Satire, Guns, and Humans: Lessons from the Nacirema

Steve Kroll-Smith and Gwen Hunnicutt

The real trouble with this world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of thought is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite. Life...looks a little more mathematical and regular than it is; its exactitude is obvious, but its inexactitude is hidden; its wildness lies in wait. (Chesterton 1909:81)

In early spring, 2007, a student at Virginia Tech University shot and killed 32 students and faculty. He wounded an, as yet, untold number. He finished his massacre by shooting himself dead. Dead students, dead faculty, and guns: it is not a new story. It is how the story is told that gives us cause for concern.

Expressed in the official White House response to this particular slaughter is the paralyzing language of the absurd, speech so incongruous, so ridiculous it must be a cruel joke: White House Conference Center Briefing Room 12:58 P.M. EDT

MS. PERINO: Good afternoon. I have several announcements and then we'll go to questions. The President was made aware of the Virginia Tech shootings. He was horrified....As far as policy, the president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed. And certainly bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting … obviously that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for." ( )

"And certainly bringing a gun into a school dormitory and shooting...obviously that would be against the law...." Indeed. Press Secretary Perino appears unaware of her banal statement. She does not seem to grasp how unaffected and ham-fisted she sounds. When faced with tragedy we might expect more from language: more nuance, more empathy, more reason.

Amidst a pandemic of gun violence, however, we listen numbly to a progressively superficial chain of clichés and vacant phrases, emptied of any meaningful substance. There is a kind of dance, a gavotte, between stale and clichéd language and the spectacle of gun violence; as if weary language "drained of significance" becomes an accomplice to mayhem. [ 1 ] Facile language become part of the public drama of expiation that inevitably follows a massacre, like the denouement that serves to bring the story's climax to conclusion, recreating a sense of normal. Here is how it works: first the shooting, then the catharsis expressed as

  • a story of a troubled soul , "The shooter was deranged"
  • solutions , "Close the gun shop loop holes," or "If we were all armed..."
  • good, positivist, social science , "Rarely in social science do you ever get two variables that explain so much. Young men commit most of the violent crime in the world today" (Kimmel 2005, United Nations)
  • political mantras , "the president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms."

A public language expressed in ritual cadence brings an act of aberrant carnage to a normal conclusion, resetting the stage for another shooting. Perhaps it is only when language forfeits its primeval power to bring us to the table of common sense that the mayhem of gun violence begins to appear routine.

This essay borrows the lingual coin of the jaded, to wit, satire, to create, as Nietzsche might say, a folly in service to the truth (1960). We adopt Marcuse's counsel to "revive the desperate laughter and the cynical defiance of the fool as a means of demasking the serious ones who govern the whole" (1969:63-64). To follow is a story of humans and violence, told as if we were strangers in a strange place. It is written to be at once irreverent and provocative, a calculated disordering, recalling Rimbaud, of our readerly senses. Placed side-by-side is the contradiction of human character and the metal tubes from which projectiles are fired at unimaginable velocities.

A Swift Prelude

Born November 1667 in Dublin, Jonathan Swift would spend his life ministering to believers as a clergyman of the Church of England while writing barbed, satiric essays—the best of their kind—about the hapless human quest to be reasonable, sane, and wise. In 1704 he published "A Tale of a Tub." In telling the tale, Swift introduces a figural representation of the folly of human reason:

There is in Mankind a certain********************** Hic multa****************desiderantur. *********** ******And this I take to be a clear Solution of the Matter. (Roscoe 1850: 32)

If satire lashes at vanity, Swift carried a good size whip. But it was in the better known Gulliver's Travels (1726/1999) that he mortally wounds the human pretension that "Mankind", above all others, is capable of behaving reasonably (rationis capax). Many of us read Gulliver as children, though it was not Swift's intention to write a story for kids.

In his fourth voyage to discover the nature of humans our gullible Lemuel Gulliver comes ashore on a distant island. He is immediately set upon by several vulgar and violent creatures that both beat and shit on him. Rescued by two Houyhnhnms, Gulliver finds himself in a society of gentle creatures who appear to be living dignified, peaceable, and, above all, reasonable lives. He was troubled, however, by the nature of these creatures. The Houyhnhnms, you may recall, were not human but equine. As horses, they could not read, but they were capable of speech. As Swift listened to these beasts he heard a sensibility that he had not encountered in any of his previous journeys. A horse becomes the embodiment of reason.

As our human converses with horses he tells them of England's last war with France and the legions of men who die in battle. The horses are appalled. Unaffected, Gulliver continues, recounting the reasons humans kill one another, among them, ambitions, jealousies, vain quarrels. Without reflecting on the peaceable nature of his audience, he boasts of clever humans who invent "Cannons, Culverins, Muskets, Carbines, Pistols, Bullets (and) Powder" to make killing on so grand a scale possible. The horses don't understand Gulliver, but they forgive him. He was, after all, human.

Living along side and serving the Houyhnhnms were the loathsome and fearful Yahoos. It was a gang of Yahoos who attacked Gulliver when he came ashore. Obsessed with pretty stones, the Yahoos were ever ready to kill one another to possess them. Most troubling to Gulliver, the Yahoos looked a lot like him. If reason took the shape of a horse, senseless violence appeared in the form of a human. Gulliver quickly realized that Yahoos were in essence humans bereft of a capacity to behave in a civil, peaceable manner. As Gulliver sails from the island he concludes that the Houyhnhnm, the illiterate horses, embody the spirit of reason while the Yahoos, the humanoids, rage, fume, and storm through life.

With time, the Houyhnhnm, the wise horse, is forgotten. The Yahoo, however, appears in such diverse places as the letters of Daniel Boone, scrawls sent from David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam," to the New York Police Department, as a contemporary caricature of a less than sensible person given to raucous, disorderly acts, and, of course, as a popular Internet search engine. Ignoring this latter use, the Merriam-Webster dictionary currently defines a yahoo as "a boorish, crass, or stupid person" ( ).

Swift, of course, thought there was a little Houyhnhnm and a lot of Yahoo in each of us. Indeed, he found humans capable of reason, but not likely to exercise it. At our best, we pretend to reason while the alchemy of our passions works its magic without our awareness or consent. At our worst, we are Yahoos. Freud must have read Swift.

If we are both Houyhnhnm and Yahoo, we are also at times like Gulliver himself who felt compelled to think about the nature that makes us peculiarly human. On April 16, 2007, in a spectacular display of violence, a young man at Virginia Tech University killed thirty-two students and faculty before shooting himself dead. His instruments: two pistols, a semi-automatic Glock 19 and a Walther Ps22.22 caliber. As we write this essay, the number of wounded is not being released to the public.

The magnitude of this carnage and its location at an institution of "higher learning" shatters complacency and sends many of us on a journey to make some reasonable sense of the human well-springs of violence in a society awash in guns. Like Gulliver, we are invited to ponder the nature that is inside of us. Recall his quest. To seek the nature of human nature Gulliver did not go to the library or mediate in his favorite chair; he set upon a hazardous journey. Like him we will travel—though without the guiding genius of Swift—to a queer and perplexing place. It is here, in the land of the Nacirema, that we will make some sense of the acute senselessness of guns and humans.

Gulliver among the Nacirema: A Report from the Field

You may recall Professor Linton's discovery of the Nacirema more than fifty years ago. Horace Miner popularized her discovery in his now famous essay, "Body Ritual among the Nacirema" (1956). Though obsessed with health, the Nacirema, like the Houyhnhnm, appear to value reason and sense-making. Indeed, they have created thousands of places where natives can go and learn the art of sound, sensible thinking. We located 4,140 such places. Consider how one such place advertises itself:

Penn takes pride in being a place where students and faculty can pursue knowledge without boundaries, a place where theory and practice combine to produce a better understanding of our world and ourselves. ( ).

In addition to their collective commitment to reason, the Nacirema are an information or "fun fact" rich society. Close to 90% of their households subscribe to cable television; a "watcher" has more than 500 channels from which to choose; and there are millions of "watchers" among the Nacirema. More than 14,000 radio stations beam sound waves to the nooks and crannies of their day-to-day lives. Satellite radio boasts 14 million subscribers. For the "readers" among them there are more than 19,000 magazines and, as of 2003, slightly less than 1,500 newspapers (Newspaper Association of America 2004; Thierer 2007).

Together, a commitment to reason and an abundance of easily available information might be expected to work in tandem to foster a deep and abiding mindfulness towards the pressing issues that beset the Nacirema. But if sense and reason abound in this curious place, it is difficult find. Consider these troubling patterns:

  • Sixty million Nacirema live on less than 7 "srallod" (pronounced sral-lod) a day. A srallod is a unit of Nacirema "yenom." (Like the Yahoo's obsession with pretty stones, the Nacirema are fixated on their yenom.) In our currency a srallod has the purchasing power of $.80. Together, 7 srallod are worth $5.60 in our spending money. To assist with this comparison, the cost of living in the United States is proportionate to the cost of living among the Nacirema (
  • Poverty has become so desperate the Nacirema now make a distinction between the "extreme poor" and the merely "poor." One in five Nacirema live in, what they call, "extreme poverty." The extreme poor live, if one can call it that, on less than ½ of what the Nacirema call the "absolute poverty line." Absolute poverty is defined, rather confusingly, as living without the necessities of life. How one does that is not at all clear ( ).
  • In 2005, 38 million Nacirema were "food insecure," that is they could not count on having enough yenom to purchase food ( ).
  • Curiously, the Nacirema are less focused on making sure that everyone has enough to eat than they are in making sure that most everyone can acquire something they call a "nug." (More than one is referred to as "snug.") A nug is an instrument with a long tube capable of projecting metal objects at extraordinary speeds. Some Nacirema enjoy pointing these tubes and shooting the metal objects at animals, others shoot them at other Nacirema, and still others shoot themselves. Odd, by any standard, there are almost as many guns as there are Nacirema (approximately 220 million). Nacirema can boast of owning 1/3 of all non-military snug in the world. Perhaps this explains our final observation (Cukier and Sidel 2006:8).
  • Both the rate and the real number of nug deaths among the Nacirema are far higher than in any other post-industrial society ( ).

So, how do we make sense of this conundrum: a society with a seeming commitment to sensible, reasonable behavior, and an apparent readiness to create and sustain a perverse amount of misery and carnage? An approximate answer to this question requires more inquiry into the nature of the Nacirema and their social arrangements.

Demons, Ghosts and Spectacles

To make reasonable sense of the paradoxical temperament of these people we must, at the very least, inquire into one of their most implausible habits of mind, to wit, a lively belief in the supernatural. Accompanying that belief and intertwined with it is the Nacirema's passion for the spectacle. We begin with their ready embrace of phenomena that fall well outside nature's laws.

A Pervasive Belief in the Supernatural

With regularity, the "learneds" among the Nacirema will opine on how individuals acquire a readiness to work from a certain ethic embedded in the religious beliefs of their ancestors. Perhaps this is so. But along with acquiring a taste for work, the Nacirema also adopted their predecessors' beliefs in powers that exist outside the fixed boundaries of the physical world. The mystical and numinous vies with yenom for the attention of the Nacirema. [ 2 ]

A striking 68% of them believe in what they call "the lived," a vile-spirit that takes the shape of a cloven hoofed humanoid with a taste for fire and eternal damnation. Forty percent of Nacirema between the ages of 25 and 29 believe they are reincarnated, that they were once someone else. A whopping 84% believe in "selcarim" (pronounced as it sounds), events that are inexplicable by both the laws of nature and common sense. Over 50% of all Nacirema believe in the existence of human like creatures with no physical bodies that glide about as if blown by the breeze. Typically invisible, these shades now and again reveal themselves, at times announcing their presence with a "Boo" like sound. [ 3 ]

Caught between reason and a pervasive belief in the supernatural, it is perhaps not surprising that many Nacirema attribute magical qualities to their snug. Recently, for example, a young Nacirema told a reporter

He feels pretty safe when he goes to...University... but he takes no chances. He brings a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic every day. (See "handnug" above) "It's not that I run around scared all day long, but if something happens to me, I do want to be prepared, said the 24-year-old business major, who has a concealed-weapons permit and takes the (handnug) everywhere but church (Deseret News:1-2).

Other than his holy place, this young Nacirema, who, we can assume, believes in "the lived," selcarim, shades, and perhaps reincarnation, reckons he can be only truly safe in school, with his friends, indeed, perhaps on a date if he is packing a semiautomatic weapon. Magic of some kind would be required to conflate safe with snug. After all, more than 30,000 Nacirema shoot one another or themselves to death annually. (Only in Brazil, another country with a strong belief in the mystical—particularly spirit possession—are more people killed annually by snug) ( ).

Miracles and Spectacles

An omnipresent belief in the supernatural coupled with an unusually high number of nug deaths works in tandem with another curious feature of Nacirema culture: its passion for the spectacle. A conscious space for the mystical and magical would seem to allow for the grandiose and exaggerated. Spectacles, it is reasonable to assume, are likely to thrive in any society where more than 8 out of 10 people believe in the magic of selcarim. To borrow from Debord (1995), for the Narcirema, society is spectacle.

One might say that the Nacirema live from spectacle to spectacle, from one combustible moment to another. Think of a spectacle as an isolated event, incident, or occasion bounded on either side by a beginning and an end. It is the separateness of the spectacle that gives it a kind of totality, one that demands all attention and all consciousness (Debord 1995:12).

Some spectacles are purposely created by the Nacirema, like their annual garish and extravagant Lowb Repus (pronounced as it sounds). A queer ceremony, the Lowb Repus takes place on a long narrow field cross-marked with white lines. On this field, 22 Nacirema dressed in an odd assortment of armor line up, 11 on one side, 11 on the other. Following an unintelligible incantation, 22 Nacirema smash headlong into one another. Most everyone falls down; everyone down gets up. The two groups of 11 re-form, often patting each others' bottoms in a playful display of what, exactly? We have yet to inquire.

Aside these planned and commodified bursts of "collective effervescence" (Durkheim [1912] 1995) that occur at predictable times in the Nacirema calendar, there are unplanned and unforeseen spectacles. Often violent in nature, these unscheduled spectacles solidify public attention, directing consciousness to the seeming totality of the moment. As we write, a tornado wiped a small town from the face of the earth, leaving only a vague footprint to represent what was once a Nacirema community. If violent nature is the source of an increasing number of spectacles, so are the violent outbursts of the Nacirema themselves.

Even though school shootings make up only one percent of the total number of youth murdered in their society, the school "rampage" holds a particularly strong valence for the Nacirema (Center for Disease Control 2007). "Rampage" shootings are a subset of all school shootings that include the essential elements of dramatic spectacle. The "rampage" is a targeted attack against an educational institution perpetrated by a former or current member of the school. The incursion is played out on a public stage in front of an audience. The rampage turns out multiple victims, some of whom are selected for their symbolic representations (Newman 2004). [ 4 ]

The media reconstruction of these spectacles evokes archetypes of the loner, the alienated youth, the rejected, and the mentally ill (Herda-Rapp 2003). The vilification of the shooters and the romanticization of the victims accentuates the allure of the spectacle. Further, the shooter is almost always portrayed as seeking revenge. These rampage reconstructions borrow from the familiar cultural script where ultimate vengeance is carried out by showy, public violence, with school shootings becoming a distinct "signature of terror" (Mehta 2006). For the Nacirema, the Rampage is now "normal," assuming a life and inevitability of its own. Sixty percent of them believe that school shootings will continue regardless of preventative measures (Mason 2005).

The allure of the spectacle, linked to a robust belief in the uncanny and implausible, shapes the unusual quantity and quality of nug violence among the Nacirema. The irony of the spectacle is its capacity to direct all attention and concern to a single, horrific event; as if this occasion is the site upon which all collective concern and meaningful discussion about shooting both them selves and one another must occur. The spectacle of mayhem and bloodletting is at once brutally real and an illusion. As deception, it is a sleight of hand trick that substitutes this one-off event for the relentless, far more mundane, regularity with which the Nacirema shoot them selves and others. The spectacle paralyzes the power of ordinary perception. Expecting spectacle, knowing little else, the typical Nacirema simply does not perceive what to us, as observers, appears so brutally stark.

If we bracket the irregular spectacle of nug slaughter among the Nacirema, a sensible observer would conclude that everyday, each day, is a dramatic episode of nug carnage. Consider, for example, a normal day among the Nacirema: in one twenty-four hour period, an average of eighty-one people die and one hundred and seventy-six are wounded by nug fire. Together that is two-hundred and fifty-seven Nacirema killed or wounded by nug fire daily. That amounts to 92 Nacirema killed or wounded every hour of every day. In 2004, 29,569 Nacirema died by nug fire, another 64, 389 were wounded ( ) .

Why? A Hypothesis

Blessed with the faculty of reason, you must wonder aloud, dear reader, how a society can solidify its collective attention and anguish on a single, spectacular killing scene, but cannot or will not "see" the daily accumulation of carnage that occurs with brutal regularity. In mistaking the one-off part for the brutal whole, the Nacirema appear able to live surprisingly easy with the specter of nug death. There are likely many explanations for this conundrum. Perhaps the Nacerima are a species more constitutionally organized around Thanatos than Eros.

A more pedestrian explanation would point out that snug are "big yenom" for the Nacirema. Last year alone, nug sales were worth 2.1 billion srallod ( ). Knowing, as we do now, the visceral attachment of the Nacirema to their srallod, perhaps they prefer their yenom to life; it is possible. (Theorizing in this manner would give us a neo-Marxist insight into Freud, if that matters at this moment.)

But there is another reason, not incompatible with the admittedly absurd "give us yenom, we'll live with death" argument. It is rooted in the steady attrition of anything we might call a civil society among the Nacirema coupled with their fierce defense of the self-interested individual. For decades now the Nacirema—or the more powerful among them—have been busy dismantling civil society, gutting both the programs and ideas that fostered (if never achieved) a reasonable and humane public life. A good friend of the rich and powerful among them recently summarized their success. For the Nacirema she declared

...there is no such thing as society. "There are individual men and women, and there are families….(The Nacirema) must look to themselves first" (Thatcher 1987).

Concluding that society does not exist has at least one obvious result: Citizenship among the Nacirema takes the peculiar form of a radical individualism. A famous early observer of this society, Sixela Elliveuqcot (pronounced elli-veu-q-cot), was compelled to invent the word "individualism" to hammer home his point that if the Nacirema are anything they are self-centered (de Tocqueville [1835] 2001). Simply put, with little or no expectation that something greater, more powerful, and humane than the person exists, it is left to the individual to secure his or her survival.

Returning From the Field: A Note on Species-Lag

"What a long strange trip it's been," to quote the late Jerry Garcia (who was quoting poet Robert Hunter). Back among our own we are struck by the similarities between ourselves and the exotic practices and beliefs of the Nacirema. We suspect that you too, dear reader, saw some similarities between the two cultures. One question strikes us as an unavoidable, like the Nacirema are we too unpredictable a species to own guns? If our "wildness lies in wait" how can we be sure it won't appear when we have a gun in our hands?

A rhetorical question, to be sure. But it does suggestion an idea. The gun, perhaps, is an example of what we might call species-lag. Recall Ogburn's prescient idea that values typically change far slower than our capacity to make things (1964). Coining the phrase "cultural lag" he taught us that inventing stuff is often far easier than revising our heart-felt standards and ideals. Stem-cell research, for example, promises a new world of medical miracles, but faces a massive rear-guard assault by groups whose beliefs oppose any medicine that puts a microscopic spherical bag of proteins—a fertilized egg—at risk.

Species-lag takes Ogburn's notion of pause to a more primordial level by pointing to a disjuncture between the make-up of an organism and the ways it fashions or makes the world. It is an idea that asks us to consider the possibility that a life form might create an environment, or part of one, that puts its own existence at risk. Importantly, it assumes that no matter how much a life form tries to accommodate to the altered environment it cannot overcome its own creaturely limitations and achieve a healthy adaptation. In other words, species-lag is more stridently determinant than its cognate, cultural lag. Inherent in the idea of cultural lag is the possibility that values will catch up to technology. We purposely connect species and lag with a hyphen to make the point that there is no catching up. From the vantage point of species-lag, a gun is a cultural artifact that humans cannot use without deadly consequences.

Swift used Gulliver, Houyhnhnms, and Yahoos to help us see the antinomian character of human beings. Freud used the image of the Id to convey the uncontrollable in each of us. Nietzsche scolded Socrates for assuming that the imposition of reason would save Athenian society; it didn't. Thoreau disconnected reason from our incorrigible search for happiness: "We are made happy," he concluded, "when reason can discover no occasion for it" (1906:41). Einstein reflecting in his later years concluded: "We all are ruled in what we do by impulses" (1950:15).

Lest you think that only ministers, philosophers, writers, and physicists reason in this fashion, consider a well-known sociologist who argued convincingly that sociology does not have the answer to the Hobbesian question of how human beings become tractable and well-mannered. For Dennis Wrong, there is a significant part of each of us that will always fall outside the watchful eye of the Panopticon (1961). And for Harold Garfinkel, reason is always little more than a trope used to explain the emotion-laden, situation—determining nature of human conduct—deployed after the fact but "conspicuous by its absence" in "everyday affairs" (Garfinkel 1967:114).

Inventing a gun was easy. And following Darwin, we may well ask "Might we evolve into a species mature enough to use it?" Or is that the wrong question? Perhaps we should ask: "If we evolve into a species mature enough to shoot guns, would we care to?" In the meantime, in a culture bereft of a meaningful civic life but wash in miracles and spectacles, we live and die by the gun.

On a Sunday, as we finished this paper, a story of another rampage style spectacle splashed across cyberspace: "Three Dead in Idaho Church Shooting." A local police officer observed: "He was just shooting at anybody he could..." ( Time ). To paraphrase Press Secretary Perino: "And certainly, bringing a gun into a church and shooting … obviously that would be against the law and something that someone should be held accountable for."

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Mason, H. 2005. "Public: Society Powerless to Stop School Shootings." The Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing. 57-59.

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1. The phrase "drained of significance" is borrowed from Richard Harvey (Brown 1987:173).

2. Religious devotion sets the United States apart from some of its closest allies.

Americans profess unquestioning belief in God and are far more willing to mix faith and politics than people in other countries, AP-Ipsos polling found....Only Mexicans come close to Americans in embracing faith, the poll found. But unlike Americans, Mexicans strongly object to clergy lobbying lawmakers, in line with the nation's historical opposition to church influence ( USA TODAY 6/6/2005. "Poll: Religious devotion high in U.S.", p.1)

3. Data cited on religious beliefs can be found at The Harris Poll #11, "The Religious and Other Beliefs of Americans 2003" February 26, 2003 .

4. Among shooting rampages foremost in recent American history is the March, 2005 Red Lake Reservation high school shootings in Minnesota, where ten people died, including the gunman; the March, 1998 Jonesboro, Arkansas massacre where five students were killed; the Columbine killings in April, 1999, where fourteen students were killed followed by the suicides of the shooters; and the 1997 West Paducah, KY school shooting where a fourteen year old gunman killed three classmates.

gun violence satire essay

The State Hornet

The ‘Red Zone’ is the time on college campuses between dorm move-in and Thanksgiving break when sexual assaults are more likely to occur. Sacramento State has multiple resources to support survivors. (Graphic created in Canva by Analah Wallace)

SATIRE: Give professors guns, and then everyone else too


Cory Doctorow - Flickr CC BY 2.0

A picture of some of the guns professors and students should have on campus to protect ourselves from people on campus with guns.

Vincent Moleski March 14, 2018

After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the conversation has quite naturally turned from mourning to debate on the issue of gun control.

  I, just like you, fear the prospect of a school shooting closer to home, especially after a threat on a school in Roseville resulted in a lockdown.

Now more than ever, we must re-evaluate our state and local gun laws with the intent of stopping gunmen on American campuses.

There have been some very level-headed discussions aimed at stopping these heinous attacks, and local powers seem to be responding positively.

As lawmakers in Florida move at a breakneck pace to churn out legislation to arm teachers , the only thing I question is why we aren’t implementing similar laws here.

Our president, Donald J. Trump, recently said that he would have rushed in unarmed to prevent the shooting in Parkland.

Imagine, if you will, the incredible destructive power of Donald Trump unarmed — now throw in a gun. Even a madman would turn back faced with that.

Now, if our professors share even a scrap of Trump’s enthusiasm, there should be no question as to whether we should arm them or not.

If you’re willing to trust your professors with your developing mind, you should be willing to trust them with a gun, too. I’m sure they will be every bit as inerrant in their duties.

The old adage ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ gets a bit too much play these days, but there is a kernel of truth to it. If some deranged individual really wanted to kill students on campuses, I’m sure they could do it just as easily using other commonplace tools on campus.

They could deliver a thousand deadly paper cuts, or shower a classroom in projectile staples. Putting guns on campus could only help to deter vile attacks like this.

It’s a common misconception to say that more guns means more crime. The last time you were the victim of a crime, I assume that you called the police — the good guys with guns.

I’m sure you’d feel very safe if you were surrounded by police officers armed with military-style assault rifles.

But when dealing with professors, it’s hard to tell which, if any, are bad guys, so I’ve got a little secret about character that I’d like to share with you. You can always tell that someone is a good guy if they look like me. Try it for yourself!

If someone doesn’t look like me, they’re probably not to be trusted with firearms and are probably dangerous thugs to boot.

If someone looks like me and still does something bad with a gun, you can rest assured that they suffer from mental illness — nothing to see here.

Since the presence of guns increases security, we should also allow students to bring their own weapons to the campus as long as they have permits (although the concealed carry process is too restrictive anyway — but that’s another matter).

There’s nothing more in keeping with the do-it-yourself college experience than arming yourself against insurgency.

The images of a free and safe campus are of students oiling their rifles in the quad, or loading up spare magazines in line at Starbucks, or checking their iron sights from the top of the parking garage.

And if, God forbid, a bad guy with a gun should come on to our campus, every police officer, every professor and every student will squeeze off a round as one, and the ghost of the Constitution will guide every bullet right to the heart of the bad guy.

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Arts & Entertainment

Hornet Horrors: ‘Mad God’

Released in 2004, “Club Dread” was created by the Broken Lizard comedy troupe, best known for “Super Troopers.” Whereas the latter is remembered as a cult hit, the former is barely remembered at all. (Graphic created in Canva by Ariel Caspar, Image courtesy if Searchlight Pictures)

Hornet Horrors: ‘Club Dread’

gun violence satire essay

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Hornet Horrors: ‘The Strangers’

In the first edition of Stinger Style, staffer Maddie Thielke gives you ten costumes from these five halloween classics. These easy and iconic costumes will be a hit this Halloween. (Graphic created in Canva by Maddie Thielke)

Stinger Style: Turn your favorite Halloween movie into your costume

A controversial entry in the “Halloween” franchise, “Season of the Witch” is held up by some as one of the series worst and others as an underrated classic. Featuring androids, pagan rituals and the worlds most annoying commercial, this cheesy but gorey 80’s horror movie may be just what you’re looking for. (Graphic created in Canva by Ariel Caspar, Image courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Hornet Horrors: ‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’

(L-R) Benito “Bad Bunny” Ocasio and Pedro Pascal dressed as Tía Rosa and Mamá Flores at Saturday Night Live Saturday Oct., 21, 2023. This sketch spotlighted the Latinx community’s use of dark humor to cope with trauma. (Photo Courtesy of Saturday Night Live)

OPINION: Dark humor: the Vaporub to our intergenerational trauma

One of the most divisive entries in the “Friday the 13th” franchise, the series fifth film  “A New Beginning” was one of many attempts to try something new with the franchise. While the idea of a new killer donning the mask is fine on paper, its execution doesn’t live up to the challenge. (Graphic created in Canva by Ariel Caspar, Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures)

Hornet Horrors: ‘Friday the 13th: A New Beginning’

Considered by many to be the first true slasher movie, Mario Bava’s 1971 classic “A Bay of Blood” helped define the genre. Even over five decades after its initial release, this bloody thriller still manages to hold up as an entertaining flick. (Graphic created in Canva by Ariel Caspar, image courtesy of Nuova Linea Cinematografica)

Hornet Horrors: ‘A Bay of Blood’

“Into the Groove” will explore current, past and developing trends in music each week. For the column’s first edition, we will revisit 2015 and its significance on music today. (Graphic created in Canva by Chris Woodard)

Into the Groove: Revisiting 2015, the best year of music in the last decade

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Gun Control: A Satire

Possibly one of the biggest debates going on in Washington and in households across the country, is the debate about how strong gun control laws should be. I for one do not understand why there is a debate, when there is such strong evidence against gun control, especially when concerning the lives of America's school children. As a result of the two recent school shootings close by, my very own principal made a speech in the morning reports about keeping a sharp eye out for suspicious activity and not being afraid to report anything. I personally felt a little fear when hearing those words and I'm sure some of my peers did too. This fear is good. History has shown that fear is the best method of control. If we want our students to succeed and be on the same caliber as other countries, we have to use this method. Gun control laws would only lower the fear growing in students, definitely not beneficial to things that matter, like grades and America's academic reputation. The fear will keep academics a focus and the fact that most shootings happen in a gym will encourage the students to take more things that matter like science, which is across the building. There will also be less violations as the fear continues to rise, a very good thing for schools because less time and money would be spent seeking out the rule breakers. Students would turn in their classmates and be too scared to commit even a minor infraction in fear of being profiled as a potential shooter. Not only will a lack of gun control improve academics, it will prove the superiority of America. All other 1st world countries are weak with their tight control of guns and lack of any relating shootings like the ones we are facing. America will prove that we are not swayed by menial upsets of violence and that we are the only remaining empire with true connections to the morals of the past. Sure we evolved traditions of slavery and the legal standings of women; but those were needed. Keeping our constitutional rights exactly as stated in a 225 year old document about a deadly weapon easily accessible to any Joe walking on the street is essential to the conservation of American values. Besides, if we truly want to protect ourselves against these mentally ill monsters who murder our children, the only solution is to arm ourselves. If teachers and facility had guns they would be able to defend students. Parents would be more at ease knowing there's so many brave citizens on the streets armed waiting to defend the innocent at the turn of the hat. It's a good thing we have an honest organization like the NRA looking out for the majority of America by heavily funding anti gun control politicians and running out of town the supporters. In fact, I propose that all students should carry some weapon, if not a fire arm, in the small chance that there is a shooter. The academic improvements from fear, the proof of America's superiority, staying true to our founding fathers, and protecting ourselves show that the very idea of gun control laws is an attack to the safety of America.

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gun violence satire essay

Gun Violence - Essay Samples And Topic Ideas For Free

Gun violence refers to acts of violence committed with the use of firearms. Essays might discuss the causes and consequences of gun violence, the debate around gun control policies, the impact of gun violence on communities, and comparisons of gun violence and gun control measures across different countries. A substantial compilation of free essay instances related to Gun Violence you can find at PapersOwl Website. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Solutions to Gun Violence

Firearms are one of the most debated issues in the United States. On the one hand are the people who demand and require more strict control in the possession and distribution of guns, and on the other side are the people who pressure the government to keep the laws as they are. Buying a gun in this country takes less than an hour. It is very sad how an individual can purchase a gun easily. It is unhappy because some […]

Gun Violence and Gun Control

Gun violence in America is a never-ending series of tragedy after tragedy, mass-shooting and the one of the constant social problem in United State. Many innocent lives have been taken to gun violence from Sandy Hook elementary, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, 2017 Las Vegas, Columbine High School, and all of that violence has been increasing. The Second Amendment, the right of the people to bear arms, has given the individual to own a gun, but many have abused the power […]

The Gun Problem in America

Introduction As stated in the Social Problems textbook, “Social problems: Continuity and change”, “A social problem is any condition or behavior that has negative consequences for large numbers of people and that is generally recognized as a condition or behavior that needs to be addressed” (2015). As a result, I decided to discuss the social problem of the second amendment. Since the founding of the United States of America, the right to bear arms has always been a hot button […]

Should Teachers Carry Guns

Over the past several years there have been mass shootings in America that has struck the feelings of many Americans. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, extended family, and strangers have all been affected by the victims of shootings at Aurora, Colorado, Columbine High school, and Sandy Hook Elementary school. Because of these tragedies, U.S. citizens have become more involved and interested in gun control and prevention of gun violence. Gun Control is a controversial issue that many people have different views […]

The Question of Gun Violence

The first step in solving a problem is recognizing there is one (Mcavoy). America is a country overflowing with individuals holding a great sense of nationalism and pride. Many of these individuals remark that America is the greatest country in the world. This statement is direct, and it takes a stand that no other country is as great as America. Although the United States has many aspects that are great, gun violence is a rising issue holding back the country. […]

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Understanding Gun Violence

Almost each and every other year there gets to be cases and more cases related to gun violence where from one point one gets to hear about some suicide by gun, some forceful assaults, some kind of accidental occurrences with a gun and many more. With the unending rising cases linked to the same, there still is quite a lot to be looked at especially when trying to cover the same situation and be able to make sure that one […]

The Las Vegas Shooting, Gun Control and American Violence

The night of October 1, 2017 at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas was interrupted by the sound of gun fire that was opened by a gunman from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (Time, 2017). As Time reported, in this massive shooting, which went on for 10-15 minutes at about a crowd of 20,000 people, more than 500 people were injured and at least 50 people were killed (Time, 2017). With this tragic […]

Stop Gun Violence

Guns in America are ruining our society. Watch the news any day and you will most likely see either a school shooting ora shooting at some type of gathering. For some children going to school is horrifying because they are extremely disturbed by the school shootings that are going in our society. Children as young as kindergarten are learning how to act in the case of a school shooting. Yet, guns are killing innocent people by being able to have […]

Examining the Deep Impact of U.S. Gun Violence on American Society

U.S. gun violence has had put a struggle on american living and the quality of it. Its put America into a spiral of fear, a lot of people don't know the extent of how its effecting are lives and the way we live. Schools have built there security, airports and all other large businesses and or public businesses have also done the same. Laws have been getting stricter and stricter but simply some people just dont listen and obey those […]

The Problem of Mass Shootings

Mass shootings are problematic, because they are getting more deadly and more frequent. Mass shootings are defined as a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant/shooter ("Guns in the US: The Statistics"). Mass shootings have been shown to be contagious, meaning that a mass shooting one day increases the likelihood of others in the following days (Leatherby). Five of the eighteen most lethal shootings in America since 1949 have occured between 2007 and […]

Combating Gun Violence

A school shooting is an attack at an educational institution, such as a school or university, involving the use of firearms. The first recorded school shooting in the United States took place in 1840, when a law student shot and killed his professor at the University of Virginia. Despite that crime rates in the United States are declining, and homicide specifically is especially rare, many people believe that school shootings are becoming epidemic, occurring more frequently than the have in […]

How to Change the Gun Violence Situation in the US

In the United States, the number of cases of gun violence have increased tremendously. The reason why these numbers have been so high is because guns have been made easily accessible to the general public. The implications that gun violence has had on the country are so damaging that it is time that the American government come up with ways in which the availability of guns to the American citizens can be restrained. Due to the gun violence situation; people […]

Public Health Solutions: Gun Violence

Gun violence accounts for approximately 35,000 deaths and 89,600 injuries annually in the United States (Gun Violence in America, 2018). It consists of both intentional and unintentional assault, domestic and family violence, law enforcement intervention, homicide, suicide, self-harm, and undetermined causes (Gun Violence in America, 2018). According to Santhanam (2018), in 2016 the United States ranked second in gun-related deaths, after Brazil and before India. Gun violence is a prominent issue in American society and is certainly a public health […]

The Problem of the Gun Violence

In success central, I attended a small breakout session about gun violence. At first, I thought this breakout session was going to be over gun control and politics but it was more in depth. The session was about how a victim truly feels after being affected by gun violence. Some of the statistics that I learned at the session is, gun-related deaths are now the third leading cause of death for American children. One of the main reasons i enjoyed […]

The Problem of Gun Politics in the United States

The Brady campaign to prevent gun violence states every day 8 children and teens die from gun violence, 4 are murdered, 3 die from suicide and 1 killed unintentionally. Every day 39 children and teens are shot and survive, 31 injured in an attack, 1 survives a suicide attempt and 7 shot unintentionally Not only is the 2nd amendment giving access to have a gun to protect ourselves, it is giving others access to commit violent crimes that involve a […]

Why Gun Violence Increasing

Gun violence has had a drastic increase over the years, leaving the United States desperate for laws to be implemented concerning the well-being and safety of citizens. Terrifying events surrounding gun violence have left researchers with no option but to investigate gun laws and regulations. Only some states require permits in order to purchase a firearm and background checks are required by federal law to anyone purchasing a gun as well. A citizen at the age of 21 is legal […]

Reducing School Gun Violence in New Mexico

School gun violence in the United States is on the rise. Since 2014 there have been an average of five school shootings per month. Since Sandy Hook in 2012, there have been at least 239 school shootings nationwide. In these school shootings 438 were shot, and 138 were killed, and 16 shootings were classified as where 4 or more people were shot. (Preventing School Violence: Assessing Armed Guardians, School Policy, and Context.) More people, including students and teachers, were killed […]

Mental Health Screenings and the Effect on Gun Violence

Historically speaking, guns were used for hunting and for protection. In the late 1700's, the Revolutionary War began from Britain's pursuit to take away the colonists weaponry and oppress them. Lexington and Concord was the beginning of the fight for freedom. When Britain surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, the colonists had won their independence. The first constitution called the Articles of Confederation was ratified by all thirteen colonies in 1781 and was in place until 1789 when the U.S Constitution […]

Gun Violence in Parkland Florida

There are over thirty thousand deaths a year in the United States related to gun violence with Americans using guns for defensive purposes as many as a million times every year. These deaths are a result of suicides, homicides and accidents. It is evident that gun violence and gun control are issues of serious national importance and are worth debating. The main issues and arguments found in the debate over gun control in the United States have not changed a […]

Gun Control Vs Gun Rights

In the U.S, there is a lot of controversy about gun control laws. There are protests, arguments, and laws that not many agree with because it does not support their Second Amendment rights. What truly did the Founding Fathers mean by the Second Amendment? Pro-gun supporters believe it was meant for individuals to have access to guns while gun control supporters believe it was for trained officials. Many people are trying to find a solution on how it should be […]

Why does Drug Trafficking Cause Gun Violence

There is a strong relationship between drug trafficking, drug use, and gun violence. The research attempts to come up with a solution for the research question why does drug trafficking cause gun violence. Most youths have been involved in the use of drugs like marijuana, stimulants, hallucinogens, crack cocaine, heroin, and cocaine hence being involved in violence including gun violence (Johnson, Golub, Dunlap, 2000) This research will play a major role in improving academic research, sow the existing causal effect […]

The State of Gun Violence in the US

Gun violence in today's America has become routine and common. This violence causes a surprising number of deaths and injuries throughout the United States. The main lethal weapon used to take part in violence is the gun. That's one of the reason why stricter gun control policy is needed to make it impossible to own a gun for those who should not own them in the first place. Taking such action could make our neighborhood is a safer place to […]

Gun Violence in America

The issue of gun violence has attracted a heated debate in the US. With time, people have advanced significantly in gun availability and the power to buy military-style firearms, which has led to more likelihood of criminals getting guns that they can use for mass destruction. Yet, burning gun ownership can be a significant issue since most civilians who buy firearms do so to ensure their protection and safety. Many supporters of gun ownership postulate that firearms do not kill, […]

Students Protest and Addresses Gun Violence

A schools' biggest fear is having a shooter come onto campus. There has been so many incidents on the news that people are trying to find solutions for this issue. Students need to feel safe while they are learning. I have found three articles of school shootings that go into detail about what took place on those days. Each author has had an interesting stand-point about what should happen next. In this paper, i will be comparing the authors perspective […]

The Second Amendment – Firearm Legislation

Americans are being murdered at unprecedented rates and little action has been attempted to prevent similar events from reoccurring. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ninety-six Americans die by firearms every day (The Editorial Board). Ninety-six lives end because of a bullet. It is unethical and immoral for that many people to perish, and for there to be little change made. Unfortunately, legislators can not just simply change firearm laws due to the long-standing and well-respected second […]

Gun Violence and the Second Amendment

According the Cornell Law Studies Institute, the second amendment states, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The Second Amendment of the constitution is one of the most misunderstood and confusing sentences in the history of America. The 27-word sentence has a partial collectivist ora while still maintaining the individualistic right to keep and bear arms. Before discussing the reasons behind […]

How the Government Can Decrease Gun Violence

There should be more gun control laws to control gun violence. The debate on gun control in America has been up for deliberation for decades. Almost forty thousand people are killed each year due to homicidal, accidental, and suicidal use of guns (Politics 7). Despite the fact that America has approximately twenty thousand gun laws, there are still often occurring crime due to gun violence. To fix this problem, the government should enforce stricter background checks for all gun sales, […]

Gun Violence in America: who is to Blame?

Too often, when you raise the issue of guns in this country, it starts a debate with both sides pointing the blame at each other. In the middle, we hear the voices of children who’ve witnessed the killing of their friends and teachers and who are sounding out for action. The question is, will we listen to them? Will we care enough to do something? Horrific tragedies like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a little under a […]

Gun Violence African American

“You just a black man in this world, you just a barcode, ayy.” This lyric ends the song “This is America”, by Childish Gambino. Childish Gambino is an African American rapper who captured the eyes of the U.S with his music video of “This is America”. Written by Childish Gambino and Ludwig Göransson, the video carries a message surrounding guns and violence in America from the eyes of a black man. It indicates that the brutal violence, racism and police […]

What is Gun Violence

Have you ever seen any news on social medias related to gun violence? I bet most of the people will give an answer “yes”. As what I said, gun violence and gun control have already became very hot topics, and people are still having debates about whether gun ownership should be protected or prohibited. In order to improve the discussion surrounding gun violence and gun control, we should change the focus and make new policies. And I also believe governments, […]

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It is tough to write persuasive essays about gun violence, as the topic itself is pretty painful and controversial. It has a lot to do with deaths. Gun-related violence is cruel as it takes a person a single move – to pull a trigger. The problem with firearms and the effects of legalization is quite relevant in today’s society in the United States. That is why we have seen so many gun legalization titles these years. First, students should get acquainted with gun violence essay examples to plunge into the issue. Next, it’s necessary to search for essay topics that briefly state your idea and work on the thesis statement. Next, it’s vital to study the violent crime problem and describe the necessity to find the solution, stop the assassinations, and reduce the number of crimes. Work meticulously on arranging the introduction, conclusion, outline of your essay. Studying samples such as speech and argumentative essay on gun violence in America or research paper on gun violence will reinforce your expertise in the domain. Lastly, if you still need a hint, check gun violence topics for essay papers on our web. This might give you inspiration for your forthcoming paper.

Essays About Gun-related Violence Gun violence in America is slowly becoming one of the biggest problems the country faces today. America as a continent has had more mass shooting than any other country in the world post-WWII. It is estimated that 31% of all mass shootings happen in the US, but only 5% of the world’s population lives here. As casualties continue to mount Colleges in America need to study why this is occurring in the society that students live in. This open discussion will lead to a better understanding. An essay about gun violence is an important part of many modules now, for example in sociology modules, or psychology. Students must look at why this is happening and how to reduce it. We provide free essays on gun control and a variety of topics within this area. Our range of essays includes; the cause and effect of mass shootings, the dangers, and issues a firearm can implicate, public health solutions, understanding gun violence and a broader range of topics that encompass the issue. We can write an argumentative essay, persuasive essay or a research paper on gun violence, and we have many papers already completed by experts in the field. Our papers outline rational arguments for both sides of the argument that continues to divide America. The professors we use for our papers are experienced in the field and have been working on and studying gun laws in America for several years. This ensures quality work and expert knowledge.

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