An interesting article in The Hill delves into the paradox of violence, arguing that we are capable of both gruesome acts of violence and the ability to end same. The article states that
It is a deeply uncomfortable fact that inside some humans lies the ability to rationalize the decision to walk into a Walmart or a crowded bar and start firing a wildly lethal weapon indiscriminately, with the goal of ending as many lives as possible. The act of premeditated mass murder – of strangers no less – is something that 99.9 percent of Americans cannot even fathom. But as these slaughters – from Newtown to Orlando to Las Vegas to El Paso and Dayton – continue unabated, we need to start asking questions about what within our own makeup explains this mass shooting epidemic, and what control society has over these outlier actions that seem, with each new mind-bending massacre, less like outliers. The answer is that violence is inside us, but so is the ability to end this epic-scale carnage.
First, we must face a foundational fact – humans are uniquely hardwired for violence. From the beginning of our species, we have shown a propensity to hurt each other at rates to exceed almost any other animal. Our rates of violence over the millennia have gone up and down, but long ago, humans figured out that violence was an effective means of social and economic advancement. Inside our brains are built-in circuits of rage and aggression that trigger under certain circumstances. Some people – like many of these mass shooters – have brains with triggers that flip more easily.
Here in America, our legacy of violence is even more pronounced than the rest of the world. Once Europeans landed on the continent, violence as a means of social order became standard order. First, it was the settlers wiping out the local tribes, then it was slaveowners using massive scale violence to enslave African-Americans, and then ethnic groups turned on each other, using violence to contest economic and social space in America’s crowded cities. Along the way, it was the guns that made it easy for the dominant groups to control the subordinate groups. One historian suggests that without the flood of weapons that came with America becoming the early home of the global arms industry, America would be 50 percent less murderous over our long history.
See full story here.