American Gun Violence Is an Epidemic

Our gun problem isn't just systematic, so what are we going to do about it?

By SHARE
EC_130123_locher.jpg

Just another day in gunner's paradise...

Another day, another shooting. I would imagine if this continues, and I fear it might, that Americans will become desensitized—if they haven't already. Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Oregon, Newtown, Albuquerque, and now Houston. Of course there will be those that say, well, at least it wasn't a massacre. Hmm...

The problem is, they're all linked by three things: guns, violence, and rage.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gun control and gun rights.]

We as a society have to ask ourselves, why is it that our neighbors to the north, Canada, have guns, hunt, watch the same TV shows and movies as we do—why do we have a level of violence that is simply not on par with the rest of the Western world? And if we look to the Eastern world, like Japan; they not only watch our movies, but many Japanese films and certainly video games that are much more violent. But, they don't have the guns.

So those of us on the left propose to reduce the type of guns our society, which is obviously very violent and filled with rage—has access to. Those on the right say that won't stop gun violence. And they're right. It's a piece of a much needed, comprehensive, multifacted approach to save our kids, our future, and dare I say our country, from...ourselves.

Now some on both the left and right will blame mental illness. Sorry folks, not everyone who's violent, enraged, owns a gun, and uses it suffers from mental illness. And with the National Rifle Association and others on the right pushing back on ideas such as tougher background checks, like at gun shows. Well, I guess we'll keep those mentally ill types pretty well armed. 

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Should Obama's Gun Control Proposals Be Enacted?]

And of course there are the movies, television, and video games. As someone who lives in Los Angeles and lives about 20 minutes from La La Land (a.k.a. Hollywood), let me explain something to you: Hollywood's a business. And businesses care about one thing: money. Their bottom line. Here's a simple, little economic principle: supply and demand. You think the movies and TV shows our kids are watching are too violent? Then stop buying tickets. If you line up en masse for those cute romantic comedies and ignore the more violent Terminator-type films, Hollywood will supply you with what you demand.

So since some say we can't blame the guns, some say we can't blame the people owning the guns, some say it's the mentally ill but don't want further controls and certainly don't want to pay for any type of mental illness programs or hospitals or medications—since we're the ones buying those violent video games, TV shows, and movies, what's left?

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Did the Sandy Hook Shooting Prove the Need for More Gun Control?]

Look in the mirror. 

As the parent or a 4 and 5 year old, I notice that the way I handle my stress is the way they handle theirs. They're imitators. So for every parent out there that's watching Die Hard or The Godfather in front of your toddler and you think they're too busy playing with their Elmo, think again. Their brain is absorbing that flick, frame by frame.  And for those of you who knock out a wall, or perhaps your wife or girlfriend every time you get ticked off, our kids are watching. 

America, we are responsible for those that died. For ignoring our culture of rage and violence far too long...and for not correcting those behaviors within ourselves. This isn't just systemic, it's epidemic. So what are we as a nation going to do about it?

  • Read Susan Milligan: Beyonce Should Have Sang the National Anthem Live
  • Read Brad Bannon: America's Economic Reality Missing From Obama's Inaugural Address
  • Check out U.S. News Weekly, now available on iPad.