After the horrendous violence at Virginia Tech yesterday, I began to question what pushes a person over the edge. In the last 20 years or so, we seem to have had a great increase in the number of people who go on a shooting spree, particularly young people in places of education. And it seems that it happens in the United States much more frequently than any other country (except for in Israel, but that's a separate issue entirely). So what are we doing differently?
A few international notables have started to blame this on our culture of guns. The first part of this I think this deals more with access to weaponry, which definitely contributes to this. I mean, how did this kid get such a gun? Now, I am a firm supporter of the 2nd amendment, but guns are too frequently getting into the hands of the wrong people. I mean, if you can walk into a gun shop and obtain a gun by filling out a questionaire, anybody can. For those gun right activists, what is the problem with background checks before issuing a gun? And why can't we administer a psychological screening of potential gun users?
Secondly, I think we do have a culture that overemphasizes guns. Take one look at the movies/music/video games that most americans watch/listen to/play. Your average urban youth grows up admiring gangsta rappers, spending hours on video manhunt games, and seeing a movie character take the world into his hands with a gun. I'm not making the argument that these cause violent behavior, because obviously the majority of people who partake in these media outlets are not themselves violent. Yet for someone with psychological troubles, this overtly prevalent attitude that guns solve problems may influence their chosen expression of their mental instability.
What do you think about this? And if our culture of guns does in fact contribute to increased violence, what can we do about it?