Exploiting the horrible tragedy in Orlando to score petty political points, German criminologist Christian Pfeiffer delivered an unfiltered anti-American rant in an interview with The Local (Germany).
"America is a completely different world,” Pfeiffer theorizes. “The laws are a result of a public that believes in fear. The laws reflect a culture of repression.”
"America is a sick country, in my opinion," he adds gratuitously.
Juxtaposing supposedly tame German culture with “repressive” American culture, Pfeiffer pathologizes that at its cultural core, America is diseased. "People in Germany don't suffer from that powerlessness like in the United States. People there want to overcome that fear by having a weapon," he claims.
The German criminologist then took it one step further, arguing that American parents' willingness to “spank” their children is somehow responsible for the proliferation of violence.
“Specifically, his research with the Criminology Research Institute of Lower Saxony has shown that there is a strong correlation between a violent childhood and violence later in life,” reports The Local. “Pfeiffer, who was also once Justice Minister in Lower Saxony, notes that while Germany has a low acceptance rate of spanking or other forms of physical discipline for children, approval of such methods are surprisingly high in the United States.”
The baseless theory is self-evidently speculative at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. It’s essentially a variant of the debunked “video games cause violence” argument.
Conflating “spanking” with “abuse” and “violence,” Pfeiffer believes that “spanking” is the root of all evil as he connects the disciplinary practice with nearly all mass shooting incidents.
He concludes: "Abused kids grow up always feeling a sense of powerlessness. Then, when they’re adults, they want to have the power and decide who to kill and who not to. That desire to have a gun in their hands and see fear in the eyes of others stems from that powerlessness in childhood."
Aside from the fact that his so-called “research” is unsubstantiated, unvetted, and obscure, Pfeiffer deliberately avoids the huge elephant in the room. Needless to say, a German glorifying the values of his home country while blasting the United States as one of the most violent cultures on planet earth is hypocrisy on steroids.
Hailing from a country responsible for one of the greatest mass genocides ever committed against humanity, Pfeiffer fails to reconcile Germany’s historical demons.
That’s not to say that the current German government in anyway mirrors the Nazi regime, but if we’re talking about “deeply rooted” cultures of violence, then the US, the same country that liberated the concentration camps after millions of Jews were gassed to death by SS guards, is hardly a place that breeds violent young men en masse.
Mass shootings are a major issue in the United States. However, the motivations and intentions of each shooter are different. Each attack deserves individual scrutiny and an honest evaluation of precipitating factors.