With the plague of mass shootings, in the U.S., the question shouldn’t be about guns, but why are people angrier and going off on a rampage of violence now, far more than 50-70 years ago? We didn’t have all of these mass shootings in the 1950s and ‘60’s, and guns were just as available. We also didn’t have the level of road rage we see today, so what changed? There's something deeper, we're not seeing. That is where the scientific and mental health folks need to dig for answers.

We now seem to lack the ability to tolerate other folks, how they live, what they think or believe, their political views, how they drive, etc. Yet, all those differences were here 50-70 years ago, so again, what has changed, or is missing from our society now, that was more prominent back then?

Road Rage, a rare thing 50-70 years ago, now it's quite common. The roads definitely are more crowded than they were 50 years ago, but laws were also far more aggressively enforced. Consider that it was the odd ball who was speeding back in the day. Today it is the odd ball who is trying to do the speed limit. It seems today’s attitude is, the number on the speed sign is not the limit, but the starting point. We were taught in Driver’s Ed., when I was in high school, that even when you were passing someone, you were not to go over the posted speed limit. Today, states have put in place laws that would ticket someone doing the posted speed limit in the left lane, if they are holding up traffic. That's just an example of how much things have changed, just on our roadways, in the past 50-70 years.

I believe that the 24/7 news cycle, with its constant barrage of bad news, from around the globe, hyped as if the world were coming to an end, has caused much stress and anxiety. Now instead of only hearing about crime, corrupt politicians, or bad weather, in your city or state, you hear the bad news from all 50 states, and even from around the world. Unfortunately, bad news sells and gets ratings and clicks, so the national media makes sure they deliver it in a non-stop hyped fashion in hopes of keeping your ears and eyes glued to their cable station, or their internet posting, live stream, or podcast.

In many ways our national news today is like a soap opera of yesteryear, that folks listened to on the radio or watched on TV. There’s always some drama. We can’t get away from it due to our smartphones that ring us anytime day or night to alert us of the latest installment. The difference is, these stories are real, unlike a soap opera.

Another issue contributing to today’s stress and anxiety, is we're moving far faster while doing more things, at one time, than we did 50-70 years ago. We even lack the patience to wait, for a few moments, while something loads onto our computers, tablets, or smartphones.

Multitasking be it at home, in our car, or at work is stressful. The old saying, He who does two things at once does neither, speaks volumes, but is ignored today. We may be pushing so fast, hard, and continuously that our mere human bodies and minds are cracking under this pressure and strain.

Many folks today are so over scheduled, that from the moment the alarm wakes them, they are on the fast track in their race against the clock, going constantly, multitasking, moving as fast as they can, until they drop exhausted into bed that night, only to do it all again the next morning. So rather than having patience with some other driver who is only doing the speed limit, they get angry and road rage is the result.

The mass shootings are being committed by mostly young white men, who on top of having all that stress and strain, that we all have, may also have some deep-seated anger issues. They may have been bullied, beaten, raped, or molested, as a child. Sadly, these boys didn’t get the mental health care they needed, but were told instead, be a man, suck it up, get over it, etc.

Today, those boys have grown into very angry men who possibly are emotionally unstable. One day, something sets them off and they then, go on a rampage shooting up a school, a mall, a church, a temple, or their work place.

I’m not any sort of an expert, but from where I sit, that sort of rage is some form of mental illness. So, while guns and rifles are the easiest target to blame, I truly believe we need to dig deeper, because even if we outlawed all guns and rifles, these folks would use knives, homemade bombs, etc., during their rampage of destruction.

I believe that such behavior is a mental health issue that we need to find treatment for quickly. It’s also why I believe that background checks need to let all gun and rifle sellers, both public and private, know if someone has any mental health issues, because I do not believe such folks should be able to legally buy or own a gun or rifle.

There is nothing in the Second Amendment that supports such folks having guns or rifles. These people need some real help, so they can get rid of whatever “demons” they’re battling, not an AK-47.

Mike Cannatelli’s column appears every other week in the print edition of the Avon Grove Sun and Kennett News.
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