Las Vegas Sun

May 5, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

We’ve become a culture of violence

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With enough news and opinion to go around for the next year or two, one wonders, is there any viable solution to the seeming epidemic of gun violence in which thousands of Americans are killed each year?

What measures, if implemented, could staunch the flow of blood in our nation and recognize the cruel irony of the National Rifle Association’s call for yet more guns?

The apparent answer: none. The U.S., it seems, has become permeated by a mainstream culture of violence.

A good example, besides those predictable video games and the morphing of boxing into “ultimate fighting,” is the success of the film “Django Unchained”: one bloody episode after another until almost everyone has been beaten to a pulp, whipped, blown up, shot up, tortured, mutilated or savaged by dogs.

But that’s not the most disturbing aspect of this “culture.” During the most violent and sadistic episodes, the theater audience saw reason to laugh.

Legislation to mandate sharper background checks and banning the sale of automatic weapons represents a noble effort to treat the symptoms of this problem but not the root cause, possibly incurable in the present day.

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Previous Discussion: 19 comments so far…

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  1. Mankind is the most highly evolved predator on the planet. We are NOT a peaceful species. Our intelligence is what has given us the ability to be more effective killers than all other species.

    We have not *become* a society of violence as the author of this letter contends. Instead, violence is one of the fundamental factors that has resulted in our species as it exists today.

    This will not change until wisdom dominates our evolutionary path. Sadly, I doubt this will happen.

  2. False:

    all guns = killings


    guns = protection for family/individuals


    guns in the wrong hands of a bad person = potential harm/death to people

    1. What law would prevent a bad person from getting a gun?

    2. What law prevents a bad person from carrying out a crime with or without a weapon?

    3. Law enforcement officers can't be everywhere to protect citizens from bad people. Why create laws that disarm good citizens from protecting themselves against bad people?

  3. We've been a culture of violence. We started with the Sons of Freedom.


  4. " wonders, is there any viable solution to the seeming epidemic of gun violence in which thousands of Americans are killed each year?"

    Esperian -- your histrionic letter sounds like a TV preacher's spiel. For starters, you've completely ignored some fundamentals, like the other weapons used for killing in the last two months -- knives, razor blades (R.I.P., Jade Morris), teeth, trains. Factor in the pandering of politicians and an omnipresent media and you have manufactured opinion like yours. You've also ignored a fundamental truth -- we're a violent species and always have been.

    "Mental illness is the root cause to the violence"

    Future -- your post is childish. What do you do when violence confronts you? Like a home invader suddenly coming through your door and you're the only thing standing between him/her/them and your child? You learn instantly what you're really made of. And how primal all of us really are.

    "Our intelligence is what has given us the ability to be more effective killers than all other species.....This will not change until wisdom dominates our evolutionary path..."

    boftx -- I see you beat me to making this point. Excellent post!

    "We've been a culture of violence. We started with the Sons of Freedom."

    CarmineD -- wrong. In terms you can relate to, it started with Cain & Abel.

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." -- George Orwell's "Animal Farm" (1945)

  5. We should all be thankful that reason and civility overcomes our natural urge/instinct towards utilizing violence as a first response to anything.

    What is problematic, is the encouragement of using violence as the primary resort in all situations in our society through the vehicles of communication as movies, video games, situational dramas, etc.. In our lifelong on-going socialization, we learn to not react by punching those we disagree with, and instead attempt to discuss and reason with them, or agree to disagree. Those who are not in their right minds find violence as the ultimate answer to get rid of the problem that they face. Kill the problem and you don't have to continue being troubled by it/them.

    Now, as to mental health. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Has the shift from a two parent home to a one parent home impacted the wellbeing of their offspring? You bet. Young children are exposed to extreme violence, and learn to accept it as a part of life, at a very early age. By the time parents catch wind of what their children are up to, it is too late, and they must do some damage control. But how many will, beyond turning off or taking away a negative influence in a consistent matter?

    Those of us who are much older, remember growing up during the time of television shows and movies having the fighting of cowboys and Indians, the Mafia "Untouchables," or wars. How did we manage to turn out so well? We had adults who reasoned and talked to us!

    This question of "Nature versus Nurture" culturation is nothing new.

    Blessings and Peace,

  6. You know the Sun could have science section with articles on the rates of various kinds of violence and trends but then comments here would become more informed...

  7. "CarmineD -- wrong. In terms you can relate to, it started with Cain & Abel." @ KillerB

    How true. However, I put into American political, culture, and country sense. We [us as in US] began when the Sons of Freedom revolted against the tyranny of the King and his mercenaries. Had they acquienced to the King, and did not take up arms and shed their blood in the American Revolution, we'd still be British colonies.


  8. Jeff says guns equal protection for families and individuals. Nevada is one of the most gun happy and violent states in the United States. Provide me with a list of Nevadans that have been able to use their guns for protection. You would be lucky to find five in the last 25 years. People get shot in this town nearly every single day. When people attempt to use their guns for protection more often then not they get shot themselves because they are so inept.

    Both the National Rifle Association and Cato Institute keep statistics on guns that are used for protection. The Cato Institute's heat map also includes guns used in violent animal attacks. There are a couple hundred cases a year. How many gun crimes over time? Millions.

  9. "Some like KillerB even fantasize about being a hero..."

    antigov -- no fantasy, I've in the situation my post described. What else did you make up in you post?

    "A stupid man's report of what a clever man says is never accurate because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand." -- Bertrand Arthur William Russell (1872-1970), "A History of Western Philosophy"

  10. We haven't become a violent culture. We IMPORTED IT. Porous borders letting in illegal immigrants, coyotes, terrorists, saboteurs. We spend endless money on foreign countries while little on internal programs and infrastructure--other than the endless funding for the growth industries of illegitimate births to teens, illegals, less-than-gifted "parents."

  11. "We haven't become a violent culture. We IMPORTED IT."

    Roslenda -- you mean after our ancestors slaughtered this country's natives as part of winning the West we live in? And more recently Waco and Ruby Ridge? Your education seems to be short on history.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace..." -- Thomas Paine "The Crisis" first printed in the Pennsylvania Journal, December 19, 1776 (it opens with that famous sentence "These are the times that try men's souls")

  12. I doubt most people buy or carry a gun so they can be a hero. Because someone believe in preparing themselves to defend their family doesn't make them a gun nut. If someone decides to enter your house, knowing you are at home, they will hurt you or your family without hesitation. Alarms are nice but can be defeated. Dogsa are fine, but also can be defeated. I carry off duty and have no problem with concesled weapons holders who do so responsiblily. If you are able to contact 911 a sequence will happen before help arrives. First, the communication center dispatcher will gather info and send the nearest unit your way. Depending on where they are it could take 5 to 7 minutes to arrive. the first arriving unit will come in dark, parking well down the street from your house. He will then observe and see if any vehicles are close by occupied and running. This could be the layoff man or driver. He will be armed as well. The first officer will stand by covering any vehicle until more units arrive. Once 3 to 4 officers are on scene, they will neutralize the driver if one is present. They will then send one to the side and one to the rear for stragglers. the dispatcher will want you to reamin in the line to guide you through whats happening. The offices will then enter and clear the house methodically, not fast, because they don't know who the suspects are and who the victims are yet. If you are armed you should've already notified the dispatcher of this, they will let you know that officers are present and to lower and safe your weapon. Even being a victim you will more than likley be handcuffed until everything gets sorted out. it's just procedure, everyones a suspect until they are not. Many families have set plans in place and practice. Mine will enter the nearest cloest, where a hard line and cell phone are and deabolt the doors. they will not exit until the are told by dispatch the scene is safe. My wife hates guns, but knows how to use one, because she wantes to protect her family. We have biometric safes, she has her own that I can't access. Having spent a number of years in the military and now civilian world I can tell you evil exists and it's everywhere. Doesn't matter how nice a neighborhood you live in, it can still find you. I pray it will never find my home and I see enough every day to belive that being prepared isn't paranoia. I'm sure most people don't ever wnat to face a threat at home, but no matter how remote the chance is, it happens in this country everyday. it has happened many times here in Las Vegas wher a homeowner defended his family with a weapon. In the Army we trained for war but prayed for peace, that's the soldiers way. being a prepared citizen is not a bad idea. Taking the proper training and safety course and utilizing anything to defend your slef is a good thing. Safey storing weapons is another key issue. Stay safe.

  13. boftx,

    "This will not change until wisdom dominates our evolutionary path. Sadly, I doubt this will happen."

    I agree with your assessment which preceded this last part of your comment. This last part of this quote I can't agree with.

    We have to face the fact that we are not even close to the era that will bring about such change. We are spiraling down, not up.

    I can't ignore the way Nature deals with anything that threatens the balance of creation. Examples abound. It is only our arrogance and egotism that prevents our species from recognizing the reality, and that is at our peril.

    Evolution will eventually take place, but perhaps not result in any form we could imagine or recognize by out limited minds of today. Maybe the human species is the overgrowth and kindling for Nature's match to make way for the evolutionary leap necessary for all life on planet Earth and and perhaps beyond Earth.

    It is what follows the destruction that might have a positive outcome for life.

    The best we can do now is for each person to find a healthy, peaceful, and positive way contribute to the here and now of evolutionary journey by recognizing and practicing the opposite of what is speeding up our destruction.

    Our lives are very short, making it all the more important to recognize the importance of utilizing our lives for the highest purposes, rather than spend it wallowing in the lowest pursuits, wasting time in fear and fighting, that proceed from greed and lust in some form or other.

    There is not self preservation for the self destructive, individually or as a species.

  14. My fondest wish is that my 5 yr old and her generation will be the ones to say enough of the me first mindset. While growing up, there were several older couples in my neighborhood who all the children called "Grandma or Grandpa so and so". We had no fear trick or treating, went out christmas caroling and had a sense of community. Now, people are suspicious of everyone and hardly anyone knows their next door neighbor, let alone people down the street. One of my neighbors is from Canada and only comes down periodically to stay. He mentioned several tims the lack of community. Our other next door negihbors were shocked when they were invited over the first time. We have lost empathy for others, sure we speak up when tragedy happens, but everything is about me and mine. Maybe we'll get lucky and the next generations will break this cycle, I hope so beacuse I want my children and their children to enjoy theri lives, not wait for the next tragedy to hapen.

  15. Peacelily,

    Human intelligence is acting as a brake on evolution today. That is why I say I doubt that wisdom will have a chance to overcome intelligence.

    Until it does, if that is possible, we will continue to see our violent nature, the very reason we exist, continue to be on display in cases where wisdom might have kept it in check.

    To put it in simple terms for others: You can't fix stupid, you can only hope it dies before it breeds.

  16. Killer: I'm of Native dna. Why stop your "assessment" at 1500 a.d.? Why not go back to unrecorded history? People (and animal packs) have obliterated civilizations for the land since time began. How does recalling one injustice justify another? If anything, history helps to explain that we cannot allow illegals to steal our cultures and our way of life. We are a nation of LEGAL immigrants.

  17. How do we enforce our gun law (illegals can't carry or possess) IF we say they can stay? Invader residents with no means of support, able to carry guns, wanting what we have. Result: violent crime against Americans. Federal government making rules but not funding the costs. Our local governments will be bankrupt and demand ever-increasing tax revenue while providing nothing for us.

  18. Esperian,

    Your premise of "seeming epidemic of gun violence" is incorrect. Consequently, the body of your argument is moot. Seemingly.


  19. John thinks "A good the success of the film "Django Unchained": one bloody episode after another until almost everyone has been beaten to a pulp, whipped, blown up, shot up, tortured, mutilated or savaged by dogs."

    I agree. I never understood why Tatantino didn't portray this time if slavery and civil war as the playful, innocent romp on the beach it actually was.

    I'm just surprised that John didn't complain about "Lincoln." I don't want to spoil the ending a major character in that film dies after being "shot up."

    That Spielberg is a monster. I mean have you seen "Saving Private Ryan? Just like "Django," it featured "one bloody episode after another until almost everyone has been beaten to a pulp, whipped, blown up, shot up, tortured, mutilated..."

    We need to return to a simpler time. A time when, rather than being entertained by violent movies or video games, we would all gather together in the town square for a good, old-fashioned, witch burning.

    Those were the days.