Violence in our culture must be addressed
To the editor:
It is more than sad that the impetus for sensible firearms regulation had to await the tragic killing of 20 precious children and six courageous adults in Newtown. Perhaps this tragedy brought to critical mass the public’s ability to absorb yet another senseless act of gun violence: It was the last straw. But more than stricter gun control is called for.
While we as a nation are adverse to introspection, I believe that if we want to ensure that the Newtown tragedy will not be repeated, we need to recognize we are a violent nation. Bullying is one manifestation of violence we recognize, but there are so many other factors in our society that promote violence. Our obsessive devotion to competition, rather than cooperation, causes us to marginalize the feelings of others, precluding compassion: winners and losers.
We celebrate violence in video games, television shows and movies as a means of good guys saving the day — and the cavalier attitude of our “heroes” after they have “killed” bad guys, desensitizes us to the act of inflicting pain.
And there is institutional violence, such as denying children good educations by underfunding public schools and making the cost of college prohibitive; attacking entitlements that provide food, shelter and healthcare to people in need; failing to provide every parent with the opportunity to earn a living wage; refusing to fund organizations that provide health care to pregnant women; incarcerating people for minor offenses and people with psychological problems; suggesting that programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid should be cut in order to allow corporations and the rich to avoid paying fair amounts of taxes; being less than honest in our daily transactions; failing to celebrate our diversity.
I hope that the lost lives at Newtown will help bring us to a place where human life is valued and nurtured far more than profits and where cooperation and kindness prevails.