Saturday, October 27, 2018

Overread at Booth 5: Mass Shootings

Mass shootings are merely the face of the truly endemic, ingrained problem of gun violence.   Mass shootings are flashy, high-profile, graphic, shocking, and horrifying by their high body counts in short time frames.  But they are glimpses into the more subtle culture of gun violence.

The only time that the culture of gun violence is faced in the media is when the propaganda machine, in an effort to detract from a Caucasian shooter, is to bring up statistics showing the amount of African American victims of gun violence (“Black on Black”).  While crucial to understanding the overall culture of gun violence, this is only treated as a strawman fallacy: basically it says, “Hey don’t look at the white guy slaughtering your children!  The dirty blacks kill each other every day!”

However, such stories paint a misleading picture, and even the most basic investigations would soon lead one to understand that the problem with such crime is institutionalized poverty and lack of economic mobility.   This is part of our gun culture, and frankly, only by destroying poverty can this aspect of our gun culture be improved.

Yet, the gun culture in America reaches all levels.   It has been reinforced in our cultural narrative for more than several generations.  Stories of cowboys and heroic soldiers full our novels and our pulp magazines.   After World War Two, nearly every crime novel or thriller was a tough guy who had fought the Nazis or the Nips.   The 1950s were filled with cowboy tv shows with sharpshooters who could shoot the guns right out of the grip of the bad guys.  No blood on that, just straight shootin’ and the town was saved, yay!


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