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Is American society prone to violence by nature?

Aug 17,2019 - Last updated at Aug 17,2019

People around the world are asking the poignant question whether the American society is prone to violence by nature for one inherent reason or another.

On August 3, 22 people were gunned down at random in El Paso, Texas. A mere 13 hours later, another mass killing took place in Dayton, Ohio, claiming the lives of 10 innocent people. Of course, those were not the first time mass killings had taken place in the US, nor will they be the last. It seems that the American people are destined to experience similar mass killings every now and then, either at schools or shopping malls.

The first thought that comes to mind is whether the easy access to weapons in the US is the main culprit. The constitution of the US allows citizens to bear arms as a matter of right, and this has given a green light to the free selling and buying of all sorts of guns, big or small.

As much as this argument may seem to explain why the American people are prone to violence and the use of firearms for one reason or another, it could not be the ultimate explanation for the rampant use of guns in the US.

Here in Jordan, it has been estimated by the authorities that no less than 10 million pieces of arms are in the hands of Jordanians, some with a licence to carry them, but the greater majority holding unlicensed weapons. Yet we do not often see Jordanians shooting and killing one another at random and for no reason. Weapon possession can also be found in many other countries in the world, yet they  do not experience the kind of carnage that occurs in the US almost periodically.

What then could be the real reason, or reasons, why the American people are so fast on the draw? Sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and criminologists do not seem to agree on where the fault lies.

The flare-up of violence among the American people could be traced to deeper factors. Some pundits suggest that multicultural, multiracial, multiethnic and multireligious societies are more prone to violence than nations having mono cultures.

There could be some truth to this submission, yet there are many multicultural and multinational countries that are relatively free of the kind of recurring violence that exists in the US. Canada, Brazil and the Russian Federation stand out as examples of multicultural and multinational countries that are free form internal violence of the kind that the American society is plagued with.

Some blame President Donald Trump for sparking hate crimes among his people by supporting white supremacists and demonising foreigners, immigrants and even first generation US citizens. Yet the wave of mass killings precedes the presidency of Trump.

On closer look, the history of the US that predates the American revolution and immediately thereafter is full of violent anecdotes between the whites and the blacks, and later between the whites and the Hispanics. It seems that the American people are a divided people to the core by history, and this trait hangs on and is perpetuated among the American people as if by nature.

Tensions on racial, ethnic and religious bases are firmly grounded within the American people's fabric, and the country is doomed to experience violence among its people for as far as one can see! Yet closing the free access to weapons loophole would surely help, even though not completely.

The US justice system is overdue for a thorough review. As is, it is too lax and when in doubt, it always errs in favour of felons. Too many criminals escape punishment because their rights are often exaggerated at the expense of the people. The road ahead is not going to be easy but a start must be made to make a more equitable balance between the rights of the individual and those that belong to the people.

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