Saturday, October 3, 2015

The disturbing problem and the shallow analysis

Just below here on this blog there's a very long post concerning "pecularized American violence".  I've bumped it up recently due to the horrific shootings in Oregon, and I've done that every time we've had an incident of this type, which in spite of a chart run in a major American newspaper that claims that these happen every day, is fairly rare.

The analysis I write then holds up now.  Every time things like this occur some really shallow analysis comes out by those who fairly instinctively want what is already declared to have been unconstitutional, that being some sort of "gun control".  As noted in that entry, the instrumentalties involved in these incidents are singularly un-new if you will, which means something else is going on.  I.e., if we see this odd sort of violent action more frequently (and actually, we don't, we see it less frequently than in the 1920s), we must have new things that are causing it.

What we never do, however, is to look at the human factor.  It's really interesting.  And we don't look at it throughout the Western world either, even though, in spite of what pundits like to claim, this is a Western world problem, not a uniquely American one.  Indeed, even the claim that its an American problem is so very shallow, as it tends to be based on an analysis like "we have ten times the incidents that Australia has had".  

Well, we have over ten times the population Australia has and by extension out to have ten times every kind of crime, generally. We actually do not, however.

What we also do not do, as it probably makes us uncomfortable, is take a look at men, and it's all men, who commit these crimes.  I did that in my earlier post and I'll do it here again, and in looking at it, I think I know why we don't look at it.  We can do something about these events, but it means we have to change things about our society that involve looking at it honestly, and that involve surrendering license.

Almost all of the men involved in these crimes fit into a fairly distinct group of people. They're all either mentally ill or struggling with mental problems and they are all displaced from society and yet have been shielded from it at the same time.  They all tend to have had their mental illness or debility detected fairly early, but nothing was done regarding it.  This is true of the perpetrators of almost all the recent episodes and includes the horrific Norwegian one of some time back.  For instance, the perpetrator of the attack in Oregon shares in common with the Norwegian one that they were both found unfit for military service, something that shows fairly clearly that they cannot fit in with other men.

 At least a couple of them have been abandoned by their fathers, in practical terms, and raised by over protective mothers.  The Norwegian, the Oregonian and the New England perpetrators were all men who were children of divorce.

This may not seem to tell us much, perhaps, but it does.

We know more about mental health than every before, but we do less as a society about it than ever.  As earlier pointed out, we essentially abandon the mentally ill to their families, or the streets, which is something we did not used to do. This was done in the name of the mentally ill themselves, under the thesis that it was a deprivation of their freedom and right to happiness to institutionalize them, when in fact they're not happy anyhow and abandoning them to themselves or the street does not change that, it makes it worse.

And we've gone from a society with real standards that became one with almost none.  More on this in a minute, but here we have seen several people with mental illnesses who were allowed to acquire firearms.  Being adjudged to have a mental illness disqualifies a person under U.S law from owning a firearm, but as we simply refuse to do that, this safety measure is now absent from actual controls.  Being discharged from the U.S. Army as being mentally unqualified to be a soldier ought to have a real effect here.  But it does not.  It should disqualify a person from owning a firearm, just has having been diagnosed with a mental illness should require some sort of database entry so that it can be caught on background checks.  Instead we turn a blind eye towards this and then wonder how things get out of control. The recent New England, Virginia, Oregonian and Colorado shootings all fit this category.

Additionally, we gone from a society in which it was difficult for men to abandon children to one in which many men never even know their fathers and the fathers don't even have any social expectation that they have obligations towards their offspring.  In spite of decades of self centered narcissistic crap to the contrary, it's very well established that psychologically children are much better off being raised by their two committed parents from birth to adulthood.  This is so much the case that its been shown that children are even better off growing up in a household where the two parents are at odd and can not get along, rather than by one parent, with that one parent almost always being the mother.  For our own social disillusionment purposes we now pretend that single mothers are heroic, but often they're simply creating problems for their children.  And the more recent phenomenon of serial men floating in and out of women's lives leaving children in the wake seems undoubtedly tied to violence against the children, as the repeat headlines about a child being murdered by the mother's "boyfriend" gives ample evidence of.

Additionally, the evidence is quite strong that being raised by only one parent (or where one parent is effectively the only one there as the other has checked out mentally) gives rise to numerous problems which differ on a gender basis.  Part of that seems to be tied to the increasing phenomenon of gender confusion in our society. Children raised by one parent almost always lack development in some area simply by default, and through no fault of their own.  Males seem particularly prone to problems if there is not a male father figure in the home.  It's part of our DNA, no doubt, but boys who grow into men without a strong male figure in their lives suffer for it, with some, a minority no doubt, becoming effeminate lost souls as a result, and others become aggressive troubled souls.  Most are probably simply wounded in other ways and make due, but they shouldn't have to.

The net result is that we've produced a class of troubled young men throughout the Western world who crave what men have always craved, meaningful work, a family, and a male role, but they can't find their way into it.  Instead, they find their way to the basements' of their mothers' homes where they brood and play video games, served by a doting mother who doesn't know what to do.

All of this is, oddly enough, easier to address than we suppose. But we aren't going to do anything about it, as doing something about it means it is we who must change, rather than pretending that some implement magically causes all of this.

All of this has arisen in the era of declining and alternative families.  Fairly clearly, the traditional family was the brake on such developments.  Bolstering that would mean nothing more than reviving much of the domestic law that existed prior to 1950. And reviving much of the social standards.  Divorce was harder to obtain.  Producing children out of wedlock was regarded as socially shameful.  Men could not easily escape the children they'd helped produce.  Adults have altered all this to suit their individual self centered desires, none of which acknowledges that this body of law and conduct existed to protect children, and hence society, not individuals.

And a place has to be found for men to work who can't join the technological revolution.  Not everyone can or will, and leaving them discarded to the basement isn't the answer.  People complain about their jobs, but there's no good evidence that most people do well without one.  At least men seem to need to have an occupational identity, and not all are going to find that as computer programmers, as they can't.

Regarding computers, creating, or even encouraging, a society in which people retreat to hours of computer interaction is simply insane.  If an instrumentality it to be banned, the video game out to be it, particularly the violent video game.  Minds that once found distraction in books, work, or even cheap magazines or simply watch girls at a basketball game now stew in solitary violent isolation.

Finally, the long term decline in participation in society, whether through sports, or activities that are collective, or fraternal organizations, or through the churches, has to reverse.  Not every society has become as basement dwelling anti social as ours, and the less this occurs  the less likely such events are.  People have praised the decline of the pub and saloon cultures that once existed for men, but they did give men, including those living in the margins, a sense of at least belonging to something. The abandonment of churches as they stand for the proposition that self worth is not defined by selfish need has caused huge suffering as well.  

My prediction, however, is that none of this will be examined.  It's easier to pretend that implements that exist in society in the millions can magically be removed and all will be better.  Not hardly.  But by not looking at ourselves, and realizing that we need community and require institutions that demand self restraint, just rains too much on our parade.

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