T’Coy Adams                 Contemporary Sociological Theory  Collapse             1….

T’Coy Adams                 Contemporary Sociological Theory  Collapse          
  1.            Over the last few decades, the amount of gun violence and mass shootings have skyrocketed in America. Situations such Columbine, Sandy Hook, The Charleston Church shooting, The Pulse nightclub shooting, etc. As unfortunate as this all is, I could go on to list numerous other public shooting where dozens of people were murdered in cold blood. It’s almost as if the government is watching all of this take place, yet they still aren’t imposing any restrictions to who can buy guns. For example, if you live in the south, and you have a “clean” record, and happen to be white you are more than likely going to be approved for that gun. The only reason minorities aren’t approved for legal guns as often is because of prejudice, we are seen as dangerous.  However, even minorities can find guns illegally and very easily if they truly wanted one. The only difference is that they face more stereotyping, and discrimination and many don’t feel comfortable carrying a firearm due to this reason. Comparative to all the mass shootings that takes place in the United States, statistically speaking minorities perpetrate these crimes at far lesser degrees than white men. Even white women aren’t known for such crimes. Although I stopped watching the news on TV for personal reasons I want to make a point. How many of you watched the news, and you overhear a mass shooting, but haven’t yet seen a picture of the suspect? In most cases, who does your mind jump to first?
              The contemporary perspective that I find most fitting to such a scenario is functionalism. The reason that I choose functionalism is because as messed up as it is, death and violence is very profitable. It always has been. It is profitable to the gun companies who constantly sell firearms to people without properly checking to see if they are fit to equip such a weapon. They have a moral responsibility; however, they don’t see it that way. If you have green, and you fit the description of what a gun holder should look like, you can be granted a gun. Also, when people die, funeral homes and morticians also profit. However, they unwillingly benefit from death. After all, it isn’t their fault that people are dying. If people didn’t die, they wouldn’t have a job. It just goes to show how different factors in society truly do tie together at the end of the day. Where someone has a loss, another person has a gain even if that gain is accompanied by someone else’s pain.
              It is different from symbolic interactionism because I don’t really think symbols really apply to the context of this conversation. Sure, guns are symbolic for death in some cases, but that’s a perspective that not everyone may share. For example, I am a firm believer that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. I don’t want nor need a gun, but if I had a gun I would never think to use it unless it was an absolute necessity to my wellbeing and survival. However, I don’t tend to feel like this on a daily basis, therefore I have no need for a gun. I generally feel safe, despite certain racial, sexual orientational and SES factors. I do however believe that the conflict theory can apply to this topic, along with the perspective of functionalism. For example, there could be a poor man, at his wits end with life. He just lost his job, he has a mortgage with no way to sustain his payments, he has a family who depends on him. Nothing is going his way for some reason. That man begins to have a nervous breakdown and decide to go buy a gun. For some reason, he blames all upper-middle class and wealthy people and decides to go to a public area where he knows a lot of upper-class people tend to be. This man’s rage and despair sends him into a frenzy and as a result he decides to kill everyone in sight. This is a classic case of how conflict between classes could escalate, it also ties together with the contemporary sociological perspective of functionalism.
Anthe Pantazis                 Gun violence is a major social problem  Collapse          
2.Gun violence is a major social problem and the young age of the shooters is a phenomena of our times. Recent school shootings have affected us deeply since the age of the shooters should have been age of innocence. modern theoretical approaches can be applied to partially understand from a sociological point of view the motives that armed a child’s hand. Mead’s symbolic interactionism states that language helps us become self-conscious beings. The language of music and video games emphasized the gun as a symbol of power, contributing to a a violently false illusion . When family as a social institution fails to function properly or it ceases to exist, a child feels weak and without direction or discipline.
Functionalism, the order and balance as normal state of society stops being influential and deprivation of traditions and limitations allow for internal conflict in a child’s mind. When values and moral consensus are not maintained ,anger and confusion prevail. Social facts are necessary structures that hold our society together and depletion of similarities obstruct interpersonal interactions and alienate a young child. A child cannot exhibit self-consciousness and his behavior becomes inappropriate . He exhibits violent behavior in all forms towards his peers and the system from his point of view.
In my opinion, family structure is of utmost importance but along with that, school plays an equal role in shaping the individuality and persona of a young child. Trained educators are essential but they should also be nurturing educators ,people with a sensitivity towards all children. Obviously there is something amiss with the system that armed and angered a child. Broken families ,wars ,famine, squalid conditions and hardships have always existed. Children always rose out of those conditions ,became protectors and changed the world.  Has the advent and rapid development of technology brought about social inequality ,alienated and angered young people to the extend where their main enemy is society?  I have a feeling we have failed to provide this generation with the values we grew up with. Maybe we have been too busy working for the pervasive element  of “money power” allowing that to be the dominant factor in our existence.

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