Promoting Empathy With Your Teen

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What's Lost in the Gun Debates

Using a Positive Peer Culture via Mass Media to Address Violence

The following is a list of innocent people who lost their lives recently to senseless violence.

Timothy Russel,
Malissa Williams,
Charlotte Bacon,  
Daniel Barden,
Rachel Davino,
Olivia Engel,
Josephine Gay,
Ana Marquez-Greene,
Dylan Hockley,
Dawn Hochsprung,
Madeleine F. Hsu,
Catherine V. Hubbard,
Chase Kowalski,
Jesse Lewis,
James Mattioli,
Grace McDonnell,
Anne Marie Murphy,
Emilie Parker,
Jack Pinto,
Noah Pozner,
Caroline Previdi,
Jessica Rekos,
Avielle Richman,
Lauren Rousseau,
Mary Sherlach,
Victoria Soto,
Benjamin Wheeler,
Allison N. Wyatt,

May their souls rest in peace.


The first two names are of a couple who died in Ohio under a hail of bullets  shot at them. A hundred and thirty seven to be exact. Several police officers repeatedly shot at their vehicle after a high speed chase. After the smoke cleared, they would later discover that the couple was unarmed. This tragedy didn't make major headlines for major news corporations like CNN. - Indifference.

The rest of the names on the list are of children and teaching faculty at an elementary school in Connecticut, all gunned down by a crazed gunman.

Our cultural mindset has become so callous that mainstream feels indifferent when tragedy befalls any human being they consider distant in relation to themselves for any number of reasons. The death of children will always strike a chord with us, because most adults can relate to our innate desires to protect our children from harm.  However, must we wait for some of our children to be slaughtered before we address the diseased mindset of violence that plagues our society?

The gun debate is the wrong debate, we  should be having a debate about our need to become more conscientious. From having the most threatened seating president in US history, to the indifference most of us have regarding drone attacks on people who have been tried and convicted without a fair hearing, (this includes unintended casualties from such attacks) we have become collectively cold hearted without realising it.

Two truths in relation to this matter, the first is that we cannot force people to respect the rights others they dislike simply by making it difficult for them to obtain weapons and secondly, we cannot use weapons to maintain any level of peace. What we need to do is progressively change our mindset towards becoming a more conscientious society. This means that no stone should be left unturned when using peer pressure to address all the types of violence that plagues our society.

Social policies should be initiated towards bringing an end to violence that plagues the poor, particularly poor youth living in inner cities. Our government should become more transparent and be held accountable for the types of relationships they have with foreign governments, particularly those of countries with poorer economies. Pundits in the media who routinely advocate passively or overtly for intolerance towards members of other demographics and those who disagree with them should be held accountable. Freedom of speech is important, but freedom of speech is not the same thing as inciting unrest through one’s words.

Frankly my list would go on forever, but simply focusing on what types of guns private citizens should be allowed to have, if any, is the wrong debate. America, even in a recession is still a rich economy compared to most economies, this means legal or illegal, people with the money to do so, can and will get their hands on most materials they so desire.

We should become more focused on creating a positive peer culture, and such a culture can be championed through the media elite. Those who control the easy access to information, thereby influencing the minds of their audience. Human beings are social creatures, this means that one of our primary needs after food, water and shelter is acceptance and recognition. If the cultural attitude begins shifting towards expectations that people regard their fellow human beings in the same fashion they too wish to be regarded, we will experience far less of these tragedies.

All reasonable thoughts and feelings regarding your agreements or disagreements on this post are most welcome.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions, a private professional counseling practice located in Tucson AZ.





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Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in adolescents and young adults.

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