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Reserach Paper: Mass Shootings in America Are Becoming Increasingly Violent (Final Draft)

Reserach Paper: Mass Shootings in America Are Becoming Increasingly Violent (Final Draft)

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Published by Nathan Conley
Nathan Conley's Final Draft of the Research Paper.
Nathan Conley's Final Draft of the Research Paper.

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Published by: Nathan Conley on Jul 09, 2013
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Conley 1 Nathan ConleyMegan KeatonENG 111-0609 July 2013Mass Shootings in America Are Becoming Increasingly ViolentWe all remember the tragic details of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy well:Twenty-seven people dead. Twenty of those were children; all were six or seven years of age.Six of the victims were teachers, ranging in age from 29 to 56. Then, of course, the final casualtywas the gunman, Adam Lanza, the 20-year old who turned the gun on himself, only after he had barged into the school building and opened fire on dozens of unsuspecting children and staff members. It was the most horrifying of stories, but one that is, unfortunately, becoming a more
familiar headline in today’s American society. “Of the 12 deadliest shootings in U.S. history,
sixhave taken
 place since 2007” (Plumer 
). With such alarming statistics, the research efforts todetermine plausible explanations for why this type of behavior occurs have seen significantsurges, yet they have not necessarily been successful and many questions still remainunanswered. In fact, in a police journal as recent as 2010 they admit that even though[i]ncidents of mass murder have gained considerable media attention, [they] are not wellunderstood in behavioral sciences. Current definitions are weak, and may include politically or ideological motivated phenomenon. Our current understanding of the phenomenon indicates these incidents are not peculiar to only western cultures, andappear to be increasing. (Harris)
Despite the scientific and psychological uncertainty surrounding this issue, it’s important to
continue to strive to identify the solutions of these disturbing events. Therefore with that in mind,
 
 
Conley 2it is my goal to present research that pinpoints the four most logical solutions that could play a potential role in preventing these horrific tragedies.The debate continues to rage on in political circles regarding the link between thesedevastating acts and the availability of guns in America. Some blame loosely regulated guncontrol legislation, while others protect our Second Amendment rights by employing the
 popularized expression that “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” It’s im
 portant to notethat, since 1982, the frequency of these events do not seem to be increasing, however the level of their destruction is rising at an alarming rate, as Plumer alluded to earlier. Mark Follman of the
 Mother Jones
online publication conducted a detailed analysis of all mass shooting that havetaken place over the course of the last 30 years in the United States. In his research he discovered
that “
there have been two [incidents] per year on average since 1982. Yet, 25 of the 62 cases weexamined have occurred since 2006. In 2012 alone, there [were] seven mass shootings, and arecord number of casualties, with more than 140 people injured and killed (Follman)
.”
 
Legislation aimed at gun control, while well intentioned, sometimes isn’t enough to prevent
these horrifying events and, in some cases it may actually facilitate them. In the case study performed by
 Mother Jones
, handguns have played a prominent role in mass shootings. And,despite a very recent push for more stringent gun laws, since 2009 nearly one hundred laws have been constituted which make it easier for citizens to obtain and conceal handguns. Perhaps aneven more telling statistic for the proponents of stricter regulation of firearms in the U.S. is thathandguns have been involved in every single case of the previous 15 examples of mass shootingsover the last four years and in all 62 cases, since 1982, in which handguns were utilized, 80 percent of those weapons were obtained via legal measures. In 2004, President George W. Bushimplemented a ban on assault rifles, yet seven shooters since the bills enactment have used these
 
 
Conley 3types of weapons to commit their violent acts (Follman). These sobering statistics paint a brutal picture, and while there may not be a constitutional way to completely remove guns fromsociety, making it incredibly more difficult to obtain these deadly weapons needs to beconsidered. The ease with which firearms can be acquired is becoming increasingly concerning.Extensive background checks must be implemented in an attempt to prevent guns from gettinginto the wrong hands. Gun safety classes should accompany these purchases to ensure thathandlers will have the education and capability to use them safely. Legislation that regulates howthese weapons are stored within homes could also provide another barrier to weapons falling into
these unintended shooters’ hands. These measures probably would not be able to completely
resolve the issue by themselves, but it seems to reason that they could at least play a role in potentially preventing these tragic events.The mental condition of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes plays an incredibly vitalrole in this discussion.
Guns are inanimate objects. The responsibility for crimes rests on thecriminals and those who facilitate their crimes. In three of the previous mass shooting casesin the U.S., including the aforementioned Adam Lanza, the shooters have shown some sortof signs of mental illnesses prior to committing the violent acts.
The failure to identify theseindividuals as potential risks and dangers to society has to be considered as one of the chief contributors. The de-institutionalization of mental illness patients in America dates back to 1960sand it has only grown more concerning as time has progressed. According to an article in
Surgical Neurology International 
,This has happened not only because of the more recent drive for containment of healthcare costs, but also because of the decades-long, misguided mental health strategy of administering mental health care via community outreach and outpatient treatment. In

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