Monday, June 22, 2015
The Media Is Following The Wrong Script Ignoring Solutions Again
The media and political establishment seem to have a playbook response for mass shootings that they repeat over and over again. Every time there is a mass shooting they make appeals to emotion and try to convince the public that they're doing what they can to address the problem and presenting the same proposed solutions, which didn't work the last time, again.
I also seem to be developing my own script where I rant and rave about how they aren't covering the most important root causes of crime and how they could be prevented. However this time I also have several more prepared posts about studies explaining some of the most important contributing causes of crime and violence, so I'll go on another one of my rants.
There is plenty of research to indicate how these shootings can be prevented, or at least much less common; but people that rely on the traditional mass media and political establishment might never know it. Fortunately one article, Accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof was raised in home destroyed by domestic violence: reports (06/19/2015), has reported on the abuse he went through prior to the shooting.
Unfortunately the vast majority of the media isn't repeating this; and when they do the most common response seems to be something quick like, "A lot of people come from troubled backgrounds but they don't go on shooting sprees." This is certainly true but that doesn't mean it isn't a major contributing causes or that abusive upbringings don't contribute to other social problems which need to be addressed; and one thing that is rarely brought up is that people who don't come from abusive upbringings practically never go on violent shootings sprees. Some research indicates that on the rare occasions where it seems like that happens it might be because inadequate efforts were made to find the abuse, which would mean that those not abused never become mass murderers.
More importantly there is little or no talk in the traditional media bout the most effective ways to reduce violence that often escalates starting with child abuse.
If I can figure it out with information available at good libraries, although it is almost completely absent from the media, then so could many people with more political power; and they could do a better job informing the public about these causes and how to prevent them. The fact that they're doing such a bad job at this indicates that there is a serious problem here and the political and media establishment is all following the same script and the best research is only available at alternative media outlets or books the majority doesn't seem to read.
Fortunately there are others figuring this out at the grass roots level and they're implementing solutions in their own areas; but it could lead to reform on a much wider basis if the media and political establishment did even a moderately good job.
By refusing to report some of the best academic work while using news for entertainment purposes and selling deceptive ads the traditional media should be considered guilty of negligence, for not providing a public service of informing the public about news that is required in a functioning democracy, and this negligence is leading to higher rates of violence that could be prevented.
The biggest contributing cause to escalating violence is almost certainly child abuse which often includes corporal punishment and escalates with bullying, hazing and other intimidation tactics that are also used to indoctrinate children to believe what they're told without question. This also teaches children to go along with crowds even when they're prejudiced and often leads to escalating prejudices and reduced ability to develop critical thinking skills. This is one major contributing cause that is almost always, if not always, present in the background of mass murderers; when Dorothy Otnow Lewis looked close enough in her research she always found including some cases where others overlooked it or refused to acknowledge it, and she found back up evidence of it.
Inadequate education poverty and income inequality are also major contributing causes to violence and crime among many other social problems. There are clear correlations to higher murder rates ins rates with high poverty and low educational opportunities. It is clear that we would actually save much more money by investing more in school than prisons and on top of that if we used the money often spent on legal fees to oppose this on education instead of wasteful legal expenses then it would be a major step in the right direction.
Strong religious beliefs actually correlate with higher rates of violence not less in most cases, despite their claims to higher moral authority. This is almost certainly largely because most religions are more likely to rely on corporal punishment to raise and educate their children. The biggest support for corporal punishment in schools are in the most religious states. However there are some exceptions; James Garbarino, mentioned below recommends religious support as part of a process to reduce violence; and the religious people in the church that was just attacked have preached forgiveness, and aren't asking for the death penalty unlike some politicians.
The death penalty clearly doesn't help reduce murder rates at all, even though that is one of the justifications for it. States with more support for the death penalty also have higher murder rates. This also correlates with support for corporal punishment religion and higher poverty and lower educational opportunities. The reason for this shouldn't be hard to figure out; teaching people through escalating violence and punishment instead of offering educational opportunities and thinking critical thinking skills leads to escalating support for tougher punishments, including the death penalty, even though they don't work.
Reasonable gun control and efforts to educate the public about how gambling odds have to be fixed and that it often leads to higher crime then crime related to these problems could be reduced as well. And abandoning inner cities without providing proper educational or economic opportunities is a major contributing cause of violence.
This particular shooting may not be connected to all the contributing causes of violence but, personally I think it would be a good idea to address them as well and prevent other violent incidents that might be related to gambling or other problems. For example there was another high profile shooting in New Orleans of a police officer who was also black along with the suspect shortly after this and my best guess is that it would be much less likely if New Orleans wasn't one of those abandoned inner cities and the suspect wasn't subject to violent upbringing.
However the most important contributing cause is almost certainly child abuse which leads to escalating violence as many researchers including James Garbarino have explained including the article about him, This criminal psychologist explains in one sentence why murderers aren't evil (06/17/2015) "Most of these killers are best understood as untreated, traumatized children who inhabit and control the minds, hearts, and bodies of adult men."
He also provides 5 surprising lessons a psychologist learned from interviewing killers (06/18/2015). One of these surprising lessons is that "The worst criminals can be the most capable of change," which many people might find hard to believe especially with all the propaganda from the traditional press. However if they're treated young enough this is much more likely and his specialty is children. His other research and research from other academics indicates that if violent felons aren't treated until they're older it is much more difficult if not impossible to completely reform them.
He is just one of the more qualified researchers into the subject, and as I said in the opening I have covered some of this before and now have new studies that I have reviewed about a variety of contributing causes. Perhaps one of the most important articles that I have written in the past that seems to apply to this incident is the Cause and Effect of Hatred, starting at the kindergarten level because that is where a surprising number of people make their mistakes. I also wrote plenty of other posts about Child abuse leading to escalating violence which cite many researchers including James Garbarino.
As I said I also did some additional new statistical studies about other contributing causes which are listed in the contents of this blog, Contributing causes to crime and how to prevent them. Most of these studies that I did myself are somewhat rough statistical reviews comparing states with higher murder rates and higher rates of contributing causes; however they're also relatively simple so that anyone can understand them, and review them; and they also include additional studies from the subject they cover which also support some of the conclusions that I have presented in this post. My past rants after other disasters are also listed there.
The traditional media doesn't do much if anything to report on any of this research and on most subjects they often report the opposite of what they should be reporting or implement laws that do the opposite. The reason for this isn't that hard to recognize. The media isn't in business to report the news; they're in business to make a profit the most effective way they can. This means they cater to their advertisers and give the public the propaganda that increases their profits the most, not the research that is most credible.
Instead of informing the public about how much gambling contributes to crime they sell an enormous amount of ads for profit to gambling institutions.
Instead of informing the public about how much life insurance policies contributes to murder they sell an enormous amount of ads for profit to insurance companies and only report these incidents in entertaining ways that puts all the blame on the murderers without considering policy changes that could make it less likely or how pooled insurance is a scam.
Instead of informing the public about how ineffective the death penalty is as a deterrent they make appeals to emotion that enable them to manipulate people more.
Instead of informing the public about the most accurate research on gun control they repeat the same bickering over and over again without accomplishing anything.
They also do a terrible job telling the public about how violence escalates from early abuse and is more common when there is inadequate education or job opportunities; this is almost certainly because they're controlled by a small percentage of the public that is more concerned with advancing their own flawed ideologies and consolidating their power at the expense of the public regardless of how much damage it does to everyone else.
I noticed Nikki Haley did an amazing job shedding tears implying that she really cared about minorities. Perhaps she's hoping that they'll forget about her efforts to suppress voting rights and cut educational opportunities. She was also quick, as usual to call for the death penalty, based on emotional appeals, and there is little or no chance that she'll be willing to provide rational input on education or gun control; instead the usual manipulation and appeals to emotion can be expected.
Politicians follow the same path but they do so because they represent their campaign contributors not the public; and the media ensures that only the ones that support the agenda of the elite get any coverage effectively rigging most elections so that real grassroots candidates can't get elected.
Edit: There has also been some concern about double standards for minorities, which are justified; however in some cases the double standard has one standard that is correct which should be applied to all races. Taking this opportunity to claim that we shouldn't be concerned about the abuse, or accept it as an explanation for why they became violent to white children because they don't do this for minorities isn't the way to go although some well intended people might be tempted to do so when they see the double standard.
This is especially true when it comes to early abuse leading to escalating violence which often involves redirecting hatred to people with the least political power. If the abuse Dylann Roof and many other violent bigots suffered as a child could have been prevented it is much less likely that they would have become so bigoted at all and they would have been much less likely to support the Confederate flag or go on this shooting spree.
The better way to address this would be to reduce or eliminate the double standard is by educating the public about how early abuse leads to escalating violence for everyone. Many conservatives claim that the bigger problem is minorities shooting each other, and there is a lot of truth to this however it isn't the only problem. what conservatives don't say is that a major contributing cause for violence among minorities is very similar to the reason why Dylann Root took out his anger on African Americans instead of the real source of his abuse, which was probably his father. Children brought up in abusive environments often can't take out their anger at their abusers who have more power than them so they might be more likely to misdirect that anger and take it out on people with less political power.
The same often goes for minorities in abandoned inner cities. One thing that conservatives don't mention when they say that minorities are the ones most likely to kill each other is that the lack of educational and economic opportunities and many other problems in the abandoned inner cities are the result of policies by those with the most political power that are rigging the system. So-called white collar crimes do much more damage than traditional crime since it leads to much higher rates of traditional crime indirectly, although conservatives are often very reluctant to look at the evidence behind this.