However, the data show that there is no single cause of violence and, as a group, those with mental illness are no more prone to violence than those without such a diagnosis. Similarly, the empirical data have so far failed to establish a clear and consistent link between media consumption and violence. It is our position that violence is a societal problem, not a mental health or media problem, and we urge the Task Force to respond accordingly and not focus exclusively on a particular subgroup of Americans. We also believe that easy access to guns, especially assault weapons, are part of the culture of violence and believe that any national effort to reduce violence must somehow address the easy access to such weapons.
….Based on these significant findings, we would like to recommend that your Task Force consider:
1.Creating an initiative to integrate Restorative Justice practices into public schools. This recommendation is based on the significant decreases in bullying, disciplinary actions, police and juvenile justice involvement by youth in school districts that have adopted school-wide restorative approaches (see, for example, this 2010 NESTA report on radically efficient social interventions:
http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/reports/assets/features/radical_efficiency). These and other data clearly show that communities that learn to resolve conflict restoratively through the cultivation of dialogical and mutually responsible relationships experience a reduced number of violent acts.
….2. Integrating restorative principles and practices into the youth justice systems. We believe that
prevention is the treatment of choice for the violence enveloping our nation (for empirical evidence, see http://www.preventviolence.info/evidence_base.aspx#results). At the same time, we also recognize that not all violence is preventable. When violence does occur, our communities and justice systems need to be prepared to respond restoratively, focusing on healing and the repair of harm rather than only on punishing those who have perpetrated violence.
….3.Implementing a Ban on Assault Weapons whose primary purpose is to kill a large number of people in a rapid way. This recommendation is based on the significant decreases in fatal acts of violence in countries (e.g., Japan) that have increased restrictions on such weapons. These statistics clearly show that for both impulsive and premeditated acts of violence, a lack of access to means of mass-killing reduces the number of violent acts.