A violent culture

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There has been so much written on this topic already that I've hesitated to respond. All the politicians have immediately taken the position that it's the guns and multiple-round magazines that are at fault. That is a simplistic explanation combined with political posturing. The truth is that we are an enormously violent society. The most popular sports are the most violent and include football, boxing and hockey. The most popular video games are tremendously violent as are many of the most popular movies. I even saw a picture in the Sports section of a 10-year-old girl who had just killed a deer while accompanied by her father. Marvelous!

The entire hunting and trapping vocation of so many in our society is just more violence directed at hapless animals that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time just like the situation at Newtown, Conn. How many animals are run over daily on the country's roads on purpose? Studies have shown that to be true. Automobile advertising almost always stresses the value of more power so that the driver can be more reckless and aggressive on our roadways. You can't watch 10 minutes of the evening news without being exposed to graphic scenes of a war or terrorist acts occurring somewhere, and that is every evening.

At the same time that we have all of this exposure to violence in our daily lives, we in Pennsylvania have closed almost all of the state's mental hospitals and so scaled back all other mental health services to the point that it is almost laughable to say that we as a society have concerns about mental health. The question is not how could this happen at Newtown, but rather, why does it not happen more often? This will continue to happen until our culture of violence becomes quite a bit less violent, and that is the hard issue.

WILLIAM L. HOON
Mt. Lebanon


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