La Tribuna, Honduras
Are There Reasons for
the Massacre in Connecticut?
By Mario E. Fumero
Translated By Bianca Fierro
27 December 2012
Edited by Daye Lee
Honduras - La Tribuna - Original Article (Spanish)
Once again, the United States finds itself shocked by an unprecedented act. This time, a young man named Adam Lanza stormed into an elementary school and fired in cold blood, killing 20 children and eight adults and later taking his own life. Before committing this horrendous crime, he killed his mother. It was with her guns that he was able to carry out the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, a state in the northeast U.S.
Now, there are renewed discussions about arms possession, which is legal and common in all U.S. states. It is believed that almost 90 percent of North American families own more than one gun, many of which are of high caliber. The arms industry has stubbornly fought to prevent strict controls on the sale of arms. President Obama has committed himself to promoting legal measures to limit free access to certain kinds of arms, some of which can be acquired even in malls; but in the face of this terrible act, the issue of establishing greater gun control measures reemerges. (Prohibition would be unconstitutional and therefore an impossible mission.) However, the truth is that the Newtown killings do not revolve solely around the issue of gun control. There are a number of other underlying problems to be considered; for example, the mental health of the weapon bearer and the influence of violent movies and video games in the conduct of minors.
Adam was described by those who knew him as a “shy and timid” young man, very intelligent but also “very antisocial,” a boy who preferred to stay at home. According to experts, he suffered from Asperger’s syndrome. Even though the condition is not a cause for violent acts, it is still a form of autism that can trigger unexpected reactions. (People with Asperger's are particularly intelligent and introverted.)
It is possible that in addition to having Asperger's, Adam played violent games that provided him with the images and imagined roles that influenced him commit such actions. It has been shown that violent behaviors in teenagers are affected by these video games, the ubiquity of which presents the art of killing as a normal distraction.
Scientific studies have shown that the assimilation of violence produces behavioral changes in people, and that among these changes are desensitization and the cauterization of the mind. The thing of interest is whether and what kind of behaviors which develop in those who play these video games on a regular basis become permanent. Dr. Vincent Matthews stated, on BBC, “We don’t know how those that play more than two weeks at a time will respond once they decide to abandon playing violent video games. The individuals who utilize violent video games must have clear changes produced in the cerebral functions associated with this activity."* Therefore, there are several issues to consider when discussing the Connecticut massacre: first, the ease of obtaining high caliber arms; second, the mental problems of the killer; third, the influences of the system; and fourth, the proliferation of violent video games and movies, where killing is ultimately a defense strategy and a “role play” performance.
If we look at the adolescents of today, including at those in Honduras, we see an evident predisposition to violence. In Honduras, it is not easy to acquire and possess arms; yet, in street manifestations, we see young people lashing out or forming “barras” groups [manic fans of soccer in South America]. The culture of violence has become integral to youth culture, which is to say that we are not immune to acts like those in the U.S. They are just as likely to occur in other parts of the world; we as a society have turned away from the values of life. We now live in a whirlpool of violence that absorbs us, drags us in and compels us to irrational actions.
*Editor's Note: The original quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.
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