GUNS, SCHOOLS AND VIDEO GAMES: SHOOTINGS WON’T STOP WITH GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION
It is almost pathetic to watch the various politicians and experts fall over themselves in the stampede to cast blame and recommend solutions to shootings of students in public schools. It would be funny if the matter weren’t so serious We have been stupefied to the point where critical analysis and thought are almost non-extant. We want simple answers that can be applied quickly and not interfere with our lives in any significant way. So, when there is a shooting at a school, people debate gun control rather than causation.
Like ancient druids, who blamed inanimate objects for misfortune, we place blame on guns and demand gun control, rather than examine what factors in our society create such conditions or tragedies. In the debate, emotion replaces logic and, rather than evidence-based legislation, we have opinion or propaganda-based legislation. In the time of the Druids, if a person fell out of a tree and was harmed, the tree was chopped down because it hurt someone. It didn’t matter if the person falling was careless or clumsy. Someone was hurt, something had to pay. Simple, right? The tree is chopped down, and everyone can quit worrying and go about their business. The bad tree was punished.
Unfortunately, we are not Druids, nor do we live in a Druidic society, although our degree of ignorance and superstition may rival theirs. We are a complex and sophisticated collective, not easily analyzed or fine-tuned. Simple answers might work for the simple-minded but won’t work for a modern, complex society. One only has to remember the space shot where astronauts died in a multimillion space launch in the Challenger shuttle because of an ”O” ring failure to appreciate this. Society is much more complex and sophisticated than a space shuttle, but we treat it as a simple thing which can be fixed by applying band-aids. We don’t expect to go into space without devising complex systems and complex equipment, why would any rational person think that we could somehow control human behavior without complex systems, complex analysis, and complex solutions. However, the delusional public, refusing to see the complexity of problems, particularly if it will cost money to fix, blithely ignore examination or solution. We spend billions of dollars exploring space and launching men and monkeys in the space but will spend nothing on research into the nature of human suffering or violence. There are people who believe that humans can be modified, or behavior changed with something simple, such as just say no or walking away.
I don’t see how these people managed to convince the rest of the world that they are not suffering from LSD hallucinations, but they seem to be able to do so. I first started studying the problem when I was in college after reading about snipers picking out students in a Texas tower. There were many theories back then, but no real research. That hasn’t changed over the last 60 years. There is still no more research. One reason, that the issue has become politicized. The parties would rather argue with each other than think or do research. Arming teachers or chopping down a tree in the time of the Druids did not prevent children from falling out of trees nor will arming teachers with guns solve the problem of school shootings?
We live in a fractured, splendid, disassociated society. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to go into a coffee shop and see everyone sitting around looking at video screens or telephones, not the person with who they are sitting. If one looks around to see people walking with ears plugged listening to their iPods or iPhones, oblivious to their surroundings and things going on. Not only are the people not living or even aware, they don’t care. As a society, we become detached from fellow humans and humanity is something to have others worry about, rather than us to waste our time. Besides, these problems are too hard to solve and give people headaches anyway. Robert Putnam explained this in his book, “Bowling Alone.” So, it does no good to say, “let’s arm teachers and have them protect our students” or “let’s abolish guns.” Either way the solution doesn’t exist in simplistic form, especially when there hasn’t been much studied about the problem in the first place and therefore, no data.
Even simple mental health debates” Simple minds won’t solve the problems associated with dissociative society. The problem with mental health counseling is that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to treat some people to deal with an insane world, which is what would have to. There is little evidence that the shooters in schools are crazy or insane under classic definition. The problem is much deeper. Durkheim described it as anomie, but that doesn’t quite fit either. It could be said that the shooters are choosing a rather dramatic way to commit suicide, but again that is simpleminded. The genuine answer is we don’t know. We need to find out. We need to think about the problem. We need to study the problem and what we don’t need is an army of armed teachers or a bunch of regulations concerning weapons that are passed to make people feel good and feel that are doing something about a problem of which they know absolutely nothing. It is time that our representatives start acting on behalf of the people, not the propagandists and rich donors. Research needs to be done regarding causation. As long as the debate is focused upon guns and not evidence or causation, the public will lose. L don’t know much, but I do know that firearms legislation or even debate will accomplish nothing. It will only aid the profiteers and propagandists.
Unlike other civilized parts of the world, we do not have evidence-based policy. Ours is based upon propaganda and advertising. To be effective, the public or consumer must be ignorant and capable of manipulation. No real solutions will result in the process, but many will make money. The public will love it because they ignorantly perceive that their leaders are doing something. How can they do something rational or beneficial? They are clueless regarding the causation. And, of course, finding causation will take time and money, which we only spend on the war the machine. As in the lack of funding of research on marijuana, fear, rather than rational thinking is the state of our policy. Facts are not allowed. We really don’t want to know, and the resulting drug war expenditures, a moneymaker for the rich bankers and not imperiled.
If the video game manufacturers, were serious about the threat by the blame game, they would be well advised to spend money on research rather than counter propaganda advertising. Are video games the cause of violence and disconnect, or are they an escape mechanism used to cope with a society spinning out of control? As set forth in “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond ” by Mark Ames, stress is one of the main factors of workplace rage. If so, do games relieve stress? But, who cares? It is cheaper to apply band-aids to the situation, arm teachers, outlaw firearms, make schools more like prisons, and give the corporations more money to sell solutions and gimmicks that don’t work. It is time to think. It is time to learn. It is time to tell the politicians and lobbyists to shut up and find out what causes these incidents.