Political Solutions to the Epidemic Crisis of Mass Shootings and School Shootings
There have been a numerous amount of mass shootings and school shootings over the last few years. This paper identifies three possible solutions to the political problem, stating both the pros of all three solutions and the flaws found within two solutions. First, Congress passing a law requiring people to have mental evaluations before purchasing a gun as studies show more than half of the incidents that have occurred the perpetrators have physiological instability.
Second, a Federal law that would increase the minimum age to 21 as it seems that data showed some perpetrators fall within the younger age range. Third restricting the sale of violent games being that there may be a correlation between them and mass shootings. All information gathered was obtained through information within previously written scholarly articles and newspaper articles. Findings show that implementing a Congressional law requiring people to take part in mental evaluations prior to obtaining a firearm to be the best solution.
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Although never formally defined, mass shootings and school shootings can occur anywhere and affect anyone. They can result as a form of hate, racism, lack of mental stability and many other factors. Despite resulting from different purposes mass shootings and school shootings all have the commonality in which a perpetrator kills four or more people in a same location. Throughout the years the scope of this issue has risen drastically hence that some of the most tragic shootings have occurred within the last few years (Alcantara, Berkowitz, & Lu, 2018).
The epidemic problem of mass shootings and school shootings isn’t only a communal problem, or a state problem its much larger than that, this is a national issue that needs attention. The American people are living with the constant fear that their lives are going to be taken away and it is to no disclosure that the job of keeping citizens safe is a responsibility of the government, but what exactly is it that they are doing to solve this problem? As serious as this problem is, it seems that politicians and the president himself aren’t really doing much to reduce the epidemic occurring.
Of course, when these tragedies occur politicians state their grief and the actions that they will put in place but, that’s just it there just words, not much actually gets done. After a series of research, a possible solution that politicians and Congress could consider would be for Congress to implement a law that would require anyone who wants to have possession of a gun mental screening prior to obtaining the firearm.
A second possible solution would be passing a federal law requiring minimum age to obtain a firearm be 21 rather than 18 as it is now implemented in American laws. The final solution that will be discussed within this paper that could possibly end this crisis or at least reduce the frequency of it, is governmental restrictions on sales of any violent video games, such as games that promote weapons, killing people, attacking others, or games that involve the aspect of shooting.
The United States constitution, to be more specific the second amendment makes owning the weapon that is causing these mass and school shooting an American right, and as we know ones right shouldn’t be denied but as history continues to repeat itself throughout the years it is evident that actions should be taken to prevent mass shootings. Moving forward the solution that would best fit the American population and would allow to them practice their second amendment would be the first solution of a Congressional law requiring all citizens who want a firearm to take part of a mental screening.
How do we stop these reoccurring incidents? How do we save the little piece of sanity that is left in America? While prohibiting guns across the country to civilians may not be a proper solution to these massacres as per according to the second amendment, implementing psych checks and mental screening for anyone who wants to bear a gun will allow people the ability to practice their constitutional right. At the same time these screenings could potentially decrease the number of fatalities that occur, as evidence has shown mental instability is a common factor among perpetrators.
Earlier this year doctors Joshua D. Brown and Amie J Goodin set out to conduct research that would determine any connections between mass shootings, where they took place, what types of firearms perpetrators use, and fundamentally the age range of the perpetrators. Something that they did not mean to find but came across within their study is that statistics showed that out of the 97 incidents that have occurred within the last 36 years at least 53.6% of perpetrators were indicated to suffer from mental health issues, as they wrote in their article Mass Casualty Shooting Venues, Types of Firearms, and Age of Perpetrators in the United States, 1982-2018. In say nearly more than half of these incidents have occurred due to lack of legislation involvement. Substantially the information found in Brown and Goodins’ article isn’t indeed new news.
Prior research conducted in the early phase on the 2000’s, 2003 to be exact showed gathered evidence that indicated that approximately more than half of the perpetrators that were associated with these tragic incidents within that time and prior had shown signs of psychological problems. These problems included depression, sadistic tendencies and aggressiveness (Leary, Kowalski, Smith, &Phillips, 2003, p.210)
Furthermore, at the end of the day one may think numbers are just numbers and they don’t really portray to the reality of it all. The need for Mental screening before purchasing a rifle isn’t just something that data has shown, it’s also something the people after many loses are now demanding. An article published earlier this year in the New York Times titled A Mass Shooting Generation’ Cries Out for Change written by Burch, A. D., Mazzei, P., & Healy, J. changes the perspectives of speaking numbers and humanizes the tragic era in which American citizens are living through.
The article shows that the government and education system are drilling certain precaution systems into kids minds since a very young age. Rather than politicians putting a stop to these massacres they’re basically implying to these kids and adults that there will be more of them, and for when they occur they need to be prepared, but it seems like the students themselves have had enough of this. The article contains multiple students demand for change, such stating that they want an enforced law that not only bans rifles but that also requires a mental screening before the purchase of any rifle (Burch et al, 2018).
Another possible solution that could heavily decrease the number of mass murders that occur in America is setting a higher legal age for gun possession, such as 21 years old. The United states has declared that at 18 we aren’t matured enough to legally buy alcohol, but on the other hand, we are mature enough to legally obtain a firearm. To the degree that this statement may be true or not is particularly unknown but what is known and proven by research is that there have been frequent mass murders in which the characteristics of perpetrators fall within the younger range of age.
As previously mentioned, Brown and Goodin (2018), conduct an in-depth analysis in use to determine the correlation between the age group of firearm perpetrators and mass casualty shooters, more in-depth how these tragedies could’ve been avoided if laws were enforced on age requirements for firearm weapons (Brown, & Goodin, 2018, p.1385). In relation they identified that in fact a quarter of the 16 school shootings that have occurred would’ve been prevented if citizens under the age of 21 were prohibited from purchasing a firearm (Brown, & Goodin, 2018, p.1386).
Although creating stricter age restrictions on firearms may seem like the perfect solution to the political problem at hand, will it really solve the problem? There’s a specific flaw that goes with this solution that is never mentioned, and it’s the idea that how will this law guarantee that people under the age of 21 won’t gain access to these weapons. Ever think about fake ID’s, will they suddenly disappear after the law is passed?
Put it this way, what about simple act of borrowing a gun, the Anti-Gun Backlash From School Shooting Probably Not in Texas article in the New York Times written by Manny Fernandez, Jack Healy and Dave Montgomery speaks upon and instance where that’s what exactly occurred. A 17-year-old boy who as of legal standards now still does not have legal age to buy a gun used a shotgun and killed 10 people (Fernandez, Healy, & Montgomery,2018). What explains this is that he borrowed the one his father owned (Fernandez et al., 2018). The article goes further on to explain the people do agree change needs to happen communities need to be safer but taking away the availability to guns won’t accomplish that (Fernandez et al., 2018).
The American culture is in a desperate need of help, people want change and they want it now, but where should they start? Why not start with what we are selling to the people, it is said that our minds develop based on what we see, what we hear, and basically what we are taught. Majority of video games out today are sculptured around the concept of violence, and promote the idea of killing people, objects and anything in sight. Many say this may be a reason as to why many mass shootings are occurring in this era as the vast population of Americans are now into the virtual world.
Therefore, the last possible solution would be governmental restriction on the sales of these violent games. New York times recently posted an article titled Do Video Games Lead to Mass Shootings? Researchers Say No. by Maya Salam and Liam Stack in which they addressed that While giving a speech to legislatures Trump states that the level of violence in video games is shaping the way millennials and the people of the younger age group think (Salem & Stack, 2018). In addition to Trump, senator Mitt Romney also indicates that not only the violence and pornography in video games are to blame for mass shootings but that music, movies, and tv are also to blame (Salem & Stack, 2018).
Research such as the one conducted by Craig A. Anderson and Brad J. Bushman in the general article of Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, And Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature would support the claim made that in fact violent video games and media do affect a person possibly to the aspect of causing a massacre.
As their findings has instilled the idea that not only will television, violent movies and video games make a person more aggressive, but it will also affect their psychological state (Anderson & Bushman, 2001). Being that the president himself, and research conducted has identified that these games can be harmful, the necessary and proper clause gives the government the ability to put a bill in action that would ban violent video games. As one of the fundamental powers of the government is to provide stability and protection to its people.
Despite people forming opinions and blaming the frequencies of these fatalities on the violence in video games, research as actually shown that violence in video games as no correlation to what occurs in the real world. Yes, in fact as Anderson and Bushman may have said video games may affect ones’ aggressiveness but, it does not mean that they promote massacres. In the same Do Video Games Lead to Mass Shootings?
Researchers Say No. article Salem and Stack provide evidence and research which states that the argument of video games and its relationship to violence became common after a massacre in 1999. Since then investigations have taken place with the idea that they would either affirm or disapprove the claim (Salem & Stack, 2018). Results have shown that in fact there is no correlation amongst the violence that is portrayed in media and perpetrators (Salem & Stack, 2018). For instance, Salem and Stack included statistics gathered from a PBS essay which validated that in the United States crime committed by minors who are a large portion of the video game virtual world is at a 30 year low (Salem & Stack, 2018).
In addition, they concluded that roughly 60 percent of japans population plays video games yet, data showed that there were only six deaths caused by rifles in the year of 2014 in comparison with the United States which in that same year accumulated 33,000 deaths caused also by rifles and handguns (Salem & Stack, 2018). As seen more than 50% of Japans citizens indulge into the virtual world of games and yet, the number of deaths caused by rifles is nowhere near the amount of deaths in the United States. This evidence comes to show that in fact restricting the sales of these violent video games may have no significance in relation to the purpose of decreasing the number of massacres that occur.
In conclusion, on is not to put solely the blame on perpetrators but also on legislators. Legislators have the power to put laws in place to make a change, and in just a few words not one, but three possible solutions were listed. Mass shootings are that are taking over the American society and it’s not normal and shouldn’t be treated as so either. Time after time again the same correlation is found and yet no law has been put in place to require these psych evaluations before buying a firearm.
Congress passing a law that would require civilians that want to practice their second amendment and obtain a weapon to getting a mental evaluation is the solutions that makes the most sense. As seen flaws can be found within the solution of creating a federal law making 21 years old the minimum age to obtain a firearm and the solution of restricting the sales of violent video games.
- Anderson, C. A. (2001). Effects of Violent Video Games on Aggressive Behavior, Aggressive Cognition, Aggressive Affect, Physiological Arousal, and Prosocial Behavior: A Meta-Analytic Review of the Scientific Literature. Psychological Science, 12(5), pp. 353-359. DOI:10.1111/1467-9280.00366
- Brown, J. D., & Goodin, A. J. (2018). Mass Casualty Shooting Venues, Types of Firearms, and Age of Perpetrators in the United States, 1982–2018. American Journal of Public Health, 108(10), 1385-1387
- Burch, A. D., Mazzei, P., & Healy, J. (2018, February 16). A Mass Shooting Generation’ Cries Out for Change. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
- Fernandez, M., Healy, J., Montgomery, D. (2018, May 20). Anti-Gun Backlash From School Shooting? Probably Not in Texas. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com
- Leary, M. R., Kowalski, R. M., Smith, L., & Phillips, S. (2003). Teasing, Rejection, and Violence: Case Studies of the School Shootings. Aggressive Behavior, 29(3), 202-214. DOI:10.1002/ab.10061
- Salam, M., & Stack, L. (2018, February 23). Do Video Games Lead to Mass Shootings? Researchers Say No. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com