Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guns and Schools

The country is rightly very upset by the school shooting in Newtown, CT. It is more than a shame that parents in the United States cannot send their children to a public school without fearing that some maniac might shoot them dead in their classroom. But…that’s the situation these days.

We have seen these school and public-place shootings escalate in recent years. At Columbine High School in Colorado two students shot 12 others several years ago. Last year in Norway, a country with tight gun-control and licensing regulations, Anders Breivik methodically gunned down 69 people, mostly teenagers on the island of Utoya. This year, James Holmes shot 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. College-student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University.

These senseless killings look much like copycat acts. We are told on BBC World News that several persons have called the police claiming to be the gunman who killed all the people at Newtown. It seems that some people crave the notoriety of senselessly killing other people. With claims like this, it is likely that one or more of these false claimants to this horrible crime will someday try to repeat it in some other venue.

I think it is very understandable that many families across America are opting to educate their children at home rather than exposing them to gun violence in the public schools. To me, that seems like a very reasonable solution to the problem if there is facility at home for a home-school program.

The problem of gun violence depends on three factors, i.e., the gun, the perpetrator, and the societal influences which prepare violent people to do such things.

In America, we only hear talk about how to influence the incidence of gun-violence by dealing with the gun situation. This would seem difficult in a country that has 200 million guns in a population of 311 million persons. Furthermore, there is data from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that point out the fact that in areas where firearm ownership is large, violent crime is less prevalent than in areas where there is a smaller ownership level of guns.

I think that gun-violence might be addressed more effectively by addressing the societal factors that encourage people to carry out violent acts with guns. Decreasing the portrayal of gun and other types of violence in TV and movies would seem to be fertile ground for addressing this problem.


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