OK. A few things first. I know people are affected by the shooting in Newtown. It’s bad, really bad. I am certain people with kids are frightened to death by it. I understand. Its a totally valid response. Its correct to be angered by this. My heart goes out to those affected. Let me offer a few of my thoughts on the subject and on the phenomenon of school shootings in general.
We all have the capacity to do things like this. It’s often done by men who are driven to an edge of depression, frustration, anger and despair. There are root causes that put people into these conditions, causing some reactions like this.
Society is violent. There is a massive amount of violence in society that we refuse to address, caused by social systems, poverty, and war. This creates a culture of violence, propped up by the imperialist aims of a capitalist system, which trains mostly men that violence can be used to reclaim yourself. Violence occurs everyday in schools. I see it as I work in these places throughout Hartford County. It takes many different forms and this is one of the worst, for sure, but violence is everywhere, we just often choose to ignore it.
This is not a “naturally human” thing. It is a product of society that fetishizes violence, that ignores a vast amount of violence, and is based on a system of oppression and exploitation. This is anomie, manifested under modern capitalism and the hyperbolic media, that turns people to commit violence on this level.
School shootings have little to do with guns. If we lived in a world without guns, it’d be other weapons used in these incidents. Maybe it’ll be less violent/less injuring, but school shootings are not caused by guns. Of course, people can always find a way, we are incredibly creative and can be incredibly driven to do something if we really want to. Guns are not the only way to kill people. I am not pro or anti-gun, by any means, and I feel that the whole gun control debate is entirely misguided on both sides.
Kids don’t get up and think. hey I know where my parents have guns so I feel like taking them to school and shooting people just for the hell of it. It’s not a spur of the moment type thing. It is planned. and if it is planned then people will always find a way. People do this not only because they are depressed or in despair but also sometimes because they are very seriously and dangerously mentally ill. And we live in a society that simply doesn’t value providing people with access to mental health treatment.
This is also a racialized issue. Hundreds of black and brown people die every year from activities spurred by poverty. School shootings are often done by white people against white people, usually for some sadistic form of revenge, usually by someone who has had something drastic happen in their lives or who has no healthy avenues for dealing with their struggles. We seem to only make it a big problem as a culture and society when this violence happens to white people.
Some of you may not agree with me, and that’s okay. I can promise you, however, that this event and other like it that will happen in the future will do more to help us ignore the reality of daily violence in our society, specifically where it is rooted, and drive us into a hysteria, blaming everyone who suffers form any mental disease.
Just wait – they’ll reduce this to gun control laws, increase policing in schools (which targets mostly poor, black, and brown students and is largely about drugs *pretty much never stopping shootings*), and further militarize our schools to cover up a problem caused by much larger social questions. When will we wake up and see these events as rooted much deeper than this? We have the power to change this, unite in community, and really care for each other in a real material way. Or we can keep “uniting” like this every few months or so when events like this happen before we got back to our lives of accepting everyday violence.
Originally posted on my Facebook Wall: https://www.facebook.com/redstar85/posts/981088873359
Also, Peter Goselin gave me a note on that post that I included in this.
For a better understanding of violence, I encourage people to watch this video as Angela D. breaks down her perception of it: