I began this as a comment over at The Dark Wraith Forums, but it was well on its' way to becoming unwieldy, so I "brought it home" with me:
Good E'en, Dark Wraith,
There is something (one of a great number of things, actually) that bothers me every time an event like the one at Va. Tech occurs and the hand wringing and the gnashing of teeth begins. "This society has become more and more violent", the people cry.
Well, when wasn't this society violent? As you state in your above response to Lucretius, the founders of the country brought it with them, when they (and my paternal bloodline was right there with them) invaded this continent and began crowding out and killing the natives.
Life was harsh back then. Guns were a necessary thing in a time when a person might encounter a bear or cougar on the way to the spring to fetch water. The native peoples fought back and could strike at any time. And let's not forget the deer, buffalo and other animals that were hunted, not for sport, but for sustenance.
As our country grew older, and the natives were banished to reservations (the small percentage that survived) we began to turn on each other. Brawls broke out in taverns and fields and churches on a regular basis. Domestic violence not not only occurred, but was an 'accepted' part of the fabric of the home. Hell, we even went to war with ourselves!
Our cities grew larger, with more and more people crammed into tenements - and no hopes of ever leaving them. The Robber Barons and "Great Industrialists" used armed mercenaries to not only disrupt picket lines, but, in many cases, to incite riots (which they would then be forced to break up - and if a few of the strikers (and with any luck, organizers) were killed, then oh, well). This included such incidents as the Homestead Strike.
Throughout the South, blacks were lynched for being "uppity" by the Ku Klux Klan (and others). In the cities of the Northeast, European immigrants were often forced to violence to protect themselves. In the West, Chinese immigrants were repeatedly classified as second class - denied property rights and jobs.
During the two World Wars, peoples from the the "enemy" nations (immigrants and those who had been American for generations) were looked upon with fear and, at times, attacked, because they might not be "loyal" to their new country. We even went so far as to imitate the Nazis by "interring" Japanese-Americans during WWII.
In the 1960's the Civil Rights Movement was met with violence. Volunteers were hanged, beaten, shot and otherwise harassed. Black churches were firebombed. Black voting organizers were harassed by cross burnings, beaten, and shot. By the end of the decade and into the early 1970's, the war in Vietnam had polarized the country to such an extent that police and National Guard troops would fire upon and kill protesters. That's right, people protesting for peace were shot and killed.
Today we have gangs, composed of all ethnicities, in even small towns. Racism and sexism are still around in this country where all were "created equal". The Robber Barons are back, this time under names such as Enron, Worldcom, and Halliburton. Income disparity between the rich and the poor continues to grow.
Anyway, I'm not sure I have a point, but I do have a question. Am I wrong in my belief? Please comment....