KATIE ZERR: We are responsible for violence in U.S.


As we continue to be bombarded daily with reports of acts of violence against Americans on the streets and in their homes, there are more and more calls for finding the reasons for violence.

In the past three days alone there were reports of a carjacker killing three people and himself in Southern California; Minneapolis police had to break up a near riot in a school lunchroom; a child was shot while riding in his mother’s vehicle on the way to the mall; in Chicago seven people were killed in one day; and three others died in a murder/suicide.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. All one has to do is read a newspaper, watch the national and local news or listen to the radio to be bombarded with acts of violence in the United States.

There is no one reason for why we live in such a violent nation. No one can point to one factor as to why we act out in ways that cause the death of others. But there have to be underlying factors as to why people react in violent manners.

A man slaps a toddler he doesn’t know in the face for acting up on an airplane, two 14-year-olds are arrested for plotting the deaths of classmates because they were annoying, the body of a young woman is found stashed away after suffering a violent attack.

These are not reports that are out of the ordinary anymore, but daily occurrences across this country. Only a Pollyanna would think that we could live in a nation free from violence, but to have this level of violence as commonplace occurrences is disturbing.

There have to be solutions to this problem. Finding solutions means finding the reasons for it and formulating a plans to remedy the situation.

Modeling behaviors, the state of the economy, biological and sociological factors, are all factors. We are quick to blame it on guns, parents, video games or bullying, but the fact remains all of these things are part of the reason we act out in a violent manner.

We are bombarded with violence in our leisure time, whether it is watching television or playing video games. It is so commonplace that we don’t blink an eye at mass death depicted on the screen or gruesome scenes from games or our favorite show. The more blood and guts, the more realistic.

Yet psychologists are not quick to blame the desensitization of the populace through movies, television and games for the violence in this country, although more are now saying there is a possibility of a correlation between the two.

Some people say there is no evidence of any correlation between violence in our daily lives and the rates in violent crimes.

What we do know is that children raised in violence will continue the cycle. We know young men who grow up without a strong father figure in their lives are more likely to become involved in gangs and drugs.

We know that children whose family life is not anchored in the home look for acceptance from others who may not have their best interests in mind.

Yet, the cycle that creates these situations is still repeated over and over again in this country, in South Dakota, and in Mobridge.

When confronted with growing problems of kids that don’t know their fathers and who depend on peers as role models, we wring our hands and find excuses.

If we refuse to learn from the mistakes we make, from those of our families and friends and those in our community, we will never stem violence in this country.

We need to take a long look in the mirror to find the reasons we cannot break the cycle of violence, as the roots are in all of us.

We are responsible.

– Katie Zerr –


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