My Take on America's Mass Murder Problem
I believe that people's blind acceptance of ideologies, social or cultural norms, and official narratives has the effect of simplifying their views of the problems that our societies face and that is extremely dangerous if it is the case. Their were two mass killings in the United States recently and, predictably, two political camps formed, each offering simplistic and self-serving solutions (along with some weak lip-service about "mental health") to an exceedingly complex problem that is likely born out of a myriad of social, psychological, and political failures that have taken place over decades and cannot be fixed by either banning or further proliferating the ownership of guns. However, despite this obvious truth, those seem to be the two mainstream opinions that are held by the majority of the public because they fit neatly into the belief systems that have been thrust upon them by the ruling elites who seek to steal power and wealth from the masses. Because the accepted simple solutions are ineffective at addressing the complex causes of the mass killing problem in this country, it will continue to persist if we are unable to see past their alignment with the broadly prevailing social and political belief structures in this society.
When something terrible happens people are prone to seek answers and there are those who will exploit that tendency. We want to know why the tragedy took place and how we can prevent it from happening again. This desire for knowledge is quite strong because it feels as though it is a matter of survival. There is a danger in the world and we want to protect ourselves from it and individuals or groups with an agenda and questionable ethics know this. They align themselves with with ideologies, political parties, or media outlets that people are conditioned by the established systems of authority to trust. Next, we are offered "solutions" that only serve to empower the already powerful or their causes. If we believe those on the left who say that we must disarm, we give in to the government elites who seek to grab yet another piece of our personal agency. If, on the other hand, we listen to the right and further arm ourselves in response to the perceived increase in danger, we act to enrich the corporate elites who generate untold riches from our fear.
Of course neither of those things addresses the real problem that we face. I believe that we live in a social system that breeds mass murderers and it is one that has been formed over a long period of time by a complex sequence of events. Describing how I think that this process took place would require quite some time but I can lay out a simplified overview here.
The rise of consumerism, corporate power, and technology has isolated individuals from their communities and this allows those with deeply trouble minds to go unnoticed within them. We must work long hours to survive in the corporate dystopia that we currently inhabit and that leaves us with little time to socialize. Many are tricked into seeking happiness in material goods instead of their community so they pay less attention to the people around them and dangerous characters are allowed to operate unseen. Finally, the human contact that people do engage in is increasingly filtered through an electronic medium that hides an individual's flaws and signs of instability. We pay less attention to each other and because this the case, a lot of crazy fucks go unnoticed until it's too late.
We have a social and governmental system that largely treats people like numbers and is unequipped to address the very human problems that drive a person down a path to mass killing. Our system can be okay at taking care of psychical issues. The schools can make sure that kids get enough to eat for lunch. The police can arrest a person who is acting violently. A doctor can give antibiotics to fight an infection. However, the school's cannot can make a socially awkward, love starved, kid be included by his or her peers so his or her resentment toward them grows unhindered. Mental instability, isn't as easy to recognize and treat as strep throat so a dangerously crazy person can easily go untreated. The police can't (and shouldn't) arrest a person who may, eventually commit a horrific crime so we can only (in a just system) move against an individual after he or she has actively taken steps to harm others.
Since the most likely people to commit mass killings become isolated and ignored by both their communities and the governing structures of our society, they are free to let their anger and hatred brew internally or seek kinship from others who are also filled malice. While no one is looking, the isolated and unstable find friends and convenient scapegoats among extremists. Terrorists will call them brother and ask them to direct their violent rage at the "infidels". The supremacists will tell them that they are the master race and encourage them to kill the impure. Incels blame the sexually successful for their own failings and idolize the individuals who have murdered them. Because the unnoticed, isolated individuals are starved for contact, they accept the seemingly "welcoming" community and because they are unstable, the choose to act on its ideology. However, even without outside radicalization, unaddressed, long term rage can explode in the mind of someone who is prone to violent outbursts. Some mass killers seem to be resentful of the society that has rejected them and choose to take personal revenge against it. Sadly, they are able to get to that psychological point because society does, in fact, largely ignore people until they fly off the handle and kill ten or twenty strangers for no good reason.
I don't have the answer and I am not sure if I am right about what causes mass killings but I know that this problem is far more deeply rooted than the question of private gun ownership. That issue is a political wedge that is used to decide us while the powerful take our money and steal our agency. I firmly believe that by the time the mass shooter buys his or her gun, the damage is already done. That person has made up his or her mind and he or she will replace a rifle with a bomb, or a truck, or fire, or something else if needs be. Until we start looking at the long term development of mass killers and address the factors that contribute to that development we will never reduce their prevalence but in order to do that, we must cast off the ideological structures that keep telling us that they have a simple solution to this problem.
All the images in this post are sourced from the free image website unsplash .com.