I have seen a lot written about the victims of the shooting, the increased use of military style automatic weapons (and the need for legislation to ban them, etc.), and the increased rate of mass shootings since then. I have also talked with friends and acquaintances who are understandably upset about the "monsters" who cause these horrible events.
But I don't think it's wise to label the shooters as "monsters" and separate us from them, no matter how tempting that can be. After all, we think of ourselves mostly as "nice people" who would never, ever do anything like that! Any suggestions that we have anything in common with such people seems insulting at best and highly upsetting at worst.
For decades, I have found myself adopting a different attitude. Specifically, I don't see these mass shootings as isolated incidents at all. Rather, I see them as an important signal of some very serious problems in our society and culture as a whole! The people who do these things are like the tip of the iceberg, or perhaps more appropriately, the canary in the coal mine (because the canaries indicated declining air quality in the mine by actually dying).
Today, I finally decided to speak out more widely. I'm writing this entry and have sent a letter to the editor at a major newspaper earlier today. Before writing that, I decided to do a quick search of the web for articles related to my theories. It was easy to find something:
"The Shocking an Unexplored Mass Shooting-Suicide Connection" by Scott A. Bonn, Ph.D., Psychology Today February 22, 2018
Even though this was written five years ago, the analysis is still quite relevant, in my opinion. Even with that, the facts still hold, and some factors have only gotten worse:
• There are at least three times as many suicides as homicides.
• Homicides are on the decline, whereas suicides are on the increase.
• Suicide is a social fact rather than an individual pathology.
• Alienating social forces are on the rise (the article I cited & linked above gives a list)
• Mass Shootings are suicides that have become "catastrophic acts of rage and violence."
Meanwhile, the news continues to focus on the politics of so-called "gun control" and largely ignores the huge and complex topic of societal factors that are the motivation! Not only the motivation for mass shootings, but for the increasing numbers of suicides and related "deaths of despair" which includes alcohol poisoning (drinking oneself to death) and other drug overdoses.
To put it bluntly, mass shootings are essentially suicides where the individual is so enraged and despondent, that they decide to take as many other people down with them as they can, as they head toward their own death.
I'm sorry to bring the bad news, but in my opinion, we would do well to gather our courage and face these issues head on, rather ignore or run away from them. I know that not everyone can tolerate or stomach anything related to mass murder, but for those who can, please join me and help in the effort.
I plan to write more about the social factors involved, in another blog post soon.