Comments about ‘Letter: Violence in our culture’

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Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Provo, UT

The only people who need military-style semi-automatic weaponry, large-capacity ammunition clips, and bullets designed to do maximum damage to human tissue are those who intend to eventually wage-war on other Americans who do not like them (i.e. other Americans with whom they disagree) because they cannot accept a democratically-elected leadership and have a psychotic notion that they will eventually have to wage war on their neighbors.

These are not sportsmen, hunters or simple gun enthusiasts. These are people blinded by their paranoia that they are losing their way of life and will have to fight to keep it. It's those who are calling for secession after losing a presidential election. It's those who believe that half the population are interlopers, illegal foreigners, and not "real Americans" because they don't think the same way they do.

If you want to have a discussion of mental illness, you have to include the psychosis of the fringe survivalists who cannot accept the democratic process and will fight for a dictatorship of themselves in order to keep change from happening and their extremist thinking relevant in today's world.

Cedar Park, Texas

I agree. Over the past few decades, the US has developed a culture of violence. It permeates so much of what we see and hear. It just continues to grow worse in as entertainment purveyors try to shock us with even more horrific violence, because we have gotten used to the previous level. Until a majority of this country stands up and rejects this deluge of violence, I am afraid we have not seen the last of these horrific events. I doubt the effectiveness of laws as much as our society collectively preventing these purveyors from making a profit from what they do.

  • 4:05 a.m. Dec. 20, 2012
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Far East USA, SC

"Among the O.E.C.D. countries that the World Bank groups as “high income,” America has the highest gun homicide rate, the highest number of guns per capita and the highest rate of deaths due to assault. In fact, America has more homicides by gun than all of the other high-income O.E.C.D. countries combined."

The chart supporting this is in the new york times. Yes, I understand that the NYT is left leaning. Feel free to challenge the data but preferably with facts.

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

While I certainly share this writer's dismay over the horrific recent events, I think it's simplistic to blame video games or other kinds of media. In fact, a national reduction in violent crimes has coincided with huge increases in violent games, both in terms of availability and how graphically acts are depicted. I'd like to suggest, in fact, that such games can be cathartic; a way of safely acting out violent fantasies.

Hayden, ID

Blaming guns for crime is as logical as blaming spoons for causing obesity or matches causing arson. What has happened in America is the same ideology that other countries have experienced; increased dominance of the secular progressive, moral relevance (liberalism) politics. What I find incredibly sadly ironic is that Barrack Obama only recently instigated a fast and furious gun running operation to Mexico where those guns were used by drug dealers to murder perhaps dozens of innocent people and these secular progressives, who are running our country turn their hypocritical heads and hearts to claim they care deeply about protecting innocent people, not from evil, sick people but from "evil" guns! What they can't promise is that any gun control law will be obeyed by evil people. So gun laws never work, never have, never will.
I own guns partly because there are evil people running loose who do not obey our laws against murder, rape and robbery and they certainly will not obey any gun control laws either. A gun in my hand is much better for my family and me than a cop on the phone.

one old man
Ogden, UT

But Eric, there is sometimes a very fine line between acting out violent fantasies with a game and doing it in real time.

When I was in 6th grade, my family lived in Austria. My father was with the U.S. occupation forces there after the war. One day some of my friends and I were playing cowboys or soldiers or something with our toy guns.

An Austrian police car stopped and the officers took us into custody. They drove us home and explained to our parents that the Austrian people had had enough guns during two world wars. They warned us, turned us over to our parents, and confiscated our guns.

Now I know that this post will probably bring down a rain of condemnation from those who revere guns, but maybe we should look at the murder rate in present day Austria.

Salt Lake City, UT

Eric Samuelson:

While I usually agree wholeheartedly with your thoughtful comments, this time I don't. To my knowledge, there is no scientific evidence to support the popular notion that aggression is cathartic (and I even wrote a paper on this topic in college, while majoring in psychology). To the contrary, studies suggest that acting out aggressively only leads to an increased tendency to repeat or increase aggressive behavior. If you have contrary information, please share it.

salt lake city, utah

I think you're all right. What kind of society makes billions of dollars from displaying murder and mayhem, encourages its citizens to fantasize about it, has 350,000,000 million guns, and then has a health care system that locks out tens of millions of its citizens from seeking preventative mental health care?

Life is brief, random, indifferent, and cruel by it's nature..but my word, no sane society would build this reality into their economy.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

The letter writer fails to recognize these "young adults" --
Whether they are shipped over seas or not --
have all grown up now most of their lives in a constant back drop filled with
real WAR,
with REAL bullets
and REAL dying.

Most of them now have never known anything else.

But go ahead, blame your fanatsy world of make believe.
Deny reality all you want.

I for one think these violent video games are more Art Reflecting Reality,
than your belief it is reality reflecting art.


Remember the first book in the bible. I recall a story about Cain and Able. Where was the video games and television telling Cain to murder his brother? The most violent acts in history predate our internet and video games (see circa 1900-1945).
So I agree that we should limit our children's exposure to questionable media. However, I think its good to remember a lot of media is just for fun, and it is fun. Play the blame game if you want, but ultimately personal responsibility is what governs our actions.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY


I am afraid I disagree. If it were here and there, I might go with the cathartic argument. But that is not what I see. I see young men who play these VERY realistic first person shooter games for hours each and every day.

James Allen's oft quoted riff on Proverbs is "As a man thinketh, so is he". I look at how I am affected form a single well done TV show, movie or play. How it can make me think and think again about something and change my mind. Surely this is something you know about well (and have probably been so affected).

So, I find it impossible to believe that immersing yourself day after day into a world of violence (where you are "killing" the other characters in the game) has no effect on the young man. Now, what if we add to the mix a less stable mind? One that might not go off the deep end other wise but now has this steady diet of violence "solving" his problems (within the context of the game)?

Do I think this is the only solution? No. But we must do better on this front.

Whos Life RU Living?
Ogden, UT

Well if we are going to blame violent media (video games, books, music). Lets not leave the Bible or the Book of Mormon out.

For those who are well read among these books understand that these books contain violent stories worse than any video game available in our market.

Please be consistant with all of the media.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"The letter writer fails to recognize these "young adults" --
Whether they are shipped over seas or not --
have all grown up now most of their lives in a constant back drop filled with
real WAR,
with REAL bullets
and REAL dying."

I disagree.

Most of the folks in our country haven't grown up knowing REAL WAR with REAL bullets and REAL dying.

Those are for folks who volunteer. Or for poor people who can't afford college.

Perhaps if we reinstated the draft folks would actually learn about REAL violence, REAL war, REAL bullets, and REAL dying, and shun it.

Look at Austria and Germany. Those peoples finally grew tired of death.

Perhaps we need to do the same? It would keep us out of quagmires like Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. and perhaps it would teach us the value of life?

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

Whos Life RU Living?
Ogden, UT
Well if we are going to blame violent media (video games, books, music). Lets not leave the Bible or the Book of Mormon out.


I'm pretty sure those in the Bible and BoM kept things like slings, swords, cimeters, spears, arrows, ect. out of the honds of children and the mentally ill.

The problem is we have some extremeists in this country who are so freaked out about ANY loss of "Freedom", that they throw out all common sense.
The don't want to take "personal responsibility" or be held "accountable" for keeping them secure and out of those who can/will hurt themselves and others.

I spent 12 years in the Military.
He were all trained in using all sorts of "assault" weapons.
We all passed extensive background checks.
We all were "fit for duty" - including "mentally".

Guess what?
Those M-16 were all placed under heavy duty lock-and-key -- 24/7/365.

MPs at chow had a SAFE in the dining hall during breakfast/lunch/diner.

The problem is irresponsible Joe-Q-Public citizens.
Leave weapons like these only accessible to those responsible and trained enough to have them.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

One last thing --

How do "citizens" have $1500-$2000 for a Bushmaster XM-15,
but can't afford $399 for a 18 gun safe?

BTW - It's called a SAFE for good reason!

I stand by my Military training comment I posted earlier.

That should be the very 1st question they ask on a weapons permit.
Do you have a gun safe?

And the 2nd should be –
Do you ALWAYS use it?

The 3rd should be –
You can and will be held personally responsible for any and all crimes or accidents for the weapons in your possession.

That’s what the mindset and responsibilities he had as soldiers.
You know - the guys these weapons (not guns) were designed and intended to used by.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "JoeBlow" just because there are lots of gun owners does not correlate to gun deaths. Also, your NY Times statistic is wrong. It is the number of gun per capita, not gun owners per capita, there is a difference.

See "Why Swiss gun love is coming under fire" in The Local. They have the highest gun ownership rates in Europe, yet have a low homicide rate. However, you can't just use gun ownership as a measure for criminal behavior because each country. If you look at gun ownership and overall homicide rates for a country, there is absolutely no correlation that more guns makes a country less safe.

If you want to make the US safer, change the culture. If you can figure out how to unite communities into cohesive groups, you can get the change you desire. Until then you are just disarming the law abiding citizens.

To "Open Minded Mormon" tell me what the difference is between the Bushmaster XM-15 and a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch. Why should one be banned and the other remain legal? Just because you were trained doesn't make you an expert.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Open Minded, your comment is absolutely GREAT!

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

What's the difference between Cartel Gadiantons
WallStreet Gadiantons?

The only difference I can tell is one is somehow considered "legal"
the other is "illegal".

Yet --
They both revolve around and worship the very same things;

Guns $,
Power $,
and Drugs$.


To "RedShirt"
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Open Minded Mormon" tell me what the difference is between the Bushmaster XM-15 and a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch.

Tell me, What does it matter?
Tell me, do you own and use a gun safe?

Eric Samuelsen
Provo, UT

People on this forum who I really do respect have questioned my previous post about possible links between violent video games and subsequent violent behavior. I would simply point out that Canadian kids play violent video games, including first person shooter games, at a greater rate than American teens do, and yet behave much less violently. Dutch youth play violent video games for twice the amount of time daily as American youths do, and yet their rate of violence is much less than in America. The data simply do not support the contention that violent first person shooter games have any causative effect on subsequent behavior.
Adam Lanza did, however, play first person shooter games. A lot. Did those games prompt his horrific violence? How could we possibly know?
We have a violence problem in this country, and we need to solve it. Let's not jump to facile conclusions, however.

USS Enterprise, UT

To "LDS Liberal" so then you agree that there is nothing different between the Bushmaster XM-15 and a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch. So why should we ban the Bushmaster based on looks?

Why does it matter to you if I own a gun safe? My kids know that guns are not toys, so I don't have to worry about it. Plus none of my kids have any psychological problems, so again, no reason to worry there.

Why do you support those Gadiantons who are trying to take away our freedoms based on lies and innuendo. Take a look at the USA Today artlcle "Cracking Down on Law-Abiding Gun Owners Won't Prevent Crimes" if that isn't enough for you, read "Disarming the Myths Promoted By the Gun Control Lobby" in Forbes.

Why do you and your ilk want to take guns away from the law abiding people? Why is it that your ilk are so afraid of law abiding citizens purchasing guns legally?

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