Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mass Killings

We have many acts of violence, mass killings in our country! The American College Dictionary, defines violence as “rough or injurious action or treatment.” The following are a few brief examples of influences that contribute, correlate with the personality and character development of individuals that commit acts of hate. 1. Implicit bias is rooted and a human tendency-maybe in the DNA that divide and discriminate against others in our social world. In other words, “It’s us versus them.” Early on, we differentiate acceptance of others like us versus fear or threat of others not like us. Groups are often divided among race, religion, sex, socioeconomic status, political parties, etc. Even a football team has its own followers and haters- the enemy. We perceive, have feelings for and treat our own groups, significantly differently from “the other.” 2. Our culture, dating back to the Monroe doctrine of 1823 and the idea of Manifest Destiny, followed by two centuries of American exceptionalism painted a picture of glorified acts of violence. There was justified killing of Native Americans by settlers and soldiers in taming the West. Our movies and TV Westerns were about the good guys and the Indians as the bad villains. Even today, theater and home audiences clap, cheer in delight when a bad hombre gets killed. 3. Our video games are mostly about violence. For example, the Grand Theft Auto series of videos has resulted in more than $2.5 billion in sales. Is there a difference between killing in the video and killing in our communities? Do we become numb and desensitized to images of death? 4. The media and their daily news cycles tend to give lots of information about the perpetrator, compared to the victims. We see their names and faces along with their history. We may even hear from their mother, father and the neighbor in the process. The killer is covered with a 24-7 blitz. The murderers have instant notoriety during that exuberance of TV coverage. If one wants a claim to fame, - go destroy a group of unprotected, unarmed and peaceful civilians. Back in the day, we had trusted and trustworthy journalists like Walter Cronkite and Edward R Murrow. They objectively, without regard to political party, reported the news. Today, we are not presented with TV or radio, rational-objective news. Instead, we are presented with cable, personalities and social media sites that provide us with noise, entertainment, misinformation, glorification and countless interviews with repeated talking points. TV and the Internet have changed our world-in some ways for the detriment of all. 5. Child abuse, maltreatment and other restrictive and negative parenting practices also contribute to the development of the violent personality. These factors affect the highly suggestible, who have not developed a firm sense of self. Further, many are paranoid and blame others for what they see as disappointments in their life time of failures. It’s easy to blame injustice on others, and then distort and justify one’s acts. They have developed a sadomasochistic character style. They do not place a high value on life. They simply treat others inhumanely. There also depressed, socially isolated, and are unable to perceive an optimistic future. There being, is about taking life, not giving it. Sources: The National Psychologist, September/October 2016 and the New York Times, December 11, 2016.

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