It was good to read Thadeus Greenson's (Editor) and Patrick Carr's (Mailbox) comments on gun violence in the March 1 NCJ. They both went beyond what we most often read — the usual superficial and ineffectual rhetoric on "freedom," misinterpretation of the Second Amendment and scapegoating of people with mental disorders. After every mass shooting incident, the weapons industry, its NRA cheerleaders and Congressional enablers ensure that the discussion of gun violence is diverted to meaningless expressions of "thoughts and prayers" rather than an honest appraisal of the problem and enacting measures that could help alleviate it.
I think common sense would dictate a total ban on civilian access to military assault weapons, effective background checks and controls on the availability of guns. These measures could make it more difficult, as Thadeus points out, for "angry and alienated boys and men" to perpetrate mass murder. But I think to get to the root of the problem we need to look deeper and consider why our country suffers more of these incidents than any other country in the world.
Violence has always been an element of our country's history. Genocide of native people, enslavement and murder of kidnapped Africans, the Viet Nam holocaust and seemingly endless warfare for profit. A self-righteous but soulless monopoly-capitalist culture gives our children toys featuring mass killing games, a sport that leaves most of its participants with life-altering head injuries and, for many, a political philosophy based on Ayn Rand's assertion that "inferior" people are better off dead. Much too often, those whose job is to "protect and serve" use guns as a first response, especially, it seems, in interactions with people of color. For an ever-growing number of people, the American dream has become simply to survive.
Gun violence is a very complex problem but it is not insoluble. However, like cancer, the disease cannot be cured by treating symptoms.
Robert Van Fleet, Burnt Ranch