Gun Culture: Hasn't changed in >100 years. My parents grew up in the 30's and
40's with guns in plentiful supply. My mother learned to shoot before she could
ride a bike. Everyone in her town owned a gun. The only murder when she was
growing up was commited with a pitchfork.
Religion: Also hasn't changed in >100 years. See the Puritans, Salem witch trials,
Bullying: Also hasn't changed in >100 years. Read Little House on the Prarie.
Notice the bullying that went on the school house and in the school yard.
Ah, but here you are comparing with another foreign nation again - The Ghost of US Past.
I believe you that they didn't have this problem then. The world, but particularly the US, has changed in that time, becoming richer, more populated and more urban. It is worthwhile comparing these two nations, but a lot of people seem to be doing that already. Another perspective seems worthwhile.
Lousy schools: Which one caused which? Did bad schools cause violent kids, or
did violent kids cause the good teachers to give up and find a safer profession?
Good question, but it's not rhetorical. I suspect they are related in a self-reinforcing way, and that improving one factor will improve the other.
Habit: This is a fairly recent phenomena, and far too uncommon to be called habit.
Of course it is - someone else called it a fad. Either word is a cruel way to characterise it. But it does seem to me to be following a stereotype. From afar, (if you haven't guessed I am not from or in the US) these people who lose it and blow they're classmates away are so intensely caught up in the nutty loser social role they carry it to its TV news bulletin conclusion.
There are so many other difference between Europe, Japan, and the U.S., I really
don't think it's helpful to compare the U.S. to them. I think that U.S. culture today
is closer to U.S. culture in the 1950's than to any other culture in the world
today. I'm not suggesting a return to the 1950's, I'm saying that should be our
benchmark to what's "wrong" with U.S. society today. The level of violence that
exists today didn't exist in the U.S. in the 1950's, but all the factors you listed did
exist then. It seems to me that the changes in U.S. society since the 1950's need
to be examined to try to determine a causative link to the violence today.
Nothing new under the sun? Maybe, but likewise bullying, bad schools and social stereotypes exist elsewhere in the world, particularly rich countries not really that unlike the US. What about Canada? They even have a wacky North American accent :)
Myself, I think it's a focusing on the self, to the exclusion of others, especailly
your own children. Parents became so self-aborbed they forgot to love their
children. U.S. society sees a sexual predator every time an adult male hugs a
female child so adults stop showing affection towards children. Schools forbid
"touching" between students. Children grow up with no love from their parents or
society. No wonder it doesn't bother them to kill a bunch of people. It's not like
any of them ever showed any semblence of caring.
Well, in case the list above didn't give a hint, I doubt it's any one factor, though changing one factor might slow it down or stop it. I can't imagine a self-absorbed society such as you described helping though. Are people in the US, on average, more self-absorbed than those in other nations (or the US Past?) I don't know. But combine it with extroversion and you get obnoxiousness, and the obnoxious American is an international stereotype.
I don't think confusion about touching and sexuality is US specific, though. Many countries are grappling with it.
I do wonder if anyone is studying the similarity between the schools this happens in. A lot of (media) attention has focused on the individuals involved. Don't mistake me here - the attackers were maniacs and they are absolutely responsible for their actions. But aren't the schools they come from also starting to sound terribly familiar? It can't all be the bad media coverage ...
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