, you know, try out for a team. They have to be qualified. There aren't auditions for people to shoot at other people.

As an addendum, let me just say that I agree with you generally, but that is a poor argument.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 12 months ago

A culture of violence breeds violent citizens. . .

"Is that lack of thinking far into the future the reason that we hear of adolescent shooters? Why is that?

To some degree. Because adolescents do not have the perception of time that adults do. Thirty years in prison, to a person who is 15 years old, is far more abstract an idea than it is to a 35-year-old. An adolescent who has not been incarcerated does not relate to court procedure and the criminal justice system the way a mature adult weighs the events to follow a homicidal attack. Homicidal impulses may therefore confront adolescents as well as adults. Adolescents do not have the same experience to steer them away from acting on those impulses, even though they recognize the enormity of mass homicide and the illegality of it. Adolescents also are more likely to be drawn into the allure of masculine identity through homicidal violence.

Is that why we don't see female mass killers?

Absolutely. There is nothing in our society that would elevate a woman's identity or her femininity through her ability to destroy. This truth reinforces my opinion of how important it is for us as a society to repudiate the connection between destruction and masculinity in order to develop the values we want our young people to carry with them even in times of emptiness and despair.

Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist, has examined several of this country's most well-known mass killers. He is chairman of the the Forensic Panel, (forensicpanel.com), a national forensic science practice of psychiatrists, pathologists and toxicologists. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and special consultant to ABC News. Welner is also developing an evidence-based test to assist criminal sentencing , the Depravity Scale, (depravityscale.org), which invites Americans to participate in surveys that are used to form a legal standard of what represents the worst of crimes. "

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

jafs, you make an excellent point. To add to it, would we let our children view movies or play games that glorified raping women or enslaving black people? Why not? Because those are not our values and we would not want to endorse them by purchasing them. So, if being violent, killing innocent people and other acts of violence do not represent our values why do we allow our children to view them or play them?

I don't blame violent media for causing crime, it is just one piece. And I would not want government to ban it, but I do think as responsible people we should not promote it by buying it.

Here is a study I found that you might interesting. http://www-inst.eecs.berkeley.edu/~cs10/fa09/dis/02/extra/update_violence.pdf

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

Thanks, that's exactly what I thought.

Beatrice and others should look at that research.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Um ... except I am far from condoning violence in any form. I am simply saying looking ONLY at video games and "culture," while ignoring the easy access to guns in our country, is a mistake.

While we are at it, should we be looking at banning football? It is America's number 1 sport, and it is extremely violent. I believe it was George Carlin who said it combines the two worst things about America -- violence interrupted with committee meetings.

And lets not forget that gateway game, Dodge Ball. Kids learn to take aim, to "fire" an actual object at another child, "taking them out" of the game. Need to ban Dodge Ball.

So yes, it is a big problem. We won't change our culture overnight, but we can ban high capacity magazines and extended clips without this action taking away anyone's right to own. Take the thing away that allows someone to kill in high numbers before trying to guess at which game pushes people over the edge.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Schools have banned dodge ball because it is violent and facilitates bullying.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

I am sure you were in full agreement with that decision.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Sure, I don't like to see kids bullied. Do you?

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

Looking ONLY at one aspect, regardless of which one, is a mistake.

See my above post.

I find dodgeball and football to be problematic as well, personally, and part of the violence in our culture.

If you only take away high capacity etc. without dealing with the underlying issues, it's not a real solution. It's certainly something worth considering - I agree that making it harder to kill lots of people easily is a good thing.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Who is saying we shouldn't look at other issues? Taking away the high capacity magazines, however, IS a real solution that will lower body counts. It won't end killings, of course, but it will lower body counts. Right now, that matters.

How is that not a good thing? That is doing something and it isn't even close to being the only thing we need to do. Not even close. I am simply arguing against the gun enthusiasts who refuse to even consider any limitations on what people can own or who want to place blame on video games when they refuse to look at our gun culture.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

We already have many limitations on what we can own. I will consider new limitations if you can show it will work, not just conjecture. Show me one city or state that banned hi capacity magazines that resulted in less gun violence and I will consider it.

There are states that have such a ban so point me to one that supports your theory.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

I've already pointed out the situation in Tucson, where the shooter was stopped only after he ran through his 33 round clip and tried to reload. Stopping him at 10 rounds would have saved lives.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 12 months ago

Because everyone knows you can't carry multiple 10-round magazines and they are a burden to switch once empty. SHEESH! Whatever, Clever. The stuff you spew is boarder line idiotic. Seriously...

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

CL, are you seriously comparing your average mentally ill teen on a killing spree with a highly trained "world's fastest" arms specialist in a controled environment? Um, okay.

Call me idiotic if you wish -- one thing I do know is that Jared Loughner, the killer in Tucson, was stopped only after running through his 33 round clip and attempted to reload. He had extra clips! I'm not making this stuff up. I do know that the murder of 9 year old Christina Green may not have happened had Loughner been stopped after only going through 10 rounds. What I believe is idiotic (not even borderline) is that some won't accept that fewer rounds available in a magazine or clip would be a good thing when dealing with killers.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 12 months ago

Anyone can become proficient changing magazines with a little practice.

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

I said it was a good thing. "I agree that making it harder to kill lots of people easily is a good thing".

You seem very reactive against extremists on the other side, which makes your arguments seem one-sided as well. That sort of thing isn't interesting to me for very long - I prefer to find more centered and comprehensive, inclusive ideas.

Did you look at the link/research at all?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

jafs, there is no being inclusive with extremists. Anything against their view is taken as extreme. They react to a call for limits on magazine sizes as if it is a call to ban all guns. They do this because they are extremists. What I am saying, on the other hand, is in no way extreme. Smaller magazine sizes -- that is all, which is a pretty centered idea.

Yes, I looked at the link. Again, I ask you, where have I said violent video games are a good thing?

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

Ok, if that's the game you want to play, go ahead.

When the NRA and gun enthusiasts say that violence in the culture is to blame, I think that's something perfectly able to be included in the conversation, since I agree - I see no need to deny and reject it.

You haven't said it's a good thing, but you reject any link between them and violence, which the research shows is there - why deny it?

Katara 1 year, 12 months ago

Playing space invaders turned me into an astronaut!

rockchalker52 1 year, 12 months ago

Blasting asteroids turned me into a space cadet.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

I agree with the concept that consuming less violence as entertainment would be a good thing. Leaving the "blame" for mass murders (and yes, when more than 20 people are killed it is a "mass" of people) at the doorstep of games without seriously looking at the availabilty killers have to an arsenal of weapons is falling woefully short of the problem.

In other nations, people watch virtually the same television programs, listen to the same music, watch the same movies and play the same video games. What is the difference between us and other nations? Guns. Guns, guns and more guns. That is the difference. It is far too late to change this and we will never, ever ban guns in our country even if we wanted to. Only thing we can do now is try to limit the damage one person can cause with access to guns. Limited magazine and clip sizes is a reasonable move that would likely save future lives.

streetman 1 year, 12 months ago

Amazing that anyone can claim -- with a straight face -- that assault-type weapons, huge clips of ammo, frag-type bullets have sporting and/or self-protection uses. Equally amazing is doubting that the considerable coarsening of our culture the last 30 years isn't a factor in these mass killings and in our decayed general social interactions. Violent video games, gratuitous violent movies, coarsening TV shows, legal approval of killing near-term babies in (or just out of) the womb, general lack of parental control of their kids, large-scale entitlement mentality -- hard to believe these things didn't all contribute to our decline.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Just peruse the CJOnline archives for Topeka home invasion articles. Home invasion does occur and often with multiple criminals intent on doing harm to you and your familiy. Is 6 bullets in your gun enough to stop the invasion and protect your family? Maybe, but isn't it better to have more ammo than you need than not enough? So yes, high capacity magazines do have a self-defense purpose.

Law enforcement has opted for high-capacity magazines because they have repeatedly stated they were outgunned by the bad guys. Granted, the average citizen will not find him or herself in all the same situations as cops, but when the citizen is going up against the bad guy why shouldn't they have the same type of protection that the police say they need?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Fred, so where is the limit? What weapons should I not have? After all, simple changes to a semi-automatic weapon turns it into an automatic weapon. Does this mean we should all have automatic weapons then? Criminals might have grenades -- so should I?

How armed do you really and truly have to be?

Since some are saying there is virtually no limit, finding a limit will fall to those who are not weapons enthusiasts. Your argument continues to show why the NRA need not be part of this conversation, because their stand is far beyond the simple right to own and borders on the fringe belief that citizens should be able to own virtually any weapon they choose.

50YearResident 1 year, 12 months ago

Joe is making some very valid points and I agree with them. We need to get to the heart of the situation in order to correct it. Start here: Eliminate the "Free Pass" until 18 years old, that we give to all our kids raised in America today. Why allow them to commit crimes without consequences? Teach them responsability for following our laws. These young people are the same ones growing up and commiting the horrible crimes we are reading about. It is not the weapon they use that is the problem. If guns were not available they would use other weapons. We need to start teaching our kids that they are responsable for their own actions. By the time their free pass until 18 is over, it is too late.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

True. But wouldn't you agree that guns, though not to blame, make the killings that much easier? Why should we give them access to things, like high capacity magazines, that make high kill counts possible? How does our society benefit by having high capacity magazines available for easy purchase? (Not guns, mind you, but high capacity magazines and clips.)

50YearResident 1 year, 12 months ago

You have a valid point that needs to be addressed. I have to agree, we don't need 30 round clips or magazines for hunting purposes or even shooting sports.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Uh oh. Better watch it 50YR, next thing you know people will be accusing you of calling for the complete ban on guns. : )

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

Let's start with personal responsibility, biggunz. Private citizens who own guns have a personal responsibility to make sure that they aren't misused. The people who misuse weapons got them from private US citizens--not from the military or from the police, not from the "politically correct crowd," not from "corrupt government," not from the "media with an agenda," and not from "a society of entitlement." If private citizen gun owners took personal responsibility in the form of a) not selling weapons to irresponsible people; b) securing weapons from unstable or irresponsible family members; and c) locking weapons in immovable safes so thieves cannot take them, then most of the problems with irresponsible gun ownership would vanish.

So, is the "right" (some very vocal) gun enthusiasts are defending really the "right to bear arms"? Not at all--it's the "right" to be irresponsible with their weapons, because they view responsibility as an "infringement." They have an overweening sense of entitlement--to bear arms wherever, whenever, and however they feel like it, buying and selling weapons and ammunition without any restraint, even self-restraint, no matter what the costs to anybody else. And that is the crux of the problem, biggunz.

Linda Endicott 1 year, 12 months ago

I grew up watching all those old Warner Brothers cartoons, with Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd toting that rifle around, always trying to shoot someone...also Tom and Jerry, and all those old cartoons are now considered too violent...

And you know, I have never once, in my entire life, had the urge to drop an anvil on anyone, toss them out a window, or take a shot at them...

The nuclear family is a myth, dude...it only existed on Leave It To Beaver...

I do, however, see a problem with so many parents who allow their little darlings to do whatever they want, get whatever they want, with no kind of supervision at all...

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Chicago just hit 500 murders. Illinois bans assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

These measures are not workin gin Illinois so why would we expect them to work anywhere else?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

That is because band-aid gun control measures put in place by municipalities don't work. It is like having a no-smoking section on an airplane. You can't isolate an area and expect it to not have these things if they are readily available nearby. Any restrictions on things like large capacity magazines need to be nation wide. Even then, you won't see an instant change, but only change over time. That is why it isn't working in Chicago.

Again, what is the benefit of having easy access to large capacity magazines if they aren't needed for self protection or hunting?

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

It is a state law, but to extend your point, what good is it to ban high capacity magazines in the US if the rest of the world doesn't? We can't stop drugs from being smuggled in so what makes you think that we can keep out high capacity magazines?

If high capacity magazines have no self protection value then why do law enforcement feel the need to have them?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Using your argument, we shouldn't have laws restricting the import of nuclear weapons.

So you are saying that every home should have as much of an arsenal at hand to stop a Red Dawn situation? The police sometimes confront gangs of people, groups of bank robbers, etc... that won't be the issue with most individuals needing self protection. That NRA types will argue that they need to be as armed as the police (heck, why not the military?) is why this issue needs to be taken care of even without the support of the NRA.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

bea, you resort to nonsensical arguments when faced with a point you can't easily argue against. I have never suggested that we shouldn't have laws restricting nukes. Again , your acting just like the homophobes that make the ridiculous argument, well heck, if we let gays marry, what's next, marry my goat? Do you really want to be like those people?

You said it " won't be the issue with most individuals needing self protection." So, how does one know if they will be one of the individuals that need that protection? How often do cops confront groups of bank robbers? Most never will. How many actually pull their gun? Not many and even fewer even dire it, but they are prepared for the worst case scenario so why shouldn't I be prepared too?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

You are making an argument that laws to ban certain things would not keep them from coming into the country anyway, so I am curious where we draw the line. What laws would keep banned items out, and which would not? I'm afraid to say it, but you are the one making the ridiculous argument that banned items can't ever be controlled. I'm just taking your argument to the extreme to show how ludicrious it really is.

So let me get this straight: because there is the possibility that a remarkably rare instance that someone may find themselves in a situation where they need an arsenal to protect themself, everyone should thus have access to an arsenal -- is that really your argument? Wow. Where does it end with that mindset?

Or, in fact, you are proving it doesn't end. Once again, this is why we as a society need to ignore the NRA when it comes to pushing through new legislation. There is no getting through to the "We need an arsenal for protection!" state of mind.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

bea Yeah 500 murders in just one Us city is rare. It is rare for a cop to actually need his gun but they carry one.

Tell me why Chicago with its assault gun and hi capacity mag ban and licensing requirement has 500 murders. They have the laws you want so why aren't they working?

No laws keep any banned item out of the country. Only enforcement does.

Tell me what banned item is actually controlled? How about fireworks in Lawrence. They are illegal but darn there is a lot each

And see I responded to you without trying to tie you to stupid points you didn't make.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

My rights were bought by madmen having easy access to an arsenal? I don't think so.

There is also the chance, though slim it might be, that Red Dawn isn't just a fear-based fantasy, so I better have access to anti-aircraft guns, right? There is even the chance we might get invaded by space aliens, so we should all have access to every weapon available to man, right?

I don't so.

We both know that you don't need access to high capacity magazines, you just want them. That doesn't mean they should be available. Again, there is no reasoning with some people. Their fears of being attacked by gangs that require them to have access to an arsenal are unfounded. This is why we need to not bother talking with the NRA and pass legislation that restricts access to high capacity magazines.

tomatogrower 1 year, 12 months ago

Well, I never can get a picture to appear, but it says, "Help me to understand the logic of this: Watching 2 hours of violence in a movie has no effect on our behavior, but 30 second Super Bowl ad is worth 3.9 million dollars, because it will make us run out and buy a product?"

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Maybe you can help me understand this logic: Japan produces many of the violent video games on the market and the children there play those same games American children play. We have roughly 30,000 gun deaths in America per year, while a nation like Japan, where guns are strictly limited, may have a dozen, BUT somehow we aren't to blame our gun culture for the deaths, we are to blame video games.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Japan has a very different culture than the US. They are more homogenus than we are and don't have the inner city ghettos like we do.

Show me a city like Detroit in Japan. Show me cities in Japan burned out from riots. And the US has 3 times the number of single parent families with children than Japan. Video games and violent movies are not the only factor in a violent US, but it is one.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Newtown, Connecticut isn't exactly a slum. Japan does have slums: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/aug/22/japan.socialexclusion

However, perhaps Japan's culture is different enough to be difficult to compare. So lets look instead at England, especially London, which has perhaps a more diverse population than America. They had 29 gun deaths in London. I don't believe you can accurately say that American and British culture is really all that different or that London doesn't have slums. Sorry, but they have largely the same music, watch the same movies and play the same video games, but they don't have the gun deaths. Why? Because what they don't have in London is access to guns.

They also don't have as high a homicide rate, with an average of about 170 murders a year in a city of more than 8 million, or roughly 4 times the population of Chicago. This means the idea that those who want to kill will just find other means clearly isn't grounded in reality.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Right, an Newtown doesn't have 500 murders a year because its culture and economic level is different than Detroit's.

A study compared the number of deaths of police in NY and London. They attributed the difference in part to culture. The US is a violent country and we have a different culture than many other countries.

During the 20th century, both intentional and unintentional occupational police mortality rates were significantly greater in New York compared to London. These differences are likely from several socioeconomic, cultural, and occupational factors.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Fred, now you are just refusing to admit to the obvious right in front of you. We have guns, in England they don't. We have 30,000 gun deaths a year, they have 170. Their homicide rate is much lower as well. Our cultures aren't THAT different.

Have you ever spent any significant time in London? I've never heard so many languages spoken as when I have riden London's Tube. Try attending a soccer game in England and then tell me how our culture is violent but their's is so much different.

So what games do they purchase and play in other countries that American kids aren't buying and playing? What movies? What music? Countries around the world consume the same entertainment items, with small variables. For the most part, the differences aren't greater than comparign Detroit culture with Houston culture.

Trying to deny that the major difference when it comes to homicides in London and homicides in Detroit (or America) is because WE have guns and they don't is just silly.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

I've been to London and yes their culture is different. Is culture the only factor? Of course not just like video games don't cause murder. There are many factors including criminals having guns.

You can't have gun violence without guns - Duh!

But England doesn't have the 2nd amendment we do. Why? Different culture.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

"You can't have gun violence without guns - Duh!"

You finally get the point. We have guns, they don't. We have a gun culture, they don't. This is why we have the homicides and they don't. It has nothing to with them saying "lorry" and us saying "truck." Our cultures aren't all that different otherwise.

Now that you finally recognize that we have guns thus we have deaths by guns, what do we do about it? That is the question.

My response is one thing we can do to lower body counts in sensless killing sprees is to limit the availability of high capacity magazines and extended clips. Your arguments against this so far ring terribly hollow.

Kathy Getto 1 year, 12 months ago

"The US is a violent country and we have a different culture than many other countries."

Yet you continue to perpetuate more violence by screaming for the right to bear an arsenal.

jafs 1 year, 12 months ago

Look at the link and research provided above.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 12 months ago

Why don't you tell the complete story, Bea? Oh yeah, that's right. You have a gun hate inside that blinds you to the facts...Over half of those 30,000 gun deaths are suicide. What is Japan's suicide rate compared to the USA, I wonder? The suicide rate is two-times higher in Japan! They just don't use guns to do it.

You have a greater chance of dying by lightening strike than mass murder. This is a non-story and you just can't let it go. Ho hum! People like you are GREAT for the gun and ammo industry. We have seen the price of hi-cap magazines and AR-15s double and triple since you people started flapping your gums on this non-issue.

KiferGhost 1 year, 12 months ago

Are culture is violent, that's what we used to create this country. The head of Colt said his product was used to tame the west. Yeah, a culture that used guns to wipe out the Native Americans and now we want to pretend it is a freak thing only recently seen in our culture?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

If the violent culture (video games, movies, television) is the fire, I would argue that our gun culture is the lighter fluid that can make it grow out of control.

verity 1 year, 12 months ago

Maybe we should look at those areas/communities in the US that have little violent crime and see what they are doing. (Yes, they do exist, I've lived in a few.)

Obviously not everything could be replicated everywhere, but it might give us some place to start.

It does take involvement by people in the community and the ability to realize that self-interest sometimes lies in putting the interest of others first.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

Bet you won't find assault gun or hi capacity mag bans like Chicago.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Of course they don't. Where do you think Chicago gets its high capacity mags in the first place? That is a ban that needs to be national.

Fred Mertz 1 year, 12 months ago

So if we ban the nationwide no criminals will have them? Geez I didn't realize it was that easy. Great lets do it and lets have a nationwide ban on drugs, illegal immigrants and pirated movies.

Problem is bea, no one is listening to you. No politician is going to just propose to ban large capacity mags. Look at Feinstein's proposed legislation it goes way beyond just mags.

But hey, you get points for caring.

Have a great day. We will do this again I am sure.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

I didn't realize that laws meant the end of problems.They don't. A nationwide ban would, however, lower the number of available high capacity magazines, which means it would also limit the number available to criminals. In time, we will be rid of them. Pirated movies are not as available here as they are in places like China, and why do you think that is? We ban them.

Look at the legislation being offered up by others, not just Feinstein. We will see legislation on this issue and we will see bans put into place on high capacity magazines. I truly believe this.

Nice chatting with you as well.

notaubermime 1 year, 12 months ago

If you limit the high capacity magazines, what stops criminals from bringing more guns?

verity 1 year, 12 months ago

If there are no bans, Fred, it's because one has never been necessary, not because weapons are used to keep the peace. I doubt if the police have ever drawn a weapon where I now live.

verity 1 year, 12 months ago

I agree with the letter writer. There is no one answer, but our culture is filled with unnecessary violence and we can make choices not to support it.

notaubermime 1 year, 12 months ago

People can also make choices not to have sex out of wedlock, but we all know how well abstinence as a public policy works. Sex and violence are a part of human nature. The question should not be 'can we remove violence from our society?', but rather something more similar to 'what can we do to make people's violent impulses express themselves in harmless avenues?'

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

You can't blame the Russian Duma's decision on Obama. The proposal to ban American adoptions of Russian orphans originated during the presidency of George W. Bush.

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

LarryNative, Laus_Deo, you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts. Evidence that the Russian legislation was already in the works in 2005, when George W. Bush was president:

http://www.passportmagazine.ru/article/426/

Kathy Getto 1 year, 12 months ago

Tell me about Malta. My son is going to study art there in a few months. Anything you found particularly interesting?

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Who is bashing American culture? I'm only saying our gun culture leads to a lot of unnecessary deaths by guns. Further, nobody is trying to take away your constitutional rights, even those who may want to limit magazine sizes. You will still have the right to own and protect your own.

Okay, maybe some are trying to take away your right to own, but that isn't me. I agree you have the right to own ... just not own everything.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

I appreciate your recognition of the large magazines as a toy. They aren't necessary for protection or hunting. With their ban, we also make extremely stiff penalties for their ownership. Use one during a crime, even stiffer. I'm talking mandatory 20 year sentences stiff. Life for those who manufacture and sell them. That will help clean them up.

As far as those who seek a complete ban on guns (something that will never happen), I cannot speak to their views. I do not share those views.

Mankind is violent, and it isn't limited to nations. I'll agree with you there.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Baseball bats are used in more violent crimes, but how many homicides by baseball bats are there? I guess you proved the obvious, which is, a gun is a much more lethal weapon than a baseball bat.

Or are you just suggesting every school hire a former Yankee for security?

TheYetiSpeaks 1 year, 12 months ago

And the people will point their fingers, from their perches of plenty and piety. For the people are a tricky creature, quick to assign blame, but loath to settle on a topic of any import....Rather, they built their walls and buttresses on the battle lines of there sociopolitical make believe, where there, their pointed fingers could roam free and never, never be pointed at themselves.....for as any true thinker knows, only through introspection and taking responsibility does any real change for the better take place.

Crazy_Larry 1 year, 12 months ago

A culture of violence breeds violent citizens. . .

"Is that lack of thinking far into the future the reason that we hear of adolescent shooters? Why is that?

To some degree. Because adolescents do not have the perception of time that adults do. Thirty years in prison, to a person who is 15 years old, is far more abstract an idea than it is to a 35-year-old. An adolescent who has not been incarcerated does not relate to court procedure and the criminal justice system the way a mature adult weighs the events to follow a homicidal attack. Homicidal impulses may therefore confront adolescents as well as adults. Adolescents do not have the same experience to steer them away from acting on those impulses, even though they recognize the enormity of mass homicide and the illegality of it. Adolescents also are more likely to be drawn into the allure of masculine identity through homicidal violence.

Is that why we don't see female mass killers?

Absolutely. There is nothing in our society that would elevate a woman's identity or her femininity through her ability to destroy. This truth reinforces my opinion of how important it is for us as a society to repudiate the connection between destruction and masculinity in order to develop the values we want our young people to carry with them even in times of emptiness and despair.

Dr. Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist, has examined several of this country's most well-known mass killers. He is chairman of the the Forensic Panel, (forensicpanel.com), a national forensic science practice of psychiatrists, pathologists and toxicologists. He is an associate professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and special consultant to ABC News. Welner is also developing an evidence-based test to assist criminal sentencing , the Depravity Scale, (depravityscale.org), which invites Americans to participate in surveys that are used to form a legal standard of what represents the worst of crimes. "

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

Why would someone who hasn't been disapppearededed choose to self-deport and then come back under a new name?

notaubermime 1 year, 12 months ago

Just FYI: expressing paranoid delusions about the 'fall of civilization' is not an effective way to convince others that it is safe for you to own a gun.

notaubermime 1 year, 12 months ago

Facts are facts. Projecting your interpretation of what the facts mean onto future events? That is where the problem lies.

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

Ancient Rome went a different direction than the one you laid out as universal, Gandalf. First it was an oligarchy. Then a republic. Then a dictatorship. Then an empire. Then it suffered economic and political collapse.

Ancient Athens: Oligarchy, then democracy, then expansionist empire, then conquered.

England: Tribal, then conquered (by Rome), then small kingdoms, then one kingdom, then conquest, conquest again, then monarchy, then monarchy + parliament, brief dictatorship, then monarchy + parliament.

Russia: Tribal, then one kingdom, then decentralized multiple kingdoms, then conquest, then decentralized multiple kingdoms, then single kingdom, then civil war, then single kingdom, then revolution, then civil war, then dictatorship, then democracy, then authoritarian democracy.

In fact, I'm having trouble coming up with even one country that followed the pattern you laid out, Gandalf. So is this how you intend to convince those of us who favor responsible and "well regulated" ownership of firearms that we're wrong, by just making up "facts"?

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

Tribaisml is not a form of anarchy, Gandalf. It is small-scale local government.

England has not failed as a civilization. Russia has not failed as a civilization.

And yes, I have checked everything I wrote with many prominent professors of history, and also what you wrote. This is what I heard back: You, Gandalf, will not find your version of history in any published work by any contemporary professional historian. Your version of history lost its credibility nearly 200 years ago. In fact, professional historians reject the very concepts you embrace: that "history repeats itself" and "those who don't learn history are doomed to reapeat [sic] it." Professional historians know better than to assume that there is a single abstract truth of "history" that teaches "lessons"; instead, they recognize that human beings construct narratives about the past, sometimes (as in your case) deliberately distorting it in order to bolster their own contemporary political views. They also recognize that every historical situation is unique, and therefore never repeats.

Now, Gandalf, that you have shown yourself to be ignorant of history, both its narrative facts and its standards as a professional discipline, perhaps it would be best for you to cease trying to show off.

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

Wrong again, Gandalf. Oligarchy (that's how it's spelled, incidentally--if you can't spell it, it's no wonder that you don't know what it is) is government by a group, usually a composed of members of an elite, although the elite may be defined in a variety of different ways. It is not necessarily any more dictatorial than a direct democracy in which a limited number of persons are eligible for voting rights, or a republic in which the majority tramples the rights of the minority. "Revolution" and "Freedom" are not forms of government at all. I think that you are very confused about all of this, and you would benefit from a refresher freshman-level college history course.

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

"This quotation has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. The language is somewhat uncharacteristic of Jefferson's style. "Stand around" in the sense used here is not an expression that can be found in Jefferson's letters. He almost always wrote "every body" instead of "everybody." And there are no instances of the word "reload" (or variations thereof) referring to firearms in Jefferson's writings." http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/peace-brief-glorious-moment-historyquotation

beatrice 1 year, 12 months ago

The Jefferson actually worth quoting. And you?

Just admit you were mistaken. geez

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

No, you are not "at peace" while reloading a weapon, Laus_Deo. At best, you are in a very short-lived (measured in seconds) one-sided cessation of hostility

Kathy Getto 1 year, 12 months ago

Wow, please lay aside Ayn Rand and take a hard look at the actions of brownback and his legislature, then place the statist moniker where it belongs. Your Godwin flag is flying pretty high this morning.

verity 1 year, 12 months ago

We can and need to look at history to see how various strategies worked out, and we can predict the future, but we can never know for sure until it happens. I will not give up and be hopeless.

Maybe even Brownback's tax plan will work to jumpstart our economy. (Yeah, I know that's delusional.)

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

So you think that Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Communist China represents an advancement of civilization over what was there before? That can be true only if you have a totally skewed idea of what constitutes "greater heights."

voevoda 1 year, 12 months ago

The school of historical thought that subscribes to the idea that "with each collapse of civilization a new one is reborn and goes to greater heights" is Marxism. Come to think of it, Marx also taught that a dictatorial form of government is replaced by revolution, followed by freedom. Are you a 19th century Marxist, Gandalf?

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