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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Discussion America Cannot Avoid



By: Thaddeus S. Kaczor, Jr.


We all have witnessed the flood of the 'usual articles' that appear in the media whenever a horrific school shooting erupts, where facts and figures, body counts, and rankings in 'American History' inevitable pop up- like these incidents are to be covered like sporting events with a scorecard, or some kind of TV Program or Movie review. Apparently, there isnot only a lack of standards in modern journalism, but also a lack of knowledge of history.  I recently read an article by By RACHEL QUIGLEY, THOMAS DURANTE IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT and HAYLEY PETERSON in London's Daily Mail, which listed 'America's Worst School Massacres'. Incredibly, this pseudo-scorecard of 'worst school massacres' does not even include the very WORST one in American history.  Out of the 'top ten' listed and meticulously ranked by killed and injured- with dates and locations- and they failed to even mention the very WORST school massacre in American History!

The Bath School disaster is the name given to three bombings in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, which killed 38 elementary school children, two teachers, four other adults and the bomber himself; at least 58 people were injured. Most of the victims were children in the second to sixth grades (7–11 years of age[1]) attending the Bath Consolidated School. Their deaths constitute the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history. Of course, pointing out this isn't a 'modern' phenomenon blows the prevailing politically correct meme of this being only a recent rash of ever-increasing violence. Fact is, human history is chock full of violent, horrific incidents and occurances. Dwelling on (many times false) statistics and histrionics only serves to treat this problem in a mere 'infotainment'-like manner, wherin the perpetrator is almost 'celebritized' in a twisted sort of way, while the victims are reduced to mere 'bit players' or props in a cynical ratings chase to the bottom of the journalistic standards bin.  

Rather than this degenerative 'anti-hero worship', what is desperately needed is a long perspective on the subject of mass, psychotic violence, and a razor-like focusing on the actual cause, which is mental illness, it's treatment (or lack thereof), and it's place in modern society. Distraction resulting from the anthropomorphic transference of motive, responsibility and a causal  relationship to an inanimate object such as firearms is not only counterproductive and totally ineffective, it loudly and pervasively takes the focus away from the REAL problem of mental illness and society's failure to even confront the issue- let alone seek to reduce and solve this massively under-reported problem. Of course, it is a perverse way to advance a cynically political agenda which is more related to advancing ideology, personal ambition and a paternalistically smothering version of collectivism.

As I have heard several advocates of stricter gun controls (and even outright BANS on firearms) say, it IS time to have a frank and open conversation about the violence in American (and human) society. But instead of being distracted by methods and tools used to commit these crimes, let's instead focus on the ROOT cause- human behavior and mental illness and it's treatment. We can take all the guns, knives, baseball bats, cars and other weapons and potential weapons away from every citizen, but until we recognize the problem is a behavioral problem and must be treated as such, people will use forks, rocks, their fists and whatever it takes to express their misguided rage against the outside world. Treat the PERSON as the problem- not the symptoms of the problem like motive or method- and we will slowly but surely move in the direction where incidents like this will be rarer, less horrific, and slowly becoming a thing of the violent past.