FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

“Culture Of Violence?” You Betcha, Mr. Trump, But It’s Not The Video Games

On the day after America’s weekend shooting rampage that killed 31 people and wounded dozens more in El Paso and Dayton, president Trump told the nation in a 10-minute address, what he sees as the causes of and cures for gun violence in the U.S.

As causes, he mentioned:

+ “Racism, bigotry and white supremacy” adding, “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”

+ The internet and social media, saying, “We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start,” and he added “The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored and they will not be ignored.”

+ Mental illness, saying we must “reform mental health,” including “involuntary confinement” of those posing a serious risk to society. He added that, “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.” One might infer he meant to say that mental illness and hatred cause mass shootings, not guns.

+ “…the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youths to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately.”

For remedies to the nation’s epidemic of gun violence? He avoided what’s become the much-maligned “thoughts and prayers” and suggested:

+ “Red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders”

+ Having “The Department of Justice…propose legislation insuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively and without years of needless delay.”

Give him credit for finally recognizing white supremacy and web sites that promote it as problems. But the other causes he mentioned – video games and mental illness – come straight out of Trumpian illogic.

On the subject of video games, which Trump said make it “too easy today for troubled youths to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence,” Western Michigan University sociologist, Whitney DeCamp, along with others who have researched the subject, say it’s not likely. Violent video games, offensive as they are, are much less probable to cause violent behavior than a person’s “social environment – seeing or hearing violence in their own home between members of one’s family.”

As for treating mental illness, which along with “thoughts and prayers” completes the NRA’s solutions list, research shows it to be something different than popularly thought. The mental state of mass shooters, a subject highlighted by NetCE, shows that mental illnesses, typically treated with medication or cognitive therapy are not what ails the large majority of mass shooters, but personality disorders are. These are extremely difficult to treat and seldom even seen as a problem by the person affected.

It’s much more accurate to say that everybody in America is surrounded by a culture of violence, even if they’ve never played a video game.

Beyond the prime time TV shows with the common theme, “Be afraid…be very afraid” of every stripe of criminal roaming the land, there is the even greater influence of state-sponsored violence promotion.

+ Try to watch a football game without a warplane flyover, a tribute to a local military “hero” or multiple military recruiting commercials pitching a fun, exciting career.

+ Drive through any city and count the military recruiting billboards.

+ Count the number of holidays either directly for the military or usurped by militarism.

+ Ask how many visits military recruiters have made to your local high schools and if students are compelled to take the military aptitude tests on bogus claims they’re required.

+ Most importantly, think about how the U.S. routinely uses violence in every corner of the world to maintain its empire. Look at the U.S. budget’s discretionary spending on the military: 65% and another 7% for veterans benefits, more than the combined military budgets of Germany, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, UK, France and India; more than the next 144 nations after those.

Surrounded by a culture that celebrates violence? There’s no escaping it. Our own government creates it and we pay for it.

As a final challenge to reality, Trump, who the Wall Street Journal said “has described an invasion at the border in more than half a dozen tweets this year, and in a May statement issued by the White House said ‘hundreds of thousands of people coming through Mexico’ had invaded the U.S.,” made nice and sent “…the condolences of our nation to President Obredor of Mexico and all the citizens of Mexico for the loss of their citizens in the El Paso shooting.”

To close his address, Trump declared, “I am open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work and make a very big difference.”

I’ll dash off a letter urging he reorder U.S. budget priorities…as soon as I finish throwing up.

 

More articles by:

Mike Ferner is a writer from Ohio and former president of Veterans For Peace.  You can reach him at mike.ferner@sbcglobal.net

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
August 22, 2019
George Ochenski
Breaking the Web of Life
Kenneth Surin
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Helter Skelter
Enrique C. Ochoa – Gilda L. Ochoa
It’s About Time for Ethnic Studies in Our K-12 Schools
Steve Early
A GI Rebellion: When Soldiers Said No to War
Clark T. Scott
Sanders And Bezos’s Shared, Debilitating, Basic Premise
Dan Corjescu
The Metaphysics of Revolution
Mark Weisbrot
Who is to Blame for Argentina’s Economic Crisis?
Howard Lisnoff
To Protect and Serve
Cesar Chelala
A Palestinian/Israeli Experiment for Peace in the Middle East
Binoy Kampmark
No Deal Chaos: the Brexit Cliff Face and Operation Yellowhammer
Josue De Luna Navarro
For True Climate Justice, Abolish ICE and CBP
Dean Baker
The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone
August 21, 2019
Craig Collins
Endangered Species Act: A Failure Worth Fighting For?
Colin Todhunter
Offering Choice But Delivering Tyranny: the Corporate Capture of Agriculture
Michael Welton
That Couldn’t Be True: Restorying and Reconciliation
John Feffer
‘Slowbalization’: Is the Slowing Global Economy a Boon or Bane?
Johnny Hazard
In Protest Against Police Raping Spree, Women Burn Their Station in Mexico City.
Tom Engelhardt
2084: Orwell Revisited in the Age of Trump
Binoy Kampmark
Condescension and Climate Change: Australia and the Failure of the Pacific Islands Forum
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
The Dead Letter Office of Capitalist Imperium: a Poverty of Mundus Imaginalis 
George Wuerthner
The Forest Service Puts Ranchers Ahead of Grizzlies (and the Public Interest)
Stephen Martin
Geopolitics of Arse and Elbow, with Apologies to Schopenhauer.
Gary Lindorff
The Smiling Turtle
August 20, 2019
James Bovard
America’s Forgotten Bullshit Bombing of Serbia
Peter Bolton
Biden’s Complicity in Obama’s Toxic Legacy
James Phillips
Calm and Conflict: a Dispatch From Nicaragua
Karl Grossman
Einstein’s Atomic Regrets
Colter Louwerse
Kushner’s Threat to Palestine: An Interview with Norman Finkelstein
Nyla Ali Khan
Jammu and Kashmir: the Legitimacy of Article 370
Dean Baker
The Mythology of the Stock Market
Daniel Warner
Is Hong Kong Important? For Whom?
Frederick B. Mills
Monroeism is the Other Side of Jim Crow, the Side Facing South
Binoy Kampmark
God, Guns and Video Games
John Kendall Hawkins
Toni Morrison: Beloved or Belovéd?
Martin Billheimer
A Clerk’s Guide to the Unspectacular, 1914
Elliot Sperber
On the 10-Year Treasury Bonds 
August 19, 2019
John Davis
The Isle of White: a Tale of the Have-Lots Versus the Have-Nots
John O'Kane
Supreme Nihilism: the El Paso Shooter’s Manifesto
Robert Fisk
If Chinese Tanks Take Hong Kong, Who’ll be Surprised?
Ipek S. Burnett
White Terror: Toni Morrison on the Construct of Racism
Arshad Khan
India’s Mangled Economy
Howard Lisnoff
The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon
Steven Krichbaum
Put an End to the Endless War Inflicted Upon Our National Forests
Cal Winslow
A Brief History of Harlan County, USA
Jim Goodman
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is Just Part of a Loathsome Administration
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail