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Author Topic: What the hell is wrong with America?  (Read 3762 times)
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Canuck
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« on: February 15, 2008, 12:52:57 PM »

Not political or religious but it could devolve into debate on gun control which is a more explosive subject than the two previous combined so I thought I'd throw it in here.

Yet another shooting in an American school.  More innocent students dead.  I can't understand it.  It's not restricted to America of course, but it seems like America is the only country where it happens 5 or 6 times over the course of a single year.  What's the solution? (or perhaps more importantly, what's the problem?)

Six dead in US college shooting
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« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 01:05:27 PM »

The kids with the penchant to shoot up schools are now going to college.

They're raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance.  In other words, they're raised in hopelessness.  So why not act out and get some attention even if it is only fleeting and negative? 

If you're killing other people who themselves are only here as a result of chance, what does it matter?
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2008, 02:07:32 PM »

Quote from: ATB on February 15, 2008, 01:05:27 PM

The kids with the penchant to shoot up schools are now going to college.

They're raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance.  In other words, they're raised in hopelessness.  So why not act out and get some attention even if it is only fleeting and negative? 

If you're killing other people who themselves are only here as a result of chance, what does it matter?

Not buying that ATB (and I'm also a Christian).  If it were true, then everyone "raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance" would be shooting up schools.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but it doesn't seem to happen in other countries anywhere near as frequently (many of which are more atheistic than the U.S.).
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2008, 02:23:59 PM »

I don't know the answer either, but I find it remarkably disturbing.
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Canuck
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« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2008, 02:28:07 PM »

I don't know-has there been a sudden increase in the number of kids who think they don't matter recently?  Surely kids got picked on and bullied just as much back in the 1950's as they do now.  As far as I know (I admit I don't really) this sort of thing wasn't prevalent back then.
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ATB
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« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2008, 02:28:54 PM »

Quote from: warning on February 15, 2008, 02:07:32 PM

Quote from: ATB on February 15, 2008, 01:05:27 PM

The kids with the penchant to shoot up schools are now going to college.

They're raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance.  In other words, they're raised in hopelessness.  So why not act out and get some attention even if it is only fleeting and negative? 

If you're killing other people who themselves are only here as a result of chance, what does it matter?

Not buying that ATB (and I'm also a Christian).  If it were true, then everyone "raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance" would be shooting up schools.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but it doesn't seem to happen in other countries anywhere near as frequently (many of which are more atheistic than the U.S.).

That woudl be like saying everyone who plays violent video games grows up to be a shooter just because one did.

That's not the point I was trying to make.  Some are more susceptible to hopelessness.

Obviously, people that do it are unhinged and there are many factors, I meant to convey that institutional hopelessness is a major component.
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« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2008, 02:33:06 PM »

Quote from: Canuck on February 15, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

I don't know-has there been a sudden increase in the number of kids who think they don't matter recently?  Surely kids got picked on and bullied just as much back in the 1950's as they do now.  As far as I know (I admit I don't really) this sort of thing wasn't prevalent back then.

if it wasn't prevalent back then, then its 200 times worse now.  especially when over 1/2 of the student population of a school comes from the 'projects'. 
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2008, 02:34:13 PM »

ATB, you're honestly claiming that teaching scientific facts about biological evolution is the cause of school violence?

I don't know if that sort of knee-jerk anti-intellectualism is more pathetic than it is surprising, but it certainly is dangerous.
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« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2008, 02:55:48 PM »

Quote from: Canuck on February 15, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

I don't know-has there been a sudden increase in the number of kids who think they don't matter recently?  Surely kids got picked on and bullied just as much back in the 1950's as they do now.  As far as I know (I admit I don't really) this sort of thing wasn't prevalent back then.

More likely its the saturation of media types along with the level of attention these shootings get.  Maybe before these people would have settled for just killing themselves but now they have a way of becoming "famous" while exercising their suicidal rages. 
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« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2008, 03:05:10 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on February 15, 2008, 02:55:48 PM

Quote from: Canuck on February 15, 2008, 02:28:07 PM

I don't know-has there been a sudden increase in the number of kids who think they don't matter recently?  Surely kids got picked on and bullied just as much back in the 1950's as they do now.  As far as I know (I admit I don't really) this sort of thing wasn't prevalent back then.

More likely its the saturation of media types along with the level of attention these shootings get.  Maybe before these people would have settled for just killing themselves but now they have a way of becoming "famous" while exercising their suicidal rages. 

I agree.  I think this is the "new" type of teenage suicide.  I think many teens have seen suicide as one last plea for attention.  The massive coverage things like Columbine and the Va Tech shootings have received makes the perceived attention gained even greater.  If they can kill themselves and take out what they perceive as the cause of their misery (girls, popular students, jocks, etc,) so much the better. 
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2008, 04:23:07 PM »

Quote from: ATB on February 15, 2008, 02:28:54 PM

Quote from: warning on February 15, 2008, 02:07:32 PM

Quote from: ATB on February 15, 2008, 01:05:27 PM

The kids with the penchant to shoot up schools are now going to college.

They're raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance.  In other words, they're raised in hopelessness.  So why not act out and get some attention even if it is only fleeting and negative? 

If you're killing other people who themselves are only here as a result of chance, what does it matter?

Not buying that ATB (and I'm also a Christian).  If it were true, then everyone "raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance" would be shooting up schools.  I'm not sure what the answer is, but it doesn't seem to happen in other countries anywhere near as frequently (many of which are more atheistic than the U.S.).

That woudl be like saying everyone who plays violent video games grows up to be a shooter just because one did.

That's not the point I was trying to make.  Some are more susceptible to hopelessness.

Obviously, people that do it are unhinged and there are many factors, I meant to convey that institutional hopelessness is a major component.

I'm thinking there's a lot more institutionally hopeless places than the U.S. that don't have these problems.
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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2008, 05:32:05 PM »

ATB's assertion that only those who are not given reason to believe in a higher power are those who shoot up schools is flat wrong. That would mean that none of the various school shooters have believed in god. Which is wrong.
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2008, 06:36:12 PM »

Quote from: Scraper on February 15, 2008, 05:32:05 PM

ATB's assertion that only those who are not given reason to believe in a higher power are those who shoot up schools is flat wrong. That would mean that none of the various school shooters have believed in god. Which is wrong.

That's quite a leap in logic as I stated no such thing. Read again.

And Fireball, the use of the word 'facts' is a curious one. 
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Blackjack
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2008, 06:47:16 PM »

You won't find an easy answer to these things in Internet arguing now, any more so than when Columbine happened back in 1999. My best friend and his sister took many engineering classes at Va. Tech's Norris Hall (now closed as far as classes go) back in the 1980s, and you can imagine how aghast they were last April. Several victims were from the N. Va. area where I live, including one who graduated from my brother and my best friend's high school.

I don't know what schools can do. They can't afford to have armed guards in every building, metal detectors at every entrance, security cameras in every corner of a campus. Even if you did that, maybe the shooters just move to other public places off campuses.

The recent shooting spree at a town council meeting in Missouri scared me because how many times as a newspaper reporter did I sit through boring town council meetings where some local resident/businessman ranted against the council? (which is what this guy did for years before blowing a gasket).

I'm single, but my niece and nephew will probably be attending college in 6-8 years. Is my brother going to have to enroll them in "what to do if a deranged gunman attacks your classroom?" classes? Maybe schools will have to start having drills for that just as they do for fire drills.

Gun control arguments tend to miss the heart of the matter, which is often either mental illness (Va. Tech), not meditating a long festering dispute before it becomes violent (the Missouri town council shootings), not taking warning signs seriously (Columbine) etc. In other cases it seems like teenagers not realizing that by the time they're 25 or 30, the things that torment them at 16, 17, 18 won't matter at all. I'm 42 now -- I wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self to not be in such anguish about so many things.
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2008, 07:34:07 PM »

I think ATB has a point; with the increasing proliferation of the moral-relativism mindset (i.e. There is no universal truth; you must determine what is true for yourself), isn't this sort of tragedy the result of such a philosophy, taken to the extreme?
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2008, 07:55:42 PM »

Quote from: ATB on February 15, 2008, 01:05:27 PM

The kids with the penchant to shoot up schools are now going to college.

They're raised their whole lives to believe that they don't matter and that the only reason they're here is cosmic chance.  In other words, they're raised in hopelessness.  So why not act out and get some attention even if it is only fleeting and negative? 

If you're killing other people who themselves are only here as a result of chance, what does it matter?

If that doesn't imply that those who believe in science and evolution are raised in hopelessness and predisposed to acting out and getting attention, then I don't know what does. The only flip side of that would be to be raised in "religion" where a purpose is given by god.
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2008, 07:57:34 PM »

I do agree with you on the aging of our children who are predisposed to commit such crimes. They used to be in High School and we had a lot of High School shootings. Now those children are in college and we are starting to see college shootings. It makes perfect sense.
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2008, 09:04:52 PM »

Hmnnnn, I'd be more likely to think that this generation of kids are a result of the 'medicate against ADD' phenomenon. While I recognize that there are some legitimate cases of ADD and similar conditions, the fact of the matter is that an awful lot of kids were either misdiagnosed  or overmedicated during the last 15 years or so, and there is no telling what these chemical cocktails did to the mental state of some of these kids.  My sister who is 6 years younger than me was misdiagnosed and wrongfully medicated by a variety of doctors from the mid eighties through the mid-nineties, and it wrecked her life (she is incapable of what we would call a normal lifestyle and still has to live with my parents).  I honestly see that as a pre-cursor to the rampant ADD craze of the nineties.

Anyway, I'd be curious to see if any of these kids received medication during those years.
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2008, 09:14:08 PM »

God, No God... like Chris Rock Said  "Ain't no one allowed to just be CRAZY no More?"

Some people believe fervently in God and that God is telling them to kill people at least as often as one of the "Godless Masses" go on a wasteful killing spree.

Adherence to or Avoidance of doctorines are likely not the problem .

As with most problems, it occurs at an individual level.   For some individuals, they are their own biggest problem.

The shooter in the recent NIU incident stopped taking medications recently.  A lack of Pills likely contributed more to this tragedy than a lack of Faith.

I understand many faiths require their followers to extoll the virtues of their beliefs to others, but I think here and now in this incident, it is misplaced, at best.

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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2008, 11:17:35 PM »

Quote from: the Nightbreeze on February 15, 2008, 09:14:08 PM

I understand many faiths require their followers to extoll the virtues of their beliefs to others, but I think here and now in this incident, it is misplaced, at best.

And super offensive at worst.  Religion is not a pre-requisite for good deeds, and certainly is not a pre-requisite for moral behavior (and in many cases, is a pre-cursor to immoral actions and bad deeds).  I am an atheist, and yet I don't feel compelled to murder, rape, or steal.  If it requires belief in a higher power and some sort of eternal damnation to prevent you from those actions, you've got some deep pathological problems.
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« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2008, 06:26:48 PM »

Hold up.  ATB did no such thing.  The question was "What the hell is wrong with America?" and ATB expressed his opinion.

I'm not sure that there actually is an increase in school violence, as opposed to it being publicized more.  I think crazy people do crazy things, and I'm going to need to see some numbers before I'm convinced that the proportion of crazy is going up.

Regardless, if there is an increase in mass violence, I think it has nothing to do with a cultural movement away from religion or faith. 
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« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2008, 08:38:01 PM »

This was a case of a mentally ill person, who stopped taking his medication and ended up doing something very terrible.  The only thing I can read into the incident is that mental health care in the country sucks, and that it's pretty damn easy for a mentally ill person to buy a gun.

I've heard the usual claims from one side, saying that somehow if everyone had guns this magically wouldn't have happened because the mentally ill guy would have somehow magically been too intimidated to kill people then commit suicide... because, um, other people might have been armed?  Whatever.  Then on the other side, there were the people who think that if nobody had guns, then magically this couldn't have happened because making more laws magically prevents people from illegally buying guns.

Of the two, I'd have to say having less guns would have made this specific incident less likely, but wasn't there a case a while ago about some guy going berserk and killing a few people with a knife?  So that wouldn't necessarily have stopped this.  But certainly, if they can't even filter out mentally ill people from the already legal gun purchases, I don't see how making it even easier to obtain guns is going to somehow magically make only sane people gun owners.


Then of course, it's sadly hard to get worked up about this, since there have been over a hundred thousand ordinary people killed in Iraq for no good reason.  I'm by no means indifferent, since this thing happened not all that far away, and I even lived around that area for a while.  One of the victims even graduated from the same high school I did.  But comparitively speaking, its five people vs. over one hundred thousand, and the latter was easily avoidable had our nations laws actually been followed by the people running our country.

Moral of the story is bad things generally happen to good people, and sadly none of this is anything new.  The only solution is to work hard and continue trying to make the world a better place.  And for us, that starts in making our country a better place: laws to make sure our politicians can't break our laws (which generally tend to be ignored when a certain class of people gain power), improve health care... including mental health, which always gets slighted in the US, etc.
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« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2008, 10:07:27 PM »

A little (very little, and very incomplete) context:  Wikipedia's list of mass murders.]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_murder]Wikipedia's list of mass murders.

As additional context, consider the cluster of postal worker shootings.]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_postal]cluster of postal worker shootings.

Another observation:  schools figure prominently in mass murders even when the shooter is not himself a student or teacher.  Consider Dunblane or the recent Amish school shootings.

Also:  campus mass murders are not new.  Charlie Whitman kicked off the student-as-mass-murderer thing.  And schools have been targeted for mass murders since Kehoe.

I don't find any of the "kids/parents today suck" explanations to be credible.  Explanations that I find credible:  (1)  Some people are crazy.   (2)  Monkey see, monkey do, particularly if monkey is crazy.  There was a cluster of suicide-by-cop incidents a few years ago.  I don't think it represented a paradigm shift in relationships to police.  But one crazy guy did it and other crazy guys saw it and thought it looked swell.  (4)  Guns.  Without implying any opinion on gun control, crazy people with access to guns will kill a lot more than crazy people with access to cars or knives.  Crazy person stabs two doesn't make the national news.  Crazy person kills 15 does. 

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« Reply #23 on: February 19, 2008, 10:25:46 PM »

And guess what grade the National Alliance on Mental Illness gives the state of Illinois?
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« Reply #24 on: February 19, 2008, 10:35:39 PM »

Quote from: warning on February 19, 2008, 10:25:46 PM


Your avatar makes that gold.
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2008, 01:27:23 AM »

and Ohio gets a B!!!!
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« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2008, 02:32:21 AM »

Quote from: Mr. Fed on February 19, 2008, 10:35:39 PM

Quote from: warning on February 19, 2008, 10:25:46 PM


Your avatar makes that gold.

I think public health care in Illinois is pretty good, at least in Cook County.  Public mental health, however... it kind of sucks.  First off, there's never much money budgetted for it.  When I was working with the public health system, the mental health people didn't even have computers for every user, and some sites weren't even connected to get access for email.  The connectivity may have been solved shortly after I left, but I'm not even sure if every user there has a PC or an email account right now (I'll ask next time I see some of my ex-coworkers).


Now in all fairness, Obama hasn't even served one term yet.  But at the same time, I've been pretty underwhelmed with any tangible effects of him being our Senator.  Money to pay for more fucking toll roads really doesn't float my boat.  People want to claim that Hillary has no experience since she was "only" first lady... but one can actually point to her being able to bring home the bacon for NYC.  Seeing how Chicago is the third largest city in the nation, one should reasonably expect at least a proportionate amount of federal money finding it's way back to us.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2008, 02:35:14 AM by unbreakable » Logged
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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2008, 06:56:16 PM »

dude, we can let scientology fix everything.  tom cruise has all the answers.
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« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2008, 04:44:02 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on February 15, 2008, 06:47:16 PM

Gun control arguments tend to miss the heart of the matter, which is often either mental illness (Va. Tech), not meditating a long festering dispute before it becomes violent (the Missouri town council shootings), not taking warning signs seriously (Columbine) etc. In other cases it seems like teenagers not realizing that by the time they're 25 or 30, the things that torment them at 16, 17, 18 won't matter at all. I'm 42 now -- I wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self to not be in such anguish about so many things.

I'm all for Gun Control. It works! Let people have shotguns, for hunting and the like, no problem.

Handguns you can easily conceal? The waiting period for a gun needs to be a long time, and you need to have a registry on who's buying what ammo. You should have to be licensed to own a gun, and you should have to present that license in order to buy ammo. There should be a reasonable limit to how much ammo someone can have on a certain license. You should not be allowed to go to the ammo store (I have never bought ammo and I don't know where to get it) and buy two boxes of 100 bullets each (again, no idea what kinda quantity you find in a box of ammo).

You want a gun, to protect your family? Here's you're gun, you're allowed to buy five bullets a year. At a shooting range, licensed again, you can get more for practicing with your gun.

You should have a practical limit on the number of firearms someone can own. That limit, for the most part, should be ONE, depending on the type of license you have (two if you need a shotgun for hunting and a handgun for protection). You should be required to renew that license annually, and you should have to demonstrate on a regular basis that you are skilled enough to use said firearm.

No, I haven't thought about this a lot, I'm sure there's holes in this argument that you can drive a truck through, and I'm also sure that criminals are still going to get firearms no matter what, but if you can take easy access away from casual-criminals (the guy who's down on his luck and is going to hold up a convienence store for 50 bucks) you'll reduce the number of offenders, or force them to use a knife or something.
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