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Old February 21, 2014, 01:06 PM   #1
Sierra280
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Gun violence in America

I don't want to start a raging debate but this is just something I've been thinking about and needed to ask.

I've been wondering why we (the US) have more gun violence than other countries (more specifically, active shooter situations ending in suicide) now by any individual measure of the possible cause, there are worse countries (ie, it's because we have the most guns--Actually Canada has more per capita; it's because of all the broken homes--the UK has more, etc). The only thing I keep thinking is that it's because of our basic ideals as Americans, ideals that are even contrary to most religious beliefs. Specifically, that there are many things more important than life itself; freedom, liberty, quality of life, etc. It wasn't professional soldiers that won our independence, it was men with their hunting rifles, willing to die for principle. Even though Judeo-Christian religions teach that life is precious above all else (slave beliefs) it is ingrained in our national ethos that in fact life is not precious above all. So as poverty increases, as does the gap between classes, those who are destitute or feel they no hope of a better life see the mass shooting/suicide as the only reasonable option, as it is generally in fitting with their core beliefs and those of our nation.


This of course is not counting those who do such things due to mental illness (Charles Whitman, etc) but actually caring for all our citizens health problems is an entirely different discussion.
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Old February 21, 2014, 01:10 PM   #2
doofus47
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define gun violence
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Old February 21, 2014, 01:13 PM   #3
Sierra280
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Deaths by shootings would be the stat everyone seems to use, though I was thinking more specifically about active shooter mass shooting ending in suicide .
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Old February 21, 2014, 01:15 PM   #4
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Why do the Eskimos have more ice violence? (And the Aussies probably have more kangaroo violence.)

The real question is, why is it that "gun violence" is the only kind that matters? And are the numbers normalized for population? America is a big place. A lot more people than England, for example. (and less than India or China, I think)
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Old February 21, 2014, 01:21 PM   #5
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I don't think there are really all that many mass shooting/suicides. There are too many, but the news media and the politicians play up Every. Single. Event. with endless 24/7 coverage. Makes the bad guy out to be a legend among all the other crazy people and inspires them to do likewise. <adjusting tinfoil hat> I think partially that might be intentional. Tragedies are good for ratings, and dead bodies make props for speeches.
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Old February 21, 2014, 01:23 PM   #6
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The term 'gun violence' is self-depreciating when used pro gun rights folks. The problem is violence....period. Or, substitute crime. By using the term gun violence, or gun crime we're just playing into the hands of the anti's.

If guns were somehow magically dis-invented, crime and violence would still exist, just the tools would be different. So far, no gun control laws have done much, if anything, to reduce crime (or violence).

Back to the question of the thread....If the premise of the thread is true, that we have more [ ]violence, I would proffer that it's due to a breakdown in social order and morals.
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Old February 21, 2014, 01:57 PM   #7
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My question is more rhetorical than anything else and you've pointed out why:
Sierra280:
Quote:
Deaths by shootings would be the stat everyone seems to use
Police shooting criminals? Gun violence
Home defense shooting? gun violence
Suicide? gun violence
criminals shooting criminals? gun violence
Lump enough stuff together and it becomes meaningless b/c the number of root causes increase and become contradictory.

Ergo: it's a crap term why you want to have a meaningful discussion of behavior and violence.

To be honest, I cannot really follow your arguments about possible causes religious/non-religious, political, socio-economical to respond about a general, unifying theory of both gun/non-gun violence. Probably this is because trying to find motive in violent behavior brings up age-old questions of determinism or free will.

If I were going to discuss gun deaths related to you interest,
Quote:
specifically about active shooter mass shooting ending in suicide
, I would say you could possibly include the deaths of active shooters (not their victims) with those who commit suicide (whether by gun or not). I'm sure that there are psychological studies of the causes of suicide that could be studied. Additionally, there are philosophical treatises dedicated to this topic as well,see Kierkegaard. Thusfar, no great unifying theory here either. Want to know why some violent people use guns and others use other tools? That's a whole 'nuther topic.

Still, we can all agree that violence is always a bad result to a social situation. Want to talk about the maddening persistence of bad behavior between humans? Now you're down to the question of evil. If you're a modern, enlightened person who doesn't believe that evil exists, you're adrift to draw your own conclusions about causes and motives.

Re-doing all of the thinking done by western civilization since Socrates and the Hebrews can be a bit tiresome. It's usually easiest to avoid the heavy thinking by taking the vagaries of human behavior and choice out of the equation and just blame the tool and lump all deaths by gun under the term "gun violence."

I hate the term; I hate the poor thinking about it.

Note: this rant is not aimed at you, Sierra280. I just happened to take exceptional umbrage to the term "gun violence" as a lead-in to a discussion of human behavior. It demeans both people and societies.
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Last edited by doofus47; February 21, 2014 at 01:58 PM. Reason: verb agreement.
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Old February 21, 2014, 02:08 PM   #8
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I agree with the above by 2ndsojourn in that we have a violence problem in this country. For whatever reason, the youth in this country just seems much more violent in general compared to previous generations. I'm just under 30 years old and don't remember kids being as violent as they are now.

For one example, I would use "The Knockout Game" where groups of (generally teenagers) are hitting folks at random, in the back of the head in order to knock them out. There are videos of this all over youtube.

I must however site a reference to the 'school shootings' in the United States and across the world. It doesn't just happen here. Please bear with me, I know its the wiki, but the basic info is there. It shows that school shootings happen in countries where you can't (reasonably) own a firearm...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shooting
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Old February 21, 2014, 02:27 PM   #9
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Size(population), crime stats....

When many anti-gun supporters, media sources & academics bring up other nations, re; gun crimes/violent crime, I say bear in mind the true or real size of the country.
Canada, for example only has approx 40 million residents total. That's it. They are also spread out into vast parcels of land. There are urban areas & cities but it's not a fair or realistic comparison to a country like the USA which has 310mil residents(2014 #s which might be higher with undocumented illegals).
Can you fairly compare a nation like New Zealand or Spain or Viet Nam to the USA? No.

Another recent article I read online showed how the "gun accidents" & "children" shot/killed with US firearms(gun incidents) is really teens; 17-19 years old.
Many of the ER stats & urban area gun crimes are what US law enforcement calls: "red on red". Gang members shooting other documented gang members or drug related crime that turns violent.
The anti-gun crowd doesn't tell the true story behind these records.


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Old February 21, 2014, 02:51 PM   #10
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With all the sensational news stories about shootings in the US, one who is not familiar with the situation might believe that gun violence is growing by leaps and bounds. That is not true.

US gun violence has declined greatly since 1993:

http://nij.gov/topics/crime/gun-viol...s/welcome.aspx
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Old February 21, 2014, 03:14 PM   #11
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More gun violence than whom?

Germany during the reign of Hitler?
Russia during the reign of Stalin?
China as murders were ordered by Mao Zedong?
Cambodia under Pol Pot?
North Korea under Kim Il Sung?
Cuba under the rule of Fidel Castro?
Turkey when ruled by Ismail Enver?
Or, Syria under the dictatorship of Assad?

What do you think is going to happen to those pro-west Ukrainian protesters who want to be free of Putin's Russia right after the Olympic closing ceremonies? Do you think Ukrainians are allowed to have guns? Watch how they "disappear" into the quiet of the night as all of Europe and America turn their backs and close their eyes. How many years do you think boxing champion Vitali Klitschko has left on this earth as a free man?

Compared to these and many, many other countries that prohibit their citizens from being armed, what you call "gun violence" in America is statistically non-existent. It's a made-up term spun by those who would naively back the next would-be murderous dictator.

Last edited by Skans; February 21, 2014 at 03:21 PM.
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Old February 21, 2014, 03:17 PM   #12
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Gun violence? Guns are not the problem. Violence is the problem. Violence is due to lack of morality and respect for others and self. Basically that is it in a nutshell.
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Old February 21, 2014, 03:21 PM   #13
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I don't think it fair to the U.S. to have this discussion and not include Mexico (drug related violence), Columbia (again drugs) and more than a few middle eastern countries who I won't even try to name.

My point is that there are other countries that are far more violent than the we are yet I rarely hear reference to them when gun owners in the U.S. are being maligned in the news.
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Old February 21, 2014, 03:42 PM   #14
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Perception

What makes you say we have more? Mexico has way more gun violence than we do, and China has school 'stabbings' since guns are so controlled. Our media reports more of our stuff and less about elsewhere.

I make it a point to read papers while I travel (multi-lingual, I am an international buyer). There isn't really more violence here than some other places. Sure, it's more guns than just about anyone other than Mexico, but we have more guns than most other places, so our violence is there. I saw more street violence in Paris, than NY City, but it was face to face rather than a gun.

Only one place ever really scared me. San Salvador.
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:05 PM   #15
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Poor people & crime....

I just re-read the first topic post.
Poor people do not cause gun crime.
In the USA, there are 1000s of "poor" & fixed/low income citizens.
Do they run down the streets or roads shooting at people all day?
No.
If anything, poor & low income residents are victims of gun crimes.

In 2011/2012, I worked in a "low end" hotel near a urban area doing security & other jobs. The local PD officers in the sector had the same - attitude.

Maybe, just maybe, if you talked to some of these "poor people" or got to know what really goes on, you'll see what the root causes of crime are.
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:14 PM   #16
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Here’s a report from the Department of Justice on firearm violence form 1993 – 2011. I think it may provide some helpful information.

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fv9311.pdf
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:25 PM   #17
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Good Link BarryLee

That's a good bit of information. I do find it interesting that as 'gun violence' goes down through 2011, media coverage has amplified it more and more. The media is giving the country the impression that this type of violence is running rampant...
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:27 PM   #18
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Honestly though

I think what Sierra280 might be looking for though, is the different American attitude. Americans in general, especially youngsters, are viewed as having a feeling of 'entitlement'. They are owed something from society in their minds. Rich or poor (affluenza come to mind?) doesn't matter, race doesn't matter, citizenship doesn't matter. Because this is America (USA), the land of opportunity, the riches are yours to have. I lived in Florida during Obama's 1st election. It was crazy how many younger kids (mostly immigrants) were convinced Obama was going to buy everyone cars, abolish taxes, give food stamps to everyone. These perceptions were re-enforced by their parents in some part. I could see that they had the perception that somehow, because they were in America, society as a whole owed them something. This is a perception, that once it fails, tends to anger a person. Where is my dream of riches? Where are the opportunities?

People aren't getting the respect they think they deserve, as perpetuated by the people around them. Lots of rich/poor kids have this perception that they are owed something. Their peers that succeed, through some sort of violence (at least in the short term), show them the way. Personal failure simply doesn't exist, when you find failure, it must be society in some way that has failed you. So, they strike out... at society.
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:51 PM   #19
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At the beginning of the OP, we are asked to discuss active shooters ending in suicide. At the end of the OP, we are asked to exclude those with mental illness. That leaves little or nothing to talk about. I don't recall socioeconomic conditions being a major factor in any of the active shooters of recent years. What I remember were broken people, many with diagnosed and untreated mental illness. The reluctance to provide resources for the mentally ill carries a cost of its own.
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:53 PM   #20
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^^thank you, Marty I guess that is kind of what I was looking for. Didn't mean to make it about symantics or try to make comparisons to third world, revolutionary countries in social disorder or (more distastefully) even say the US isn't that bad compared to murderous totalitarian regimes.
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Old February 21, 2014, 04:59 PM   #21
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I honestly feel that the online video games like call of duty etc, have contributed to our increase. If any of you haven't been exposed to them, they desensitize the violence and make killing a human seem normal and everyday. I have played them and I can see where kids now can get the idea of mass killing. I'm not saying this is all of cause, but access to guns to teens, is partly to blame. If more parents locked up their guns better,we wouldn't have the same sprees. It's one thing for a gang member who is on the street to get a gun, but rural American kids should'nt have the access without parental knowledge. I know I had access growing up to any of our guns, but times change and we need to think of what could be done with our guns.
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Old February 21, 2014, 05:09 PM   #22
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I suppose the victim mentality that seems to be growing in this country may relate to the OP’s question. It seems like more and more people are blaming others for their own failings and I suspect some are resulting to violence out of that sense of frustration.
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Old February 21, 2014, 05:38 PM   #23
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One thing that is routinely glossed over in the mass casualty events that are so sensationalized is the mental health and medications aspect. These are part of the root cause and deserve far more attention then they get.

Once we remove the Gang on Gang teen and young adult offenders from this conversation we are left with the sensationalized mass casualty situations. Two glaring recent examples are Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech. Clearly these two shooters were "unbalanced" mentally. Not only were they unbalanced but it was pretty clear to everyone before these events unfolded that they were not in their right mind.

The SSRI family of drugs carries a FDA Balck Bax label / Warning of certain psychiatric effects; these include suicidal behavior, mania, psychosis, et. al. These side effects have been known for quite some time. Over the last two decades, most mass casualty situations have two things in common......guns and SSRI drugs. A person either just on or just off of their drugs have been involved in these incidents. Certain un or misdiagnosed conditions coupled with SSRI drugs can / will result in one or more deaths resulting from a manic or psychotic state of mind. One thing about the US compared to many other countries is that we over medicate children and teens with these types of drug due to ADHD, Hyperactivity, Depression, etc. Even with a 1 in 1 million chance of problems, due to our numbers you will have some hits. It is only a matter of time that these hits involve using a gun with the subsequent results. A large issue is that many of the doctors prescribing these drugs are not mental health professionals. As such it is easy for them to miss important clues that something else is going on during their brief encounters with their patients. Look at how easy it is to get your child a prescription of Ritilan. That one drug alone has been shown to exacerbate issues in some people with Bi-Polar disorder, Anxiety disorders, and PTSD to name a few.

Also what many people fail to realize is that if you remove one tool (the gun) other tools will be used. What is often lost when discussing Columbine is that they also made and planted explosive devices around the school.

A little additional reading:
#1

#2

#3
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Old February 21, 2014, 05:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
I honestly feel that the online video games like call of duty etc, have contributed to our increase.
There has been no long term increase in gun violence. There has been a drastic long term decrease in gun violence. In 1993 there were 1,222,701 recorded incidents of gun violence in the USA. In 2011 there were 414,562 incidents of gun violence in the USA.

http://nij.gov/topics/crime/gun-viol...s/welcome.aspx
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Old February 21, 2014, 05:53 PM   #25
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Spree shooters & suicide....

While many "active shooter" & spree shootings end with the subject killing themselves, it doesn't occur all the time.
In my metro area a guy was convicted & sentenced for his "spree shooting" incident approx 3 years ago.
He fled the scene of his office rampage & was busted by a SWAT unit who went to his mom's house.

People, even poor people do not always commit violent crime because they are broke or hungry. Most people know how to find food, public aid, cell phone programs, showers/grooming items, etc in many urban areas.
I spoke to a San Francisco CA resident last week(who works in the service industry not a high end job). He said the city & municipal services are top rated for homeless/poor people but many do not want to comply with the terms/SOPs. They want to roam around & prey on society. These people I have 0 sympathy for.
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