Tuesday, April 09, 2013

More violence

The mass stabbing attack at a Houston-area community college this morning just keeps rattling around in my head. 

I’ll confess that my first impulse was a desire to post a sarcastic comment about the need for outlawing “assault knives” and for background checks prior to the legal purchase of sharp objects.  But that would trivialize both the serious nature of the event and the thoughtful calls for action by people on BOTH SIDES of the gun-control arguments.

 I could already hear dismissive responses along the lines of, “Sure, 14 are injured following the stabbing attack, but 20 people DIED in Newtown!”

 My response to that line of thought is that it trivializes the violence done in the stabbings!  Think about it: how much violence is permissible?  I mean, if no one actually dies, does that make it okay?  Of course not.  If only one or two dies, is that better than 20?  “Better” becomes difficult to define.

 So is there a balance of any kind here? 

I think the vast majority would agree that an end to violent attacks against groups of relatively innocent and vulnerable people should stop.  And there’s little question that automatic-fire weapons with a very short delay to reload (large magazines) are a much more efficient method of causing maximum carnage than most others.  Well, excluding Weapons of Mass Destruction (nuclear, chemical and biological).  And truck bombs (Oklahoma City).  And car bombs and suicide bombs of all kinds.  And hijacking planeloads of people and crashing them into area where lots of people are.  And derailing high-speed passenger trains.  Or maybe stealing a tank truck full of flammable liquid (I’m getting really out there) and spraying it over a large crowd with ignition sources around.  And on, and on. 

But yes, guns are good at killing.  So . . . we can demonize the weapons and pass laws to make them more difficult to obtain.  But will that stop their use?  People will always find ways to circumvent the laws, if that’s their mindset.

 Is our culture of violence, from video games to Hollywood to literature, the problem?  If so, can it be changed?  Human history (millennia of it) tells me that rare is the culture that successfully avoids violent responses to certain acts, and that culture does not last very long.

 I’m left with the belief that we are not going to stop these acts of senseless violence, and there are limits to what we can do to protect citizens, whether children or not.  Although I believe we should (and will) do what we can with the resources we have, the bottom line is we’re going to have killings.

 I’d love to hear of a solution that we could all (literally) live with.


kenju said...

I have no solution for you, John. I am appalled at the lack of care for human life that is shown in so many places in the world nowadays.

Karen Tunnell said...

We need to put more resources and emphasis on mental health rather than ignoring the troubled souls and expecting the legal system to take care of them after the fact.