There are multiple factors that contributed to the United States being one of the most violent western countries. The marketing tactics used to promote aggressive behaviors; often focusing on males is problematic as it helps to promote violence. However, it could further be argued that there is an increased level of exposure to violence throughout society. People have become accustomed to playing violent video games and violent acts covered in the media. As a result of this increased exposure to violence, people are becoming desensitized to violent acts. This has resulted in increased violent tendencies exhibited throughout society.
Another issue plaguing the United States is the competition throughout society. People are competing for jobs, their well being and simply being the best. The practice of competition is evident throughout childhood and continues to evolve into adulthood. During childhood, competition may seem simplistic. However, as children grow into adults, the need to compete and achieve becomes an everyday part of life. Although there may be different types of competition, many are focused on economic resources and goods. People continue to strive to be the best and have the nicest things. Even though this competition may initially seem simplistic, overtime, the need to compete becomes difficult on the individual. In order to maintain such a lifestyle, the individual takes on additional stressors. These stressors may be in the form of work or in the form of determining how to continue to afford their lifestyles. Regardless of how this stress manifests, individuals become increasingly stressed, which may result in physical and mental anguishes. As people fail to achieve the goals outlined by society, they feel as though they do not fit in. In some cases, the individual may turn to violent actions as a way to try to escape his or her stressors. The link between violence and stress has further been explored in relation to societal values. For example, Columbine, one of the worst school shootings in American history resulted from individuals that felt they did not fit in. The pressures to fit in inevitably led these individuals to take the lives of others and themselves. Even though Columbine may be an extreme example as to how stressors influence the individual; the repetition of stress and violence in society remains static.