Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Violence pervades US; let’s evolve as a species

To the editor:

American society is addicted to violence. It takes horrific events for us to ask ourselves, “how,” “why” and “what can we do?”

But consider these practices: Professional sports with imperatives to hurt others for goals and points. Killing creatures for “sport” not survival. Movies and films depicting violence as justified. Gun “enthusiasts” as justified under the Second Amendment. Forms of organized religion that promote manifest destiny, righteousness and bigotry as holy. A patriarchal society where the intersection of racism, economic disparity, misogyny and homophobia creates violence in the form of daily oppression for countless people.

We cannot deny our collective complicity with so many forms of violence. These practices separate us from each other and exonerate us from responsibility when they are normative.

Why should anyone in American society own a gun? If guns were only in the hands of law enforcement, they would have the upper hand in any encounter with violence; however, tweaking one or two gun control laws will do little to address the larger problem.

We must keep in mind that the mostly young, white men who have murdered large groups of people are not necessarily mentally ill. Most people with mental illness are not violent.

Someone with a knife or blunt instrument could not mow down large groups of people in seconds, so let’s do something right now as we also consider, with urgency, our evolution as a species equipped with the knowledge and means to transform society.

Let us mourn for everyone in Newtown and for ourselves as we make our way out of this cycle of violence.

J.M. Sorrell

Haydenville

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