As the US media profits from acts of violence, both on individual and governmental level, and as the intellectual and elite classes attempt to justify using government to dis-empower “other” groups of citizens who overwhelmingly have not committed any immoral or criminal acts, US citizens are being mislead into what is the best course of action for addressing societal (governmental) violence. The loudest opinion is that further regulating guns, a highly divisive policy that could spurn more outrage/violence, is the solution to our problem of violence in America. Not to mention an action that will only further an already negative trend relating to the end of citizens’ rights.
What popular conversations on societal violence ignore is that violence has been proven to be a learned behavior (additional study here), and that we need to begin by addressing the societal teacher of violence, the United States Government (USG).
USG’s perpetual usage of violence-as-a-solution for generations has had a negative and long lasting effect on US society’s behavior and in order to address the root of the problem we must first begin with focusing on the USG’s policies and actions that teach and demonstrate violence as acceptable.
The USG, as a centralized authoritarian structure has, arguably, the most stringent controls and influence over society in all the world. From birth the USG and corporate media partners will tell you what and how to learn through public education, entertainment, and news. With that said, violence both active and passive in the United States is glorified by both government and corporate media on subjects ranging from military, federal agencies’ “War on _____ ,” role of armed police in citizens lives, and even how government punishes citizenry for non-violent victim-less behavior.
The USG, regardless of ruling party, has spent billions on recruiting children into a extremely violent military through ROTC, video games and advertising at sporting events – all in attempts teach that violent militaristic behavior is normal or acceptable. The USG even colludes with Hollywood to promote “heroic” violent behavior as normal. Never mind that the wars and engagements the USG are involved in are heavily focused on propping up multi-national corporate business interests. Or the fact that while politicians call for gun-control they give arms to Middle East and North African dictatorships and extremists at a record rate. Again, violence is a learned behavior taught by ruling entities.
Domestically (which is involving the military more often), the USG allows for armed government agents, aka police, to detain citizens for jaywalking or not wearing a safety belt while driving. Worse, armed police officers under authority of government are allowed to arrest with force and imprison people engaged in non-violent victim-less behavior under the guise of a “War on Drugs” or other nonsense. These declarations of war/violence on the citizenry further perpetuates/teaches idea to society as a whole that violence as a solution to non-violent behaviors is acceptable. Again, violence is a learned behavior and the same system that taught your grand parents, parents, you and your kids how to function “normally” in society is still in place.
We could even examine historically how schools taught white imperialist/colonialist violent behaviors against Native Americans as being normal, or how until recently most people functioned daily without acknowledging that government is allowing (by way of arming and not federally prosecuting) the extrajudicial killings of African Americans by police and “vigilantes.” Again, violence is learned and violence is taught by government and justified by laws that dis-empower the citizenry.
Violence, once understood as a learned behavior needs to be addressed from an empowering perspective, not rooted in policies enforced by the hyper violent USG. We need solutions focused on forcing the USG into enacting peaceful foreign and domestic policies. We need to reaffirm the Rights of all citizens and humans, regardless of where they are or their social status. We also need to address empowering individuals and communities by eliminating violent government agencies, and using their budgets to decentralize energy needs, food needs and water needs across the United States.
There are probably many empowering alternatives that don’t require more USG revenue, new taxes, or policies geared at “different” thinking cultures or social groups, and we should be discussing them. What we need is a refocusing on governmental violent teachings, behaviors and what the responsibility of government actually is in society.