By: Shankar Chawla
The media heavily instills the concept of the mentally ill or psychotic shooter before the public eye. This explanation has become so commonplace that it frequently and effectively obstructs the origins of gun violence. While common mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are associated with approximately 25% of all analyzed mass shootings, more severe implications such as schizophrenia play a part in only about 5% of all shootings of the same magnitude. Regardless, in most cases, these conditions are incidental to the violence committed. In the field of criminology, uncovering the incentives of perpetrators proves a fundamental aspect of analyzing any case. And, while it feels simple to pass off a crime as the result of an insane mind, more often than not, a number of social or communal factors exist and beg thorough consideration.
Politics and governments incite gun violence repeatedly. Acts of censorship, corruption, and social manipulation posed by a governing party all possess the potential to push an individual toward a path of violence. Moreover, bigotry and resentment posed by radical politics or non-inclusive ideologies constitute frequent birthplaces for hate crimes directed at specific social groups. Numerous attacks occur, for example, in places of worship or within communities densely inhabited by a distinct minority. In addition to harm inflicted upon others, acts of self-inflicted gun violence share deep ties with bullying and harassment. In fact, children who experience severe bullying are on average 5.5 times more likely to consider fatally harming themselves.
These social implications pose an inconceivable impact on the development of gun violence. Desperate acts of violence are not and will never be a valid outlet to retaliate or uphold one’s beliefs. Thus, it proves imperative to uplift humanity and address the issue of gun violence at its roots by drawing a close to the prejudice, hatred, and harm so often responsible for the tragic loss of human life. In the meantime, we must implement common sense gun laws to ensure hateful and violent individuals do not have access to deadly weapons they can use to terrorize communities.