Saturday, July 21, 2012

The sickness of American society

The world has yet again borne witness to a senseless mass shooting in the United States.  I have lost count of how many times I have read about and seen them in the media in the 40 or so years I have been alive.

The usual suspects in the United States are coming out of the wood work to decry this tragedy and to pin it on a single individual.  "This is just the act of one disturbed individual," they say.  "Increased gun control would not solve this problem," they say.  "If someone in the crowd would have had a gun themselves the death toll would have been much lower because they could have taken the guy down," they say, as if real life is like a Hollywood action movie.

To a certain extent I am beginning to agree with these people.  I believe most countries in the West have experienced this kind of tragedy at least once in the last quarter century but they seem to happen more frequently and with greater regularity in the United States.

The question is why?  Is it because of the ease with which it is possible to obtain firearms?  That would be the easy answer but all Western countries allow their citizens to own guns.  Certainly, they control them much more than the US but if someone like the suspect in this shooting wanted to obtain a gun they could do it.  Unfortunately, people with the intent to kill do not have a big sign on their forehead indicating as much when they go through whatever process they need to go through to obtain a firearm.

I believe there is a much deeper cause for the carnage we see on a regular basis in the United States.  As a society it is in a state of decay and when a society decays like that it produces the likes of yesterday's gunman.  It produces people who become alienated from that society and that alienation engenders a sense of isolation, an isolation that if allowed to grow and fester leads to a deep anger that will eventually need an outlet.

It is true that if guns in the United States were strictly controlled these individuals would still find a way of obtaining them and perpetrating these acts.  You only need to read and watch the news coverage from yesterday to see that this guy was rather methodical and patient in planning and implementing this act so a thing like gun control would not have prevented this tragedy.

Then again, when a society is in such a state of decay as the US it is folly to allow firearms to be so readily available, particularly firearms that have been designed with the single purpose of efficiently killing large numbers of other human beings like the ones uses yesterday.  Strict gun control would not prevent all of these tragedies but it would prevent many of them and it would probably reduce the death toll for those that were not prevented.  Gun control would also prevent many more of the more mundane actions that lead to the thousands of gun deaths in the US, the ones that happen every day as a matter of routine and do not make the international news.

However, Americans are not interested in that.  They have indicated many times by their actions that they consider yesterday's tragedy and the ongoing tragedy of thousands of guns deaths a year in the US as acceptable losses to maintain their "freedom".  Yes they will make all the right noises about how senseless and how tragic these shootings are but that has not prevented gun control from becoming the "third rail" in American politics. 

Most Americans do not see the deep decay in their society so there is no hope of the root cause of yesterday's tragedy being addressed and they also will not consider gun control as a way to reduce the carnage resulting from gun violence in their country.  So, we and they can continue to expect these mass shootings to happen again and again and I believe that deep down they are OK with that. 


Blogger The Rat said...

How about a simpler explanation: The US is the third most populous nation in the world and therefore has more mass shootings and also wins more gold medals at the Olympics.

July 22, 2012 11:46 AM  

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