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America needs to quickly figure out why mass killings are occurring, and take action to stop them


Century 16 Theater in Aurora, Colorado

Photo: Algr

By Rita R. Robison

Recently a gunman stormed a movie theater where a Batman movie was showing. While Americans paused in shock and political leaders offered their sympathy, no one talked about the fact that at a violent movie a horrific act of violence occurred.

The United States needs to set up a Blue Ribbon Task Force to determine why mass killings are occurring. The task force needs to look at:

Gun control

It doesn’t matter that it’s an election year. People are dying almost weekly in mass killings. How are deranged men getting guns? If Congress won’t act then states must. If states bow to pressure from the National Rifle Association, then cities must act.

Mental illness programs

Budgets have been slashed for programs for the mentally ill. Americans are used to seeing mentally ill people on the streets of its cities. Some of the killers have had therapists. What’s wrong with the system for treating the mentally ill? The problems need to be figured out and fixed.

Hate mongering

Talk jocks, far right religious leaders, and Fox “news” and commentators are allowed spew hate against political leaders, liberals, minorities, gay citizens, and others. One mass murder attack occurred against a liberal religious group. The most recent U.S. mass killing targeted Muslims. The link between hate mongering and mass murders needs to be examined and action must be taken to stop hate talk.

Violent images aimed at children

For years, I’ve been writing about increasing violence in American movies, television, video games, and other parts of the popular culture. I recall taking my daughters, ages 14 and 11, to the second Star Wars movie, “The Empire Strikes Back,” in 1980. The violence stunned me. Now we have violent video games and ghastly images on television, such as clips from the terrible movies and previews from TV shows such as “Grimm.” The cartoons kids watch are mostly fight, fight, fight and kill, kill, kill. As early as the 1960s, studies reported that watching violence can make children more aggressive. Something must done about curbing the 10,000 acts of violence children see each year on TV and the hundreds of other violent images they see in video games and movies and on computers and cell phones.

Youth programs

A number of teen and college-age gunmen have murdered people in their schools. The motive seems to be revenge. Programs for youth need to be examined and ways to identify and help troubled youth put in place.


Additional causes of mass murders need to be examined. They could include job related triggers. So many mass murders have occurred in post offices, the term “going postal” is in use. It describes very sudden and extreme anger, which often leads to violence.

Between 1980 and 2008, 4,685 people died in 965 mass-murders, according to a Scripps-Howard study of FBI.

Before 1980, these types of mass killings didn’t occur. Why?

American governmental leaders must figure out what is causing mass murders. If they don’t, other organizations need to take the lead in doing the research then prod officials to take action.

Copyright 2012, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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