Despite the best efforts of some in the so-called "mainstream media," a surprising new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published this week says that more Americans blame bad parenting and Hollywood for mass shootings than they do guns.
Guns actually came in fifth place, behind parenting, effective treatment for mental health, media coverage of mass shootings and violence in movies and video games.
The NRA, despite being targeted by the media and the administration, was found to be more popular than the entertainment industry.
"The results display that the massive public relations campaign to convince people that inanimate objects or society are more to blame more than individuals or their particular family backgrounds has not been very successful," the Independent Journal Review said.
The poll found that 83 percent of those polled said “parents not paying enough attention to what is going on in their children’s lives” are to blame for incidents like Sandy Hook or the Aurora movie shooting.
Eighty-two percent blamed “the lack of effective treatment for mental illness.”
An April 2000 study would seem to bear this out.
The New York Times said that a team of journalists and researchers analyzed a database of 100 cases like the Columbine shooting, and found that the killers shared several traits.
"Cultural influences on this group, such as violent entertainment, seemed to have little impact," the Times reported. "Instead, the most common factor was serious mental health problems. About half had received formal diagnosis of mental illness, often schizophrenia."
The Times went on to say that "more than half made threats, and a third had histories of violent behavior. Many never received treatment for mental disorders or were not monitored to keep them on their medication. Most of their rampage attacks were not sudden, impulsive acts but the culmination of years of rage, depression and mental illness. Often the failure of families, co-workers and even therapists to deal with warning signs led to catastrophic consequences."
Based on what we know of Adam Lanza, it would appear the Times study described the Newtown shooter to a tee, 12 years before the act.
Today, Americans are embroiled in a heated debate over gun violence.
Some want to blame the gun and enact restrictions despite the fact that they have never worked. Others, desiring a need to lash out, have blamed the NRA and called for members of the group to be murdered. Among those calling for the eradication of gun rights supporters was John Cobarruvias, a member of the Texas Democratic Party Executive Committee, who made his feelings known on Twitter and Facebook. The posts have since been removed.
Recently, a violent video game called "Bullet to the head of the NRA" was released, letting players murder NRA officials, and the children of NRA president David Keene have been subjected to death threats on Facebook.
While a civil debate on the issue is necessary, public policy -- especially policy that could impact perhaps the most important freedom guaranteed by the Constitution -- should be based on facts and reason rather than hyper-inflated emotion, falsehoods and propaganda.