Gun Control

January 19, 2013

Parent groups, teachers across the country and the President of the United States are demanding gun control.I suggest that gun control in itself is not enough to solve the problem of mass murders.If you walk down the main street of any city in Israel, you will notice young soldiers about 18 to 20 years old carrying rifles. Many soldiers, both male and female, all carrying guns. It’s necessary for self-defense in fighting terrorism.In spite of the availability of arms in Israel, indeed of their prevalence, there are no mass murders.I suggest that what contributes to the prevalence of shootings in America is our legacy of the Wild West. That legacy depicts and glorifies the use of guns in films and television programs.Of course, there are also the police procedurals, the gangster films, dramas labeled as cinema noir and the cinematic glimpses of social reality in which teenagers resort to violence and killing sprees.Our TV programs, our movies, our popular culture, project shootings with no emotion. No feeling of remorse.Violence in movies and TV programs numbs us to the sight of death and murder. It also stirs up images and ideas for those of us who are mentally impaired or conscience deficient.Those with mental problems and with low creativity scores are fed with fantasies of glory they do not have in their real life. It is not surprising that some of the killers wear battle gear in the real life killing sprees. That appears to be the style depicted in films and television. The idea did not magically appear out of thin air...It is not only that art imitates life. Life imitates art too.We have a Wild West legacy to start with. Add to it the TV programming and the movie industry productions that capitalize on this legacy in order to maximize profitability and you get a culture of violence that is growing, not declining.What to do?We should control the possession of guns, even though it per se will not solve the problem. It is needed to arrest the problem; it might prevent some murders to occur because it will be more difficult to get the guns. But to solve the problem, we must address the cause: We need to outlaw violence in movies and television. Delegitimize it. Cease making it heroic. Make it despicable.Here is an analogy: a swamp that breeds mosquitoes that carry malaria. Killing as many mosquitoes as possible will not solve the problem. Drying up the swamp would. But that takes time. In the meantime stop the mosquitoes from proliferating.Same here: to change the culture will take time. In the meantime have gun control as a symptomatic relief.Is that it then?Unfortunately no.Apparently we can not do either: controlling the guns requires changing the constitutional amendment that makes bearing arms a right of every citizen; outlawing violence in entertainment requires changing the constitutional amendment of free speech.Will there be a political will to change the constitution?It is a double whammy. Two constitutional amendments. The compounded probability that it will happen is in my estimate-approaching zero.All the chest beating and hair pulling or gun controls will not do much unless the causes are dealt with and the constitution is changed. Which I am afraid is improbable.What then?Carry a gun to protect yourself. Have guards at schools.I myself did not expect my analysis to end up supporting the NRA.How much more crazy can we be?Sincerely,Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

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Dr. Ichak Adizes