Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mass Shootings

In light of the recent shooting of children and teachers at Newtown, Connecticut, the website The Daily Beast published an article showing an interactive map from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence showing mass shootings in the Unites States since 2005. This article is found here.

What I immediately noticed is that almost all of the mass shootings are located in cities and dense suburbs where people are packed together in a relatively small territory. These are places where we barely know our neighbors, if we know them at all. In places like this, people are reduced from friends and aquaintances we talk with to objects invading ours space and getting in our way.

Humans are not designed to live that way. We are social beings designed to interact with the people around us. Urban living, where we are expected to ignore people we do not know in public places, is just unnatural and places strains on each of us. We take this out on others with rudeness, aggression, and "road rage." It is no wonder that some fragile people break.

It is important to remember that for most of us, our ancestors emigrated from places where society was highly ordered, often ridgid and inflexable. Our ancestors were those who did not fit, who wanted more that their home society could offer them. Some were criminals running from the law or accepting exile as punishment in place of prison. As our ancestors' legacy, we demand more personal space than pepole who live in Europe or Asia. Most of us are not happy living in rented housing; we want to own our own home. We have very little patience with waiting in line, whether at an amusement park or at the motor vehicle bureau office. We want to be able to "do our own thing," without social aprobation.

I believe that we need to "decompress" our society. We need to provide more opportunities for social engagement with our neighbors, more open space and more employment options away from the cities. We need to be able to live and work in a density where each of us is comfortable. For some of us, the cities, while for others, smaller towns. "One size fits all" may work in other societies, but definately not here, in America.

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