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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gun Control!?! How About a Little Impulse Control!?!

Has anyone bothered to ask the kids what they think about armed guards/police roaming the halls of their schools? Who's going to pay for all this? The N.R.A.? Schools are over-populated and under-staffed as it is, without having to pay for guards, weapons, ammunition, and training. 

While we're at it, there are a few other questions I'd like to hear addressed.

What are the root causes of all this gun violence (specifically, the increasing number of mass shootings)?

The guns themselves are merely tools. Granted, they are tools designed, exclusively, to launch projectiles at ridiculous speeds; with the sole intention of destroying whatever the projectile is aimed at. If every firearm on the planet miraculously disappeared tomorrow, would not violent acts continue to occur? If one desires to end the life of a fellow human being badly enough, don't you think they'll find a way? Shall we ban sharp objects and poisons as well? We seem to be focusing on the symptom of 'gun violence' when we'd be better served to take a look at the root cause of the social disease causing these symptoms. What circumstances must exist in order to drive a human being to such desperation that they feel their only remaining option for redress of their perceived grievances, is to take the lives of other human beings (and in many cases their own life as well)?

It seems to me that bullying and ostracism have played a major role in many of these shootings. What are the psychological implications of chronically abusing an individual? Imagine, if you will, that on a daily basis (over the course of multiple years in some cases) being ridiculed, belittled, assaulted and even battered. Imagine the feelings of fear, shame, anger and frustration that would inevitably arise in the pit of your stomach. Now imagine you gain access to a lethal weapon that would finally give you the upper hand and the opportunity to rectify the power imbalance. Would you act on the opportunity to 'level the playing field'? We all desire, innately, to be accepted and respected by our peers. When denied respect, is it not natural for the desire to, at least make them fear you, to arise? I think everyone, if we're being honest, experiences these transient, harmful impulses, desires, or fantasies. These impulses do not always have to be as extreme as killing, but maybe you've wanted to slash the tires of someone who cut you off or wanted something bad to happen to your boss because he or she made you work on your birthday. Fortunately, the vast majority of us do not act on these impulses. We exercise a healthy amount of impulse control. Unfortunately, the kids that tend to get singled out and bullied, tend to have pre-existing, psychological and/or social development issues. In fact, it is often the focal point of the bullying. What roles do the parents play in all this? How about the larger community? How are we responding and intervening when our children complain of being bullied or picked-on? Are today's kids particularly sadistic; more cruel than kids have always been? Or is there simply less parental involvement in general, and intervention and prevention when conflicts and inappropriate behavior arise? How would you respond if you witnessed someone being bullied? Would you stand up and speak out, or would you just walk away and ignore it? I mean, it's not really any of your business anyway, right? Better them than you, right? How do you think most people would respond? Well, apparently, most people do walk away and ignore it. Hence the shootings continue to occur.  

Do I think guns are too easily procured by potentially dangerous people? Sure, but so are drugs, and they are illegal and prohibited already. It hasn't stopped drug use, at all. Why would gun prohibition have any deterring effect whatsoever on gun violence. If one intends to commit any unlawful act, such as murder; do you honestly believe they'd even bother with lawful means to procure the tools needed to carry out this unlawful act? As long as people choose to self-medicate, there will be drugs available to those who seek them out regardless of the legality. So too, will guns (or other lethal weapons) be available to all those who choose to solve conflict with violence, regardless of the legality. Instead of slapping a band-aid on the symptom of gun violence, let's take a serious, in-depth look at the inherent, root causes of any and all violence.