Media’s focus on America’s gun culture increased after the Sandy school shootings. A twenty year old killed 20 children and injured six others. The shooting was the second deadliest in U.S history, behind the 2007 shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute that claimed 32 people. Then there were two more in January adding fresh color to the new year fireworks. Places of entertainment such as movie theaters and malls were transformed into death traps Next time one hears sound and sees light simultaneously, he might wonder if its a celebration or a shooting! .
US government is busy enforcing stricter weapon control laws to curb gun violence. USA is one among several nations where purchasing firearms is quite easy. While some states require that you have a license before purchasing a gun others require that you have a license to carry it in public. These laws although elaborate and well defined aren’t restrictive in many states. The lobby comprising of gun dealers and manufacturers have exploited the loopholes to advance their self-interests.
However, after the recent spate of attacks, Obama administration has laid growing emphasis on banning assault weapons, initiating thorough background checks for all the applicants, stepping up the security on the streets and closely collaborating health care providers. One such executive action is ‘starting a national safe and responsible gun ownership’ campaign. There is huge awareness in the media on creating a violence free stress free society especially among the youths. The burgeoning candle light vigils, mourning gatherings, protests and peace marches are testimony to the sense of kinship and caring that keeps us united. This is still a country where an individual freedom and safety are upheld to a very high degree.
Laws alone are not sufficient to ensure an orderly safe society. The more the regulations and the more stringent they are, people who want to rebel, cause chaos, engineer loopholes and escape routes and manipulate the laws will only increase. Majority of the shooting suspects were either teenagers or young adults. Some even had a traumatized childhood filled with abuse and neglect. They knew what they were about to do was illegal, that they would be punished severely if caught and yet they went ahead and committed these gruesome acts. Some placed their desire to kill well above their own survival. So stricter laws can decrease gun violence marginally only. Also, statistics show that the overall gun violence and possession of fire arms has decreased considerably in the past decade. So the problem is not just in possession of arms or loose laws. It lies hidden elsewhere.
The real challenge is tacking the violence within us. It is the rage inside us that seeks expression and attention. Unless we learn how to regulate these violent tendencies inside us we cannot curb the violence outside. Incidents of hatred and rejection in childhood often leave indeliable impressions in one’s memory. When we build our life and its future around these impressions we slowly reflect the very same negative feelings. The pent up anger and frustration seeks vent through such violent acts. Painting a broader vision of life to the youth and involving them in progressive activities can be a solution to rekindle human values amongst youth. Spiritual education has gained prominence in this regard. Dalai Lama says that if every 8 year old kid is taught how to meditate violence can be wiped out f this planet in one generation. Thousands of Maoist rebels surrendered their arms and joined mainstream society after taking these workshops on breathing techniques and meditation. Scientific research on breathing techniques like Sudharshan Kriya and meditation have indicated decreased stress levels and increased mental calmness and clarity. ‘Project welcome home troops’ is one such initiative that has gained recognition among war veterans and soldiers. Many veterans who suffered from PTS after repeatedly being exposed to near-death situations have regained their peace of mind through this project. When soldiers who have to shoot and kill as a part of their job as well as survival almost everyday can benefit from spiritual education in leaving behind their traumatic past and looking forward for a prosperous future, everybody else can! Excess energy in kids can be streamlined through yoga. These habits and practices are healthy alternatives to playing violent video games all day. If the current generation of school kids cultivate these habits then they would have already paved way for a ever-happy peaceful planet.
With just a little more thought on this subject, we can generate many more ideas. We have a platform where everyone can discuss and share their thoughts on how to create a violence free stress free society. An effective start would be to join Google+ hangout with Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of Art of Living foundation, a not-for-profit international humanitarian and spiritual organization whose very mission statement resonates with the theme of this article. Several of the world’s prominent personalities including politicians, actors and sportsperson will share their views during the hangout. you can accept the invitation on https://plus.google.com/+SriSriRaviShankar/posts.
Blogs I Follow