Ahead of the one year anniversary of the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in which Adam Lanza took the lives of 20 school children and six educators, Bill speaks with cultural historian and scholar Richard Slotkin about the role of guns in America’s national psyche.
Slotkin has spent his life studying and writing about the violence that has swirled through American history and taken root deep in our culture. In his works of history and fiction, Slotkin tracks how everything from literature, movies and television to society and politics has been influenced by this violent past including the gun culture that continues to dominate, wound and kill.
Slotkin talks about Lanza’s apparent obsession with violent video games and mass killings — as outlined in a November report issued by Connecticut’s Division of Criminal Justice — and examines the roots of violence in America. “The lone killer is trying to validate himself or herself in terms of … what I would call the historical mythology of our society. He wants to place himself in relation to meaningful events in the past that lead up to the present.”