The Couch

Are Americans inherently more violent

Comments on Are Americans inherently more violent

Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
Posted 04/16/07 - 2:04 PM:
Subject: Are Americans inherently more violent
Incidents like the one at Virginia Tech always raise the question for me about the nature of Americans. The U.S. is by far the most dangerous developed country in the world. Why is that? Is it that Americans have greater access to weapons? Or, is it that Americans are just 'angrier' people with a greater tendency to turn to violence? Certainly, violence is a central theme in American culture. Americans are enthralled by it. With so much of it in its media and entertainment, has the line with reality been blurred for many? What makes the U.S. so violent in your opinion?

Rudi


Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
Posted 04/16/07 - 3:31 PM:

Is the average American more violent than any othr group? I dont know. Lets see some stats!!

Are there more murdrs in the US? More violent assaults? More spousal abuse? More fist fights? More police brutality?

I find it hard to believe, since as a country, the US seems a relatively safe place to be. Violence? Well, I wouldnt want to live in Africa or the Middle east or South America for that very reason--extreme violence. Lets be realistic, its not like Americans are the Klingons of the earth! Most ppl are pretty moderate and evn temprd, Im sure.

8)
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
Posted 04/16/07 - 5:26 PM:

Rudi wrote:
The U.S. is by far the most dangerous developed country in the world.

i agree with MM that some support for this statement is called for. on what basis do you make this assertion, if i may ask?

wikipedia offers some statistics on war casualties throughout history. based on these stats, the u.s. is hardly the leader in war casualties.

you may also be interested in this essay by dr. david stolinsky, entitled, America: The Most Violent Nation? it was written in 1998 and compares america's suicide and homicide rates with those of other nations. the u.s., which at the time had a homicide rate of 9.4 per 100,000, was surpassed by several other countries such as mexico at a rate of 17.4, brazil at 19.0, and russia at 30.6, to name a few.

regarding the massacre at virginia tech that happened earlier today, i've read that issues of gun-control have been called into question, as to how much they contribute to a nation's violence. here's a pertinent quote from stolinsky's essay:

Israel and Switzerland, where most adult males keep military-type guns at home, have low homicide rates, so easy access to guns cannot be the key factor in homicide. Some nations with strict anti-gun laws also have low homicide rates, but is this cause and effect? The low homicide rate in the United Kingdom holds for both gun and non-gun homicides; strict gun laws cannot account for a low rate of fatal beatings. Japan has harsh anti-gun and anti-crime laws and a low homicide rate, but Japanese-Americans, who live under our laws and have access to guns, also have a low homicide rate. Japanese immigrants bring something with them that inhibits homicide and is transmitted to their children and grandchildren. It may be self-control or love of education, but it has nothing to do with laws. Cultural factors are clearly important. To study the effect of gun laws, statisticians would first have to correct for all the cultural differences between various nations. Not enough is known to do this.

here's another pertinent excerpt:

From 1991 to 1997 the U.S. homicide rate fell 30 percent. Liberals credit a strong economy and low unemployment; conservatives point to three-strikes laws and increasing use of the death penalty. We are uncertain which factors to credit. The portion of the population made up by males aged 15 to 24, the most crime-prone group, fell by 5 percent, so this can account for only a fraction of the 30 percent fall in homicide. In any case, the fall began in 1992, while the Brady Act (waiting period for handgun buyers) and the assault-weapons ban went into effect in 1994. Clearly, these laws cannot be credited for a fall in homicide that had begun two years earlier. Violence is often like an Rorschach test --- what we read into it depends more on us than on it.

peacelib

Edited by libertygrl on 04/16/07 - 8:02 PM
Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
Posted 04/17/07 - 11:54 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
you may also be interested in this essay by dr. david stolinsky, entitled, America: The Most Violent Nation? it was written in 1998 and compares america's suicide and homicide rates with those of other nations. the u.s., which at the time had a homicide rate of 9.4 per 100,000, was surpassed by several other countries such as mexico at a rate of 17.4, brazil at 19.0, and russia at 30.6, to name a few.



This hints that my statement about the US being the most dangerous developed nation might have correct. Notice that the countries you list are all third world or developing countries. We need to compare apples to apples. Miami is certainly safer than Baghdad, but that is hardly a fair comparison or even a meaningful one.

I'll have to go dig up some of the stats I have seen, but from what I recall: the likelihood of someone being randomely killed is much higher in the US than in any other developed nation.

Some stats I found:

Canada (the whole country) had 582 murders in 2002. The City of Chicago alone had 600 murders in 2003. Toronto, a city roughly half the size of Chicago, has one tenth the number of murders (on average between 50-60). Houston, a city roughly the same size as Toronto, averages between 300 and 350 murders a year, or about five to six times the rate in Toronto. Annually, Toronto has about 1.8 murders per 100,000 people. Montreal, Canada's second largest city, has 1.7. Vancouver, one of Canada's most violent cities has 2.6. How do big American Cities compare? Per 100,000 people these are the numbers of murders: New York, 7; Los Angeles, 14; Miami, 20; Chicago, 21; Houston, 14; Atlanta, 36; Detroit, 38; Baltimore 41 (Source: www.citymayors.com). The worst big Canadian cities: Winnipeg, 4.9; Edmonton, 3.4; and Vancouver at 2.6 (Source www.statscan.ca).

So is the USA more dangerous than Canada? I think the figures speak for themselves. What about Europe? The wors European city is Helsinki at 12.5, followed by Lisbon at 9.7. Paris is at 3.3, Berlin at 3.8, London at 2.1, Rome at 1.7 (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk). So is the USA more dangerous than Europe? Again, I think the figures speak for themselves.

I don't think the question is whether the USA is more violent. I think the figures show it is. The real question is why? Why do Americans kill each other more than other people from developed nations? Is it accessibility to guns? Is it social unrest? Is it the culture of violence?

If you believe the NRA that guns don't kill people, people kill people then you'd better start looking into what Americans are drinking in their water, for they are a violent bunch.

Now, having said all of that, I don't want this to come off as anti-American propaganda. Clearly not all Americans are violent, but violence does pervade American society to an extent not seen in other developed nations. My question is, why?

Rudi


libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
Posted 04/17/07 - 3:19 PM:

Rudi wrote:
If you believe the NRA that guns don't kill people, people kill people then you'd better start looking into what Americans are drinking in their water, for they are a violent bunch.

this is a highly inflammatory remark, not to mention downright racist.

Rudi wrote:
Now, having said all of that, I don't want this to come off as anti-American propaganda.

i'm finding that pretty difficult to believe at this point, especially in light of your previous thread on why canadians care about the environment and americans supposedly don't.

the stats that you cited, by the way, compare cities but don't compare countries as a whole. i tried to go to the bbc site to see where the u.s. ranks on that list you provided and wasn't able to find where your stats were coming from. if you could post a direct link to the stats, it would be helpful. you've apparently ignored stolinsky's point that homicide rates are low in countries like israel and switzerland where gun control is apparently lax, which makes me wonder if you're just trying to pick a fight here.

incidentally, it bears noting that the gunman at virginia tech was a visiting student from south korea, not an american. it also bears noting that some experts do consider mexico a developed country.
Morgena
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Aug 01, 2006
Location: Midgard

Total Topics: 42
Total Comments: 868
Avatar Morgena
Posted 04/17/07 - 3:34 PM:

Rudi I wouldn’t generalise all people from America are the same, what is the stereotypical Canadian man? I don’t know would you know about it. Perhaps you can guess but that’s it.

*peace*
e.
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Location: UK

Total Topics: 142
Total Comments: 1081
Avatar e.
Posted 04/17/07 - 3:57 PM:

Folks,

Guns in US films and other media

I'm not qualified to say much about this subject, as I'm over the pond, but I have noticed through watching rather a lot of films and other media that there seems to be a kind of love affair with guns in the US. This is notable in the way that guns are held and brandished in many US films and in the way that certain sound effects are portrayed and exaggerated, for example the loading of magazines and pulling back the hammer. There are also lots of close ups of weapons of all kinds, which seems to me like a kind of obsessive interest.

It must be noted that there is also a great interest in motor cars in US films and media, so it's not just the guns.

In any case, my comments here are not scientific in any way, just anecdotal, but it's worth mentioning.

"Lock and Load!"

e.
Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
Posted 04/17/07 - 4:05 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

this is a highly inflammatory remark, not to mention downright racist.



Yes, on a second more sober reading, that comment was rather inflammatory and I apologise for its tone. I did not intend it to be as aggressive as it sounds. The criticism was amied more at the NRA, which always makes the claim that guns don't kill people. The NRA, I imagine, believes that the gun violence in the US is due to people doing what they do rather than due to the easy access to guns.

libertygrl wrote:
i'm finding that pretty difficult to believe at this point, especially in light of your previous thread on why canadians care about the environment and americans supposedly don't.


This is a separate issue but one that I back up with some evidence (which anyone can dispute, of course). In Canada, as in Europe and elsewhere, the issue is of such great importance to the population that governments have had to bow down to the general will. In the US this has not happened. I think it is because there is not enough popular will to turn the political tide. Of course, the counter argument could be that the current administration simply ignores the will of the people. My counter argument to this counter argument would be that the majority of the people gave that administration a second mandate, knowing full well what colours it flew.

libertygrl wrote:
the stats that you cited, by the way, compare cities but don't compare countries as a whole. i tried to go to the bbc site to see where the u.s. ranks on that list you provided and wasn't able to find where your stats were coming from. if you could post a direct link to the stats, it would be helpful. you've apparently ignored stolinsky's point that homicide rates are low in countries like israel and switzerland where gun control is apparently lax, which makes me wonder if you're just trying to pick a fight here.


This might be an argument to support that the higher violence in the US is not due to its lax gun laws but some other factor. My question still stands, what might be that or those other factor(s)?

libertygrl wrote:
incidentally, it bears noting that the gunman at virginia tech was a visiting student from south korea, not an american. it also bears noting that some experts do consider mexico a developed country.


That is interesting to note. I wonder if he would have done the same thing back in his country? I don't know if he would have had the access to the semi-automatic weapon. This could be an argument for the lax gun law theory (i.e., that it doesn't matter whether you're American or not, but rather what access you have to guns).

I wonder if those experts have ever lived in Mexico, as opposed to just staying at five-star hotels in Cancun? Being Mexican I can say that Mexico has elements of a developed nation but that it is still largely a developing nation with much poverty, systemic social inequities, and political imaturity. I think that most people (including experts) would not place Mexico in the same lot as Germany, France, Australia and the U.S.

Rudi



Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
Posted 04/17/07 - 4:08 PM:

Heres an intersting article comparing Prairie provinces and nor'western States:

http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publications/LibraryReport_PrairieCrimeRates_2005_03_07.doc

8)
Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#10 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/17/07 - 4:08 PM:

e. wrote:

It must be noted that there is also a great interest in motor cars in US films and media, so it's not just the guns.



True e... if there is one thing that Americans seem to love more than their guns it's their automobiles... nod

Rudi


Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#11 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/17/07 - 4:15 PM:

Midnight_Monk wrote:
Heres an intersting article comparing Prairie provinces and nor'western States:

http://www.garrybreitkreuz.com/publications/Libra...

8)



I didn't get into the details, but the gist (it seems to me) is that in rural areas the murder rate between Canada and the US is very similar, despite that fact that in the US there is greater access to guns. Yet, the national US rate is much greater than the Canadian rate and, as we saw, the urban rates in the US are astronomically higher. This would lead one to believe that there is something about US cities that makes them more prone to violence. Social inequities magnified by the urabn scape perhaps?

Rudi


libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#12 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/17/07 - 6:59 PM:

correction: i had read earlier that the VA gunman was visiting from south korea, but this wasn't the case. a new report states that he has lived in the u.s. since 1992. for others who may be interested in the story:

Va. Tech Gunman Writings Raised Concerns
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer
3 hours ago

BLACKSBURG, Va. - The gunman in the Virginia Tech massacre was a sullen loner who alarmed professors and classmates with his twisted, violence-drenched creative writing and left a rambling note in his dorm room raging against women and rich kids. A chilling picture emerged Tuesday of Cho Seung-Hui _ a 23-year-old senior majoring in English _ a day after the bloodbath that left 33 people dead, including Cho, who killed himself as police closed in.

News reports said that he may have been taking medication for depression and that he was becoming increasingly violent and erratic.

Despite the many warning signs that came to light in the bloody aftermath, police and university officials offered no clues as to exactly what set Cho off on the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history.

"He was a loner, and we're having difficulty finding information about him," school spokesman Larry Hincker said.

A student who attended Virginia Tech last fall provided obscenity- and violence-laced screenplays that he said Cho wrote as part of a playwriting class they both took. One was about a fight between a stepson and his stepfather, and involved throwing of hammers and attacks with a chainsaw. Another was about students fantasizing about stalking and killing a teacher who sexually molested them.

"When we read Cho's plays, it was like something out of a nightmare. The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn't have even thought of," former classmate Ian McFarlane, now an AOL employee, wrote in a blog posted on an AOL Web site. He said he and other students "were talking to each other with serious worry about whether he could be a school shooter."

"We always joked we were just waiting for him to do something, waiting to hear about something he did," said another classmate, Stephanie Derry. "But when I got the call it was Cho who had done this, I started crying, bawling."

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said Cho's writing was so disturbing that he had been referred to the university's counseling service.

"Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it's creative or if they're describing things, if they're imagining things or just how real it might be," Rude said. "But we're all alert to not ignore things like this."

She said she did not know when he was referred for counseling, or what the outcome was. Rude refused to release any of his writings or his grades, citing privacy laws. The counseling service refused to comment.

Cho _ who arrived in the United States as boy from South Korea in 1992 and was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., where his parents worked at a dry cleaners _ left a note in his dorm room that was found after the bloodbath.

A government official, who spoke of condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to discuss details of the case, said the note had been described to him as "anti-woman, anti-rich kid."

The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that the note railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus. ABC, citing law enforcement sources, said that the note, several pages long, explains Cho's actions and says, "You caused me to do this."

Col. Steve Flaherty, superintendent of the Virginia State Police, said there was no evidence so far that Cho left a suicide note, but he said authorities were going through a considerable number of writings.

Citing unidentified sources, the Tribune also said Cho had recently set a fire in a dorm room and had stalked some women.

Monday's rampage consisted of two attacks, more than two hours apart _ first at a dormitory, where two people were killed, then inside a classroom building, where 31 people, including Cho, died. Two handguns _ a 9 mm and a .22-caliber _ were found in the classroom building.

The Washington Post quoted law enforcement sources as saying Cho died with the words "Ismail Ax" in red ink on one of his arms, but they were not sure what that meant.

According to court papers, police found a "bomb threat" note _ directed at engineering school buildings _ near the victims in the classroom building. In the past three weeks, Virginia Tech was hit with two other bomb threats. Investigators have not connected those earlier threats to Cho.

Cho graduated from Westfield High School in Chantilly, Va., in 2003. His family lived in an off-white, two-story townhouse in Centreville, Va.

At least one of those killed in the rampage, Reema Samaha, graduated from Westfield High in 2006. But there was no immediate word from authorities on whether Cho knew the young woman and singled her out.

"He was very quiet, always by himself," neighbor Abdul Shash said. Shash said Cho spent a lot of his free time playing basketball and would not respond if someone greeted him.

Classmates painted a similar picture. Some said that on the first day of a British literature class last year, the 30 or so students went around and introduced themselves. When it was Cho's turn, he didn't speak.

On the sign-in sheet where everyone else had written their names, Cho had written a question mark. "Is your name, `Question mark?'" classmate Julie Poole recalled the professor asking. The young man offered little response.

Cho spent much of that class sitting in the back of the room, wearing a hat and seldom participating. In a small department, Cho distinguished himself for being anonymous. "He didn't reach out to anyone. He never talked," Poole said.

"We just really knew him as the question mark kid," Poole said.

One law enforcement official said Cho's backpack contained a receipt for a March purchase of a Glock 9 mm pistol. Cho held a green card, meaning he was a legal, permanent resident. That meant he was eligible to buy a handgun unless he had been convicted of a felony.

Roanoke Firearms owner John Markell said his shop sold the Glock and a box of practice ammo to Cho 36 days ago for $571.

"He was a nice, clean-cut college kid. We won't sell a gun if we have any idea at all that a purchase is suspicious," Markell said.

Investigators stopped short of saying Cho carried out both attacks. But State Police ballistics tests showed one gun was used in both.

And two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the information had not been announced, said Cho's fingerprints were on both guns, whose serial numbers had been filed off.

Gov. Tim Kaine said he will appoint a panel at the university's request to review authorities' handling of the disaster. Parents and students bitterly complained that the university should have locked down the campus immediately after the first burst of gunfire and did not do enough to warn people.

Kaine warned against making snap judgments and said he had "nothing but loathing" for those who take the tragedy and "make it their political hobby horse to ride."

On Tuesday afternoon, thousands of people gathered in the basketball arena for a memorial service for the victims, with an overflow crowd of thousands watching on a jumbo TV screen in the football stadium. President Bush and the first lady attended.

"As you draw closer to your families in the coming days, I ask you to reach out to those who ache for sons and daughters who are never coming home," Bush said.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger received a 30-second standing ovation, despite the criticism of the school administration.

With classes canceled for the rest of the week, many students left town in a hurry, lugging pillows, sleeping bags and backpacks down the sidewalks.

Jessie Ferguson, 19, a freshman from Arlington, headed for her car with tears streaming down her cheeks.

"I'm still kind of shaky," she said. "I had to pump myself up just to kind of come out of the building. I was going to come out, but it took a little bit of 'OK, it's going to be all right. There's lots of cops around.'"

She added: "I just don't want to be on campus."

Stories of heroism and ingenuity emerged Tuesday.

Liviu Librescu, an Israeli engineering and math lecturer, was killed after he was said to have protected his students' lives by blocking the doorway of his classroom from the gunman. And one student, an Eagle Scout, probably saved his own life by using an electrical cord as a tourniquet around his bleeding thigh, a doctor reported.

___

Associated Press writers Stephen Manning in Centreville, Va.; Matt Barakat in Richmond, Va.; Lara Jakes Jordan and Beverley Lumpkin in Washington; and Vicki Smith, Sue Lindsey and Justin Pope in Blacksburg contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#13 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/17/07 - 7:13 PM:

Rudi wrote:
Yes, on a second more sober reading, that comment was rather inflammatory and I apologise for its tone. I did not intend it to be as aggressive as it sounds. The criticism was amied more at the NRA, which always makes the claim that guns don't kill people. The NRA, I imagine, believes that the gun violence in the US is due to people doing what they do rather than due to the easy access to guns.

thank you for your explanation and your apology, accepted.

i concede that the u.s. has the highest homicide rate of developed countries, now that i have a better understanding of what is meant by developed countries, but we are still talking about rates which amount to a small fraction of 1 percent of the population. to make characterizations about americans as a whole or to suggest that violence is somehow "inherent" in being american (as is suggested by the topic of this thread) is grossly unfair to the other 99.9999% of americans who are not homicidal.

to address the question of why the homicide rate is higher in the u.s., it is suggested in the following article which i found in an online legal library, entitled Cross-national patterns of criminal homicide, that the disparity between rich and poor in a country is a large contributing factor to the homicide rate in areas that are densely populated, and this answer makes the most sense to me. if we want to talk about violence in entertainment being a contributing factor, i would be inclined to wonder why other countries who watch american films are not affected by its violent content.

as for gun control issues, in november 2002, reason magazine published a pertinent article, entitled, Gun Control's Twisted Outcome: Restricting firearms has helped make England more crime-ridden than the U.S.. here is an excerpt:

Historically, America has had a high homicide rate and England a low one. In a comparison of New York and London over a 200-year period, during most of which both populations had unrestricted access to firearms, historian Eric Monkkonen found New York's homicide rate consistently about five times London's. Monkkonen pointed out that even without guns, "the United States would still be out of step, just as it has been for two hundred years."

Legal historian Richard Maxwell Brown has argued that Americans have more homicides because English law insists an individual should retreat when attacked, whereas Americans believe they have the right to stand their ground and kill in self-defense. Americans do have more latitude to protect themselves, in keeping with traditional common law standards, but that would have had less significance before England's more restrictive policy was established in 1967.

The murder rates of the U.S. and U.K. are also affected by differences in the way each counts homicides. The FBI asks police to list every homicide as murder, even if the case isn't subsequently prosecuted or proceeds on a lesser charge, making the U.S. numbers as high as possible. By contrast, the English police "massage down" the homicide statistics, tracking each case through the courts and removing it if it is reduced to a lesser charge or determined to be an accident or self-defense, making the English numbers as low as possible.

The London-based Office of Health Economics, after a careful international study, found that while "one reason often given for the high numbers of murders and manslaughters in the United States is the easy availability of firearms...the strong correlation with racial and socio-economic variables suggests that the underlying determinants of the homicide rate are related to particular cultural factors."

Cultural differences and more-permissive legal standards notwithstanding, the English rate of violent crime has been soaring since 1991. Over the same period, America's has been falling dramatically. In 1999 The Boston Globe reported that the American murder rate, which had fluctuated by about 20 percent between 1974 and 1991, was "in startling free-fall." We have had nine consecutive years of sharply declining violent crime. As a result the English and American murder rates are converging. In 1981 the American rate was 8.7 times the English rate, in 1995 it was 5.7 times the English rate, and the latest study puts it at 3.5 times.

i personally don't have an opinion on gun control, because i don't know enough about it to judge it one way or another. from the research shown in the multiple articles above, it doesn't seem that relaxing or tightening gun control makes any difference whatsoever in the homicide rate. what do you suppose accounts for the radical decline in the u.s. homicide rate during the 90's, or the radical incline in the u.k. homicide rate during that same period?

Edited by libertygrl on 04/17/07 - 7:23 PM
Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#14 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/17/07 - 7:28 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

to address the question of why the homicide rate is higher in the u.s., it is suggested in the following article which i found in an online legal library, entitled Cross-national patterns of criminal homicide, that the disparity between rich and poor in a country is a large contributing factor to the homicide rate in areas that are densely populated, and this answer makes the most sense to me.


I'm glad you brought this up because I think that much of the evidence so far presented leads us to this. Disparities between rich and poor are much greater (or at least felt much more) in urban settings than in rural ones. Also there tends to be much greater diversity in cities than in the countryside, especially in places like Canada and the US. Gaps between rich and poor and greater racial and cultural diversity often leads to greater social tensions and more 'anger' in the streets. I would imagine that this is magnified in the US where policies are more capitalist and tend to create greater gaps between rich and poor. If this is the answer (or a big part of it) then it is US policy that is fomenting the conditions for violence to thrive.

liberty=grl wrote:
if we want to talk about violence in entertainment being a contributing factor, i would be inclined to wonder why other countries who watch american films are not affected by its violent content.



I don't think that this is the leading cause for the higher homicide rate in the US, but I am sure it is part of a viscious circle... not just the emphasis on violence but also the emphasis on being rich, having bling (in the more popular parlance). This reinforces the gaps between rich and poor. It makes the poor feel poorer. Why doesn't it affect people in other countries as much... I would say because for them what they see on the screen is pure fantasy... not so for Americans... what they see on the screen they can also see out on their streets... for them it is much more real I think.

Rudi


e.
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Location: UK

Total Topics: 142
Total Comments: 1081
Avatar e.
#15 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 2:54 AM:

Rudi wrote:
Why doesn't it affect people in other countries as much... I would say because for them what they see on the screen is pure fantasy... not so for Americans... what they see on the screen they can also see out on their streets... for them it is much more real I think. Rudi


Rudi,

I think there is some sense in this response. We might see a lot of firearms glamourised in a film, but if we don't have access to the firearms ourselves it is just fantasy. The same goes for drugs I think. If we see drug taking being shown as 'hip' in a film it won't make much impression if we don't have access to them in our own country.

Having said this, these influences are pervasive. You just have to see a young kid playing with a piece of wood as a 'pretend' gun or pretending to smoke, to
see the influences.

I myself own a (legal) co2 target pistol, as I enjoy doing marksmanship with a friend (I'm a pretty good shot too: I can hit a 3cm ring at 12 metres). The pistol is an exact replica of a Walther p88. Now, my point is that there was no need to make this a replica, it could have just looked like a target pistol; what were the influences in the marketing of this product?

"Lock and load!"

e.

libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#16 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 6:43 AM:

Rudi wrote:
I would imagine that this is magnified in the US where policies are more capitalist and tend to create greater gaps between rich and poor. If this is the answer (or a big part of it) then it is US policy that is fomenting the conditions for violence to thrive.

what do you suppose accounts for the radical decline in the u.s. homicide rate during the 90's, or the radical incline in the u.k. homicide rate during that same period?
Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#17 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 8:02 AM:

One more thing I thought about last night. I think that despite some of the studies cited above, gun accessibility may still be an important factor. The accessibility of guns may not be important in societies where there is relative social harmony. This could explain why the rural US or Switzerland and Israel have relatively low murder rates despite having access to guns. It would also explain why ther murder rates are so much higher in US cities than in other cities. Not only may some of the social issues both you and I described in our earlier posts be more acute in US cities, but the likelihood of them ending up in gun violence is also that much higher because guns are much more readily available.

Rudi


Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#18 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 8:10 AM:

e. wrote:
I myself own a (legal) co2 target pistol, as I enjoy doing marksmanship with a friend (I'm a pretty good shot too: I can hit a 3cm ring at 12 metres). The pistol is an exact replica of a Walther p88. Now, my point is that there was no need to make this a replica, it could have just looked like a target pistol; what were the influences in the marketing of this product?



I think you hit on something very important here Lib. I think that this is particularly reflective of the attitudes Americans have on guns (generally speaking of course). The very thought of owning a gun horrifies many people here (and I include myself in that category). Guns are seen as instruments death. Of course we have people that favour and like guns here as well, but there more general tendency is that guns are not good things and should be restricted. I get the feeling that in the US guns are seen more as everyday type tools or toys. You can buy them almost anywhere without the requirement for any clearances or permits. As I understand it the Virginia Tech student simply went in and bought a semi-automatic gun a few weeks before... just like that. We talked about the importance of attitudes and education in the theread on recycling (as you might recall). I think we all agreed that the long-term solution to the environmental issue is to educate people and change attitudes. I don't think this issue is any different. I do think that the violence in the US is somewhat ingrained in people in that there is a greater acceptance of guns and violence and there is a certain glorification of both. This is part of the American culture and I think plays a role.

Rudi


Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#19 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 8:16 AM:

libertygrl wrote:

what do you suppose accounts for the radical decline in the u.s. homicide rate during the 90's, or the radical incline in the u.k. homicide rate during that same period?



Good question Lib. My guess is that there has been an increase in the things that create social tension. Greater social tension, especially in urban centres, will result in greater violence. greater poverty and especially a greater gap between rich and poor and maybe even an 'americanization' process could be partly to blame for the increase. This is pure speculation though. I'll look for some stats. In the meantime maybe Alex has some insights.

Rudi


Rudi
banned

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 20, 2005

Total Topics: 44
Total Comments: 474
Rudi
#20 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 8:55 AM:

Another viewpoint (along with some stats) on gun control (from the Toronto Star):

http://www.thestar.com/News/article/204345

Rudi
beans
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Jan 22, 2007
Location: Oz

Total Topics: 9
Total Comments: 186
Avatar beans
#21 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 10:50 AM:

A sense of being outside of the community (ostracised), of not being personally responsible to the community (sociopath), of feeling unsafe within the community (paranoia). These things defy national, racial, social and religious boundaries. After an event where one or two nutters go off, there is always a bout of finger pointing. People want to make sense of something that seems senseless.

I'd like it if everyone here would join the thread on 'what is justice' as I believe I have just a little food for thought here. Or at least an interesting semantics discussion! sisyphus

www.thecouchforum.com/comme...?id=620&page=last#post7008

If you wouldn't mind answering the question I put to Lib then perhaps I can shed a thin shaft of light onto this. Or maybe not; it's a farging tall order...

beans peace
guyfromdover
guyfromdover
#22 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 3:48 PM:

Here we go mates http://www.reason.com/news/show/28582.html
mixinman7
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 18, 2007
Location: usa, OR

Total Topics: 4
Total Comments: 141
#23 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/18/07 - 10:06 PM:

i view the principle of the idea to look for a "social" reason for the numbers to be blinding. its like looking from a distance at the great wall of china and wondering why there are patterns here and there. a stone is a stone. a person is a person. what we make of the bigger picture is not a compassionate view. in that i consider it blinding.

the answer, to me, is simple. american culture is widely diverse, where as any other culture, presumably, has limitations to the mixture. canadians have their sense of identity; americans theirs. what the world seems to view americans to be is an opportunity at "the american dream." the principle of us is opportunity. opportunity seekers are, buy nature of definition, selfish. compare this with the image, or what is means to be a member of any other culture. what exemplifies anybody else?

the world wide view of americanism is common, even within america. you wonder why americans display certain attributes? look only to the motivation there in. consider, for thought, a comparison between harvard and university of oregon. people go to harvard for the prestigious reputation of the school in an ideological fashion, and to UofO for geographic or monetary reasons, perhaps for a fascination with the schools status in a form of athletics or other extenuating avenue of education. the common mindset of people between the two colleges will be drastically different.

aside from reasons and details, the simple principle of being an american leads to reasons and details.
kooky
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#24 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/19/07 - 11:49 AM:

hi guyfromdover, welcome!
e.
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005
Location: UK

Total Topics: 142
Total Comments: 1081
Avatar e.
#25 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 04/19/07 - 12:06 PM:

guyfromdover wrote:
Here we go mates http://www.reason.com/news/show/28582.html


Hi Guy from Dover.

Are you actually from Dover by any chance? I hear that it can be a pretty tough town, along with Hastings which is often called the crime capital of the South East coast.

We went down there recently and I had my car vandalised, although to be fair that can happen anywhere.

Welcome to the Couch.

e.
wink
Search thread for
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



Sorry, you don't have permission . Log in, or register if you haven't yet.



Acknowledgements:

Couch logo design by Midnight_Monk. The photo hanging above the couch was taken by Paul.

Powered by WSN Forum. Free smileys here.
Special thanks to Maria Cristina, Jesse , Echolist Directory, The Star Online,
Hosting Free Webs, and dmoz.org for referring visitors to this site!

Copyright notice:

Except where noted otherwise, copyright belongs to respective authors
for artwork, photography and text posted in this forum.