Chapter 4: Causes of Gun Violence (Cook and Goss 2014) (Do cultural…
Chapter 4: Causes of Gun Violence (Cook and Goss 2014)
Who can be trusted with a gun?
Good guys are law abiding, bad guys commit crimes unless they are locked up. This myth continues to permeate the discussion of gun violence and gun regulation
Federal Gun Control Act 1968- 10 categories of people who are banned from buying or possessing a firearm. Contains many, but misses many of the most dangerous people
A different approach to the current one- owing a gun is a right guaranteed to all adults who are legal residents unless disqualified, would be to reserve gun ownership as a privilege for those who can demonstrate they are trustworthy
Who can be trusted is a matter for lawmakers, also family and friends
Do more guns cause more crime- or less?
Very easy for criminals to obtain guns in the underground market when firearms are so widespread. The availability hypothesis, support in a variety of scientific studies
Unclear whether widespread gun ownership is the cause of effect of an area's crime problem, since high crime rates may induce residents to buy guns for self-protection
Gun prevalence is unrelated to the rates of assault and robbery, however it does intensify violence, making it more likely for their to be death. More guns, more death
Is gun violence closely linked to other types of violence?
Yes. Sharp drop in violent crime has been coupled with a sharp drop in gun violence Not a problem in the availability of guns, but rather in the overall amount of violence, combination of violence and guns that produces a high murder rate.
Therefore, one strategy to reduce gun violence if to reduce criminal violence generally however where violent crime is a problem, we cannot afford to ignore the role guns play in intensifying that violence
We could reduce the gun-suicide problem by addressing the conditions that lead people to give serious consideration to ending their lives
What do Israel and Switzerland teach us about the importance of gun ownership as a cause of gun violence?
Firearms are more closely regulated and scarcer in these countries than the US, they recognise that civilian firearms possession and carrying pose a threat to public safety
Israel has a huge culture of military service, but low rates of firearm ownership and gun carrying requires a permit and review every 3 years
Gun ownership more common in Switzerland but still comprehensively regulated,permits, tests, limited bullets, no automatics. Violence rates in these countries are much lower than in the US
Do cultural difference help account for differences in levels of gun violence?
Culture is akin to widely shared belief systems, governing the appropriate response to threats to one's person and to the social order generally
Culture is used to explain and account for particular types of crime, especially assaults and homicides
Are high rates of violence based on Southern culture? also have to look at aspects of disadvantage and social order
However Canada much nicer country, stricter gun ownership regulations.
So actually, the exceptional rate of southern violence is really a problem of gun violence , not violence by any other means
However, homicide rates fluctuate greatly within geographic areas and between them over time, with gun homicidal rates declining, even though American culture has changed little
Honour to protect themselves in particular situations, more likely to get angry when provoked
However, cultural beliefs are part of an interlocking and mutually supportive constellation of factors that influence how violent or peaceful a community, state, or nation is.
Do the media contribute to gun violence in America? What about Violent TV and Movies?
The basic conclusion- mixed opinions about whether sensationalist reporting encouraged copycat crime
Media effects are hard to measure, watching violent television has a modest effect on aggression, more so in children than in adults and more so in the short than long-term .Teachng kids aggression in an acceptable means of solving problems and providing examples for them to follow
However, in influencing actual violence later on in life, many other factors incuding mental illness, bad parenting, lack of constructive friendships, substance abuse, life frustrations, opportunities to misbehave etc.
What about Copycat Crimes?
Round the clock media reporting does not lead to copycat events
However suicide, reports in suicide in the media lead to spikes in suicide rates
Media should avoid glamorising the victim and focus on how treatment can be effective
What about violent video games?
Easy to see the connection for children, however as gaming has taken hold in the US over the last two decades, rates of violent crime have been plummeting and is popular around the world where violent crime rates are low
Violent video game usage may exacerbate violent tendencies in at-risk kids
What do we know about the connection between mental health and gun violence?
People with metal illness are at increased risk of committing violence against others, 3 to 5 times more likely to commit violence
Additionally, mentally ill people are disproportionately likely to be victims of violent death