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Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's The Violence Stupid!

Cause and effect are often complicated. In the national gun-rights vs. gun-control argument, the left categorically refuses to admit that any cause of violence exists other than guns, and therefore any solution other than banning guns is a waste of time. We can't change people is their argument so we have to make people less capable of doing harm. They don't want to examine what makes people violent. They don't want to admit that it is our culture of make-believe violence glorified on television, in movies, in music, in video games, comic books, and clothing that is the probable cause of all the real violence out on the street. It's not 24-7 pretend murder on television they say, it's too many guns. Get rid of the guns and there will finally be peace on Earth. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

Here's a case in point. You might think that spending hours every day playing violent video games like Grand Theft Auto where you steal cars, run over pedestrians, and shoot cops would encourage anti-social behavior. This just seems intuitive, but not so argues Fareed Zakaria of CNN, who says: Don't blame the video games:
Presumably, then, if violent video games somehow translated into more deadly gun-related behavior you would expect the United States – which has far and away the highest levels of gun-related murders per-capita – to be the biggest spender on such games. But this is not the case. In fact, according to the Post’s figures, U.S. spending per-capita is ahead of only China. The Netherlands and South Korea spend more than twice as much per-capita on video games, yet gun murder rates in these two countries are far, far lower than those in the United States. Japan, which has some of the most graphically violent games and animation in the world, has violent crime rates that are a fraction of those in the United States.
Well there you have it. According to the Washington Post's "figures" South Korea spends more money per-capita on video games and they have a lower gun-related murder rate. Therefore it can't possibly be the video games, can it? At first this seems logical but actually it's an asinine fallacy. It's nothing but a shabby trick, a case of comparing apples to oranges. When you say it's not the video games Fareed, I wonder if you've properly followed the scientific method. I wonder if you've documented the names and backgrounds of your test subjects. I wonder if you've controlled for the video games being played such that all test subjects play the same violent video games. Where is your control group? This article by Fareed Zakaria is nothing but another asinine attempt to paint guns as the root of all evil. I wonder why they don't want me to be able to protect myself from violence? It's not just the dollar value spent on video games that defines whether a culture is violent or not. The violent video game market is only one thin slice of America's murder pie.

Americans are exposed to violence from early childhood on. Almost from the time we are old enough to begin watching Saturday morning cartoons we're treated to a veritable montage of gore, bombs, guns, car chase scenes, fistfights, stabbings, swordfights, and often magical or super powers used to inflict unimaginable mayhem upon society in the pursuit of world domination, revenge, or just plain evil. Practically every childhood story has a villain.

Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the Roadrunner are—as I recall—nonstop smorgasbords of violence exemplified. These cartoon characters get blown to smithereens throughout the length and breadth of every episode. Now you may believe that these cartoons are harmless because the characters suffer no lasting harm, but ask yourself this question, has the study of the human mind advanced to the point where we understand why people become violent? How many studies have been done where a study group is raised from birth to adulthood without this constant exposure to destructive impulses?

I understand as well as you do that it's not just our violent culture that causes these outrages like Sandy Hook, as well as the sickening and unreported violence of hundreds of murders of every kind with all-manner of weaponry all over the country every single day. There are all kinds of factors that comprise the totality of America's violence problem. Poverty is one, but especially the kind of poverty found in the setting of a high density urban population. It's the big cities that have the murder problem, not rural areas, and rarely suburbs. Lots of people would like to blame gangs, but gangs are nothing but a manifestation of our tribal nature. We naturally form alliances with those around us and in a culture where violence is celebrated and ubiquitous, a "gang" is naturally going to try to compete.

Have you ever heard of Knockout king? Imagine you are walking down the street, or standing in a crowd, or shopping at the mall. A group of young men is walking towards you. Perhaps you're aware of them, perhaps you aren't. You should be, but maybe you're all into whatever you see on the other side of that window, or that conversation you're having on your cell phone. One of the gangbangers steps away from his crew, and with no warning at all launches a hay-maker at your face. If he knocks you out in one punch he's Knockout King. Either way they all tear into you at that point and beat you senseless, rob you, and often strip you naked, laughing away as they steal away with all that remains of your dignity. This is a nightmarish scene right out of A Clockwork Orange and it happens often. We don't know how often because the mainstream media isn't interested in talking about this. They're only interested in disarming the citizenry.

Why does the mainstream media want a disarmed citizenry? It could be some underground fifth column organized in the heyday of the USSR, epitomized by the following list of Communist Goals that was entered into the Congressional record in 1963. The problem with all such conspiracy theory conjecture is that even if it's true, the fact that you believe it is enough to earn you your honorary tinfoil hat and a sturdy jacket with extra long sleeves. I don't honestly know what to believe, but what I've never been more certain about is that the more insistently the liberal media clamors for me to disarm, the more intransigently I will cling to my guns. In a nation where I don't have the right to own a gun, I'd just be another bloody naked degraded victim of the Knockout King, looking around dazedly as a crowd of people hurried by, too afraid of getting hurt to ever get involved.

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