Gun Violence A Common Problem Today
Gun violence is a significant issue faced by the justice system. The problem of gun violence related to homicides affecting the age group of young juveniles from age 14 to young adults age 30 result from drug use and distribution. My proposal would be a focus group tasked to find the sources of where drug distribution takes place and where it is coming from in order to prevent violence originating from the drugs in association of attributing to gun violence. In the united states the main sources of drugs usually come imported from other countries which would require our government to use counter-intelligence measures within this focus group.
Focusing on one significant issue in the united states, gun violence comes to mind. The media has frequently focused on the issues of gun violence increasing among African American males and or in association with acts of domestic terrorism with white males and non-white/non-black males of another mixed race or mixed nationality. In most cases the gun violence is associated with drug use and distribution while in the case of domestic terrorism it relates to environmental influences such as cultural or religious views and or mental illness. In certain cases mental illness is associated with the excessive use of drugs and also associated with violence and gun violence.
Gun violence in the united states seems to be perceived as the new normal today with the increasing amount of gun violence happening across the nation. There are increasing cases of gun violence in schools, public places, and within urban dwellings. Gun violence is addressed in questioning the motives and reasons behind what the main causes could be and why. There is an association of the gun violence being associated with mentally ill individuals whom in past history of gun violence the media has focused on the individual to have a source of being mentally ill and or isolated from society. According to McLeigh, J. D. (2015), “After detailing some of the challenges that have inhibited the passage of legislation, Goss highlights an exception: At the federal and state levels, laws have been enacted that were designed to regulate access to guns by people with mental illness and to support programs to reduce gun violence within that population. Goss found that from 2004 to 2014, nearly every provision enacted into state law had the effect of restricting access to firearms by persons with mental illness. This research raises grave concerns because of the resulting stigma and civil liberty issues it creates for people with mental illness.”(Pg201Para3)
A focused examination of this main problem of gun violence is highlighted in social media and well known around the world for it being a repetitive problem in the united states. There is more gun related violent deaths in the united states than most countries and its come to the point of tourists being warned of possible places where gun violence would most likely be and places or types of people to avoid. It’s not just drug related but, it’s happening among the general public in places of business and in schools. This issue is affecting all age groups and all people from all walks of life with different backgrounds. The main problem isn’t cultural or based on religious or political views of gun control but, rather the violence itself and the act of violence with homicidal intent associated with guns.
A new focus on trends in gun violence and statistics of time periods and age groups shows over a period of 30 years how it has declined in some places such as low populated areas but, risen in areas with higher populations of a more diverse group of people. There seems to be an increase of gun violence associated with homicides such as in Chicago for example and the rates have not decreased from 2 murders per day. With the new policies in New York the gun violence has decreased and proves to be effective. According to Larsen, D. A., Lane, S., Jennigns-Bey, T., Haygood-El, A., Brundage, K., & Rubinstein, R. A. (2017), “Trends in gun violence over the past 30 years saw a large rise in the early 1990s nationally, followed by a decline and eventual steadying off through the 2000’s. These trends vary depending on the location—Chicago had its bloodiest year in nearly two decades in 2016 with nearly2 murders per day whereas New York City saw a continuation of dramatic decline in murders.”(Pg1para2)
Individual implications of gun violence would be allowing the wrong type of person to own a gun and in return that person doesn’t use proper gun safety or has a violent history and would most likely cause accidental or planned violence with their weapon. Another implication of gun violence would be a severely mentally ill individual who is a danger to themselves and others gets ahold of a gun from a gun owner not storing it in a safe location or locked box and that individual committing an accidental or planned violence with their weapon. Other individual implications could be from an individuals cultural background which they are used to gun related violence and handling problems through using threats and or violence and have a history of criminal acts and behaviors which are repetitive. Someone whom was recently released from prison and or jail who had a violent past or expresses violent behaviors and then had a weapon would most likely use that weapon related to violence in the case that they were in a violent confrontation.
Social implications would be based on societal factors such as environmental like the individuals home and family life or their working environment. The types of friends and people an individual is surrounded by and if they have positive or negative influences. For example, if an individual were surrounded by gang members and drug users then most likely the individual would participate in gang activities or be a member and participate in drug activities and if those people happened to use weapons then that individual would most likely use weapons as well. When violence is introduced to this scenario it could be related to societal clashes such as two rival gangs fighting and using weapons such as guns and with homicidal intent. Other social implications could be directly related to stereotyping and placing an individual in a state of mind that they are no good or worthless and can only make it through a way of life of theft and or violence. Some people of certain cultures or races may feel angry or prejudiced against others based on media influences of violence against their culture or race by governmental or authoritative figures such as law enforcement and abuse of power. This may influence violence through violent protesting and hate speeches leading to violent behaviors and acts.
Data on the American gun-homicides in association with reducing guns or making an effort in reducing guns available in the market explains that a majority of deaths in the united states are a result from gun violence and that its likely to happen if an individual whom is violent or has a history of being violent owns a gun. According to Stell, L. K. (2004), “Professor Zimring argues that even the most cursory review of American gun-homicide data show that reducing the guns “market share” of homicide must be a key ingredient of an enlightened firearms policy. This supposedly follows from the fact that gun assaults are 5-7 times more likely to result in death than non-gun assaults and from the fact that 70% of American homicides are committed with guns.”(Pg38Para3) With gun violence directly related to homicide the issue should be focused on how to prevent the violence which inspires it to be gun related and causing serious harm or death. The focus would be the individual and their motives or reason for acting out or using a gun with violent intentions.
Analyzing the social constructs of society and how it impacts youths shows that it can result in criminal behaviors in juveniles. The social media influences which have negative impacts on young minds in being pre-exposed to the violence or violent behaviors would cause a youth most likely to act out in violent behaviors. This can be associated with youths and gun violence related to school shootings. According to Zuckerman, D. M. (1996), “In response, the results of several decades of social science research have been translated into media sound bites in which policy makes have blamed media violence, video games, and rap music for teaching American youth that violence is an acceptable way to deal with life’s problems.”(Pg378Para2) If there were more positive media influences on the youth and positive outlets for handling frustration or anger then it could reduce the extremes of violent behaviors. There should be a more productive effort on the focus of youth transitions from childhood and becoming teenagers and from teenagers to young adults. The productive effort in offering advice and information on changing emotions as body changes occur and as societal influences or peer pressure may affect people in different ways, how to make the right type of choices to become successful and have programs available like outreach programs to help children and teens become successful adults through their middle and high schools. Sometimes groups not based on a favorite hobby or religion but, just a group focused on finding success and providing those learning resources based on age groups will help with making the right type of friends, choices, and be beneficial.
In this day and age Americas youth needs inspiration and they need to find comfort in knowing that they can be better than all the negativity they see in the media which is basically across the entire nation. Instead of this focus on all the bad there needs to be a new way of introducing hope and through educational programs for all youth within all public and private educational systems. With the way the media influences the youth for protesting its not helping them or other problems from happening and tends to make things worse. This is why so many youth have participated in criminal behaviors and acts based on societal influences around them. Many educational institutions offer dual enrollment so youth in middle or high school can also take college classes and complete their two or four year degree upon graduating high school. There are also programs like ROTC and associated with military to recruit youth out of graduating high school. Scholarships also provide youth with inspiration to have goals to qualify for the scholarship through attaining good grades with a qualifying GPA and having a clean record with no criminal history. There should be other programs implemented as well such as internship offered to high school students whom are dual enrolled and want to work in a specific career field, it would give them experience and a chance at success.
Additional data on measuring the types of crimes, crime rate, homicides, and rate of homicides within the united states compared to other western democracies shows there’s an emphasis on homicides being the second leading cause of death for Americans and how concerning this is. The age groups of 14 – 30, gender being male, and race African American relating to crimes and homicides is higher than other races or genders however the amount of crime and theft is higher in white males. According to McGarrell, E., Corsaro, N., Hipple, N., & Bynum, T. (2010), “Although the US experiences lower level of certain types of crime than many other western democracies, rates of gun related homicides, robberies, and assaults are much higher in the US (Farrington et al. 2004; Langan and Farrington 1998; Zimring and Hawkins 1999). Homicide is the second leading cause of death for US citizens ages 14-30 and the leading cause of death for African American males ages 14-30 (Center for Disease Control 2008).” (Pg166Para1)
Society has made multiple efforts to confront the problem of gun violence with offering programs for juveniles to help change their bad habits for the better and offer success strategies and work programs which help them transition into adulthood as successful and outstanding citizens. There are other efforts made by law enforcement working along with a city or county to make efforts in reducing the amount of gun-related violence and deaths especially with police officers and educate the general public on how law enforcement is there for them to protect and serve them and has no prejudice against them. Law enforcement also makes an effort in reducing the amount of drug use and distribution which in some places it is an epidemic and there can only be a certain amount of control over it to try to reduce drug related violence leading to gun violence. Citizen patrols and neighborhood watches also incorporate civilian citizens helping with reducing theft and small crimes which could be related to drug use or distribution which could in return be related to the use of illegal weapons and distribution of those weapons.
An alternative solution to the problem of gun violence would be a focus on what type of people are at risk of owning and using guns such as people with a past criminal history no matter what type of crime, people with a mental illness which can change their behaviors and put them at risk for hurting others or themselves, and people who are irresponsible with weapons and have no prior history of owning a gun and havn’t taken a certified course in gun safety with storing and using a weapon. I think the main problem would be the lack of education and gun safety measures and for anyone to own or use a gun in the united states there needs to be a mandatory gun safety certification class which distributes a gun box with a key. There’s a few things I am personally uncomfortable with in regards to guns such as people who carry them or conceal them on their body. This poses a risk regardless of a gun being on safety or the individual having a conceal permit, to me anyone who has a weapon is a risk to others. I think there should be limitations such as within a dwelling you can have a gun as long as it is in a safety box and out of reach to others who could steal it or from children finding it. There are many instances of youths taking their parents guns and committing gun violence with homicidal intent and seriously injuring or killing someone else out of rage.
Some people feel that guns save lives and protect people while others feel they’re an issue. I am one of those people that feel they’re an issue despite being a military war veteran and using weapons I do not support the use of weapons by civilians and I feel that it’s disturbing that a civilian can freely have a weapon when really it should only be law enforcement, military, or government that has weapons. The civilian society has a massive impact on violent related homicides directly related to guns. It seems like a civil war among civilians and its turning ugly with abuse of use of free rights and it seems that a majority of civilians that use and support gun laws have aggressive type personalities. There needs to be an educational statement from law enforcement to each state and each states distribution of information to the counties explaining if they need permits to carry weapons and the importance of gun safety. Many people own weapons and do not have permits which is dangerous since people who have permits usually have background checks done and have taken a course in gun safety.
The effective response to the problem using the alternative solution would be mandatory background checks redone on all registered gun owners and then additional gun safety courses provided online which the registered gun owners would take to make sure they use their weapon safely and do not let any other family members or friends use their weapon. They would also need to store their weapon in a safe place unloaded which is a huge issue since many gun owners store their weapons loaded and its why so many incidents of children finding guns accidentally shoot themselves or others after finding one in a family members home. The other measures to be taken would be finding out whom else has weapons which are not registered and is those people are a liability to public safety or if they just need to be simply registered. This would be the immediate course of action followed by informing the public of new gun safety laws and regulations.
Negative consequences of using an alternative solution would be protests among the civilians whom support guns and they would most likely participate in violent protests including hate speeches in public and on social media. There would probably be an attempt of a lawsuit or judge ruling that the law or regulations violation a Constitutional Amendment and that the civilians could have their guns and not have to have permits in certain states or take gun safety courses. It could also cause a mass panic among the civilians whom are gun owners to buy more guns before the laws would take effect and cause irrational behaviors in people.
In conclusion gun violence is a significant issue face by the justice system, law enforcement officials, government officials, and civilians. Gun violence is responsible for the majority of homicides in the united states and among males between the ages of 14 – 30 of African American heritage. Through an improvised plan of task groups focused on the causes of gun violence it can reduce crimes, homicides, and provide a safer future.
McLeigh, J. D. (2015). The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America. American Journal Of Orthopsychiatry, 85(3), 201-202. Doi:10.1037/ort0000072
Larsen, D. A., Lane, S., Jennigns-Bey, T., Haygood-El, A., Brundage, K., & Rubinstein, R. A. (2017). Spatio-temporal patterns of gun violence in Syracuse, New York 2009-2015. Plos ONE, 12(3), 1-10. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173001
Stell, L. K. (2004). The Production of Criminal Violence in America: Is Strict Gun Control the Solution. Journal Of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 32(1), 38-46.
Zuckerman, D. M. (1996). Media violence, gun control, and public policy. American Journal Of Orthopsychiatry, 66(3), 378-389. doi:10.1037/h0080188
McGarrell, E., Corsaro, N., Hipple, N., & Bynum, T. (2010). Project Safe Neighborhoods and Violent Crime Trends in US Cities: Assessing Violent Crime Impact. Journal Of Quantitative Criminology, 26(2), 165-190. Doi:10.1007/s10940-010-9091-9
To find more information on this topic see: The New Normal? Addressing Gun Violence in America.