Violence Problem in America - Essay Prowess

Violence Problem in America


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Violence Problem in America


According to American Psychological Association, violence is an extreme form of aggression including an assault, rape or murder. Violence is believed to be attributed by frustration, exposure to violence media, exposure to violence at home or neighborhood, and a tendency to seeing other people’s actions as hostile even they are not. There are certain circumstances that are also believed to increase the risk of aggression such as drug abuse, drinking alcohol, insults and other provocations, as well as environmental factors. Violence occurs between individuals or groups of people either at home, work, institutions, businesses, schools, and other places where people interact (APA, 2013). In America, the prevalence of violence cases has been witnessed in various places such as gun violence, domestic/ partner violence, youth violence, school violence, and among others. This paper discusses the violence problem in America including the impact of guns in schools.

The occurrence of violence appears to be based on power and control and can either be deliberate or accidental. Most of the violence incidences in America are largely contributed by the availability and ease of access to firearms (Reich, Culross & Behrman, 2002; APA, 2013). Availability and accessibility of guns in America compels many people to engage in violence activities such as crime. In America, gun violence is a national problem that lead to more than 31,000 deaths and 78, 000 nonfatal injuries every year. In the US, the rate of gun homicides is approximated as seven times higher than other developed nations including Germany, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Japan, and many others. In addition, it is estimated that about 30 persons die of homicides every day in the United States with at least 53 persons dying of suicides caused by a person using a gun. Apart from deaths, guns provide the individuals with the ability to conduct multiple-fatality shooting that result to trauma and grief to the entire society (APA, 2013).

Guns in schools

In America, gun violence poses a severe threat to the youth and children in schools. In 2010, about 2,711 infants, children, and teens died from firearm-related violence. The use of guns in American schools has led to numerous cases of violence resulting to incidences of homicide and suicides. Studies reveal that less than one 1% of student homicides and suicides occur within, going to or coming from school, or during events sponsored by school (NASP, 2013). In 2011, about 5% of school students carried a gun to school where 7% were either threatened or injured by the victims. The increase in availability, accessibility, and ownership of guns in various parts of the US increase the carriage and usage of guns among school students. Among the fifty states in the US, Wyoming accounts for 63% of homes with guns and the highest suicidal rates with 11% of students carrying guns to school (Eaton et al., 2012).

From the research conducted on factors related to school shooting, it was found that theft was the dominant method by which the students obtained the weapons. Besides, all the shooting were planned in advance coupled with peer influence. The gun owners were found to have a history of being bullied or threatened by their colleague students with several shooters having a history of mental health illnesses (NASP, 2013).

Mental illnesses are thought as one of the underlying factors that compel people in the US to commit firearm-related violence. In the US, mental illness affects a significant percentage of the US population with prevalence estimates for the total population being more than 5%. Although many highly publicized shooting involve persons suffering from mental illnesses, people with serious mental illness only commit a small proportion of firearm-related homicides. In contrast to homicide, studies reveal that suicide contributes to about 61% of all firearms fatalities in the United States whereby more than 90% of people who commit suicide suffers from the combinations of depression, symptoms of mental disorders, and substance abuse (APA, 2013).

In the US, males outnumber the females in arrest rates for every violent case except the status offences and technical violations. In particular, the urban African American males are at greater risk for the involvement of gun-related homicides as victims and as perpetrators. There are several developmental factors that are associated to increase the risk of aggressive behaviour that result to gun violence, particularly when the guns are readily available and easily accessible. The children who are highly aggressive throughout childhood and continue causing severe behavioural problems during adolescents, have greater risks in the involvement of violence activities. Moreover, family influences have been revealed as a contributor towards high aggressive children who engage in serious violence acts during their later childhood and adolescent. Furthermore, coercive parent-child interactions may lead to the emergence of aggressive behaviour problems in children. For example, children learn to use the coercive behaviours in order to avoid parental discipline, especially when parents submit to their children’s negative behaviours (Bullock & Tilley, 2008; APA, 2013).

Most of the families that establish and maintain normative beliefs about violence and the use of guns increase the risk of children in engaging in adolescent gang membership. Besides, the families that encourage the use of guns for problem-solving exposes the children to attitudes of perceiving firearms as appropriate means of protection and solving problems. Additionally, school influences such as poor performances and school dropouts relates to increased risk of problem behaviours such as aggression and violence. Aggressive children may be academically victimized and marginalized, as well as suffer from peer rejection such that they amplify the preexisting aggressive behaviours, resulting to the violence (Bullock & Tilley, 2008). Studies argue that children who are exposed to violent media such as movies and televisions are associated with increased aggressive behaviours, aggressive feelings and thoughts, as well as decreased pro-social behaviours. Exposure to violent images may influence children to violence and normalize violent behaviour, especially when children recognize the beliefs that violence is an acceptable means of solving problems (APA, 2013).


The prevalence of violence problem in America is largely contributed by availability, accessibility, and ownership of guns by many persons within the US. As a result, various forms of violence have occurred in different setting including schools, resulting to injuries and deaths from firearm–related homicides and suicides. The aggression behaviour towards violence is contributed by mental illnesses, parental influence, peer pressure, exposure to violent media, and among others where children grow to adulthood holding that violence is an acceptable social norm of solving problems, as well as achieving individual goals.

The US government needs to implement regulation laws of firearms in order to minimize the availability and accessibility of firearms. The law enforcement authorities need to establish strict measures against culprits and victims of violence in order to discourage many people from engaging in such behaviours. Additionally, the schools need to implement measures of monitoring and inspecting the students, as well as imposing strict disciplinary measures against students in possession of guns within the schools (Reich, Culross & Behrman, 2002; APA, 2013). Besides, the public health sector needs to address various mental illnesses associated with violence through appropriate interventions to potential victims of violence. Therefore, these measures would help in minimizing the use of firearms in causing violence in United States.


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Eaton et al. (2012, June 8). Youth risk behaviour surveillance: United States, 2011. MMWR, 61(4), 1-162. Retrieved on 12th November, 2014 from:

National Association of School Psychologists (2013). Youth Gun Violence Fact Sheet. National Association of School Psychologists, 2013; (301) 657-0270.Retrieved on 12th November, 2014 from:

Reich, K., Culross, P. L. & Behrman, R. E. (2002). Children, Youth, and Gun Violence: Analysis and Recommendations. Journal Issue: Children, Youth, and Gun Violence Volume 12 Number 2 Summer/Fall 2002. Retrieved on 12th November, 2014 from: