Saturday, January 15, 2011

America needs to toss the " Lone Gunman Theory"

I was in college when "a lone gunman" killed my president JFK who entered our family's living room with his "fireside chats". I was a young mother when "a lone gunman" killed my president-elect Robert Kennnedy. Within a short period of time before that, another "lone gunman" killed " the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., who brought America to its senses on the lie of "color". (We have 3 layers of skin. Only the top layer has color. At the second and third layer we all look the same.)  We all have the same gray matter.

This is a Scandinavian-American blog. There are wide differences even though many of the people LOOK the same.

In Denmark, if someone kills someone, the reply is "What did we as a "samfrong" (society) do to let this happen?" We are responsible. We must investigate this. (WE, WE, WE.....) And we must correct it.

In America, there is a distancing from the action and the person entirely. Hence, we try and figure out why the "lone gunman" killed someone or why " one young teen killed a Congresswoman, a Judge, and many bystanders." We personally feel no responsibility as a member of American society. (They, They, They did it....)

Are you getting the picture? It is a huge cultural difference. We and They. I do not buy the lone gunman theory. We are raising them in America. That is what Denmark gets and we do not get in America. They are not an accident! They are not "lone gunman"! They are the by product of violence  in our culture.

Denmark has the fourth lowest crime rate on the planet. They have universal health care. They have 6 months paid maternity leave for each parent = 1 year together. They have free schooling all through college if you can pass the tests. They have free child care for working parents which includes regular consults with a psychologist. You need to be almost a college graduate to care for a Danish child. And yes, they pay the taxes so ALL PEOPLE have the same advantages and care. Motto: NO ONE LEFT OUT. And it actually happens. It is not just a media phrase like American's " No child left behind". Denmark puts the bucks and the staff behind their care of one another. And it continues into adulthood. Danes may not really be the happiest peole on the planet but they are probably the least scared people on the plant. And even with all these resources, life is not ideal and sometimes troublesome.

Please don't go there with Denmark's immigration discussion right now. There is no comparison to America.

Denmark has chosen to invest in the child 0-25 and invest little in the prison system. America has chosen to invest little in the child and alot in the prison system.

I do not have any questions on who killed our Congressman and Judge. I do not even need to know his name, even though, I do. The answer is: " A child that WE did not nurture as a samfrong. "

Did you know that you can leave your infant in its pram on the sidewalkd, in front of a cafe, go in and eat lunch and absolutely no one will touch your infant in Danmark? He/She is SAFE.
Did you know that in Denmark, if you choose the university route in school that the last year of "high school" , the exams are so rigorous, that the country pays you a monthly stipend not to have a part time job so you have spending money. You are literally paid to study and pass your exams. It is not an "individualistic, you are on your own, by your own bootstraps" society. And there is so much  like that about American society. We need cooperation, not dog eat dog competition. Finnish schools have found that out and are being called "the best in the world".
I personally do not want to be alone out in a cold individualistic paternalistic militarist society. I want a warm maternalistic society that teaching the tools of negotiation and intelligent debate.

Here is the clincher: America projects how many prisons cells it will need in the future based on how many persons of color cannot read by the third grade. Of course, schools are not funded equally. They are funded by the district instead of equally. So much for equality and democracy. America can literally predict numbers of future criminals by the lack of funding by school district. This is pre-meditation. If we know this information and are not correcting it, we are responsible for it. The "samfrong" is responsible.

Compare  an op-ed from The New York Times: he takes a different slant but he is as concerned as I am.

"Or will they try to dismiss the massacre as the mere act of a deranged individual, and go on as before?"
quote from the above NY Times article.


Kelli Nørgaard said...

VERY well said.
Days like the one in Arizona have become too commonplace in the US and it breaks my heart.

Carsten Agger said...

Speaking of lone gunmen, this is not really a US vs. Scandinavia thing.

In the analysis of workplace masacres and other shootings, the real hero is Mark Ames, who defined the "samfrong" analysis of this US phenomenon in his brilliant book "Going Postal".

He draws the line to the Reagan era work culture and the new and extreme difference between rich and poor. He also does what Michael Moore didn't have the guts to: Gave a credible explanation of the Colombine massacre without pointing the finger at the killers /who were, in a sense, the real victims).

Here's a great intro to Ames' book, made me buy it. But please note that such lucid analysis is also highly unusual in the Scandinavian countries.

Nina Ø said...

Thank you Carsten for your comments and for directing me to Ames' book which I will acquire shortly. I was trying to say something similar and perhaps "lone gunman" was not the right term, however one country leans more heavily toward inclusiveness and one toward exclusiveness. As a result, the gap between the rich and poor and the company and the workers, etc. I work in Social Services and we have very little support for individuals, families, students experiencing diffulties. Obama inherited the worst mess I have ever seen here and I am about to retire. My blog is mainly talking to my family, some in DK and some in US. It is not a treatise on US vs Scand but our different experiences across the pond. Thanks again for directing me to Ames' book. And I will make sure that Judith, who does our "Violence in the Workplace" training for our large Bay Area county, knows about it also. Tak.