Following on from the church shootings in Wisconsin a little over a week ago, this morning the main headline on the news was a teenager who had gone on the rampage at a school in Minnesota. This is the worst school shooting since Columbine in 1999, and again we are treading the ground of disaffected youth and gun control.
As before the question is why it is that the USA has such a problem. If you look at the rest of the western world, the problems are much the same, you can’t open a newspaper at times without reading some story about young people, and as any teacher will tell you there are plenty of young people over here who don’t like school. However, over here, even with our reported problems with knives, we aren’t getting young people going on the rampage like this.
This is a point that is raised by Michael Moore in his oscar winning film Bowling For Columbine, in which he looks at the US through the the events at Columbine. In his case he looks closer to the US at Canada, which even in cities as close together as Detroit and Windsor Ontario, which sit directly adjacent to each other on either side of the border, the Canadian side doesn’t have the problems with shootings that occur in the USA. If you haven’t seen the film, it is well worth getting hold of, to see Michael Moore’s opinion on the causes of the problems in US culture.
Of course this is a problem that the USA has to sort out for itself, and sadly I suspect that any attempt to tighten gun controls will hit the usual problems with the NRA as we get the “it’s not guns that kill people it’s people” mantra. But as I said earlier, even with the problems with knives in the UK, we are not getting mass killings on this sort of scale. So again we get back to the question – why?