There is an ongoing conversation in the United States about what should be done regarding the continuing slaughter of people with guns. Opinions range from taking all firearms to controlling the age at which one can purchase a firearm, and everything in between. What we hear little regarding is the way our culture has changed and why.
Admittedly I am old. Being old brings perspective; it allows one to compare how things were to how they are. On the farm in rural Missouri in the 1950s there were lots of guns; my Dad had a single shot Remington .22 and a Model 97 Winchester shotgun. He taught me how to properly and safely use the .22 and placed emphasis on its one function being to kill.
My brother and I went to the movies every Saturday afternoon. Lash Larue, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and The Cisco Kid, amongst others were our heroes. The interesting thing is we never saw a graphic depiction of anyone getting shot; Autry was great at shooting guns out of the bad guy’s hands and Hoppy displayed the same skill. Now we get to see blood splattered on walls, floors, and even sometimes on the camera screen when there is gun violence.
Even war movies have changed drastically; I saw the Audie Murphy movie, To Hell and Back, and there were no body parts strung around and the Germans would just lean over or merely fall down as he shot them. I had killed rabbits, squirrels, and crows so I knew the movie wasn’t realistic but it was credible enough to convey the story. In the same vein, when a man and woman walked into a bedroom we knew what they were going to do, we didn’t need to watch the sex act on the screen.
When I was a kid almost everyone had a father and a mother and no matter how busy the family ate supper together every day. It was a time to share the day’s events and get quizzed about what had happened in school and our grades on a test. Now that men and women change partners when there is some perceived incompatibility, the single family home or step-parents is becoming the new normal. Within the black community many children never see their biological father and if they did he would be a role model for impregnating women and then leaving them to raise the child. I have an acquaintance whose daughter has five children; she is 20 and has never been married. Two is probably the more normal number of illegitimate children in a family.
The large inner-cities have always had a higher homicide rate than rural areas. The number of black homicides outnumbers white homicides 10 to 1, and blacks only represent 13% of the population. The recent slaughter in Florida would represent less than a normal month’s murders in Chicago during any given month. Perhaps the removal of Confederate monuments will alter the mindset.
I have noticed that the father and mother now are friends instead of the source of discipline and guidance. My sister-in-law died a few years back. At the viewing, a nephew of the deceased’s husband came with four boys; probably fourteen to eight. They were running around in the funeral home, wrestling, and in general being jerks; not a peep from the parents. Had I acted that way at a funeral, there would have been a double burial.
We didn’t know what video games were, we actually played games which didn’t involve killing or mayhem. We knew our friends and talked with them face to face, we didn’t sit across the room and text back and forth.
The world changed after the advent of the Great Society and the Vietnam War. LBJ made the need for a father in the home obsolete. The Vietnam War desensitized people to death as it was flashed across our television screens every evening by war correspondents. The sight of thousands of body bags marginalized life!
Liberals want to ignore the underlying problem; people have changed. Unless there is a societal U turn, things will only get worse. That is only the perspective of an ole guy.
Have a good week. Bill Shuey is a freelance writer in North Carolina.