ROSE NOLEN: Violence is a bigger issue than guns

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | 4:31 p.m. CDT

The quickest way I can think of to get in a fight is to start talking about gun rights. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who wants a piece of that action can have it all. Life is already too short. To make it shorter, one only has to be unfortunate enough to get in the way of one of these maniacs with their flying bullets.

I sympathize with those who lost loved ones and those who were injured in the Colorado massacre. It’s difficult to tell anyone how to avoid violence these days. Warning children to avoid crowds at one time was a good idea. But these days there is virtually no place they can go where their safety is not at risk.

Some people are born in violent situations. Many parents have untreated mental problems; others are drug users, and often there is no one in the home capable of tending to their needs. The United States has a terrible record of child abuse. Over 3 million reports of child abuse nationally are recorded every year, and five children die every day as a result of it. Thirty percent of those abused as children will abuse their own children.

Most of us know at least one wife or mother who is a victim of domestic abuse. Women can be abused in several ways. Women can be physically, emotionally, financially or sexually abused. Many Americans, we are told, approve of slapping another person as a means of expressing displeasure. Domestic violence occurs in all races, religions and financial groups. Although men can be abuse victims, the overwhelming majority of victims are women.

More than half a million reports of elder abuse are documented by authorities every year. No one is aware of how many cases go unreported. The elderly are abused in their own homes, living with family members and in institutions where they are placed to be cared for. Those who are too ill or too frail to care for themselves are probably the most abused of all. Many are physically abused, terrorized, ridiculed or intimidated on an ongoing basis by those who are supposed to be caring for them. Sometimes these people are restrained physically or provided with inappropriate drugs.

Often people take advantage of the elderly’s money or property as well. Forging the older person’s name on checks or using their property without their permission is another way in which the elderly are abused and neglected. The stealing of an older person’s identity is a common form of abuse. The cause most often reported as elder abuse comes when the person who has taken responsibility for care of the elderly person has failed to fulfill care-taking responsibilities such as failing to provide adequate medicine or other necessities needed by the older person.

So, our violence toward each other extends beyond just gunning people down in crowded places. We intimidate, threaten and harass each other on any occasion possible. We harm children, old people and others who are not as strong as we are, anytime there is an opportunity to do so.  

With or without firearms, basically some of us are just violent people. It’s a good thing to remember before you go out the door.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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