Rethinking Violence in America

April 15, 2009

Binghamton and the recent rash of high profile shooting in America should prompt us to rethink the causal factors which encourage and foster violence. For starters, our unwillingness to promote a safe and responsible gun use (Gun Control) policy is irrational and a contributing factor in the shootings. We know the NRA preaches that people, not guns kill. At face value this may appear correct. However, guns account for the mass murders that are occurring. What we need is effective and rational policy not slogans.

Secondly, it is clear that isolation and alienation played a major role in pushing persons toward violence. The bonds which used to knit us together are broken or are so frayed that we have become little more than strangers to each other, haunted by a Hobbsian world of ‘All Against All’. In each incident, the perpetrator expressed a sense of estrangement from society and those around them. The sense that they were all alone reinforced their feeling of anger and rage.

Third, so much of our dignity and self worth is tie to our job. With the continuing loss of jobs and self-depreciation which accompanies the loss of work, we are likely to see more and more neighbors and love ones spiral downward. This along with a sense of isolation and the easy assess to guns, is a combustible that will sadly lead to more Binghamtons unless we rethink the causes and correlates of violence in America

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