Many of those on the left side of the aisle think that the solution to mass shootings is to restrict the access to, or ban altogether, guns. However, their solution to put a stop to the ever-increasing violence in America falls flat. If human behavior was put into consideration, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that violence is part of our species’ history. Instead of blaming guns, shouldn’t we blame the toxic standards that exist in our society?
The Impact of the “American Dream”
The youth are told to get a good job, go to a top college, and to find a trophy wife or husband, as well as do all these other unlisted things. You have probably heard a few of those while you were growing up. From a young age until adulthood, Americans are flooded with the idea that if they don’t get any of those things, they will be labeled as “losers”. Thus, societal pressure begins to take a toll on their mental health and wellbeing. After all, according to many scientists, human happiness largely relies on being accepted in a certain group. Humans are social animals. As much as we don’t want to admit it, our happiness depends on some extent of external validation.
Everyone is indirectly guilty of creating a hypocritical society where only success is glamourized. There are no innocent ones when it comes to the monstrous culture we created. Instead of celebrating perseverance, we only celebrate the final result of it. Our materialistic society is doomed to damnation until we stop celebrating the final result of years of hard work instead of the steps to get there.
The Rise of Mental Illnesses
“More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide,” – Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University.
With the ever-increasing pressures of the modern world, mass shootings and an overall increase in conflict between humans shouldn’t come as a surprise. Studies show that cultural trends and the rise of competitiveness in our society have only increased mental illnesses among the younger generations. Twenge believes that the exaggerated use of social media, lack of sleep, and societal expectations have created a more emotionally unstable generation.
The answer to stopping violence in America might lie in creating a more healthy society where people are not so pressured to “succeed in life”.
The Fallacy of Mental Disorders
“The overwhelming majority of people with mental illnesses are not violent, just like the overwhelming majority of all people are not violent.” – Julie Beck
All too often gun control advocates try to portray mentally ill people as a danger to society. This is a big fallacy that needs to be put to sleep. Research shows that 96 percent of violent crimes in the United States have nothing to do with personality disorders. Unfortunately, this narrative has become so deeply fixed into our culture that mentally ill people have to deal with their illnesses and social prejudice on a daily basis.
“Programs focused on early identification, early intervention and evidence-based mental health treatments. Investment in research to better identify traits that predict gun violence is also necessary.” – National Alliance on Mental Illness
According to NAMI, a health organization focused on helping the mentally ill across America, society would have a better chance of stopping people from “going postal” if the government funded more research involved in identifying traits that can predict potential perpetrators.
Banning Guns Won’t Stop Human Nature
Years of evolution and the ever-increasing complexity of human societies may have helped to hide our savage nature. However, it only takes a heated argument, where people let their emotions to get the best of them, to find out that in the end, no amount of cultural etiquette can save us from our natural instincts when things hit the fan.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, Mother Nature made us predisposed to engage in violent behavior for survival purposes. In the Stone Age, our species’ survival largely relied upon defending ourselves from other predators. Fast-forwarding to present times, our savage instincts remain largely dormant due to not needing them frequently in modern society. However, the civilized man can’t run away from his biological roots. We can still notice our predisposal to violence during quarrels and mob mentality behavior.
What Do We Do?
Rather than taking away our means of self-defense by banning guns, we should all take a deeper look into the problems of our society. Mass shootings don’t occur simply because guns are evil. After all, guns don’t eat, drink, or have emotions. Instead, mass shootings are a poor response to somebody’s frustration in dealing with life’s challenges. No one wakes up one day and decides to hate the world for no reason. It is likely that the person was emotionally unstable after suffering for months, maybe even years, from personal problems and being unable to get up after life knocks them down.
The real answer to stop mass shootings may be to create a society where opportunities and the American Dream aren’t so impossible or unrealistic. Until American society stops creating unrealistic expectations for its citizens’, mass shootings will never end.
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