In regards to the recent spectacle the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre has made of himself and the comments made by the video-game industry, it appears that none of the major players profiting from our culture of violence cares to take responsibility for the mass shootings that have plagued our country for decades.
Even the recent deaths of 20 children and six of their educators and caretakers hasn’t cut deeply enough into the consciences of those representing the gun lobby, the video-game industry and our entertainment industry to make them come forward to acknowledge they had a hand in it.
Rather, they sit there and point the finger at one another and other possible causes for the gun violence plaguing our society.
The video-game industry is quick to deny there is a connection between fantasy violence, where the gamer can shoot ’em up and watch them die, and real-life violence carried out by a madman behind a real gun. Prove it, they challenge.
Perhaps it can’t be scientifically or theoretically proven, but I think it’s impossible to deny that our society has become desensitized to violence, and all of these industries have contributed to the culture.
LaPierre’s reaction was to flip out first, then deliver a very flippant response as a solution to a very serious moral dilemma we are facing as a country.
His remark about placing armed guards in every school was unconscionable. Clearly, he wasn’t interested in meaningful dialogue.
The movie industry churns out ever-more-violent movies as the years go by, yet has anyone representing the motion picture industry come forward to acknowledge that all of this over-the-top, gratuitous violence might just have a negative effect on the young male psyche?
If we’re going to implicate movies, then it’s fair to include violent and dehumanizing lyrics in music. All of these things contribute to and have a hand in our culture of violence.
Acknowledging this and finding ways to tone it all down, preferably eradicating it altogether, is a step in the right direction.
As parents, we are our children’s most important educators, so it is up to us to set the right tone for what is acceptable and what is not.
But how can we accept violence in any form? The gun lobby, the video-game industry and those representing movies and music desire that we embrace their culture. How else are they to make a profit?
Citizens United nothing to celebrate
Jan. 21 marks an important day in the history of our country. Today will not only be Martin Luther King Day, it will also be the third anniversary of the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The legal “logic” that led to this decision, claiming that corporations are entitled to constitutional rights such as freedom of speech, has led to results that extend beyond the unprecedented amount of spending in recent elections.
The “citizenship” status of corporations has made it possible for the 14th Amendment, intended to grant equal protection to freed slaves, to be used for the benefit of corporations. According to Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, more than 50 percent of the 14th Amendment cases heard by the Supreme Court in the first 50 years after the amendment’s adoption asked that its benefits be extended to corporations.
The idea of corporate “personhood” is a danger to our democracy, and it is time to make clear what most Americans agree on: Corporations are not entitled to the inalienable rights granted to human beings in the Constitution.
I thank Akron City Council for joining other communities across the country in passing a resolution to amend the Constitution to spell out that corporations are not people.
In honor of Martin Luther King’s work to protect the equal rights of human beings, let your county, state and national representatives know that equal rights are for humans, not corporations.
Hallie M. Bowie
Weapons ban must be precise
I am responding to a Jan. 10 letter, “A right to self-protection,” in which the writer stated his opinions on semiautomatic weapons.
“If you believe you need such a weapon to protect yourself, then you are paranoid,” the letter said. “In that case I submit that you have a mental-health issue and should not be allowed to own a weapon.”
If that was true, it would mean that almost every law enforcement officer in the world would be without a weapon. Only a handful use revolvers. Almost all handguns used in modern times by law enforcement personnel as their primary duty handguns are semiautomatic.
The semiautomatic handgun is also preferred by the majority of civilians. Semiautomatic means that a bullet is fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled.
The mechanism used in these weapons functions differently and more smoothly and rapidly than in a revolver, so the semiautomatic can fire extremely fast.
In addition to semiautomatic handguns, there are quite a few different brands of semiautomatic shotguns. There are also semiautomatic rifles of all calibers that don’t look anything like an “assault rifle.”
These rifles look “normal,” and many persons would never guess they are semiautomatic.
The letter implies that if semiautomatic weapons were banned, that would not apply to rifles and handguns, so what is the big deal in banning semiautomatic weapons?
But, actually it would appply to many rifles, handguns and shotguns. It would also apply to handguns used by almost every law enforcement person in the world.
I feel a more reasonable and effective contribution to solving the gun problem would be to ban high-capacity magazines, except for law enforcement personnel.
Regarding your series on school discipline, you left out the most important statistic and predictor of behavior: the absence of the biological father in the home.
Add that comparison to your chart.
James E. Huber