Violent Culture: Not much optimism for changes 2012.12.19

Written by David Green.

It’s the large-scale murders in public places that grab our attention the most, but mass shootings are anything but rare in America.

In fact, shootings occurred in every month but June this year. August was particularly hard hit with seven people dying Aug. 5 in Wisconsin, three people dying Aug. 13 at Texas A&M, one death and nine injuries in New York City Aug. 24, and three deaths in a New Jersey supermarket Aug. 31. There was also a high school shooting Aug. 28 in Baltimore.

Every month but June…. The year’s tally of fatalities now stands at 93, not including the killers who often took their own lives.

None of the 18 incidents in 2012 hurt as much as the recent elementary school shooting in Connecticut and of course it’s launched another round of the continuing debate about why the United States is such a violent country.

Some blame the ease of obtaining weapons. Others cite the legal status of assault weapons, questioning the need for that weaponry among citizens not engaged in a war.

From the other side comes the argument that those weapons will be needed when it’s time to fight against an unjust government, and some citizens believe that time is already here.

Some people note that it’s easier to obtain an assault weapon than to obtain mental health services—something desperately needed by the murderers. Others criticize the adverse effects of the medication prescribed through mental health services.

Some people favor an “arms race” approach and are certain that more guns is the solution. Armed guards are needed at every school and school personnel should have weapons. Others cite public health studies that point to the opposite: the more guns available, the more shootings that follow. An estimated 300 million guns are now in the U.S.—one for every citizen.

Does the “virtual violence” of video games affect a small subset of young people? Is the early recognition of psychosis a key?

A few big name personalities are quick to point to what they see as the obvious problem: We’re being punished by God. It’s the same reason given for hurricanes and other disasters.

All of these conflicting opinions suggest that not much is going to change, that guns will continue to be very pervasive in this country, that our culture of violence is here to stay.

That’s a very bleak look at our future, but disturbing events such as the Newtown shooting don’t offer up much hope.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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