I was watching a PBS special on The Abolitionists on the same day that the school stabbing in Pennsylvania occured, and I saw a connection.
In the 1800's abuse, rape, and murder was condoned, as long as the victim was black, and preferably a slave, although many white people were just fine with torturing and killing freemen, too. Also, wives were fair game for rape and abuse. Children didn't fair much better.
In the 1900's it was still totally OK to brutalize people as long as they were, again, minorities, women, and children.
Society also didn't give two shits about drive by shootings and kids wearing body armor to school as long as those kids were poor and black.
Serial Killers were profiled as white men. We finally got some equality when a few white women killed a bunch of people, but primarily it was a male thing. The Beltway Sniper did contradict that white bias, but I'm not sure that kind of equal representation is something to be proud of.
Now that we are in a new millennium, we have seen a rash of school shootings, movie theatre shootings, mall shootings. Many people are demanding gun control.
(Note: I am one of them.)
An idea is slowly forming in my mind that perhaps it's not a new trend that can be solved with legislation. The United States citizenry has a strong and despicable history of cruelty to each other. Is it inbred in us? Do we pass down a propensity for violence in our very genes? It is not a new problem. It seems to have always been present in our society.
I am a strong advocate of creating easy access for mental health care. It may not solve everything, but it certainly can't hurt. I am a strong proponent of gun laws, but people can use anything as a weapon.
I don't know the answer, I just think that viewing these horrible shootings as a new problem is likely missing the larger issue. We are not a kind people. Certainly, some of us try hard to counteract the evil in the world in small and large ways, but we as a nation have a history of shame. Perhaps the first step is to recognize it.
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