Rampage Shootings: It's the Moral Decay of Society, not Guns
Dec 15, 2012
It should come as no surprise that the rate of mass shootings at schools and in other public places is increasing. The surge has nothing to do with guns, which have been widely available in the U.S. for years. Gun control laws have been increasing. Instead, there is a direct correlation between the increase in violence and the gradual degradation of morals, ethics and parenting. We are cultivating mental illness in our society.
Parents are allowing television and video games to increasingly babysit their children, even though both have become full of gratuitous violence. A New York Times study of rampage killers found that six of them were into violent video games. Research shows that violent video games and television desensitize people and promote aggressive behavior, despite claims to the contrary. A research scientist at the University of Michigan found that television was responsible for 10% of youth violence. Parents today are neglecting their children, and when things don't go well, rushing to get divorced instead of trying to work things out first. Children suffer emotionally when their parents fight or split up. Parents are ignoring their children so much they don't even see the warning signs that something might be wrong. The New York Times study found that 63 of 100 rampage killers had made threats of violence before the event.
Parents are no longer taking their children to church, where they would learn stability and morals. Fewer than 20% of Americans now regularly attend church. Every year there are 3000 fewer churches across the U.S, even though the population is growing. God and morality have been taken out of the public schools and replaced with political correctness and non-judgmentalism. “Public virtues” are no longer taught in today's schools. People who do not attend church are more likely than churchgoers to have stress and to be less optimistic about the future. When parents split up and there is no father to take the children regularly to church, the children are much less likely to become regular churchgoers than if their mother regularly takes them.
The New York Times study found that at least half the killers in 100 rampage attacks showed signs of serious mental health problems. 48 killers were formally diagnosed with mental illness, often schizophrenia. The mentally ill used to be kept in hospitals, where they were not a danger to others. Beginning in the 1950s in California, the ACLU successfully filed lawsuits to take the mentally ill out of hospitals, known as “deinstitutionalization.” By the 1980s, most state-run mental health hospitals had closed.
Now, most of the mentally ill are out on the streets or in prison. The laws have been changed to state that the mentally ill cannot be hospitalized until they've already attacked someone. As a result, more mentally ill people are incarcerated than in hospitals, with the seriously mentally ill three times more likely to end up behind bars than hospitalized.
More than half of all people in prison report that they have mental health problems, and more than 40 percent of the seriously mentally ill have been in jail or prison. A study at the University of South Florida found that the highest users of criminal justice and mental health services were 97 people who had been arrested 2,200 times. It is ludicrous that those 97 people are not contained for their safety and others in mental health hospitals.
The 22-year old Oregon shopping mall gunman who killed two people earlier this week is sadly typical of the rampage murderers the decay of society has spawned. He had this written on his Facebook page, "I'm the conductor of my choo choo train. I may be young but I have lived one crazy life so far." One of his friends said he raised himself; his mother died at childbirth, he never met his father, and he left his aunt's home at age 14.
The left will use the high level of emotion stirred up by this past week's two rampage killings to push through new gun control laws. Liberal New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called upon President Obama to enact tougher gun control laws immediately after Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Yet demanding more gun control laws will not solve anything. Gun control advocates have already increased the number of laws around the country requiring background checks, waiting periods for purchases, and tracking of firearms. Many of the rampage killers obtained guns illegally. If they can't obtain guns, deranged individuals will find other ways to commit mass murders – by setting fires, making bombs or running people over with vehicles. One day after the shootings in Connecticut, a man in Beijing stabbed 22 primary school students with a knife.
The left should not be allowed to dominate the dialogue after these tragic events with a red herring argument for gun control, in order to sneakily distract Americans from blaming them for what they have wrought. Americans who believe in traditional values must speak up and denounce the degradation of society's morals as the root of the problem behind these rampages, or the tragedies will continue to escalate.
Rachel Alexander is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative.