A Reporter's Notebook
Your inside scoop to the South Florida Jewish community

Violence begets violence

If there’s anyone left who doesn’t believe we live in a very violent society, I don’t what else will convince them.

Once again, some ‘Looney Tunes’ wacko went berserk – and instead of blowing out his own twisted brains – instead, massacred innocent people just sitting in a movie house.

Chillingly, the sicko who recently shot 12 people dead in Aurora, Co., including a 6-year-old little girl who was out with her daddy, and injured more than 50 others, did his dirty deed just a dozen, or so, miles from Littleton, where two other mentally deranged young adults massacred 13 at Columbine High School in 1999.

What’s going on in Colorado? It’s hardly the same “Rocky Mountain ‘High,’” immortalized by John Denver. I lived in Denver from 1975 to 1984, and while just about everybody but me owned a gun, most violence, that I can recall anyway, was restricted to barroom brawls, and jealous lovers.

But as my college-student son reminds me: “That was back in the olden days!”

He could be right. In just 25 years, I have witnessed much change in American society – and a lot of it has not been for the better. Back then, cable TV was in its infancy, so there wasn’t much to influence kids yet. In fact, I remember when MTV first came on – very innocent by today’s standards. Those were the days when “Star Wars,” “Superman,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Rocky” were the big blockbusters. Not much there in the way of violence, other than Jack Nicholson’s frontal lobotomy or Rocky’s punched out face. And the only computer game available was “Pong,” which wouldn’t hold the attention of today’s teens for a nano-second.

The point is, we have become the most violent society in the civilized world. American daily life is saturated with graphic, bloody and gory, constant violence. Whether it’s movies, TV, video games – or even 24-hour news coverage – violence has become as natural to us as the air we breathe.

We seem immune to the sight of bloody bodies lying dead in the street, or to the terrible violent acts we see on the news – be it gang violence – or even at a neighborhood movie theater.

Sadly, perpetrators of violence become instant celebrities, and the jerks who “star” on those battling, screaming reality shows have become people we admire and try to emulate.

Viciousness and vulgarity are the twin ‘buzz’ words today. And what about guns? Well, guns have been around for quite some time – not so for the abundance of wackos we seem to be producing these days.

While I’d love to see every gun disappear, I’m not naïve enough to believe the criminal element will be turning their weapons over anytime soon, if ever.

So, what to do? Should I actively join the campaign for gun control (in the misguided belief that will end violence?), I ask myself. But now denied an ‘equalizer,’ what happens if I come face to face with some low-life intent on doing me harm – or who’s on a mission to massacre as many people as he can?

I don’t know. Then again – maybe the outcome would have ended differently at that movie theater in Aurora if someone else would have had a gun.

2 Responses to “Violence begets violence”

  1. Jay from Wellington says:

    As you might expect, Shani, I favor gun control. Though the NRA has long held to the slogan, “if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns,” the lunatics who shot Gabby Gifford, and who blew up Cinema 16 and the Sikh temple all bought their guns legally. And every gun out there was legal at one time in its life. ‘

    Notwithstanding revoking the 2nd Amendment, which is not gonna happen, let’s at least control access to guns, or at minimum, to handguns and assault weapons. My modest proposal to do it: Put all such gun sales in the hands of the police, with any other transaction illegal with stiff penalties.

    Can you really imagine your local neo-nazi traipsing down to his local precinct house to get a weapon? Not likely. Plus the revenues would help fund policing activities. Yes, some pawn shops and gun shows would suffer, but hey, that’s the price of freedom. Freedom to own a gun, that is.

  2. brian mcdonald says:

    very good article Shani, personally, I never owned a gun, but served in the USArmy, 1961 to 1964, now I am tempted to get a home defense rifle, violence has taken over this country in the last 25 years, there is no respect for anyone, including children, and the legal system seems to protect the criminal and punish the victim, I still love America, but I have very little hope for the future and wonder what the future holds for my children and grandchildren

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