By Isis Win
For more than 3 decades, educators, sociologists, journalists, etc., have complained about the escalating level of violence in our media. I’ve complained along with many, mostly because this escalation is not only beyond reason, but also because its result does not render any benefit to anyone but ratings. As well, violence is much more prevalent, even among our younger kids, than ever before in our history. As if this is a sign of progress? Violence continuously escalated even after a big red flag went up with the rise in violence in digital technology – in computers and console TV games – while nothing in the opposite direction happened but a lousy cry. I know of a few parents who refuse to provide their kids with such games or content in their TV watching, although they acknowledge this is a lost campaign, because what kids would not do at home, they would do it at their friend’s. Mega-budget movies of all sorts, particularly comic super-heroes simply are loaded with high dosages of violence. No one can fight something that becomes a trend in life and the only way to avoid it is to deprive our kids of indulging of what everyone else is doing. No one can deny the fact: violence in movies is perhaps deeper and stronger than what our courageous soldiers witness during war times. It is incredible that our kids simply sit, watch and assume, although they watch a fantasy, such happens in life too. It is so hard to draw a line between fantasy and reality. But it is much harder to believe some people assume such violence is not dangerous in the minds of our kids.
Perhaps we can connect now the dots between the recent attack in Colorado and violence in the media. Someone dressing the part, planning the part and taking action is a clear indication of what some minds will do if disagreeing with . . . whatever! My personal view tells me that this is a very complex issue that deserves utmost immediate attention, but there is no doubt that violence apparently will prevail in the media because, according to them, they give to the public what they want. To those who make decisions in the media industry, all is about business and not their personal consciousness. It is the media that has a great effect on the minds of our kids that in some way, if they are unable to find mediation between their frustrations, stress and repressed expression, at some point, will have no other recourse but to explode, doing something as atrocious as the cases in Colorado, Tucson, Columbine and many others. Perhaps they start becoming violent in smaller measures (such as bullying) that escalate to criminal violence. Usually when they do it, they do so until finding that satisfaction no found any other way. Today, cases like Colorado don’t seem to be out of this world even if we are heavily shocked by it. It just comes along with many other types of violence that exist everywhere. And that is evident daily and often. Recently we were shocked by the multiple homicide committed in Norway, another planned and perfectly executed crime, in the name of “justice” against the personal views of the culprit.
Another battle that thousands of people have sustained in this recent decades, is the easy availability of weapons that only official military and law enforcement forces should possess. What is the purpose – for a civil individual to have and use such? Just for the sake of having it and because having weapons is constitutionally protected? These automatic assault weapons are no less than instruments to kill people and by the numbers. I don’t believe every single weapon owner is a potential danger to society . . . just as some people enjoy collecting art, others enjoy collecting weapons; so be it. But we are dealing with another beast and this one repeatedly has done their number and the consequences are ones that we cannot erase just like that. Not in our social memory and much less when we are direct victims of such, as the relatives and friends of the victims. In fact, put an idea on the mind of a young person and try to erase it for good. It just doesn’t happen, period.
I clearly remember that during my childhood my parents always were extremely careful about what their kids were exposed to. But perhaps it takes becoming a nurturing parent to understand the possible toxic results of letting our kids to be exposed to personal aggression. But when it comes to the varied forms to exercise such parental care, clearly any person with a little bit of common sense figures: it is not good by any means to let young people witness direct violent attacks against another human being and it is not something that can easily be well absorbed and digested by a young person while ending up looking at it in a “philosophical way”. They cannot do so in such a way that they understand media violence is fantasy and that cannot, should not, will not happen in real life. If that were true, why create content that is loaded with heavy violence against each other?
Violence has escalated not exclusively in our media. Violence is seen in our streets as never before, in this nation and across the world. We can see all kinds of violence everywhere and at all times. There are several kinds of violence and even through the headlines of our papers, we witness this violence starting by passive aggressive statements provided by the courtesy of our politicians. How about Presidential statements such as: “Osama will be killed”. So, I wonder, why do some people assume such could bring some positive thinking? An authorization to our young people to be ready to takes arms in their hands, go to war and fight the enemy? Even our soldiers, when they come back from the fighting fronts, they are totally screwed up because of what they’ve done and witnessed. I know too many Vietnam warriors that never reincorporated into a sound, normal and harmonious lifestyle, because their experience. Even a victim of a gun shot will never be the same person after being impacted by a bullet. So, how can we assume weapons and bullets do not do any damage the minds of our people? But gun owners will not give in at any cost and we know well, there are some extremely powerful associations that will pour as much money is necessary to continue allowing the easy and free possession of all sorts of weapons. And people settle for saying “weapons do not kill people, people do”. Hello? Anyone there? Weapons and people come together and have a strong presence as a “valid” right to defend our selves, such as is depicted in the media, yet, is it something that is OK? How many more events do we need to understand that at least automatic assault weapons should not be available to any civilian? How many more crimes do we need to understand that snapping into insanity is something that could happen to anyone, at any time and without a warning? But that doesn’t count, what does, is the right to bear weapons, right? Those who insist on supporting availability of assault weapons, either do not have their head on their shoulders or they are exclusively thinking about themselves and not the cost of the average population’s safety. I’ve heard a few saying non-sense things such as: “There are just one or two cases of these events every so on and we cannot generalize saying this is something that happens often”, and “Why restrict anyone when, the fault is from one single individual that is nuts?” As if having massive killings from time to time will exonerate the criminal or the crime? Reliable statistics show that 12 gun attacks happen every week against unkown people (to them) in the US.
Gun control legislation is screaming for a revision, not the constitutional right. Advocates against it will always present arguments based on the constitutional protection to the right to bear arms, but it is clear: revising and changing the established rule is an action that needs to be taken, if we are to consider that anyone who is annoyed by something, may take matters in his/her hand, thinking that the best possible way for them to do is to arm themselves and kill innocent people by the numbers. This is something that would not happen if acquisition of arms simply would be regulated in a fashion in which the possibility of mass crimes would not possibly happen because that gun owner is fully safe. For starters, assault weapons should be removed from the streets and should be only allowed to law enforcement authorities who have passed the proper scrutiny and training to have them in their possession. Other than that, there is no logical, sensible reason to allow an average citizen to purchase or possess them so he can possibly use them. This measure should followed by a tight screening whenever purchasing certain type of ammunition and limits on what amounts of those types of ammunition are permitted in a certain period of time. Last and perhaps more importantly, screening potential buyers should be done in a way that it will insure that weapon will never be used against a human being, not just by looking at the profile of the potential owner but aspects as age, personality and psychological elements, history and personal traits. Clearly, when someone buys a weapon, with the exception of collector’s items, they buy them to use them. To shoot at a target only? For self defense? Who and where is that threat? Following this crime in Colorado, weapon sales increased about 40%. For what? To carry a weapon to the movie theater in case as crazy individual is waiting for them to be killed? This single reaction of the people from Colorado raises a huge red flag. Are they getting those guns for real?
It is impossible to figure out in a timely fashion – if and when – an average Joe will go nuts and make an attempt against the life of others. However, if there would be a federal/state social service network to help people under severe stress and provide them sound answers and resources to improve their situation and state of mind, the likelihood of people snapping out of the blue would be much narrower. I know, fat chance of something like this ever existing. As well, when a gun owner?s mental status goes whacked, his weapon should be removed from his hands. But who will police these individuals? It will be impossible to halt anyone with criminal intentions because when that individual is preparing himself to kill others, it already is too late. What can be halted, is the possibility of harming themselves and other when they own weapons of mass destruction, such as assault weapons. This is an unsolvable question anyway, because already thousands of people, if not millions, already possess assault weapons and large amounts of ammunition. Are these people considering the possibility of one day needing such weapons to go the streets to fight law enforcement, our troops or the enemy? As is happening in Syria? Bottom line is: this problem rises too many serious questions and there are no answers. But as well, the involved parties capable of producing the right change, do nothing but to state: “The right to own a weapon, is a constitutional right.” Is the right to be safe a constitutional right too? And of course! Without needing a weapon!
Image via NBCLatino