Knight Voices

America Has a Violence Problem

By FRANK PELLINO

Guest Writer

Dozens of church-going patrons were shot and killed this month in Sutherland Springs, Texas. To say that this was a devastating event is an understatement, but to say that another mass shooting is all too familiar is, unfortunately, very accurate.

The shocking news that came out of Sutherland Springs comes barely a month after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. When I saw the news, I was sitting on a friend’s couch waiting for the Sunday football games to kick o . As I read the breaking news ticker at the bottom of the screen, I remember how shocked I was. Then, I remember how nonchalant it felt. It was a feeling of “Oh, another one.”

I was scared by this.

Everyone in the room read the news and, for a minute or two, we spoke about how devastating it was. And then we went on with our day.

As a country, we have become desensitized to these horrific mass shootings because they seem to happen every few months.

While some of these shooting have been labeled as terrorist attacks, one thing is certain: there is a continuous problem. It’s easy to look at all of the evidence and say that there is a gun control problem, and there 100 percent is. But there is a larger cloud that hangs over it all: America has a violence problem.

Gun violence and gun laws have been a hot topic in this country for a very long time. It’s often talked about during presidential elections and at other political events and gets brought up in the media every time we are faced with another tragedy. We often look at the deadly weapons that are being used to take lives, and rightfully so, but not much more than that. It’s puzzling to think about why we see so many shootings. Beyond America’s gun control problem, we are a society prone to violence. We praise violence. We like violence.

 

According to statistics from 2016 on FBI.gov, the number of violent crimes rose for a second consecutive year, with were 1.2 million violent crimes reported. Violence is in our culture and goes way beyond any statistic. And no, I’m not talking about violent video games and violet entertainment. That’s the tip of the iceberg.

Our violent culture starts with our past history of violence and it is solidi ed by the violence that is glorified in the news media. The history of our country has constantly been neck-deep in violence. Take a look at our history of foreign and domestic a airs. Our time of the “Manifest Destiny” was one of the largest genocides in the history of the world, which saw the mighty Americans push west and kill the Native Americans. But no one likes to talk about it.

Then came The Civil War, which saw the most casualties and brutality out of any war in the history of our country. Skip World War I and jump right into World War II, where the U.S. committed the most devastating military attack in human history when it dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan. Twice.

Next came the Vietnam War. And in the modern day, we’re still fighting in the Middle East.

My point isn’t that these conflicts are wrong or unjust, but rather that our history is surrounded by violence, and that was just a list of the major events.

Violence sells and it’s America’s number one export. The most popular sport in America, and only America, is football. The most violent sport is widely the most popular, and even owns a day of the week.

 

We love binge watching shows like “Active Shooter,” “The Walking Dead,” “CSI” and “Game of Thrones.” What do those shows all have in common? Crime, violence, death and graphic scenes to name a few.

When we turn on the news, local or national, we are all but guaranteed to see a story about a murder, a robbery, an assault or any other violent act of crime. If it bleeds it leads.

All of this doesn’t turn people into mass killers, but it makes us numb to our own violence. It re-writes the scripts in our heads about what is and isn’t right.

Sure, there is something that has to be done about the gun control in America. There are too many legal and illegal firearms out there and they are way too easy to obtain.

But if we are to make a change, we also have to look at ourselves. That doesn’t mean cancel all of the TV shows or boycott the NFL. We can keep all of the entertainment, but we have to find a way to change the culture.

Categories: Knight Voices