Mass Shootings – What We Are Failing to Address
Every time a mass-shooting happens we retake the old discussions about gun control. Stricter measures for civilians to buy any sort of weapon are, by all means, extremely important and necessary. However, we fail when we put all our efforts on the “hardware” side of the problem and forget to invest more on its “software” front. In my country, where buying guns is way harder than in the US, more people die annually by firearms than in America, even considering all the recurrent mass-shootings in the United States. Something might be very wrong with the way we are facing this problem.
I do support all steps toward making gun purchasing by civilians more difficult (if not impossible), either in the US or elsewhere. But I do believe we are forgetting to discuss the core problem behind repetitive shootings, especially mass-shootings: the sick minds behind them. Dysfunctional people will always find a way to fulfill their desire of killing be it by stealing, borrowing or creating their own weapons of (mass) destruction. Thus, it is imperative to pay a closer attention to the human “programming” as healthy minds will never feel the self-motivation to eliminate one-another no matter how much destruction tools are available out there.
It amazes me to notice how much violence our society encourages, including – and especially – to our kids’ immature (and very fertile) minds. I love watching movies and I made this experience recently to reinforce my assumption of how much we stimulate violence by the simplest and most affordable means. I didn’t pick streaming videos as the selection could seem somehow biased, but I rather chose movies among those showing in the theaters. In a one-month timeframe, it is correct to say that out of all movies I watched, around 70% of them were permeated by guns and shootings or, at least, by people carrying guns around as a means to deterrence. What it’s even more disturbing is the fact that most of the shootings that occurred were performed by the so-called good guys, who were fighting (meaning: shooting) for the sake of peace.
Another recent experience of mine, but this time unintended, is when I was at a friend’s house. She was watching a famous series with another friend of hers and in a certain moment of the show, there was this 7-minute-long shooting scene between the “good” and the “bad” guys. It was worrisome to see their vibrant enthusiasm with the scene in which, of course, the good guys won leaving behind a bloodshed. Of course, I understand that not everybody who enthusiastically watches a movie or a series like this will go out and buy a gun to do the very same thing, but why not to think that this could – in fact – happen? Why can’t we be more careful about what we are encouraging to whomever is out there in our audience? Not everyone had the luxury and the privilege to be born around sound familiar spaces, or belong to harmless schools and work environments, or be raised in safe social atmospheres. So, yes, why not to think that we could be massively encouraging people out there to respond life problems with violence – mass-shooting included?
It is indeed striking to notice how much stimulation of violence our movie, television and overall entertainment industries flood our minds with every single day. If the “good” guys or the victims in the movies and series we watch in a daily basis successfully shoot in the name of righteousness and justice, why would someone who also feels him/herself as a victim think or act otherwise? After all, he/she believes to be entitled to do “justice” as well.
Passing an effective gun control bill seems as challenging and bolder as performing important societal changes. Gun control bills, however, cannot refrain evil from happening if mankind still nurtures the self-motivation to do harm. It is, indeed, time to start investing in the human software programming instead of its hardware.