The United States has the 26th highest rate of gun violence in the world (Washington Post, 2012). It accounted for 70 percent of all homicides and less than 10 percent of all nonfatal violent crimes from 1993 to 2011 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2013). So how will the United States overcome the battle to end gun violence? The United States Government, worried parents and various anti-gun groups have always scrutinized how to fix the problem. What causes violent acts to be committed with a gun? In order to find out the basics of why these crimes happen, criminal justice experts must understand the indicators that may lead up to these wretched acts of violence. A decline in parenting and family values, poverty, drugs and mental illness may be a few of the causes of gun violence. Families are splitting up at an exceptional rate leaving one-parent households. Kids rely on their parents to be there for them as they grow, teach them right from wrong, and show them the importance of nuclear family values. Two parent homes are not the norm as they once used to be.
Divorce also plays a role in the lack of parental support. The mom may teach the child one thing and the father teaches another. They may even make the child feel at fault for the divorce. Families also split for the simple reason that both parents have to work to make ends meet. Similar to the examples of divorce, parents are not home at the same time to give kids the direction that they need to stay out of trouble; even worse, the child may resort to living on the streets to get the attention he/she needs. If he relies on the “streets”, there is a high probability that he may become affiliated with the wrong people or gangs. Having a two-parent household impacts on the child’s life so that he can refrain from having gangs as a support channel. The second major cause of gun violence is poverty. Poverty is always one of the key factors in violent acts of crime. Consider Detroit. Once a thriving city from the automotive industry, it now holds one of the nation’s highest crime rates (Forbes, 2013). Poverty brings drug dealing and gangs. People use guns in impecunious areas, for protection from other gang members, and/or drug dealers. Drug dealers see the poverty-stricken towns or cities as a favorable place to sell their drugs because they prey upon those they may view as being unprotected. In turn, those who live in these areas may feel the need to be armed.
As mentioned above, both parents are not always able to stay together, resulting in one of them possibly moving to a lower income neighborhood where gangs are prevalent. One expert believes that there is a fix to end gun violence in theses underdeveloped areas, stating, “If America’s leaders would invest in proven pathways out of poverty, we could radically diminish violence in America. If America spent as much money offering opportunities to every 16 to 26 year old as we spending locking them up for minor offenses that further cut them off from a positive future, we could end poverty in a generation or two” (Dorothy Stoneman 2012). Poverty is and always has been one of the leading causes of gun violence, but ultimately it is the drive of the parents to make sure that their kids have what they need in life rather than a gang member or drug dealer providing it for them.
Drugs in America are one of the battles incessantly fought and will always seem like a losing battle for many law enforcement agencies. Drugs are one of the problems that come with the territory of living in a poverty covered city or neighborhood. Drug dealers often use guns to protect themselves and their drugs to prevent another drug dealer from taking their business should one of their deals go wrong. Along the Texas/Mexico border in the war on illegal immigration, border patrol agents are also fighting the war on drugs that are being smuggled into the United States. The drug smugglers bringing these drugs into the U.S. are heavily armed and extremely dangerous. Every day thousands of pounds of illegal drugs pass through the border. One staggering statistic shows that horrific violence from the Mexican drug war claimed as many as 50,000 lives each year (The Daily Nightly 2012). This is a serious security concern for U.S. Currently, many Americans are resorting to drug running or selling as a way to make a living. An unstable economy, high rates of unemployment and the lack of job security have led many adults making money in all the wrong ways.
There is no real fix to keep drug dealers out of the country in order to keep gun violence at a minimum. Despite all the programs, schooling, and mentorships that are available to make an honest living, many make poor decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Not only does it hurt them, but their families as well. Drugs lead to gun violence, which go hand in hand with each other in causing many problems. Mental illness is a serious condition that is not taken as seriously as it should be. Not only does mental illness apply to soldiers return home from war, but also to kids and adults who may have suffered some type of traumatic even during their lives. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza went into a Newtown, Connecticut school and killed twenty children and six adults (NY Daily News, 2013). The motive for his actions was unknown, but one thing is certain, he suffered from a mental illness (CNN, 2013).
The high cost of the tragic events caused by mental illness make many Americans feel unsecure along with other reasons for gun violence. Many are being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other illnesses rather than mental illness as they should be. Moreover, it is the responsibility of those that interact with the mentally to get them to a doctor for the medical attention they need to get better. Factors that contribute to gun violence are a lack of good parental support channel, drugs, poverty and mental illness. Policymakers must seek a solution to resolve problems of gun violence in America. While making laws to protect the citizens of the United States, they must be sure not to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. Chicago doesn’t have a gun problem; it has a father problem. When young men don’t have fathers, they don’t learn to control their masculine impulses.
They don’t have fathers to teach them how to channel their masculine impulses in productive ways. When young men don’t have fathers, those men will seek out masculine love — masculine acceptance — where they can find it. Often, they find it in gangs (Lee Habeeb 2006). This proves that the reasons for gun violence are valid and should be focused on. Furthermore, gun violence will continue until the indicators and symptoms start being recognized.
Ferrara, P. Habeeb, L. (February 2013). The root cause of gun violence. Retrieved from http://spectator.org/articles/33965/root-cause-gun-violence Ferguson, C.J. (November 2013). Adam Lanza’s motive a mystery in Sandy Hook killings. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/27/opinion/ferguson-sandy-hook/ Sandoval, E. Otis, G.A. (December 2013). Warning graphic content: audio tapes of 911 calls made from Sandy Hook school as Adam Lanza went on gun rampage killing 20 children and six adults. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/911-recordings-sandy-hook-shootings-released-article-1.1536629#commentpostform Potter, M. (March 2012).
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