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Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:44 PM

Besides easy access to guns, what other factors do these mass murders have in common?

It is easy to focus on the guns.
We certainly should have laws and regulations that at a minimum approach those necessary to drive a vehicle.

But limiting access to guns won't solve our problem.
It will be as effective as limiting access to marijuana.

Some questions:

*Americans have always had easy access to guns,
but these violent, incomprehensible outbursts of the senseless murder of innocents seem to be escalating.
What is driving this?

*What other factors do these mass murderers have in common?
Youth?

Race?

Isolation?

The Suburbs?

Video Games/violent TV desensitization?

Lack of effective Families/Fathers? Healthy Role Models? Mentors?

Passive Entertainment (TV, IPhones, "Social" Media) making it possible to live 24/7 in Fantasy Worlds without real interactions with other people?

The idolization of our cultural Sociopaths? ("Winning" violently no matter what the cost?) (Thinking about our sports "heroes" here)

YouTube culture? (Everyone MUST be the Center-of-Attention ALL the time?)



It didn't used to be this way.
Where are we going?




56 replies, 3845 views

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Reply Besides easy access to guns, what other factors do these mass murders have in common? (Original post)
bvar22 Dec 2012 OP
backscatter712 Dec 2012 #1
msongs Dec 2012 #2
TPaine7 Dec 2012 #5
randome Dec 2012 #8
bvar22 Dec 2012 #13
Robb Dec 2012 #44
TPaine7 Dec 2012 #3
Whisp Dec 2012 #4
randome Dec 2012 #6
ananda Dec 2012 #7
ohheckyeah Dec 2012 #9
marlakay Dec 2012 #10
rrneck Dec 2012 #11
bvar22 Dec 2012 #28
rrneck Dec 2012 #31
bunnies Dec 2012 #41
ThoughtCriminal Dec 2012 #51
dionysus Dec 2012 #12
mainer Dec 2012 #14
Spider Jerusalem Dec 2012 #15
joe_sixpack Dec 2012 #16
YoungDemCA Dec 2012 #17
riverwalker Dec 2012 #18
mainer Dec 2012 #19
kestrel91316 Dec 2012 #25
mainer Dec 2012 #30
Spider Jerusalem Dec 2012 #26
mainer Dec 2012 #45
DonCoquixote Dec 2012 #20
YoungDemCA Dec 2012 #21
DonCoquixote Dec 2012 #39
DonCoquixote Dec 2012 #24
kestrel91316 Dec 2012 #22
DonCoquixote Dec 2012 #29
sabrina 1 Dec 2012 #23
YoungDemCA Dec 2012 #27
whatchamacallit Dec 2012 #33
bvar22 Dec 2012 #34
libdem4life Dec 2012 #35
Glassunion Dec 2012 #37
SomethingFishy Dec 2012 #40
sabrina 1 Dec 2012 #53
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #42
X_Digger Dec 2012 #47
Locrian Dec 2012 #49
whatchamacallit Dec 2012 #32
SidDithers Dec 2012 #36
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #43
Egalitarian Thug Dec 2012 #38
dmallind Dec 2012 #46
bvar22 Dec 2012 #48
DevonRex Dec 2012 #50
bvar22 Dec 2012 #54
Logical Dec 2012 #55
DevonRex Dec 2012 #56
Silver Gaia Dec 2012 #52

Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:45 PM

1. Mental illness.

It's still stigmatized. People don't get treatment. And under stress, people snap.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:46 PM

2. killings are not new. just media saturation and availability is new. nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:48 PM

5. Yep, it's a "fame" thing.

 

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:49 PM

8. You don't get much fame for offing yourself, though.

I don't think that was a factor in today's killings.

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:54 PM

13. Can we get some REAL data on this?

I am curious.
I grew up in the 50s,
and have no memory of anyone EVER walking into a school and killing indiscriminately.

I can recall criminals barricading themselves and having shoot outs with the police,
but NOTHING like what we have seen over the last 20 years.

My first recollection of these types of mass murders were in the 80s,
and it was Post Office workers "going postal".

Is this really just a product of If it Bleeds it Leads Media Hype?
I don't think so.

We, in the USA, have undergone some very deep Social and Cultural changes since the 50s and 60s.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #13)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:50 PM

44. Stan Williamson sprung to mind.

I looked in up, Google continues to astound me: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=fL9UAAAAIBAJ&sjid=-jsNAAAAIBAJ&pg=4550,2676035

1959. There's a story of a sniper in B.C. on the same page. Insanity.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:47 PM

3. You nailed one big factor in my opinion: attention whoredom, fame seeking, anything for notoriety.

 

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:47 PM

4. Add gender to the list. n/t

 

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:48 PM

6. I say population density has much to do with it.

The more people we have, the greater number competing for limited resources (jobs). The more people competing, the more isolated some become. The more isolated, the more 'crazy' some get.

Combined with the easy availability of guns.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:49 PM

7. Bullying, psychotropic drugs, distant parents...

... who don't have a clue... and access to guns.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:51 PM

9. Pretty much all of the above.

We have a culture of violence. We glorify war, praise assassinations if the person is bad enough to deserve it; call anyone who picks up a gun to go to war a hero; movies and TV shows make light of or glorify violence, revenge and being "bad ass". The list goes on and on.

GIGO - garbage in, garbage out.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:52 PM

10. I blame closing all the mental hospitals

Health care is too expensive and doesn't cover good mental care.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:52 PM

11. Anomie

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie

Anomie describes a lack of social norms; "normlessness". It describes the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and their community, if under unruly scenarios possibly resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values. It was popularized by French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his influential book Suicide (1897). Durkheim borrowed the word from French philosopher Jean-Marie Guyau. Durkheim never uses the term normlessness; rather, he describes anomie as "a rule that is a lack of rule", "derangement", and "an insatiable will".

For Durkheim, anomie arises more generally from a mismatch between personal or group standards and wider social standards, or from the lack of a social ethic, which produces moral deregulation and an absence of legitimate aspirations. This is a nurtured condition:

Anomie in common parlance is thought to mean something like "at loose ends". The Oxford English Dictionary lists a range of definitions, beginning with a disregard of divine law, through the 19th and 20th century sociological terms meaning an absence of accepted social standards or values. Most sociologists associate the term with Durkheim, who used the concept to speak of the ways in which an individual's actions are matched, or integrated, with a system of social norms and practices … Durkheim also formally posited anomie as a mismatch, not simply as the absence of norms. Thus, a society with too much rigidity and little individual discretion could also produce a kind of anomie, a mismatch between individual circumstances and larger social mores. Thus, fatalistic suicide arises when a person is too rule-governed, when there is … no free horizon of expectation

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Response to rrneck (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:15 PM

28. Thanks.

Anomie describes a lack of social norms; "normlessness"
It describes the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and their community, if under unruly scenarios possibly resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.


That describes what I am feeling is the root of this problem.
I sense a loss of "community" where standards are learned.
That process usually involved some kind of consequences for inappropriate behavior.

I grew up in the 50s, and we were TAUGHT "sportsmanship" (for lack of a better word).
usually by a Father, Coach, Elder, or a Mentor.
This was a List of Rules that don't come naturally to a child.

*Never pick on someone smaller

*Never Run-Up-the-Score

*It isn't WINNING, but HOW you play the game

*Never kick somebody

*Never hit somebody when they are down

*Never use a stick or a rock

*Always HELP the disadvantaged

*If your side is "winning", give the other side your best player

*Never Rub-it-In.

*Never Taunt

*Never gloat

*Never Take Credit yourself for something good.

*Lose with DIGNITY and congratulate the Winners


Those are just a few off the top of my head,
but there were many more...
and those were Shared, Peer Values when I was young.
We played together, and policed each other.
Those "values" are GONE.



"Community" has been replaced with "Social Media".
This loss of standards is even visible on DU.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #28)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:20 PM

31. It seems to me that it's too easy

to create and discard relationships. We are so mobile in so many ways our culture has become facile to the point of uselessness. We don't have to make relationships with people work, all we have to do is shop for something better.

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Response to rrneck (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:41 PM

41. ^^^ this ^^^ nt

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Response to rrneck (Reply #11)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:04 PM

51. Anomic Behavior and Collective Behavior

I think there's a dangerous positive feedback loop. The events themselves create imitative, collective behavior by anomic personalities.

And each event seems to lower the bar.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:52 PM

12. i'm glad you brought this up. untreated (serious) mental illness.

advocating gun control is fine, but not many people are addressing why these people are going on murder sprees in the first place. it's leaving out part of the equation.

we have these psycopaths who have easy access to high capacity deadly weapons.


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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 04:57 PM

14. "amok" has a long history, and goes across cultures

Otherwise known as "SMASI" (mass assault by a single individual) it was first described by Capt Cook, I believe, and referred to the phenomenon he observed in Indonesia. It tends to be young males who are stressed by something in their lives -- loss of a lover, a job, something that makes them feel disaffected toward society. They react by an explosion of violence. It happens in every culture and is certainly not confined to the US.

What the US has is access to very effective weapons. Which is why such attacks here result in high fatalities.


Research article here: https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/Abstract.aspx?id=183936

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:01 PM

15. Population size?

Social and cultural factors?

There are some commonalities among people who commit these sorts of killings; they either have post-traumatic stress disorder (Howard Unruh), underlying psychiatric conditions (Jared Loughner), brain tumours or a history of traumatic head injury (Charles Whitman), or a history of being bullied in school (Columbine shooters). They're exclusively male and, so far as I can tell, almost exclusively white. I'd say that in most cases it's probably a combination of unfortunate factors that may include any of the above in addition to, possibly, an abusive home environment in childhood, but the precise combination of factors that results in someone who commits an act like this can't really be predicted.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:01 PM

16. I think yours is the start of a very reasonable discussion

When some of the shock wears off and we come down from an understandable horror at what happened, these are good questions to start asking. There is no one undeniable cause that we are going to be able to point to, but surely we've got to try and understand why these things seem to be happening at an alarming rate.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:02 PM

17. The cult of ruthless individualism associated with the modern Right...

...which has prized greed, selfishness, callousness, crassness, and bullying and sneered at empathy, compassion, community, social bonds, and kindness.

The modern Right hasn't just affected American politics for the worse. It has poisoned the well of American society at a deeper and broader level. Until that is addressed, it will only get worse, and nothing will change for the better.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:04 PM

18. white suburban males

not rural farm kids, not inner city, but suburban, middle class, white. Why, I don't know.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:04 PM

19. It has nothing to do with population size, TV, or our culture

As I point out above in the research paper, it is a phenomenon that occurs across all cultures, around the world.

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Response to mainer (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:11 PM

25. It occurs around the world, but the per capita incidence of gun violence is particularly high in the

US. We are taught to worship guns as sacred totems, and the lesson has stuck.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:19 PM

30. Guns just make SMASI deadlier

In Capt. Cook's time, a young man going amok would use a knife or machete, and people could run away.

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Response to mainer (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:11 PM

26. With the regularity and frequency that it does in the present-day USA?

Population size is surely a factor, in that X in 100K becomes more likely the more multiples of 100K you have.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #26)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:50 PM

45. per capita, I'm guessing it's the same

but when it happens in some small village in India, how are we going to hear about it?

It seems more frequent in the US because it's deadlier here, and we have the media to magnify the story.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:05 PM

20. an elephant in the room

many of these folks were people that were either middle class or working class who lost a job.

As far as video games go, if that was a factor, Japan and Korea would be bloodbaths,

what it is that you have a bunch of working to middle class Americans feeling powerless, in some cases, shit upon, and in many cases, their ego bruised, so they seek a power trip just to show they are not weak.

and while I normally hate to play race cards, there is an elephant in the room, why is it that so many of these shootings happen to be in the suburbs, by people who come from the suburbs? Yes, that is mean, but I still remember how, ever since McVeigh, so many people that predict the shooter is brown or black turn out wrong, just like they did in Columbine, just like in every other mass shooting where the perp is another guy who just happens to read Glenn Beck as a coincidence.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:10 PM

21. A sense of something being "taken" from them...

People who grew up with high expectations and entitlement, and then realizing that no, they are not "entitled" to something because they are a white, straight, middle-class male from the suburbs.

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Response to YoungDemCA (Reply #21)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:38 PM

39. Yup

and you see lots of them on the interwebs, even here on DU. Go peek inside what they lovingly call "the gungeon" here.

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Response to DonCoquixote (Reply #20)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:11 PM

24. am I saying all shooters are white, no?

Heaven knows the Latin Kings and the Crips are not, however, lightning has struck too many places in the same spot, especially as so many of these folks are also people with long mental issues whose families seemed to have a pattern of denial. The fact is, we are in a state of denial, and a large part of that is RACIAL and ECONOMIC, namely we idolize cowboys who will shoot down whoever stands in their way.

And if you are mad because I entered in race here, ask yourself this, if any one of the shooters was a Muslim, or even an Arab-American, do you honestly think the Pro Gun folks would dare to speak so brazenly about how we cannot step on the right of every red blooded amerikun to own an assualt rifle?

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:10 PM

22. You're right - it's not just about easy ACCESS to guns. It is about our nation's

obsessive worship of gun violence as the solution to all problems. Just go to any movie theater or turn on any TV station or play any video game.

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Response to kestrel91316 (Reply #22)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:17 PM

29. Video games

OK, how many mass shootings you see in Japan? South Korea? Australia? Germany? The UK? all places that play Video games as much (or even more) than we do.

NO, the fact is, those countries may enjoy play, but they are not stupid enough to want their people actually armed with real guns, and they do not have a lobby that panders to the fantasies of males of a certain socioeconomic scales (and skin complexion) that you can use a "second amendment remedy" to get what you want from that damn Government you hate so much.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/16/sharron-angle-floated-2nd_n_614003.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/16/sharron-angle-floated-2nd_n_614003.html

Sorry, this is an AMERICAN problem, and one that was around long before movies or videogames.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:11 PM

23. A culture of violence. The way to solve all of our problems is with violence.

'War' on Drugs.

'War' on Terror.

'War' on Poverty.

Every problem we have is approached with violent rhetoric.

We are all over the world supposedly creating Democracies, killing hundreds of thousands of human beings.

Our prison system is one of the worst in the world where people are brutalized, raped and tortured and if anyone asks that we do something about it, the response is 'they made their bed' not realizing that it isn't about them, it is about us.

America's image is violent. We love drones, guns, bombs, more than life itself. We don't even count the bodies.

Peaceful protesters are met with military style attacks by futuristic, heavily armed robo cops.

Cops kill people on a regular basis and rarely face any consequences.

Until we learn that with violence is weakness not strength, I don't see it getting any better.

When do you see role models who resolve problems with intelligence rather than violence not mocked and laughed at in this country?

I read a statement the other day that the Dem Party has now shown how 'tough' they can be, violent is the word they should have used, as if that is a good thing.

The most popular movies and TV programs are all about violence.

When a country's whole image is based on violence we shouldn't be surprised when the population can't see any other way of resolving problems.

But for a while we will talk about these things, maybe a week or so the news will be flooded with the now familiar images of grieving family members, funerals and the usual lineup of 'experts' offering their opinions and then we will move on and forget about it.

We move on from Colombine, so quickly the school didn't even want to mention it at the end of that school year.

Who even remembers all the others that have happened since?

This one too will fade into the background in a week or so.

Until the next time. Nothing will be done to try to prevent another one. Nothing ever is.

Not even committing some of the massive amounts of money we spend on violent wars to Mental Health Care. That would be a good investment in our National Security.

Maybe when we start asking 'How is killing people in foreign countries protecting our National Security when right here is the enemy. How many Americans are killed right here by other Americans every year? Isn't that part of our National Security?

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:12 PM

27. Well said.

nt

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:25 PM

33. Saw this after posting the lazy/shitty version - Another great post Sabrina. n/t

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:30 PM

34. THank You, sabrina 1

I am still trying to deal with this.

THIS is WHAT we have become?
I am sad,
outraged
overwhelmed,
and feel a deep sense of loss.

What have we done,
and where do we go from here?

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:30 PM

35. I just didn't have it left to say what you did. Murder of innocents is always murder.

RIP murdered children in all countries, races, cultures and peoples.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:38 PM

37. God that was so spot on.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:40 PM

40. Best post I have seen all day..

One has to wonder where all this outrage is when we "accidentally" kill some brown kids overseas...


I believe we need better gun control, but I also believe that we are pretty selective about our anger.

My kids are coming home from school, I need to go hang with them, but thanks for the post Sabrina, it was a good note to leave on..

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Response to SomethingFishy (Reply #40)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 09:35 PM

53. Thank you for your compassion for all children. If everyone had that kind of empathy

I think there would be a chance of a better world.

Your children are very lucky

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:42 PM

42. Huge factor, very well done.

 

I think this whole thread points out exactly how we got to this point.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:19 PM

47. Nailed it. n/t

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #23)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:36 PM

49. beautiful post Sabrina 1

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:22 PM

32. Ours is not a culture of love

Legitimizing and glorifying greed and violence is in our national DNA. Ironically, the government and media have most of us convinced we're the greatest country in the world *because* of our culture...

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:32 PM

36. Why excuse "easy access to guns"?...nt

Sid

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Response to SidDithers (Reply #36)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:45 PM

43. As bvar22 clearly points out in the OP, access has not changed. Neither does he excuse it.

 

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:38 PM

38. The fact that it is ever more difficult just to get by as inequality grows and is flaunted,

 

within a social structure that demands conformity to very narrow definitions of success and an utter lack of options?

Combine that with many of the factors you've mentioned, and you've developed a nearly perfect system to drive any animal insane. I think we're already seeing expressions of this inability to cope rising, though it doesn't get any attention at all, except when it is expressed in a sensational manner.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 05:55 PM

46. An interesting question, but how useful are even real answers?

White, male, middle class, what have you. Even if all spree killers were members of these groups and no others (not all are of course) they would still be a vanishingly small portion of them. What can be done to isolate which tiny percentage of those millions who share those traits are at risk of becoming a timebomb? We surely cannot/should not psychologically evaluate every 20-something white male, and psychanalysis has a terrible success level with individualized predictions anyway. Ban them from owning guns? Impossible and irrational constiturionally and legally. Ban everyone from owning guns? Closest comparison there would be Australia, which saw no better movement on homicide and violent crime than we did in the same timeframe (the UK was effectively almost completely disarmed generations ago - Dunblane just closed some small loopholes, and the same is true for them anyway). Video games? Never shown up in the data - as objectively absurd as school prayer as a causal factor.

So until we can get better at individual behavior prediction, I'm not sure listing common factors would be all that useful.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #46)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:35 PM

48. I'm not sure addressing this on an "individual" basis would yield results.

I believe that we have more of a "Community" problem.

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 06:40 PM

50. Oh, let's just ignore the guns? No fucking WAY. Nt

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Response to DevonRex (Reply #50)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:51 AM

54. I see you didn't bother to READ the OP.

Perhaps I should have added :

*Headlong Rush to Judgment without collecting information and contemplating
the consequences of Knee Jerk reactions

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:55 AM

55. Your post was right on. Guns will always exist. No way to stop a lone nut.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 01:49 PM

56. LOL. Bvar: List everything wrong with society

EXCEPT THE MOTHERFUCKING GUNS.

That way we'll get so bogged down in minutia once again that nothing will be done about the goddamned guns.

Just more distraction from the real issue. Look over there everybody!!!!!

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Response to bvar22 (Original post)

Fri Dec 14, 2012, 07:32 PM

52. Add antidepressant use to your list.

I would like to know how many of these mass shooters were medicated for depression. Not that this is bad for all people. For some, it is useful, just like ritalin is useful for the kids who actually need it, but not so for many of the massive number of children who are given it on a regular basis. The same is true of antidepressants. We are a pill culture. Take a pill. You'll be all right. There's a pill for everything, whether you actually need it or not. For some, side effects of antidepressants actually make the depression worse. My brother, now deceased, was one of those. It made him angry and violent, too. Just something I would like to see looked at, too.

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