Letter: Time to look at societal and other causes of violence

April 26, 2013 

Mass killings with guns or any other means are tragic, and many questions as to why remain unanswered. Public responses have included calls for more gun control as well as more gun ownership. Others call for more mental health intervention and facilities.

Fewer voices, however, call for a more critical look at the society that helps predispose and produce individuals capable of committing such horrific acts of violence.

Questionable priorities in our political system and unequal justice in our legal system help produce "double losers." These are average and gifted young people, who are unsuccessful in honest efforts to achieve prescribed societal goals through established legitimate means (education, jobs and acceptance) and who also fail to succeed with prescribed illegitimate means (crime and deviance).

When social pressures to achieve, without opportunities to do so, become unbearable, individuals' might express themselves with horrific behaviors that can range from suicide to homicides and often both.

Major institutions in our society make and enforce the laws by which we are to live peacefully. Perhaps it's time for the community to look at our social institutions for contributing and alternative causes of violence.


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