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Mass Killings: Solutions: Culture


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So, given the current state of affairs, and if you agree that this society's culture has anything to do with gun violence, what would you suggest be done to improve things?

 

Well, one can more easily restrict access to the most destructive of weapons than one can legislate societal culture. I think, as SOMA has pointed out, that the subject of violence in film and video games is a diversion from the real issue; banning assault weapons.

 

Another thing to consider: popular culture portrayed in film and entertainment tends to lag societal norms. IOW, a culture obsessed with guns is going to be reflected in the motion pictures and video games produced. Hollywood and television sell their product to a willing audience. Rarely do they LEAD culture (with the possible exceptions of smoking and the use of condoms).

 

NORM

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An outdated law providing a right to carry firearms from a time when it was justifiable is the problem in my view. It is now embedded in the American psyche and as a consequence invokes strong emotion amongst Americans on what it means to be American. Like it or not it is now part of the National Identity.

 

Personally, not being a part of that culture, I find the right to carry firearms offensive and irrelevant in a modern developed country. I can understand it in one of our modern theatres of war or where there is a break down of social rules, such as in Syria. As a Christian it makes even less sense to carry weapons, especially those specifically meant for killing lots of human beings in a short timeframe such as semi automatic weapons.

 

Only the state needs to be armed in some fashion to enforce the rule of law. Society needs to lead by example and not carry firearms. Those who choose to break the law and carry firearms should be dealt with by the law, but again, the example being set by society should be a civilised one without the need for the death penalty.

 

It is a logical inference to say more weapons and access to weapons means an increased likelihood that they will be used both appropriately AND inappropriately by your average mums and dads in an over reaction to some petty crime or a justified use in self defence, by criminals to aid in committing criminal acts, by angry teenagers or the mentally unstable.

 

Someone sometime has to make a stand.

 

In short my suggested solution is that society should lead by example; that example being what that society believes (enacted through the democratic process) is the right way to behave in relation to carrying guns.

 

My slant is clear, but as I say above I haven't been brought up in that culture.

 

Paul

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Well, one can more easily restrict access to the most destructive of weapons than one can legislate societal culture. I think, as SOMA has pointed out, that the subject of violence in film and video games is a diversion from the real issue; banning assault weapons.

 

Another thing to consider: popular culture portrayed in film and entertainment tends to lag societal norms. IOW, a culture obsessed with guns is going to be reflected in the motion pictures and video games produced. Hollywood and television sell their product to a willing audience. Rarely do they LEAD culture (with the possible exceptions of smoking and the use of condoms).

 

NORM

In fairness to Hollywood films, I think we have seen some popular culture entertainment try to strike a balance between presenting an action-packed film while at the same time condemning the actions of killing others. For example, the Batman movies are action films but Batman on principle never carries a gun and refuses to kill criminals and goes out of his way to save their lives even if by all legal senses they might deserve death. The X-men movies also always portray Magneto's efforts to free the Mutants from persecution by killing all the humans as a negative action and one can draw parallels between Professor Xavier's actions and MLK Jr.
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I think I have read that there is no evidence (at least strong evidence) that violent films have a causative effect on actual violent behavior. However, it seems reasonable to think that there would be some relationship between a culture that loves violence in its entertainment and is also violent in its behavior.

 

However, I don't think banning violent films is the answer and would violate free-speech rights. However, somehow, in my opinion, our culture needs to change such that we would not be so interested in violence on the screen and violence on the street. How to induce a change, I have no idea.

 

I also agree that this is an NRA red herring to distract attention away from gun control.

 

George

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It is one of Krauthammer's favorite scapegoats. He truly believes that welfare is mostly undeserved and has very little sympathy for those on the other side of fortune. Despite his disability, Mr. Krauthammer is quite well off.

 

NORM

So is his argument that the ACLU's defense of absolute free speech at all cost causes violence or something? It sounds like he's trying to make a false equivalency argument but he never expands on what his point is.
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I have been asked to take a stronger hand in moderating my thread here. I see little to object to. It is off topic to propose a ban on assault weapons - that belongs in the "the Weapon" thread. And it only takes one sentence unless there are qualifications.

 

My biggest objection is that we are talking about what someone else should do. Especially our favorite "Most evangelical Christians" who are not monolithic as we make them out to be. If you do not agree name the person you don't agree with. Other wise find references for "most" "evangelical" "Christian". I doubt "evangelical lutheran" is included but that is the problem when we think out of prejudice. We fail to recognize the dignity of others.

 

This thread is for positive proposals. I do think conversations about this topic even if there is disagreement can in fact be part of the solution. But that is liberal slant. I have a strongly held opinion. In democracy we work from consensus.

 

Dutch

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There seems to be an implicit argument by the NRA and their supporters that American society is in inherently more violent than other societies in the developed world.

 

They then propose that because of this violent nature, guns should be freely available and unrestricted. If we were to accept this premise (Americans are inherently violent), then I think it is even more reason to control guns. Is it logical to give a group that is prone to violence dangerous instruments in which to exercise their violent nature?

 

George

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I have been asked to take a stronger hand in moderating my thread here. I see little to object to. It is off topic to propose a ban on assault weapons - that belongs in the "the Weapon" thread. And it only takes one sentence unless there are qualifications.

 

My biggest objection is that we are talking about what someone else should do. Especially our favorite "Most evangelical Christians" who are not monolithic as we make them out to be. If you do not agree name the person you don't agree with. Other wise find references for "most" "evangelical" "Christian". I doubt "evangelical lutheran" is included but that is the problem when we think out of prejudice. We fail to recognize the dignity of others.

 

This thread is for positive proposals. I do think conversations about this topic even if there is disagreement can in fact be part of the solution. But that is liberal slant. I have a strongly held opinion. In democracy we work from consensus.

 

Dutch

 

Labels do get to be a problem. My mother was an "evangelical lutheran". Both sides of my family are from Germany, where "evangelical" means "protestant", and no more.

 

Myron

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My two bob's worth - just start, somewhere. Display stickers on your cars - "Guns Kill Kids". Start petitions. Blog and protest against ridiculously violent films. Support the government in any move to restrict/ban military weapons. Talk about guns in your churches and schools. Schools - educate your kids that guns are weapons, not toys, not a way to solve a problem. An ad campiagn would be a brilliant idea, Dutch. Promote discussion and push it to action. Don't let it die away.

 

I don't think there is one, prominent solution. Certainly the US is highly overrepresented in firearm homicide compared to the rest of the world. Somewhere someone mentioned that the US's right to bear arms comes from a historical background where it was neccessary - it simply isn't today. People's mindsets have to change and that can only happen if and when they are prepared to think about the issue. Certainly a massacre puts it on the agenda but some of the suggestions above will keep the issue alive and you will see change.

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My two bob's worth - just start, somewhere. Display stickers on your cars - "Guns Kill Kids". Start petitions. Blog and protest against ridiculously violent films. Support the government in any move to restrict/ban military weapons. Talk about guns in your churches and schools.

 

Paul, I am not optimistic about anything meaningful happening. But, I will say, that, at least for now, there seems to be more public awareness and interest. Walmart (one of the largest purveyors of weapons) was invited to meet with Vice President Biden to discuss this issue, but their executives were too busy with other matters. Apparently, because of public reaction to their decision, they reversed the decision and will condescend to meet with the Vice President of the United States of America.

 

George

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So the NRA won't accept any sort of gun control law as legitimate and instead blames fictional violent video games as responsible for school shootings, but then they turn around and release a violent video game themselves. Can we say hypocrisy? : http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/01/14/1441701/newtown-nra-shooting-game/

When 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School exactly one month ago today, the National Rifle Association rushed to blame video games, not guns, for inspiring such mass murders. But the gun lobby seemingly lost sight of its target in the past weeks, and over the weekend released a shooting app, called “NRA: Practice Range.”

 

The app bills itself as a “network of news, laws, facts, knowledge, safety tips, educational materials and online resource.” The NRA reports that it “nstills safe and responsible ownership through fun challenges and realistic simulations.”

 

But it isn’t all about hunting. It allows players practice shooting at targets — coffin-shaped targets, with red bullseyes at head- and heart-level

 

For 99 cents more, users can upgrade to a MK11 sniper rifle.

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This thread is for positive proposals. I do think conversations about this topic even if there is disagreement can in fact be part of the solution. But that is liberal slant. I have a strongly held opinion. In democracy we work from consensus.

Dutch

 

So, given the current state of affairs, and if you agree that this society's culture has anything to do with gun violence, what would you suggest be done to improve things?

Dutch

What can be done in the arena of culture to reduce mass killings?

 

Please follow Dutch's guidelines as he spelled out for this topic as relates to culture changes. If you have any positive proposals that are culture related to help reduce mass killings please post them otherwise please refrain from further posting..

 

JosephM (as Moderator)

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Here is an article about a g*n buyback program at a church. Hopefully, this kind of action, although I don't think effective in practical terms, will help change the culture.

 

http://www.nytimes.c.../19land.html?hp

 

I was at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta several weeks ago and they were planning a similar program. So, some religious people consider the g*n issue relevant to Christianity and important to our culture.

 

George

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Paul, I am not optimistic about anything meaningful happening. But, I will say, that, at least for now, there seems to be more public awareness and interest. Walmart (one of the largest purveyors of weapons) was invited to meet with Vice President Biden to discuss this issue, but their executives were too busy with other matters. Apparently, because of public reaction to their decision, they reversed the decision and will condescend to meet with the Vice President of the United States of America.

 

George

 

I understand your lack of optimism George - there's a long road ahead. But actions like you point out above, will impact how society thinks about firearms.

 

An Australian artist named Paul Kelly sings a lovely song called "From little things big things grow". Whilst it is a song about indigenous land rights in our country, I think it is apt for America's plight with guns. Less than 50 years ago our indigenous peoples had no entitlement to compensation to the land that was taken from them upon white settlement, and had no rights to the land whatsoever. Most of society probably thought that was logical, even fair. In 50 years the tide has turned entirely. I can only hope that the US may experience a similiar cultural and mindset change toward firearm possession.

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Less than 50 years ago our indigenous peoples had no entitlement to compensation to the land that was taken from them upon white settlement, and had no rights to the land whatsoever. Most of society probably thought that was logical, even fair. In 50 years the tide has turned entirely. I can only hope that the US may experience a similiar cultural and mindset change toward firearm possession.

 

Someone has pointed out the dramatic change in attitude toward smoking that occurred over a couple of decades. Maybe a similar thing can happen with g*ns. If enough churches, like the ones in Cincinnati and Atlanta, made it a cause, maybe there is reason for hope.

 

George

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The sheer horror of the recent school shooting in Connecticut has already impacted our culture for the better in some ways. This evening, our family had a REAL discussion on the issue of g*ns and g*n control.

 

Where previously, there were bitter divides and heated arguments over two political stances, we all came together around the idea that the time has come to commit ourselves toward real reform of our mental health system, responsible g*n ownership and reasonable g*n laws.

 

We all pledged individually to contacting our local representatives to share our concerns and volunteer for organizations that can help.

 

I imagine there are similar events happening in families all over America.

 

I see that as a hopeful sign.

 

NORM

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We all pledged individually to contacting our local representatives to share our concerns and volunteer for organizations that can help.

 

I imagine there are similar events happening in families all over America.

 

I see that as a hopeful sign.

 

That is a hopeful sign.

 

George

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George, Paul,

 

I agree. Our responses - primarily our conversations - is what will change our culture. To get stuck on any single factor - such as large capacity clips - is to miss all the other things that must also change.

 

In another conversation I suggested that we ask our grand children to vote for presidents who will nominate Supreme Court justices who are not 'originalists'(if that is the correct word). The arc of change is that long.

 

Dutch

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Our responses - primarily our conversations - is what will change our culture. To get stuck on any single factor - such as large capacity clips - is to miss all the other things that must also change.

 

My hope is the culture will change such that one of the effects would be that people would no longer want to cling to their high-capacity clips. These are for the purpose of killing humans. I would hope that the desire to kill humans would no longer be present. I would hope that people would no longer feel the need for high-capacity clips to resolve problems. I would hope that people would no longer want to "stand your ground" with the assistance of a high-capacity clip, or any g*n for that matter.

 

Until that day, if I were king of America, I would deny them the ability to possess w*pons of mass destruction designed for the purpose of killing humans. We deny children access to dangerous instruments. Maybe we should deny an immature society dangerous instruments.

 

George

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With in these 4 areas there are 2 distinct goals.

 

Gun control and arming school officials has the goal of reducing the carnage of a murderous situation. Even if you has a society with no guns some person with a sharp stick can still kill. The difference is that it would be difficult to walk into a school and kill 20 kids. On a more realistic level outlawing 100 bullet clips forces the killer to reload producing times of venerability . Putting armed guards in schools just means the murder will be confronted sooner. These things reduce the carnage potential. These things do nothing to correct the underlying problems.

 

Addressing the culture / mental health addresses the problem by speaking to the underlying problem of why someone would want to kill.

 

My personal opinion is that there needs to be movement on ALL fronts. It is naive to think either without the other will not have have a satisfactory effect. If you handle the cultural/mental health issues you will get a decrease in the number of shootings but what shooting you do have will include a large # of people. If you deal only with gun control/ armed guards the total # of shooting will be large but it will involve smaller numbers of wounded/dead.

 

 

My opinions on gun control are that we have gun control now. I hear no one suggesting legalizing full machine guns or RPG's so it not that you have some who want no gun control and some thatt want no guns.. rather it is where do you draw the line. Where does the potential for carnage out weigh a persons right to own? machine gun-no, shot gun-yes, RPG-no, semi-automatic w/ 5 bullets 22-yes, semi-automatic w/ 100 bullets - ???????

 

steve

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It was not deleted but was unapproved so it is visible to moderators only. You will receive a PM explaining.

 

Joseph

 

So, you are not willing to give a pubic explanation so others can benefit from my sins?

 

George

 

 

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George,

 

That is correct. This tread is not the place . I have sent you a PM. If you have a complaint you are free to make it in the complaints section or discuss the issue by PM.

 

JosephM (as Admin)

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