Created on 26 Dec 2012 ;    Modified on 29 Sep 2013 ;    Translationitalian

About violence in U.S. society


I think all of us were affected from the news of the massacre in Newtown on 14th of December 2012 in Connecticut, USA, where 27 people, both children and adults, were killed.

The reaction of the majority of the American people, and the refeed of the debate in the U.S. about the ease to buy firearms, sent me back to years ago.

At that time, one of my brothers, lent me a DVD movie: Bowling for Columbine (video) of the director Michael Moore. Bowling for Columbine is a 2002 documentary. Which starts from the massacre at Columbine High School, in 1999 in Colorado, USA, to make a survey on the use of weapons and how they relate to acts of violence in the United States in those years.

In 2003 Bowling for Columbine won the Academy Award for best documentary.

For this reason I went to read the Michael Moore considerations about the massacre in Newtown.


And I was impressed.

Moore was skeptical about the effectiveness of alone anti firearms laws.

Despite being a supporter of the need for their adoption, Moore says that still does not solve the problem of violence in the USA. He identifies other three fundamental cornerstones to fight:

  1. poverty;

  2. fear (of different) / racism;

  3. individuality.

In practice, he believes that the middle class is disappearing in American society, expanding the amount of poors. In the absence of social safety nets, those see violence as a (or the) way to survive.

Also still in the U.S. there are strong xnefobe campaigns. As towards people of color, as against Mexicans and South Americans. Campaigns that encourage individuals to arm themselves in order to be ready for any eventuality.

Finally, the continuous supply of the concept of self, praised in all areas. To the detriment of the values of mutual aid and working in groups.

According to Moore, these aspects, working in synergy, helps to fuel the violence that permeates American society. Both as regards the inner relations, as the relations with other nations.

I have no experience of life in the USA. But I think that Moore trace a very realistic scenary, and in general I agree with him.

Furthermore I am inclined to add another aspect to the considerations developed. Carefully, is it the case to consider the history of the U.S. population?

Exactly. Their history. The population of the U.S.A. has been nurtured for hundreds of years by waves of immigration from other states. Originally from Great Britain and Ireland. Then by other European countries and Asia. Now from Central and South America. I believe that people leaving their country, driven by the need or the desire to improve their lives, have personal dominant characters : courage, a certain amount of unconsciousness, the conviction and the ability to attack the obstacles that bar the way. And these features are bolted in the genetic code and transmitted to future generations.

For this reason I believe that today in the U.S.A. there is a preponderance of dominant people if compared with other countries with autochthonous development. And the result of these aspects can be seen not only in the way the U.S. people tries to reach the top in every aspect of social and individual life. Unfortunately, this is also reflected in the presence of a significant amount of violence in society: they reach the top also in this.

After that, I relax and say to myself "Fortunately we are talking about the U.S.". Here in Italy such problems do not exist:

  1. In Italy the population isn't impoverishing more and more. See Istat poverty and Istat unemployment.

  2. In Italy there isn't a tendency to feed fear against who is different. See the third point of the 2008 political program of Partito della Libertà. The PdL won the 2008 elections also leveraging these feelings of fear. And, once to the government, it has done its best to implement the points of the political agenda.

  3. In Italy social instruments aren't in dispute and are subject to a continuous effort of greater economic investment. I refer to public expenditure on Education, on National Health Service, on Pensions, and Transport. Unfortunately these are object of a fierce and sustained attack from political and economic actors who would like to transfer more and more to the private. This, in theory, in order to achieve better efficiency. In practice, to increase revenue to which economic entities that, in times of crisis, see everything only as one possible source of income.


I think Moore's considerations are reasonable. And as Italians, we should worry about them. Before dismantling the social security safeguards we done in the past decades.