Guns in Schools

Fri, 25 Feb 1994 18:52:12 -0500

Date sent: 25-FEB-1994 18:51:51

I'd like to elaborate on Niranjan Karnik's observation about the relationship
between guns and fears in school. I have not done research in schools, but I
would suggest that the cultural setting might be profitably compared to
situations where there is a presence or an influx of valuable "goods," but
weak central authority unable to govern or regulate competition for those
goods. This kind of situation will generally promote an increase and an
escalation in interpersonal conflict or violence. Khoistan comes to mind as
an example (see Lincoln Keiser's FRIENDS BY DAY, ENEMIES BY NIGHT or his
older work on street gangs, VICE LORDS). Another analogous situation
might be New Guinea with the influx of cash from wage labor. There are
many others. Drugs may be the new resource in the schools, but there are
likely other valuable resources that school children traditionally compete
for ("friends," "girls," "boys," clothing, etc). The key, it seems, is a very
weak regulatory structure, especially in underfinanced and understaffed
urban schools (see Kozol's SAVAGE INEQAULITIES).

Richard H. Robbins Bitnet: Robbinrh@snyplava.bitnet
Department of Anthropology Internet:
SUNY at Plattsburgh
Plattsburgh, N.Y. 12901
(518) 564-4006