Thursday, August 15, 2019

Burying Solutions to Prevent Gilroy, Dayton and El Paso Shootings

Few if any good academics would try to argue that there's only one contributing cause of violence, including the mass shootings that have bee increasing for years if not decades. Yet that's exactly the impression the media and political establishment routinely give the public all the time; and this impression is rarely questioned in high profile manner!

There are plenty of good books in libraries, academic research papers, often hidden behind paywalls, but some available to the public, and good alternative media outlets that do a far better job explaining the leading causes of violence and how to prevent it than the mass media does, which is primarily hype and appeals to emotion. The media almost always obsesses on gun control, and only gun control, with a little mention of mental illness or video games, for the latest shootings, without going into the best research on any of them, instead arguing back and forth without resolving anything.

When it comes to mass shootings by lone wolfs it should be clear that reasonable gun control should make it much harder for them to kill or wound large numbers like the recent shootings in Gilroy, Dayton and El Paso; however there's no way that this can be the only contributing factor. Someone has to be incredibly cruel, and probably emotionally unstable to be willing to do something like this. With reasonable gun control in many cases they would presumably have a much more difficult if not impossible time killing in large numbers; however they would still be inclined to kill a few if they could get away with it and their emotional problems weren't addressed, especially if they were suicidal.

It should require someone as smart as Einstein to understand these incredibly simple concepts. Unlike the pundits on the mass media there are plenty of good academics that have written much more on many of the leading contributing factors of violence; but unfortunately many of the best ones don't seem to get nearly as much media time as they should assuming they get any at all. Some of the leading causes for all violence is early, corporal punishment, child abuse, leading to escalation including bullying, hazing and domestic violence later in life, poverty, etc.

The mainstream media only pays attention to most of this violence when there are mass shootings or when it happens in wealthy neighborhoods, with few exceptions. for some reason they report a lot about Chicago murders, but not about Philadelphia, New Orleans, Detroit or a dozen or so other cities which are also even worse. There are over a hundred cities with more than twice the national average murder rates, that account for a large portion of our high rates compared to other developed countries, yet the media doesn't report on this or what they're doing better than us, and many other things.

I sent E-mails to a few of the leading experts including Sherry Hamby and James Garbarino who both responded; Sherry said the following when asked about a response to Dayton and El Paso:

Science really points to easy access to guns as the main issue.
For the kinds of mass shootings that you are talking about, a prior history of violence is also important--especially domestic violence. Many of the perpetrators have a history of domestic violence.
The other characteristics that they, many of them, have in common is avowedly white supremacist and sexist views, fueled by the worst combinations of racism and toxic masculinity.

Many of the other factors that get mentioned are not good predictors of gun violence. Other countries have similar numbers of people with mental illness and similar numbers of people who play video games. Approximately 9 out of 10 young people play video games. You can't predict horrific, extreme events from factors that describe 90% of the population.
Some of these factors, like exposure to violent video games, are associated with minor forms of aggression in many studies, but have not been associated with extreme violence. Sherry L. Hamby Research Professor of Psychology; Director of the Life Paths Appalachian Research Center

When it comes to minimizing the death toll I would have to agree that reasonable gun control is the most important short term issue, assuming we could actually get any through congress. she's also right about not being able to predict extreme events from factors describing 90% of the population, of course but there is enough evidence to show that some of the most extreme mass murderers were subject to much more abuse than the majority of the public as both Dorothy Otnow Lewis and James Garbarino pointed out in their research, mentioned below. Many people, including Sherry Hamby, point out often that the vast majority of abused children don't grow up to be murderers, which is of course true; but the ones that do are often subject to much worse abuse. And Both Sherry Hamby and James Garbarino agree that they're much less likely to have long term problems, especially becoming more violence if they receive therapy or have a good mentor, especially if they get help sooner.

Her response was based primarily on the two shootings that received an enormous amount of attention, of course, but these are a small fraction of the total number of murders in this country. From 2010 to 2014 the total number of murders dipped below fifteen thousand for the first time in recent history, before climbing back up above seventeen thousand, yet the media hardly reports on this and often implies that these mass shootings are much worse than the rest occasionally even distorting the data like when they recently reported that El Paso, Dayton make 251 mass shootings in the US in 216 days, more shootings than days in the year 08/03/2019

This article falsely says "This year, more than 520 people have died in mass shootings and at least 2,000 have been injured, according to the data." The reason they came up with such a low death toll is because they relied on a source that lowered the criteria for a mass shooting to include a shooting where there were four or more people shot but not necessarily killed; and even their figures were wrong. When checking with their own source I found the total number of people that were killed was only 272, since the majority of these incidents has only one or zero deaths each and there were only 1,051 people injured at the time the count was still at 251; although it's risen since then. We can expect about four hundred deaths from what they call mass shootings this year, or if the limit it to gun related mass murders, there were 125 people killed in these in the same time period in only nineteen mass murders, which is far lower than the 251 the media highlighted in the headlines. This means that mass shootings only account for roughly one percent or so of all murders each year, yet they get much more attention; and murders are only about six tenths of one percent of the total deaths per year.

This is incredibly sloppy reporting; although it's not nearly as bad as declining to report on the best research that can explain the long term causes of violence.

She also recommended that I contact David Hemenway who didn't respond to my E-mail but apparently specializes in research about gun control and wrote Preventing Gun Violence by Changing Social Norms 07/08/2013, which focuses mainly on changing social norms around gun safety, with limited success. But it also mentions the successful efforts to change social norms in Sweden when they banned the use of corporal punishment. I went into this previously in Research On Preventing Violence Absent From National Media where I explained that the nineteen states still allowing corporal punishment in schools have had murder rates that are between 22% and 31% higher than in those that ban it; and our national average in about four or five times higher than the European states that banned it completely in both schools and homes, including Sweden which was the first. To the best of my knowledge they also have better education system and do a better job providing child care for their people, although I haven't looked quite as close at that.

But even if you agree with many gun control advocates that the leading solution is to ban access to assault weapons, close the gun show loophole and other reasonable gun control measures; how do you accomplish this? And why is there so much irrational opposition to this from many of the most extreme gun owners and Congress? why are racists people so irrational that they hate minorities even when the overwhelming amount of evidence often shows that they're not responsible for their economic problems? Why do Trump supporters blindly believe Donald Trump's incredibly obvious lies and vote against their own best interests?

A close look into some of the psychological research also shows that some of the same child rearing tactics that teach violence also impair critical thinking skills and teach children to go along with the crowd or vote against their own best interests. The media often gives the public the impression that terrorists or mass shooters become "radicalized" on the internet or they try to blame it on Russian trolls spreading conspiracy theories; I can't rule out the possibility that some of this is a minor contributing factor; however well-adjusted people don't go on the internet and magically become violent like this!

James Garbarino provides some research to support this conclusion as well as which I went into in a previous article about The Media Is Following The Wrong Script Ignoring Solutions Again where I reviewed the shooting by Dylann Roof who was badly abused as a child and it was reported by the Daily News, although the majority of the media gave it minimal coverage. Both James Garbarino and Dorothy Otnow Lewis found that all mass murders were subject to serious abuse, with Lewis claiming that every case that she looked at closely turned up evidence of serious abuse. But traditional media rarely looks as close for that and when they do someone often by says, or yells emotionally, "that's no excuse, many other people were abused and didn't turn into killers." However Lewis and Garbarino don't offer this as an excuse, which could be defined as "a justifiable explanation," although they do offer it as an unjustifiable explanation which can help to understand the causes and how to prevent it.

When emotional people, especially demagogues like Nancy Grace or Jane Velez Mitchell, get angry and yell about how "that's no excuse," they often shut down the thought process and prevent rational discussion about the most effective solutions to the problem, which may make them appear to be victims rights advocates, but real victims rights advocates are far more concerned with the most effective research to prevent future victims from becoming victims in the first place.

In the previous article I pointed out Professor Garbarino's quote "Most of these killers are best understood as untreated, traumatized children who inhabit and control the minds, hearts, and bodies of adult men." I also wrote him for this article and he sent me a recent article he wrote about whether or not inciting domestic terrorism is an impeachable offense, which I posted below; however it will run into the same political opposition that gun control does, and the early abuse that leads to irrational opposition to gun control and racism also leads to blind support of Donald Trump, so first I'll repost his article from 2012 after Sandy Hook, which hardly got any attention form the mainstream media only being posted on the internet without inviting him on to CNN or any other national news show to address a much larger audience.

How a boy becomes a killer By James Garbarino 12/19/2012

(CNN) -- Twenty children and six adults killed in a town in Connecticut. Why? As someone who listens to killers as an expert psychological witness in murder cases, I have spent much of the last 20 years trying to understand how and why young men kill, maim and attack others.

Killings like those in Newtown, Connecticut; Aurora, Colorado; and Virginia Tech are always met with expressions of shock, anger and sadness. These are understandable first reactions, but in the long run they accomplish nothing.

So long as the discussion does not move beyond labeling these events "senseless violence," horrors such as these never move us closer to a place of deeper understanding. Greater understanding is crucial because understanding leads to more peace and less violence through preventive action. All the crime scene investigations in the world will not do this.

Although all our instincts urge us to dissociate from the killer, achieving better understanding requires us to put ourselves in his shoes no matter how frightening and distasteful that may be. I have done this over the past 20 years, and I have learned that it's the only way we can understand a fundamental truth: Although to the rest of us, the observers and the victims, extreme acts of violence seem "senseless," these murderous acts make sense to the shooters.

This is true whether it's Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut; James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado; Seung-Hui at Virginia Tech; Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris in Columbine, Colorado, and the many thousands of others who wage war against their society, either in the form of high-profile massacres or the daily grind of shootings around the country that barely make the local news.

How do we go about this process of "making sense," not as a way of excusing but as a path to understanding and preventing violence? We start by recognizing that many young Americans (and other young people around the world) develop and carry with them a kind of moral damage, which I have come to call "the war zone mentality."

However it develops, they grow up with a damaged sense of reality. They view the world as if they are soldiers confronting a hostile environment that they perceive to be full of enemies. Once they get fixated on this damaged world view, they may hatch the delusion that even teachers and young children are their enemies. For Adam Lanza, apparently even his mother was an enemy who had to be destroyed.

There is no one cause. It is as if they are building a tower of blocks, one by one, that can get so high it falls over, with innocent people dying. These building blocks can be found in a dangerous neighborhood or a school rife with bullying. They can be found through the Internet and mass media: the many, many web sites and videos that promote paranoid views of the world and validate violent action in retaliation.

They can be found in pervasive and intense playing of video games, the hands-on virtual violence that desensitizes young people to proxy killing. These games become a psychological pathway to real killing by dampening impulses of compassion and altruism.

They also come from a culture that supports access to lethal weapons: the crazy availability of guns like the Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle used by Adam Lanza that are, in effect, weapons of mass destruction when turned against children at school, or moviegoers in a theater or shoppers at a mall. These weapons have no place in civilian life.

But moral damage and a misperception of reality usually are not enough to lead to murder. The typical killer is emotionally damaged and has developed mental health problems, perhaps exacerbated by being bullied and rejected by peers, or abused and neglected at home. He might be suffering from profound sadness, depression, despair, self aggrandizement and narcissism.

The mental health problems that result from emotional damage require more, not less, social support, and not just from parents, who may be overwhelmed and ashamed of their offspring. The boys and young men can be socially isolated because their damage makes peers and the community turn away from them, and that only compounds their problems.

Couple deluded thinking and rage with the rationale of the war zone mentality, and the result can be a boy or young man ready to kill, sometimes with horribly spectacular results. But this is more commonly seen in the "routine" killings that I work with as a psychological expert witness in murder cases across the country. ....... Complete article

James Garbarino also explained one of the most effective solutions to the problem by trying to get to them as young as possible when they run into emotional problems. If they can't stop them from becoming troubled in the first place he tries to come as close as possible; but in the long term the most effective solutions to many types of violence will be like the home visitor program described below:

"Lost Boys: Why our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them" By James Garbarino 1999

The place to begin to prevent lethal youth violence is at the beginning, before a boy is even born. The goal is twofold: to prevent boys from coming into the world at a biological disadvantage and to prevent them from being maltreated by their parents. How do we accomplish this? Fortunately, some of the same programmatic efforts that reduce the likelihood of biological damage before birth can also reduce the likelihood of damage after birth, at the hands of parents. Chief among these is home health visiting that begins prenatally and continues through the first several years of life.

When Mary became pregnant, she was lonely and afraid. Her relationship with her husband Bob was rocky. In fact, they had decided to separate just after Mary found out she was pregnant. When Bob out, Mary moved in with her mother so she would not be alone. Young and scared, Mary was relieved when the clinic told her she could enroll in the home visiting program. Week after week Marilyn, the nurse, came to visit with Mary, teaching her how to prepare for the baby and listening as Mary expressed her feelings and thoughts about the future. Marilyn continued to see Mary on a weekly basis for the first six months after John was born. Then, when she saw that Mary had things well under control, Marilyn began to increase the amount of time between her visits. When John celebrated his second birthday, Mary was “graduated” from the program.

Home visiting programs introduce a caring person who represents the community into the life of a child before he is even born. At their best, these programs make contact with families soon after conception, and a caring, competent woman enters into a long-term, supportive relationship with the mother-to-be. The home visitor comes to the family’s residence on a regular basis and continues to do so for the first two years of the child’s life. She provides information and a sense of caring that perspective parents in general need but that prospective parents with an accumulation of risk factors in their lives particularly need. The home visitor establishes a relationship in which the needs of the mother-to-be, the needs of the unborn child, and the interests of the community are all met.

The premier researcher studying home visiting is psychologists David Olds at the University of Colorado Medical Center. His research shows that the biggest positive effects of home visiting occur when the program serves high-risk, single young women in their first pregnancy. Olds has worked with psychologist John Eckenrode at Cornell University and followed the progress of families and children who receive nurse home visiting. The find very positive and durable results that can extend into adulthood. Babies whose mothers received nurse home visiting were born with fewer health problems (e.g., less prematurity and higher birth weight). And in the first years of life there is dramatically less child maltreatment. Babies in a comparison group of “unvisited” families among an identified high-risk population had four times as much child maltreatment in the first two years of life. Child maltreatment is believed to be the major cause of neurological impairment in boys who are especially vulnerable to learning patterns of aggressive behavior in the home. These are the boys that go on to act out in school and in the community the aggression they learn at home. Home visiting stabilizes and supports families so that they can develop positive momentum and positive functional autonomy. Follow-up studies report that even fifteen years later the effects are still apparent, including less involvement of the teens in the criminal welfare systems.

The first line of defense, then, is a healthy baby and a positive parent-infant relationship – and keeping it that way. Unfortunately, most high-risk families do not receive home visiting. This is a serious social error, but one that is not going unaddressed. The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (NCPCA) has an initiative, called healthy Families America, that is seeking to promote home visiting programs throughout the United States. (Note: Information for contacting the NCPCA and other organizations mentioned in this chapter is included in the Appendix.) The Committee’s success in accomplishing that goal ultimately will play a significant role in preventing youth violence: it is estimated that every 1,000 cases of child abuse and neglect prevented leads to 250 fewer cases of juvenile delinquency. p.182-4 Additional excerpts

Dorothy Otnow Lewis author of "Guilty by Reason of Insanity" 2009 also argues that preventing child abuse helps reduce all violence, making victims of abuse much less likely to become abusers when they grow up. In the first few pages of her book she writes about a paranoid juvenile that she interviews in a correctional facility, and how she broke up an interview when she thought he seemed agitated, and he hit another inmate after she turned her back, when asked why he provided a paranoid false claim that she knew not to argue with, since they're much less likely to believe her.

Philip Greven author of "Spare the Child" explains that paranoia is "long term consequences of abuse in infancy, childhood, and adolescence, the delayed expression of the anxieties associated with coercion, assault, and pain early in life." This can lead to fear of threats from others both when they're present and when they're not and can also lead to aggressive behavior that encourages the same form other leading to escalating conflict. Dorothy Otnow Lewis also cites prevention of child abuse as one of the most effective ways to reduce all types of violence as indicated in the following article excerpt:

Dorothy Otnow Lewis: Preventing child abuse

One of Lewis’ major interests continues to be the prevention of child abuse. Child abuse, says Lewis, acts in several ways. First, the abuse itself can cause brain damage that leads to a lack of control in individuals. It exposes children to an unhealthy model of behavior. “Children do as they see,” she said. The stress resulting from ongoing physical and verbal abuse changes the structure of the brain. And finally, she said, “Abuse engenders rage that is almost never expressed toward the perpetrator of the abuse. That rage is displaced onto others.

“I would give my right arm to get funding to do an early identification and prevention project,” she said. “We could identify kids early whose maladaptive behaviors reflect terrible violence at home.” The goal would be to offer support to parents—parenting education and mental health services—rather than remove children from the troubled home. But she believes that the program would be seen as intruding on families and therefore be a tough sell.

Lewis ’ childhood curiosity about humanity’s dark side launched her on a mission to understand the very people much of society would prefer to eliminate. Ted Bundy asked to see Lewis the day before his execution and even kissed her goodbye. “Everyone else wants to know what I did,” he explained. “You want to know why.”

If violence is the most serious public health problem in the world, Lewis sees understanding killers as the key to devising a cure. The closest that Lewis comes to condemning the death penalty has less do to with arguments about justice and compassion than a thirst for answers. “How is it,” she asks in her memoir, “that we pour millions of dollars into Bundy books and the like, but are nevertheless willing to sacrifice further knowledge about him and his ilk in the interest of doing away with them?” Complete article

James Garbarino, Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Lonie Athens, Alice Miller, and a growing number of other good researchers all agree that early child abuse, bullying, and other violent behavior early in life teach more violence later in life and make domestic violence, and other forms of violence including mass shootings much more likely. It's also part of an indoctrination process. This can lead to insecure people that have been abused by their caregivers to learn to obey and believe them, since this is the most effective way to avoid punishment at an impressionable age.

This pattern of behavior continues to escalate through out life unless something is done to change it as I explained in Fundamentals of Psychology. Some of this is what they diagnose as some form of mental illness or another including schizophrenia or many other conditions, other might be what James Garbarino considers “deluded but not officially crazy.” These people are often inclined to go along with the crowd to fit in or to blindly follow the leader instead of developing critical thinking skills, perhaps since when doing so as a child, whether they made their own mistakes or not, they may have been subject to punishment or anger from an abusive parent, and learned not to question what they were told.

They may do this even when claims made by crowds or demagogues are incredibly irrational and, frankly, has many people wondering how anyone could possibly believe them, or trusts a liar that is as obvious as Donald Trump, or for that matter, many other politicians that are only slightly better at pretending to be sincere than Donald Trump.

James Gabarino cites some of these examples in the following case for the impeachment of President Trump, which I consider compelling; however, understanding the psychology behind his voters will help ensure that another demagogue like this doesn't get elected again:

Is Inciting Domestic Terrorism an Impeachable Offense? 08/06/2019

There is no such thing as a “senseless act of violence,” at least not to the perpetrator. This applies to mass murderers. Where does the mass murderer find the “sense” in his extreme actions? One source is the cultural context in which he exists. An anthropological study reported that among the roughly 50% of schizophrenics who hear voices (“auditory hallucinations”), in the United States, 70% are told to commit acts of violence against themselves or others. In India it is 20% and in Ghana 10%. When politicians cite “mental health problems” as the cause of mass shootings they are missing the crucial point that “only in America” is the link between being crazy and mass violence so strong.

Then there are the “deluded but not officially crazy” population (those who are not diagnosable with an official psychiatric diagnosis, but who nonetheless have a warped sense of social reality). These individuals also are subject to social and cultural influences. Research demonstrates that playing violent video games suppresses empathy and disinhibits aggression. Watching violent television and movies increases the odds that a person (particularly a young person) will act violently. But when it comes to domestic terrorism (indeed all forms of terrorism), there is another factor, namely the rationales, interpretations, and incitements offered by cultural and political leaders.

Chatting with a clerk in a local store, I listen as he describes how he must increase the size of his gun collection, because the election of Hillary Clinton would have meant civil war in the United States because she would have “come for our guns.” A taxi driver explains to me how the “invasion of America by Hispanics” must be stopped, whatever it takes. I asked both how they knew this, and both responded with words to the effect that, “President Trump said so and FOX News confirmed it.” America has at least two long-standing political themes. One is the value of civility and human dignity as important public virtues. The second is racism and xenophobia. The seeds of both are always present in the psyche of the American people. It is up to leaders to water the seeds of the former and not the latter. President Trump (and the tolerant response of his fellow Republicans) demonstrates that in modern political life it is acceptable to water the seeds of racism and xenophobia.

In his statement from the White House on August 5, in the wake of the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, President Trump called out White Supremacy. However, he took no responsibility for fostering and affirming that ideology for the two and half years that preceded his statement. Beyond the personal “manifestos” of White Supremacist mass murderers there is the fact that hate crimes have increased dramatically increased in districts that Trump won in the 2016 election. Time will tell if Trump changes his tune in the days and weeks to come. One could naively hope that he will and does. But given that he is a malignant narcissist and a pathological liar…don’t hold your breath. In any case, so long as he continues to provide validation for domestic terrorism in the way he spews racist and xenophobic rhetoric at rallies and on Twitter, “deluded but not officially crazy” people will make use of their “Second Amendment rights,” and more of their enemies will die. This leads to the logical conclusion that “inciting domestic terrorism” be added to the growing list of impeachable offenses of which the President is guilty. It certainly qualifies as a “high crime.”

James Garbarino, PhD
Loyola University Chicago

Author of Listening to Killers: Lessons Learned from My 20 Years as an Expert Witness in Murder Cases. University of California Press, 2015. Additional video blogs by James Garbarino

Professor Garbarino's argument is supported by many other events dating back to the 2016 election, when he once famously said "If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell ... I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise," and many other similar comments. And there's a long list of people that ahve followed up on this including someone that sucker punched a protester in 2016; another one this month that attacked a person in his sixties, in Ohio; a veteran in Montana that allegedly has post traumatic stress disorder that attacked a teen for wearing a hat during the national anthem; Cesar Sayoc, who sent out pipe bombs to Trump's rivals, and many more. These are just a handful of the highest profile cases; ABC has reported at least three dozen of these cases and there're probably dozens more if not hundreds, since his campaign began in 2015.

Man Charged With Assault After Punching Protester at Trump Event 03/10/2016

Pipe-bomber Cesar Sayoc's lawyers named Trump in their defense. They won't be the only ones. 08/07/2019

Man charged after punching anti-Trump protester outside Cincinnati​ rally 08/02/2019

Attorney for Montana man who threw teen in national anthem attack says Trump rhetoric to blame 08/09/2019

'No Blame?' ABC News finds 36 cases invoking 'Trump' in connection with violence, threats, alleged assaults. 08/14/2019

A look back at Trump comments perceived by some as encouraging violence 10/19/2018 President Donald Trump on Thursday praised a congressman’s past assault on a reporter, making it the latest example where he appears to encourage or support violence. In the latest instance, Trump referenced Rep. Greg Gianforte’s 2017 attack on a reporter by saying that “any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type!”

Donald Trump was an incredibly obvious fraud and scam artist long before he began his campaign in 2015. Many people, including me, hardly even bothered to pay attention to him, because it was so obvious. This is why many people assumed that there's no way he could have been elected the first time around; but for one reason or another he managed to get inaugurated as president, and the political discussion has been insane since then with one incredibly clownish blunder after another. Yet even though the polls never show him getting a majority approving of his behavior, he still attracts a large group of devoted followers. the vast majority of them certainly aren't inclined to go on a mass shootings spree; however they clearly are willing to believe many absurdities and support outrageous behavior by the president and the institutions he controls including ICE and their abuses of children in detention centers.

I went into some of the leading causes of how early child abuse also leads to indoctrination and racism in Dobson’s Indoctrination Machine which explains how James Dobson advises his followers to use corporal punishment to control their children teaching them to blindly obey orders and Cause and Effect of Hatred which explains how early child abuse intimidates children and teaches them to hate the same people their parents often hate and to accept irrational justifications for it, often even when overwhelming evidence shows that the cause of their problems is clear not the target of their racism, and may often be their own leaders. Alice Miller also made a similar case in "For Your Own Good" which explains why she believes that the early abuse that Adolf Hitler went through made him more violent and the fact that the German people were also subject to similar indoctrination methods taught them to blindly obey their leaders, and desensitized them to the harm they were doing. Alice Miller also makes a compelling case that it also makes people much more inclined to support wars including World War two, and many others that were based on lies. This claim was met skeptically when she first published in in the early eighties, but it is much more widely accepted in the academic world now; unfortunately there's been little or no effort from the mass media to inform the public about this research and much more.

Children raised in abusive authoritarian ways are much more likely to go along with the crowd, and less likely to develop critical thinking skills that enable them to recognize obvious scams or propaganda. This is true from both political parties, although Trump supporters clearly appear to be more extreme.

Many of Trump's supporters clearly seem to have the mentality of a junior high school student, often even when they're in their fifties or sixties. This appears to be because they may have been raised in abusive intimidating manner and spent their entire life in an us verses them mentality where they believe that their side can do no wrong and the other side is always at fault without checking the facts. The way Trump attacks former supporters when they abandon him adds to the evidence of this and his followers know that if they're not enthusiastic enough about him or speak out they could be next; and if the vast majority of their friends or family are Trump supporters they may risk being ostracized by them if they dare speak out against Trump. They seem to be unwilling or able to fully understand that they're supporting a culture that creates a permanent state of conflict, with them constantly demonizing their enemies, and a small minority striking out violently, only to be defended by other supporters and hated by their victims who will occasionally strike back.

Many of Donald Trump supporters clearly show the characteristics of cult followers blindly believing anything their leader tells them to!

In 2014 I did series of articles comparing the leading causes of violence base don certain characteristics from certain states starting with Ignored evidence linking corporal punishment, poverty and crime grows and ending with Politicians increase crime; Grass roots efforts reduce crime; Politicians steal the credit which summarizes the articles and concludes that when people are educated more at the local level about the issues and how to reduce violence they're better able to hold their political leaders accountable, and this enables them to keep violence down in their own state or local areas. Then in 2016 during the primaries it was easy to recognize that Bernie Sanders was Winning Least Violent States which also happened to be the states banned corporal punishment in school. This wasn't a perfect review, of course, partly because there were also a lot of problems with voter suppression, which couldn't be factored into this easily, and no doubt, many will argue that it reflects my own political bias; however the fact is that he won eight out of the ten states that typically make it into the bottom ten for murder rates, while Hillary Clinton won at least nine out of ten of the states from the top ten. The only state that Bernie won that makes it into the top ten states for murder rates in the past six to eight years was Alaska and it only made it into the top ten two or three times.

Bernie sanders also won a small majority of the states banning corporal punishment in schools, and Clinton just over two thirds of the states still allowing it. There was also a similar correlation in the general election which I went into in Inciting School Shootings In Trump Country when I noticed that the large surge in school shootings in the beginning of 2018 almost all happened in states that that Trump won and that still allow corporal punishment in schools. Hillary Clinton only won one out of the nineteen states that allow corporal punishment in schools, which also means that she won the states in the primaries that she couldn't win in the general election.

The Washington Post made a similar argument when they reported that Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes 03/22/2019 which they adjusted for local crime rates and other contributing factors, although they don't show all the work behind their study to the public. Trump won about seven of the states that usually make it into the top ten for murder rates but only three of the ones that usually make it into the bottom ten, sweeping the south which is the most violent region of the country according to FBI murder and crime reports.

As I said, many could argue that this is my own political bias but, it's reasonable to assume that the states where people understand the social needs of their own citizens, and the leading causes of violence better are more likely to address them leading to less violence. The states with people more susceptible to propaganda are are more likely to accept deceptive campaign rhetoric which may lead to increased fraud and corporate corruption, and since this is also correlated with other contributing causes of violence it also leads to more violence. In addition to having higher murder rates the south also has higher rates of poverty, income inequality, and as Robert Bullard reports they often have more pollution dumped in their states, especially where there are more minorities. Pollution and other social problems aren't limited to the south, as Jonathan Kozol reports in many of his books, including Savage Inequality they often dump more pollution in abandoned inner cities, with less political clout, that also happen to have higher murder rates as well and lower quality of education, which is what he report mostly about.

Of course, early child abuse isn't the only contributing factor to violence including mass shootings or other much more common types which actually do far more damage despite the enormous amount of attention to mass shootings. Other leading factors include increased poverty, lack of education, income inequality, abandoned inner cities with little or no economic opportunities where gangs are often more common and more. But the mainstream media doesn't report on many of the best researchers of these either, often because of the profit motive, sometimes because they have direct financial incentives not to.

One of the most blatant examples of a financial conflict of interest for the mass media is insurance, although it's not nearly as big a factor as child abuse or poverty, at least not directly but it does contribute to poverty in addition to providing an incentive to commit murder which dozens if not hundreds of people do every year as I pointed out in Insurance Executives Profit By Inciting Murder Occasionally Paying Killers which explains that at least five percent of the murders listed on Murderpedia have a potential insurance motive, and over one percent of those convicted for murder successfully collected on insurance policies, before eventually getting caught. There's no guarantee that this is statistically representative, but if it is this comes to about eight hundred murders per year with a potential insurance motive. Even if it's not it's virtually guaranteed that there are still well over a hundred if not two or three hundred murders with a potential insurance motive, yet there's little or no discussion of this in the media which makes an enormous a mount of money selling ads to insurance companies and has plenty of interlocking board members or stockholders with insurance companies. Nor do they mention the fact that all the money they collect for advertising from insurance companies is indirectly paid for by policy holders who also pay out the money used to pay off those successfully collecting on polices for murder which includes at least seven or eight people that collected over a million dollars on policies, and dozens of the people killing for insurance motives have been serial murders, for this reason, which isn't to be confused with mass murderers that typically get caught on the spot.

The media also has close ties to the for profit charter school industry which is providing inferior education and is involved in epidemic levels of fraud which Diane Ravitch routinely points out, yet the mass media rarely ever covers her reporting any more than they cover Jonathan Kozol's reporting on education inequality. And as I pointed out in Is Push For Charter Schools Increasing Murder Rates? these Charter Schools are located in some of the poorest and most violent areas of the country, and instead of helping to reverse this problem they're making it worse.

Professor Hamby informed me about New Zealand's efforts to incorporate well being in there budget, not just the GDP, including efforts to address quality of life, poverty, and mental illnesses, New Zealand's world-first ‘wellbeing’ budget to focus on poverty and mental health 05/14/2019 This isn't something entirely new; there have been authors writing about this in the United States for years, although they only get their message out to a small percentage of the public, since they can't get any help promoting their work from the traditional media. Many of these so-called socialist countries have been doing this better for decades as well often by providing better health care, education child care and other social services that help reduce violence, and they have much lower rates of violence and prison populations.

As Sherry Hamby pointed out some of the alleged causes of violence like violent video games, which the media has been discussing a little, thanks to some high profile gun rights supporters claiming that they're a bigger factor, aren't nearly as important. However there are some studies that show that this, along with violence in the media may be a minor factor in some cases. But the mainstream media has apparently been distorting this as well as shown in the chart below which shows that the sales of video games doesn't correlate with murder rates at all in ten states that they study; however any good sociologist can tell you that this study makes no effort to adjust it for other contributing causes. Even one of the studies they cite supposedly debunking the claim that violent videos acknowledges that violent videos do correlate with higher rates of violence than non-violent videos, but this is buried at the end of the article, and this chart, along with the first flawed one are being circulated on line in a much higher profile where many people couldn't find this correction even if they wanted to.

This chart doesn't take into account any other contributing cause of violence in these countries, so it has little value; although more credible studies indicate that impact of violence video games is minimal, unless other contributing causes to violence are also present.

Why video games aren’t causing America’s gun problem, in one chart 07/05/2019

Not only did they misrepresent contributing factors of violence but they didn't even get their chart right initially listing south Korea first followed by China & Japan tenth, before correcting it.

Another broad and selective way to check it would be to look at the drop in violence that has been talking place as use of video games or violent media has been increasing, but this doesn't adjust for other contributing factors either. Although in fairness if this was a leading cause of violence then we wouldn't expect to see this large a discrepancy in this chart of the reverse correlation between higher us of video games in recent years and lower murder rates. Good sociologists or statisticians would at least acknowledge the flaws in many of these statistical studies and crosscheck them with other studies to try to adjust for other contributing causes instead of giving credence to the phrase "lies damn lies and statistics." James Garbarino cites violent video games or media in several of his articles, but even he puts far more emphasis on child abuse and other factors in the vast majority of his work, implying he considers this more important.

This is potentially another reason why the mainstream media declines to provide good researchers like James Gabarino or many others any media coverage; they criticize the media for providing all this violent media! I suspect that a far bigger problem than violence in the media, is the lack of media coverage of the best research about how to reduce violence so we can make policy decisions on good science!

From the top left, Dorothy Otnow Lewis, Sherry Hamby, Barbara Coloroso, and Jonathan Kozol

The following are some additional sources for this article:

Jonathan Kozol "Savage Inequalities" full text

San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez

Preventing Gun Violence by Changing Social Norms by David Hemenway 07/08/2013

James Garbarino, PhD "Miller’s Children: Why Giving Teenage Killers a Second Chance Matters for All of Us": Chapter one: Adolescence Squared why are kids who kill different? 07/0/2019

The Redemption of Teen Killers: Why ‘Miller’s Children’ Deserved Their Second Chance 07/02/2019

Barbara Coloroso Kids are worth it!

"Culture of Violence?" You Betcha, Mr. Trump, But It's Not The Video Games 08/08/2019

Including El Paso and Dayton, there have been 112 people killed in mass shootings this year. 08/07/2019

El Paso, Dayton make 251 mass shootings, causing 272 deaths, in the US in 216 days, more shootings than days in the year 08/03/2019

Did the U.S. Have 251 Mass Shootings in the First 216 Days of 2019? 08/06/2019

Evaluating the success of Sweden’s corporal ban Joan E. Durrant June 1999

"Why They Kill: The Discoveries of Lonnie Athens, a Maverick Criminologist" by Richard Rhodes 2000

Do Child Abuse and Maltreatment Increase Risk of Schizophrenia? 04/30/2012

Childhood sexual abuse and the development of schizophrenia August 2007

Severe abuse in childhood may treble risk of schizophrenia 04/18/2012

Alice Miller "For Your Own Good" In addition to explaining how child abuse leads to escalating violence later in life Alice Miller also explains how it was a major contributing factor for Adolf Hitlers indoctrination of the masses in Germany.

Olivier Maurel "Spanking: Questions and answers about disciplinary violence"

Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226 percent increase in hate crimes 03/22/2019 We found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally. ......

Additionally, it is hard to discount a “Trump effect” when a considerable number of these reported hate crimes reference Trump. According to the ADL’s 2016 data, these incidents included vandalism, intimidation and

What’s more, according to the FBI’s Universal Crime report in 2017, reported hate crimes increased 17 percent over 2016. Recent research also shows that reading or hearing Trump’s statements of bias against particular groups makes people more likely to write offensive things about the groups he targets.

Sen. Patty Murray: 'Mental health issues don't cause mass shootings' 07/09/2019 This conclusion doesn't generally come from the most credible academics studying this issue including James Garbarino who refers to many of these killers as “deluded but not officially crazy,” who often come from abusive backgrounds and clearly have major emotional problems.

Mental Illness Is Not the Cause of Most Mass Shootings 08/13/2019

Edit 08/21/2019: This morning CNN did a news segment on a tweet from Fred Guttenberg that was taken out of context, criticizing Bernie Sanders for using "the gun lobby talking points," without mentioning the fact that the full speech he cited also calls for Gun control. Mr. Guttenberg only provides 29 seconds of video in a Tweet from Ryan Nobles, of CNN, whose full video has one minute 46 seconds.

Drew Griffin, who wrote an online article, and Alisyn Camerota and John Berman who interviewed him on TV all pointed out that there was "a rash of backlash from Sanders supporters who said he took the line out of context," which was true. However they didn't check the facts to see if this really was taken out of context, although they did provide a video clip for viewers that were inclined to check themselves.

drew Griffin's article says, "'I do agree we as a country need to deal with a broken mental health system. But when we have gun violence, we need to be really specific,' Guttenberg said. 'There is only one factor in gun violence that matters,' he continued, 'and that is access to guns.'" which means that they're almost saying the same thing, although the emphasis is different. This may be a NRA talking point but once the NRA argues that the problem is mental illness, they're partly correct, although it's clearly not the entire problem, and then they argue that they should do nothing to prevent people with mental health issues from getting a gun, and Mr. Guttenberg is correct to disagree with that.

However Bernie Sanders also disagrees with this!

This is a brazen smear; and the evidence is clearly public, but like a lot of propaganda they repeat the accusation load and often while the most important facts are only mentioned briefly giving many people that don't look closely a false impression. Mr. Guttenberg and CNN also criticizes Bernie Sanders for his mixed record on gun control going back decades. Most of this is true, although they may omit some of his stronger votes against the NRA; and they fail to provide the same treatment to other presidential candidates.

This is part of a pattern of behavior with their obvious opposition to Bernie Sanders; they provided obsession coverage to his criticizing millionaires and billionaires when he finally became a millionaire, without applying the same standard to any other politician, including Elizabeth Warren who they also refer to as a progressive and is worth at least two or three times as much money as Bernie Sanders. They also provided obsession coverage of how slow they claim Bernie Sanders was to release his tax returns, yet never mentioned the same subject for other candidates, including Joe Biden who was much slower to release his tax returns; and many other issues that well informed people may have noticed, and not just Bernie Sanders supporters, although I am one of them, at least over all the other candidates the media is willing to cover. I have pointed out that if there is someone better than him it's one of the candidates they refuse to cover like Sanderson Beck.

Many of the other celebrity gun control advocates that get an enormous amount of air time seem to have a similarly narrow approach at least when they're on the media; however there was a brief period of time where David Hogg and some of the other Parkland organizers spoke out against gun violence in inner cities as well, although the media only gave this minimal coverage, and they also address other causes on the internet or at lower profile forums. David Hogg Tweeted "If you believe it’s mental illness call your reps and ask that they fund mental h programs in our schools and communities. I don’t agree it’s mental illness that causes these shootings. But we do need more funding for mental health programs to reduce the growing rate of suicide. 08/04/2019 on the same day as Mr. Guttenberg, which although I believe is misleading, he doesn't try to smear those trying to address all contributing causes of violence.

Neither Mr. Guttenberg or CNN make any attempt to seek out good researchers that study leading causes of violence as I attempted to do here. this reinforces my argument that the debate is being controlled by celebrities or media pundits without any regard for the best research on the subject. I don't want to be critical of Mr. Guttenberg after he lost his daughter, or any other family member of those that died in these shootings but we need to implement the most effective solutions based on the best science to stop this problem and bickering about people that agree on gun control to distract from other contributing causes is doing more harm than good especially since they're not even accomplishing the one goal they're willing to focus on. And, even if they couldn't pass legislation on other issues, the most important thing may be educating the public about how early child abuse, poverty, income inequality, and other factors, leads to escalating violence.

simply by educating the public they can enable them to partially solve the problem without any legislation and they can also pressure their lawmakers for more reforms including gun control and banning corporal punishment in schools among other things!

Here are some of the back up tweet and articles to this update:

Shame on you @SenSanders for these comments. This is a gun issue, to use the gun lobby talking points on this only discredits you as a Presidential option following this weekend. 08/04/2019 This is another example where political activists misrepresent their opponents; in the speech cited by Fred Guttenberg, Sanders speaks in favor of gun control, although Guttenberg omits this from the short clip that he provides; and leading researchers clearly think that gun control alone won't solve this problem as Mr. Guttenberg seems to think.

Be better than this Mr. Guttenberg. Watch the full clip below before judging, not that edited clip w dishonest, misleading headline.

Bernie's full slate of proposals, along w his style of governance, will go a long way towards ending gun violence... 08/04/2019

Parkland dad to Bernie Sanders over past gun views: 'Your votes and what you've done are still there' 08/21/2019

We Must Bring People Together, Not Instigate Hatred 08/04/2019

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