I am quite convinced that 2012 has been not a great year particularly for the US. Everything from people being high on bath salts and eating each other, to theatre shootings, to major floods and hurricanes, to mall shootings, to shootings at a Sikh temple and now recently the Newtown Tragedy where 20 young children from the ages of 6 to10 were killed by a gunman.
A lot of questions are still buzzing: How did this occur? Why did this occur? What could have prevented this? Will this ever end? My facebook and twitter feed has been flooded with emotional status updates, frustrated updates and people just perplexed and confused. There are number of issues that seem to be stemming from these shootings which has raised some debate.
First is the discussion of the mental status of these killers. There has been a noticeable pattern that a lot of these suspects who committed this crime had some type of mental illness which some say believe is the cause of these tragic events while other argue that this is just a poor excuse. The second issue is gun control. Many argue that there needs to be tougher gun control . Access to guns has time after time proven to be quite easy. Walmarts in the U.S for example have their own section where they sell rifles. In Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” the documentary opens up with Micheal Moore in a bank opening an account and the bank’s incentive is that if you open an account with them you receive a free gun. Right before the open credits begin, Mr. Moore asks the bank representative if this is a good idea and safe. The bank rep replies back with a sheepish smile. Part of the problem is that society, particularly and unfortunately the U.S lives in world of fear where defending your own my necessary force of action is praised and encouraged, even it it means using a weapon. However, this same type of thinking and ideology is doing nothing but back firing on Americans because these guns are ending up in the wrong hands and being used wrongfully. The government needs to take stricter action as it quite simple that access to guns.
A third issue is the news media. A lot now have argued that not only has the media played a part in the promotion of guns and gun violence but the news media specifically focus on the suspects sensationalizing their crime while the victims are left in the shadow. Many feel that suspects in these case feel the sense of power, celebrity status doing such a crime and thus feels a sense of accomplishment (as sick as it sounds.)
So here is my take on the entire subject. There is no doubt that this is a sad tragedy but the more tragic problem is that the U.S seems to be suffering this and not being able to fix the problem. You have a country that is equally divided for and against gun control but unfortunately there is not enough education about guns and gun control. While the government tries to tackle the guns and violence on the street level they also need to look at the control at an entire scope because in these specific cases, these shootings all happened in suburban areas where they had access to these weapons and used them wrongfully. A killing of 20 innocent young children in a school where they are suppose to be safe an learning education shouldn’t have to be a turning point. The turning point should have happened a long time ago. These weapons are constantly being held in the wrong hands. Tougher laws need to be in place.
As much as mental health has played in some of these major killings, I frankly believe that strictly blaming the mental illness is not the end all and be all of it. In fact, individuals who do suffer from mental health issues are now being stigmatized which complicate their feelings and emotions. People need to realize that not all killings all stem from individuals who have mental illness. Furthermore just focusing on the mental health issue is just another way of distracting and taking the focus and shift of those who are really responsible: the government. For a nation that appears so proud of themselves, they have a lot of skeletons in their closet.
The media’s attention and focus on these killers is something inevitable. The media in many ways do play a huge part perpetuating violence. They also in turn also reinforce stereotypes as well, particularly identifying these killers as “troubled abused youth who have mental health issues.” Their faces are plastered all over television and the internet leaving the victims and family of the victims suffering. These suspects do not deserve any attention. Anderson Cooper on CNN was one few news anchors who decided to focus the attention on the victims instead of the suspect in which most cases the suspect wants.
So this is Christmas, and look what we’ve done? Another senseless shooting and killing. Maybe the Mayans were right. Maybe the end of world is approaching soon, but it is us who are gonna kill each other off.