Violent impulse of Americans

Regarding the April 3 AP article “Death penalty sought in Colorado shooting case“: In the wake of each mass shooting, the question on everyone’s mind is always “why?”

I do not presume to answer the question fully, but the comments by the best friend of one of the victims in the July 20 Colorado theater shooting (after prosecutors decided last week to seek the death penalty if James Holmes is convicted) is insightful: “I had a huge adrenaline rush. I love the choice. I love it, I love it. … I hope I’m in the room when he dies.”

One could argue that Holmes also had a “huge adrenaline rush” as he gunned down his alleged victims. Perhaps he also wanted to be “in the room” when a lot of people die.

Many Americans expressed similar joy when Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011.

This suggests that the root of American gun violence is not found in statistics about gun ownership rates or illusionary “lax” gun laws, but something in the psyche of the majority of Americans. From mass murder, to wars of conquest in the Middle East, to the war on drugs at home — Americans see violence as a legitimate (and effective) problem-solving tool.

This conclusion, in turn, opens up questions: Why is this so? Can it be changed? What can be done to change it?

joseph jaworski
taragi, kumamoto

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • tresameht

    Very interesting to read an opinion from outside the country. It does however reflect the thinking of many Americans.

  • Guest

    The premise that murderers and their victims is grotesquely flawed. The author is equivocating between sadistic murderers who acted with intention to murder in a premeditated fashion and people who ordinarily would never have done such a thing. People who blow up buildings full of civilians or murder theaters full of people forfeit their right to live in a civilized world. They go to jail, or they die resisting. I am unsure as to the validity of the death penalty.

  • 思德

    The premise that murderers and their victims are the same is grotesquely flawed. The author is equivocating between sadistic murderers who acted with intention to murder in a premeditated fashion and people who ordinarily would never have done such a thing. People who blow up buildings full of civilians or murder theaters full of people forfeit their right to live in a civilized world, period. They go to jail, or they die/receive injury resisting, period. That’s in any civilized country anywhere. As for the death penalty, I am unsure as to its validity. You know what’s an easy way to avoid it though? Don’t murder someone.