Paducah, Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now Aurora, what do all of these places have in common? Of course the easy answer is that they are all sites of gun violence, resulting in multiple injuries and deaths. There is something else though that all of these tragedies have in common too, one that I think has been overlooked and one that perhaps needs to have a little more scrutiny. Each of these dark events was perpetrated by young people, all of which are from the same generation.
One of the initial responses to each of these horrific events is to further restrict gun laws, with some calling for an outright ban on guns altogether. I think that misses the deeper and more pressing issue here. What is going on in this particular generation that has driven some to the point to where they feel the need to act out in such a violent manner? It is easy to say that if there were no guns then these terrible tragedies wouldn’t have happened. I would beg to differ, particularly if there is such angst built up in some people to where they feel so disaffected by society that they believe their only recourse is such a violent outburst to prove their point. Now before I go any further, I want to make clear that I am not suggesting that the entire millennial generation is full of such rage as those listed above; 5 disturbed individuals hardly constitutes enough people to judge an entire swathe of the population by, but I think it does merit asking what is going on. I believe that even if there were no guns available to these individuals then they would find another way to release that pent up anger and I don’t think they would simply take up racquetball.
Oklahoma City, The World Trade Center, suicide bombers; what to all of those have in common? None of them involve the use of guns. My point here is this. When someone feels so alienated and angry to where they feel the only thing they can do is kill others, then those people will find a way to do it, guns or no guns. We are dealing with people who are psychopaths, and keeping guns out of their hands is not going to either cure them, or prevent them from finding some way to act out. A bomb, or the use of some mode of transportation can be just as deadly; if not more so.
I do not own a gun, and in fact I don’t particularly care for guns, but many of my friends do own guns and they are stable, responsible, law abiding citizens, so I don’t think they are, nor will they ever be, a menace to society. So, what is the solution? I don’t know. What is the cause of 5 millennials feeling the need to resort to such violence? I have some theories, but I think blaming violence on TV, movies, and video games are a cop out. My generation grew up with violence in cartoons, TV and movies and we are not out there hitting people with frying pans or dropping safes on one another. There is an entire generation who grew up with the Three Stooges and I don’t think there was a rash of eye poking, slapping and punching. My Dad grew up, and loves to this day, watching westerns and he isn’t chomping at the bit to raid a Native American village. No, I think there are deeper issues going on that are leading some in the same generation, which as mentioned earlier, is a decided and overwhelming minority, towards these acts of unconscionable violence, and I would be curious to see a study on this. Maybe it is a little of everything, which would make it a societal problem? To blame it on guns though is too easy. A gun, like any weapon, and anything can be used as a weapon, is an inanimate object; incapable of doing anything without a conscious and physical action of the person who wields it. If that person has a psychological disorder it is not the weapon’s fault; and if that psychological disorder is bad enough to drive that person to want to kill, then gun or no gun they are going to try and act out.
Frequently consider the connection of all things in the universe. (Marcus Aurelius)