MARK POPE: The origins and causes of gun violence [OPINION]
Thoughts on the origins and causes of gun violence
There is no single, easy explanation for the senseless gun violence that is occurring in our country with greater frequency. The dichotomy between our technologically-advancing society and the pronounced regression toward more violent social behavior is indeed perplexing. So let’s examine some of our country’s early accounts of mass killings, and consider some reasons why killing is part of the human condition.
One of the earliest accounts of mass murder in our country, not related to the Revolutionary War or the Civil War, was the “Mountain Meadows Massacre” in Utah in September of 1857. Occupants of an emigrant wagon train were massacred by the Mormon Utah Territorial Militia – 140 were murdered. Why? For leaving Utah? In May of 1921, one of the worst incidents of racial violence following the Civil War happened in Tulsa , OK, when 300 African Americans were murdered. That was dubbed the “Greenwood Massacre.”
A racially-motivated mass shooting happened right here in Louisiana during Civil War Reconstruction. Many white Southern Democrats were committed to restricting the rights of former slaves during Reconstruction. In April of 1873, an all-black militia, under federal control, seized control of the courthouse in Colfax, LA in Grant Parish (26 miles northwest of Alexandria). Shortly thereafter, a mob of 150 white men fired a cannon on the black militiamen inside the courthouse. A firefight broke out between the white men and the black militiamen, which lasted until the outgunned militiamen had to surrender. When the militiamen surrendered, the white mob murdered many of the black men. Many were shot, and some were hanged. Records show that three white men were killed in the melee, while 83 to 153 African-Americans were killed. The incident came to be known as the “Colfax Massacre of 1873.”
One of the underlying causes of humans killing one another is that an individual, or group, gains a real or perceived advantage over others by killing them. For example, in warfare, the victorious side usually has killed more of its enemy. Street thugs kill others because they have been cheated or “dissed,” or maybe to steal money and others’ belongings for personal gain. What about the indiscriminate mass shootings we’ve seen more often in the 21st Century, what’s the advantage to be gained there?
From the examples above, it’s obvious that mass murders in the 19th and 20th Centuries were predominately racially motivated. The perceived advantage in racial killings is that the murderer eliminates persons which he sees as different and does not understand, whom he hates, and whom he deems as not being worthy of life. I truly believe that much of the “mental illness” we hear about in our country today is driven by the message of Big Government, and the cries of “injustice” we hear on a regular basis. The messages of Big Government and the Social Justice crowd convey the following messages: (1) racism and discrimination are rampant throughout our country and are insurmountable; (2) the downtrodden cannot “get ahead,” because the “system” is rigged against them, thereby creating a dependent class who rely solely on government assistance; (3) class warfare, incessantly invoked by liberals, cites corporations and rich people as holding down the less fortunate, which perpetuates the dependent class; and (4) all the perceived “social injustice” which is prevalent in our country is responsible for income disparity, unacceptable living conditions, and so much more.
The blame game played by liberals, and taught to our young people, teaches both young and old alike to be angry, frustrated, resentful, and despondent. If somebody else has happiness, security, a good-paying job, and respect in the community, then a learned response of the “mentally ill” is to seek revenge and attempt to take away from the more-fortune that which they have unfairly acquired. Liberals and politicians send the message that those not satisfied in life have somebody else to blame. “It ain’t my fault” is a common mindset of those who are said to be mentally ill. Liberals aspire to achieve an unrealistically utopian world. The binary choice that liberals present is that nirvana is attained, or they portray an unfair, unjust society. I truly believe this mindset exists in 2018 and it’s affecting many people’s emotional well-being, not their “mental health,” which is a medical condition.
Strong-minded, loving and caring parents can teach their children the fallacies of 21st Century thinking, thereby giving their offspring an advantage in life. The Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, did not have that advantage in life, so he created his own advantage.