Our Mass Shooters and Crime Wave: The Real Cause and Only Solution
When it comes to analyzing and solving, diagnosing and curing persistent social problems, Americans fail miserably due to a gross lack of common sense, logic, and critical thinking. That’s why our social problems never get solved. If we had made a correct causal analysis/diagnosis of our social problems, sustainable effective solutions would have been found and implemented a long time ago.
We have had a wave of mass shootings since Columbine in 1999, and no common sense public policy response over 20 years. The same goes for the wave of ordinary gun violence. The only proposal has been gun control, as though black markets for guns do not exist, just as they do for illegal drugs, while not focusing on the causes of violence. We have had the “War on Drugs” for decades with absolutely no positive results, precisely because our policies ignore the reality of black markets, apart from not focusing on the causes of addiction.
How is it possible that as a nation we don’t understand that violence of all sorts is caused by psychological problems? The same goes for addiction. It should be very clear that our widespread violence and addiction problems are due exclusively to a large number of mentally disturbed citizens, as distinguished from mentally ill citizens. We readily acknowledge the existence of mentally ill Americans requiring hospitalization and drug therapy, but are reluctant to admit there are large numbers of mentally disturbed Americans requiring psychotherapy. It seems recognizing that we have many mentally disturbed sons, daughters, and parents is repulsive and taboo, so we remain in denial and do nothing to find and implement the solution.
Had we done psychological profiles of all violent and addicted citizens, they would show that all those citizens are deeply troubled and for which reasons. Why do we not have such a database? Is it simply a lack of common sense or that we are in denial and can’t face the truth about our society?
In any case, the only solution for ending our violence and addiction crises is one focused on prevention. The common sense, effective, sustainable solution is having a four-year psychology course in every high school, accompanied by group therapy and good parenting workshops, along with individual attention for students needing help. Had this been done starting fifty years ago, we would have no violence and addiction crises today. We would have a serene, understanding, empathetic society of psychologically literate and well-adjusted citizens. Psychological problems of our youths would be nipped in the bud, or at least prevented from spiraling downward. Are we going to continue looking for non-existent magic, silver bullet solutions, or are we going to be serious about honestly facing our problems and solving them, even when there is no overnight solution?
A society which does not sufficiently invest in business and education will be a largely failed society. Strangely, we understand the importance of investing sufficiently in business, but not when it comes to our public schools, which is where the majority of our youth get educated. We should understand that is a critical mistake, and commit to ensuring that all our public schools quickly become truly excellent, as good as, if not better than, the best private schools. Excellent schools require strict class discipline, lots of homework/study hall, highly qualified and motivated teachers, and an enlightened curriculum for the complex modern world. They also require mandatory school uniforms, as “dressing the part” is essential to create the right school environment.
Having four-year psychology courses in all our public high schools, complemented by group therapy and good parenting workshops, obviously requires having highly qualified teachers with a degree in psychology. Once a national commitment to have such a course is made, there will be many more psychology majors in college, as well as specialized college courses for leading group therapy and good parenting workshops. There will then be no shortage of qualified teachers. Such a course would no doubt be transformative for our nation. When will that finally be understood and decisive action taken? How long before we have at least one enlightened political candidate promoting psychology courses in all our public high schools?
© Edward Sonnino 2022
October 26, 2022