@WNYC Are gun restrictions enough?   Or do we need a less violence prone society?
 12/19/12  Jessie  Henshaw

“Are gun restrictions enough?”   I don’t use Facebook for politics, and this is more than a tweet.    I hope you have a way to collect email responses with other replies to your asking if gun regulation is enough.

Gun violence is just a symptom of our living in an unusually violent society.   That’s what we need to target.   There’s no other way to protect us  from living in an environment where large numbers of out-of-control young men are driven to inconsolable rage.  We need a culture-wide response.

Somehow extreme military mayhem both real and for entertainment became one of our main modes of public speech.    Part of the source can only be a thinly veiled but relatively pervasive personal rage, like "road rage" but responding to modern life in total.   Some young men think they can “handle it” as a "diversion", and others obviously act it out literally.         

There's never been a time when it was harder for young men to feel like men, than in the world of today.  It's never been more frustrating for anyone trying to provide security for themselves and their family.   So how young men cover up that suffering partly by becoming absorbed in the false virility of ultra-violent games and movies, and for many extending to preparing for theater warfare in their neighborhoods, “just for fun”, is clearly not the only way our culture is responding to the increasing difficulty of life.    When you add up all the symptoms of increasing pervasive emotional strain, it looks more like a whole culture in distress, rather than just young men today are being driven into fantasy lives that get dangerous.      

Another common thread is that we live with an economy that keeps raising the stakes of competitive success and failure higher and higher, ratcheting up the challenge of life for everyone, year after year.    That's not good for us.   We’re all getting pushed, more and more often, to and beyond our limits of tolerance for personal challenge.   It's forcing most people in some state of constant desperation, giving our challenges our all, to then abruptly shed those dreams again and again.   It’s taking more and more of us to real despair in our lives too.   

So I think the main cure for our increasingly violence prone society is simple: being honest in asking how we got where are we are, and where we're really headed.



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