Violence in Anime and Society

Sadly, a wrench was thrown into our vacation plans to visit Montreal, but my brother’s move to Indiana and our time spent at both Richmond and the Cedar Point Amusement Park were all quite successful.  In addition, I was able to see one of my best friends, thompdjames of The Dusty Thanes, for a few hours in Indiana.  The joy of meeting him after a little over three years is worth a thousand Montreals.

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But, Richmond produced my most interesting meeting of the trip.  This particular old gentleman was most voluble touching his life spent in the South.  One story he told concerning one near and dear to him, however, shocked and infuriated me.  Six abandoned and wicked men committed an unspeakable crime against a man and his fiancee–let it suffice to say that this crime would not be out of place in the pages of Akame ga Kiru.  One might read of such a crime in the papers, but one never expects to meet someone of such close propinquity to it.

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For the most part, crimes of shocking villainy seem far removed from us.  Even more unreal is the experience that some people would find inflicting traumatic mental and physical pain on others great fun.  Akame ga Kiru has many people just like that; but, there’s no way we would actually meet such villains as those in our lives, right?  We live in states far from the southern border, out of the traditionally violent South, and separate from crime-ridden major cities.  There’s no chance of extreme violence happening to us in civilized societies!

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Yet, why not?  What prevents us from becoming victims besides the Providence of God?  And we know that evil things happen to people despite their decency, virtue, and innocence.  The case is, as Akame ga Kiru shows, that people are targeted by the predatory elements of society merely because their intended victims seem weak.  Episode one featured a family who targeted hapless people from the countryside.  In the world of Akame ga Kiru just being weak ensures that one will meet a gruesome end.

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In modern society, there similarly stands no guarantee of us escaping a confrontation with violent men during our lifetime.  People take steps to eliminate or compensate for their weaknesses.  In forty of the U. S. states, people often carry firearms concealed or openly, practice using them, and take classes on the legal ramifications of self-defense with a firearm.  Where firearms are not permitted either to be owned or carried about the person, people take up the study of martial arts.  (Great Britain was the best example to come to mind.)  Stringent gun laws give the citizens of most major cities no other option, unless they’re the sort to rely solely on the police for protection.  Yet, a famous court case did rule that the police have no responsibility to protect individual citizens–just to maintain public order.  Translation: If they can help you, they will.  But, if they can’t and you get murdered, robbed, etc., the police are not liable.  Do you really want to count on the police now?

Nothing inspires confidence like a policewoman who's no more than a waif.

Nothing inspires confidence like a policewoman who’s no more than a waif.

It is a shame, however, that stringent anti-gun policies, inadequate anti-crime policies, and other factors make for dangerous inner city environments.  That city dwellers cannot use firearms as a means of self-defense and need to take up martial arts reminds one of feudal Japan or medieval Europe, where the constant threat of violence in their societies also required them to study the art of combat.  One cannot help but wonder that the people who would benefit most from concealed carry are usually denied it!

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To conclude, the threat of violence posed by nefarious individuals in society is not as remote as one might think.  This practically makes learning how to defend oneself a duty, despite a loss of leisure.  Of course, one can also take no precaution and live in the hope of never being targeted.  Crime in the U.S. is on a steady decline after all; but, the best policy is always to be prepared.

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I hope that you enjoyed this ramble!

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4 comments on “Violence in Anime and Society

  1. Sindar says:

    I always wanted to see some comprehensive statistics on firearms in US, with numbers that would show whether or not there is an obvious difference between crime rates between the states and countries where owning guns is prohibited. I made some googling, but it is rather hard to interpret the results. For example FBI says that there were 8,583 people killed by firearms in 2011 in US. In, let’s say UK, it would be (I think the numbers are correct; not sure of course) – 146. If you believe in wiki you can look here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate and here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate, but I would not take all the numbers there on their face value.

    So what I want to say is, I don’t know if there is any value in having a gun. Would you carry it with you, like always? I wouldn’t. For example, I can’t imagine going to work with a gun. But that hypothetical guy I want to defend myself against, the criminal who would attack me, he don’t need to always carry a gun, he will just pick the day that is convenient for him and take the gun with him then. And when it comes to the actual fight, chances are that I won’t have any weapon, and he will have the firearm of his choice. So I feel like I am at an even greater disadvantage.

    Also, what about people who have no idea what they are doing? Here is a slightly drunk, not very intellectual guy with a peculiar sense of values, can you trust him with a power to end someone”s life? I know, he probably has some self control, as all of us do, but that doesn’t make me feel assured.

    Well, I hope you didn’t mind this rant =) I am interested in this topic, even though I live in a country where owning guns is forbidden for citizens.

    Like

    • Yeah, this is a very difficult topic. To tell you the truth, I used to be more interested in the gun control debate during the 90’s and early 2000’s, when guns were being banned in Great Britain and Australia and the gun control movement was much stronger in this country. At the present time, America’s reaction to Obama’s first and second elections was for gun sales to skyrocket. So, politicians are less likely to bring forward new gun control legislation–unless you live in a very Democratic Party controlled state like I do, anyway. And the way crime increased following the bans in Great Britain and Australia did much to close my mind to the idea that gun control is effective.

      So, I decided to do a little research to see what the current situation is. The murder rate in Britain, for example, has declined since 2004 such that it is now only slightly higher than it was before the ban. Yet, this seems the result of increasing the size of the police force rather than banning guns. Here’s a video and then an article on the subject: http://newyorkcityguns.com/2013/12/john-lott-murder-homicide-rates-gun-bans-video/ and http://crimepreventionresearchcenter.org/2013/12/murder-and-homicide-rates-before-and-after-gun-bans/. And the video talks about several U.S. cities which have benefited from removing gun bans.

      Then again, there is a curious disconnect between stringent gun laws and their enforcement in certain cities, as this video adequately discusses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9PU5UBP5wk. You’ve probably noticed by now that I don’t really trust gun control advocates, but that’s because higher crime has followed new gun restrictions, lower crime followed things like giving citizens the right to carry concealed, proponents of gun control do not understand what they want to ban, and they often make outrageous statements. For example, certain anti-gunners claimed that the government had the right to ban firearms because colonial Maryland banned Catholics from owning firearms. Does this mean the government can revoke other rights of members of peaceful religions too? Then, there was this doozy: http://www.denverpost.com/politics/ci_22942476/degette-draws-criticism-pretty-stupid-ammo-magazine-comment.

      But, you also mentioned some practical problems. Carrying around a two pound steel weight every day which you likely won’t use or use only one or two times in your life doesn’t seem practical. (Then again, I heard UPS drivers in Memphis, Tenn. needed to drive around with their gun in reach and pick it up whenever they stopped at a traffic light to deter criminals. So, one’s profession and place of residence can influence one’s need for a gun a great deal!) And, I suppose if one’s going to work and there’s a parking lot restricted to employees, one might as well leave the gun in the glove box. But, criminals tend to be able to tell who’s carrying a firearm better than the average person, and criminals avoid them. In general, it’s better to be armed, even if it is a pain.

      It has been estimated that law-abiding citizens use guns 2.5 million times a year to deter crime. Most of the time, the citizen merely has to show the gun, and the criminal surrenders or runs away. And citizens aren’t allowed to kill someone who no longer poses a threat.

      The nice thing about concealed carry laws is that the procedure for obtaining the license deters irresponsible people from gaining one: criminal background check, gun safety classes, processing fees, and courses on the law. And we find that concealed carry holders (just about 3.4% of the population. My article makes it seem higher, doesn’t it?) commit much fewer crimes on average than the rest of the population: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/03/0000672-percent-why-concealed-carry-permit-holders-will-want-to-hear-about-such-a-small-number-from-a-former-navy-seal/.

      There are four states where carry is unrestricted: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, and Vermont, which were ranked 6th, 16th, 11th, and 48th respectively in terms of violent crime during 2006. But, I can definitely see why Alaska (extremely remote areas) and Arizona (a border state) would prefer unrestricted carry, and Vermont shows that even unrestricted carry need not cause high crime.

      Thanks for commenting and reading my long response! This is a complicated debate, and it sometimes is hard to tell the correlation between crime and firearms laws. Oceans of ink have been spilled on the subject, but I hope that my response helps.

      Like

      • Sindar says:

        I guess the problem with me and my way of looking at this topic is that I am a little too selfish. I mean, for me and my family and most of my friends there is no benefit in the fact that someone else can have a gun =) I am not going to buy a gun even if you give me the right to do so. But that might be because I’ve grown up with the idea that having a weapon like that is forbidden, which is not the case for a normal US citizen. So I am not going to claim that my personal views should be considered a valid point in this discussion.

        As for the statistics, unfortunately just by itself it is not really helpful, you need a thorough research to interpret it. For example, in one of the articles you’ve linked they say that every time guns are banned the crime rate goes up. Personally I am not surprised, because for the laws to have an affect you need to wait till the amount of guns that still are circulating in legal and illegal ways would significantly subside, and that might be what was going on there. As you can see, it is a very opinionated interpretation =) I wish someone without any affiliation would make a solid work on the subject and then make a public discussion out of it. I bet guys from American top universities are doing this sort of work already, but something like that should be given more publicity than what an academic journal publication gives.

        But thanks for the effort you’ve put into that reply! It made me see the issue a little clearer and in a way reconsider my perception of the arguments the anti-regulation side puts up.

        Like

      • You’re welcome! One problem with the study of the gun issue is that so few people are impartial. Occasionally, someone’s mind changes. John Lott discusses the disadvantages of gun control in one video I linked to. He’s known for being the author of “More Guns, Less Crime,” but what most people don’t know about him is that he originally wished to write a book showing the direct link between the legal availability of firearms and high crime. Yet, studying the situation in Florida convinced him that a prevalence of guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens lowered crime instead of the reverse. I even remember how he wrote that crime increased in southern Georgia while decreasing in northern Florida after concealed carry was passed in Florida. Criminals like easy pickings!

        But, it is true that numerous factors influence crime rates, and legal firearms ownership is a small part of it. Some have argued that, in low crime areas, legalizing or banning firearms would have a negligible effect on the crime rate.

        I see what you mean that it might take a gun ban a long time to have a positive effect on crime because of the amount of guns in circulation. But, the situation in England makes any reduction in crime not seem particularly worth it. After all, crime is still slightly worse than it had been the year of the ban after seventeen years. And, I was reading another article which claimed that things like murder are counted differently in England compared to the US (e.g. in England, unsolved murders don’t count); so, their violent crime rate is a little deflated compared to US numbers–at least, in terms of murder. In the early 2000’s, I remember reading headlines along the likes of “London is the crime capital of the Western world” and that Scotland was the most violent country in western Europe. Banning guns hasn’t seemed worth it for the United Kingdom; though, in another five years the crime rate might just be lower than it was prior to the ban. But, even then, I would place the cause of that in the 15% increase in the size of Britain’s police force.

        About Americans, a certain segment of the population is very enthusiastic about firearms, another is accepting of them, and a third wants the right revoked. Many people in safe suburban areas see no need for them, and reports on school shootings and other mass shootings convince them that guns are inherently evil. But, I think that these uses are aberrations, otherwise a nation with 33% to 43% of the population being gun owners could not exist!

        Thank you for expressing your opinions candidly and politely. My grandfather also saw no reason to own firearms himself, so I can understand that position. But, armed civilians in the population do benefit the rest of us: if criminals notice an armed person is near us, then we also are unattractive targets!

        Like

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