Why is America Such a Violent Country?
The number of senseless murders that have occurred in the U.S. in 2022 is alarming, several of which have occurred in November alone. We need to recognize that the country has now returned to the days of the “Wild West” that began after the Civil War in 1865.
Fast forward to the present and we seem to be back where we started, albeit in a different form. Back then the type of murder was saloon brawls and gunfights, inter and intra-family squabbles, or motivated by hatred for others. Sound familiar? Just insert schools, clubs, stores, mass crowd events, and in the workplace and we are experiencing it once again. The difference is it’s countrywide now and a lot of citizens are reluctant to engage in large-scale events that might make them targets of the crazies.
This year is likely to be the second-highest year for mass shootings in the U.S. on record, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive. There have been at least 611 mass shootings through November 27. That’s just short of the 638 mass shootings in the country at this point last year – the worst year on record since the group began tracking them in 2014. There was a total of 690 mass shootings in 2021.
Mental Health and Wellness
Beyond stricter gun control laws, parents should discuss the evils of gun violence with their kids at an early age. Schools need to be better funded to develop programs that raise the consciousness of all Americans to the destructive gun violence culture infecting the country. What is the purpose of an education if not to educate citizens about the human cost of gun violence?
Mandatory mental health education in our schools should commence in the first grade and continue through high school. It is also time for schools to initiate wellness checks that include students’ social, emotional, and physical health to assess their mental/emotional wellbeing.
The underlining cause of gun violence is that we have lost our moral compass as a nation. Right and wrong is no longer a matter of following common core ethical values. Instead, it seems each person acts based on their own sense of right and wrong. This kind of “ethical relativism” is a road to nowhere.
In society today, civility is passé, respect for others has fallen by the waist side, compassion and empathy are nowhere to be found, and many people think only of themselves and blame others for their problems in life.
There are few if any role models in society for youngsters to emulate. Everywhere we look bad behavior follows whether on social media, bullying of others, sexual harassment, scamming innocent people, fraudulent business and financial activities, waste and fraud in government, corrupted politicians, and narcissistic behavior in entertainment and sports.
I blame our political leaders for much of the gun violence problem. Nothing ever gets done to better control the gun culture in our country. A tragic event occurs, and the debate begins about what should be done to stem the rising tide of violence, and then it fizzles out. Another shooting occurs and we’re right back where we started.
Support for Legislation
A poll conducted between July 28 and August 1, 2022, by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows 71% of Americans say gun laws should be stricter, including about half of the Republicans, most Democrats, and a majority of those in gun-owning households. Given that this poll was taken before the recent rash of mass killings in November, it is likely the support for stricter gun controls will be ratcheted up in the next poll.
Why is it so difficult for Congress to pass legislation to rein in the uncontrolled sale of firearms? Some in Congress cite the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” I doubt the Founding Fathers considered gun violence in the streets when adopting this Amendment.
The political divide in Congress over stricter gun control laws seems to be an intractable problem in part due to the lobbying efforts of the NRA. Buying votes in Congress is nothing new. Our representatives mostly vote the party line or support the position of lobbying groups. By doing so, they fail to act in the public interest.
It is time for our representatives to act and legislate stricter gun control laws. Claiming that it won’t make a difference is not the issue. Instead, as the old saying goes: “Better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all.”
Blog posted by Dr. Steven Mintz, The Ethics Sage, on December 1, 2022. You can sign up for Steve’s newsletter and learn more about his activities on his website (https://www.stevenmintzethics.com/) and by following him on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/StevenMintzEthics and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ethicssage.