Notes from The Capitol: 27 March 2018

Notes from The Capitol: 27 March 2018

It was an interesting day today with many introductions of people taking a stand against violence -more specifically gun violence- visiting The Capitol. For some time I have called on leaders in all three branches of state government to convene a panel to take a serious look at the occurance and nature of violence in Arizona, and the factors that trigger individuals to act out of anger. Without knowing what causes people to engage in violence more laws, on top of the laws we already have are a cruel deception that government has a solution.

The most recent call to action is the horrific mass murder at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is important to note that there were as many as 27 missed opportunities to intervein. Many media reports say that police visited the family home dozens of times, but there is no indication what action, if any, officers took. As recently as January, the FBI received a tip about Cruz and his “desire to kill people,” but the information was never forwarded for investigation, the bureau confirmed Friday. these are human failures, not failures of law.

The call for deliberative action is more about acts of anger and violence, than the weapons used. Inanimate objects such as cars, clubs, guns and knoves have no conscience, nor do they possess intent; only people have the capacity to makew the choice to do violent acts, or not. We have seen a significant increase in the occurance of so-called “road-rage” on our public roads and in our parikeing lots, anywhere a vehicle can transit. Arizona DPS Troopers explain the difference between aggressive driving and road rage this way:

  • The “aggressive driver” fails to consider the human element involved. The anonymity of being behind the wheel gives aggressive drivers a false sense of control and power; therefore, they seldom take into account the consequences of their actions.
  • Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage. There is a difference. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense; road rage is a criminal offense.
  • Road rage is defined as “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”

Domestic violence in Arizona is also a problem with its root cause as yet understood. Root cause is an illusive thing, especially with so many sacrosanct areas of what the U.S. Supreme Court has labeled “free speech” and products that promote violence as entertainment. Psychologist Darcia Narvaez Ph. D. writing for Psychology Today speaks to the notion, “in violent video game play the player learns to associate violence with pleasure (rewards for hurting another character). This undermines moral sensitivity.” I know that many people think that the weapon matters, but what about the environment that alters the mind of individuals, convincing them that violence is an acceptable behavior? Some statistics that provide insight into the problem with violence that we face include:

  • Twenty-five percent of all women in Arizona have or will experience domestic violence
  • Most domestic violence victims, 85 percent, are women
  • Annually, an estimated 1.3 million women are abused by their intimate partners
  • Domestic violence results in more than 18.5 million medical visits annually
  • At least one child in Arizona witnesses domestic violence every 44 minutes
  • As many as 60 percent of those who abuse intimate partners also abuse their children
  • Witnessing violence is the strongest risk factor for a child becoming an abuser in adulthood
  • Boys who see domestic violence are twice as likely to abuse their own partners later in life
  • Victims of abuse in rural areas of Arizona and elsewhere do not have access to help

The national statistics for domestic abuse are even worse than those in Arizona. We have yet to fully understand the root cause of violence in our communities.

In closing, today Rep. Powers-Hanley (LD-9, D) expressed concern about newboron infants addicted to opioids. it seems odd that there is concern for newborns after they are born, but not before they are born, while they are being adicted to opioids. She, albeit unwittingly, made the case for abuse of the unborn, another form of abuse. How can our culture claim to care for children after they are born, when it fails to care about them before thay are born? But then, Rep. Powers-Hanley reveals there is a spark of sanity in the pursuit.

Until our culture comes to grips with the question of reverance for life, we will continue to see people with no reverance for it; people who fail to treat life as though it is disposible. Death is a permanent state, it is time we start looking at life as a prescious gift that NOBODY has the right to end.



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