No. 6 Bookworm Podcast : The multitude of reasons behind mass shootings
In my latest podcast and in this post, I examine the myriad reasons behind mass shootings today and — surprise! — none of them have to do with guns.
I know it’s been almost a week since the terrible shootings in El Paso and Dayton, but I’m still stuck on them — perhaps because the Leftists are still using them as a reason to gut the Second Amendment without bothering to to through the constitutional amendment process. I therefore used today’s podcast to discuss the multitude of reasons behind mass shootings, none of which is the availability of guns. Guns are merely a tool nor a motivation.
(You can listen to the podcast below, or find it at Apple Podcasts or at Libsyn podcasts. Or you can read this post which, while not a verbatim transcript of the podcast, covers much the same content. As always, if you like the podcast, please share it. I’d love to have an audience share one day that actually generates ad revenues.)
The primary thing to remember is that guns are not the only means to commit mass murder. Back in 1927, an angry man used bombs to blow up a school in Bath Township, Michigan, killing 38 kids and 6 adults, and injuring at least 58 others. We know from headlines around the world that those intent upon mass murder will use knives, cars, trucks, airplanes, and bombs to kill as many people as possible.
When it comes to murder, human ingenuity is endless. The reality is that man is hardwired for violence. It is the work of civilization that has shut that limited those violent impulses. I recommend two books on that point. The first is Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. The second is Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History Both books explain in great detail our violent past and our impressively less violent present.
So if guns are merely one avenue by which humans express their innate violence, what’s really going on now? Why are we seeing so many mass shootings? I think there are a multitude of reasons for current mass shootings some or most of which tend to be present in all the events we hear about lately. Here are my theories, in no particular order:
Violent Rhetoric. I think in this case, a picture and a movie promo are worth a thousand words:
Fatherlessness. Many (not all) but many mass shooters are fatherless. Indeed, if we expand our horizon outwards from the shooters who go after suburbanites (that is, the ones that get the media all excited) and look at the mass shooters who terrorize Democrat-run inner cities (about whom Leftists care not a whit because there are no votes to be grabbed there), I’d bet that most mass shooters are fatherless.
Fathers are absolutely necessary to a young man’s mental health. Mothers provide love; fathers provide discipline. “Wait until your father gets home” is a stereotype because it’s a phrase with real power.
Among poor people, the welfare state has supplanted fathers. Among inner city blacks, prison has become the default home for fathers, which is why I hope that Trump’s crime bill, even though it will release criminals back into society, will still prove to be a good thing by releasing fathers back into communities. Even among the middle class, women’s increased ability to provide an income has made fathers less important.
In pop culture, fathers are downplayed or erased. It’s ironic knowing now who Bill Cosby really was, but back in the 1980s, people celebrated his show because it showed a black family with a powerful father figure. Most TV shows then and now, whether for black or white audiences, had either done away with father figures entirely or played them for morons. The old idea of “father knows best” was replaced with “Dad is an idiot.” For example, Disney’s very popular Hannah Montana show, aimed squarely at young kids and tweens, had the father as a meaningless, foolish appendage. Also ironically, it turned out Bill Ray Cyrus was playing himself and look how well (NOT) that turned out for poor Miley Cyrus.
The data is pretty clear that boys without fathers are more likely to become criminals and girls without fathers are more likely to become promiscuous. Then these promiscuous girls hook up with those “alpha” criminal boys for a second generation and a third generation and, eventually, endless iterations of that terrible cycle. The bad boys pass through, leaving fatherless children in their wake. The children are then raised by single mothers or subject to the common terrors of violently inclined boyfriends. It’s a sure bet that some of those boys will grow up to kill. They’ll kill for petty crime or to make big statements or because their nihilists, but they’ll kill.
Hatred for men. We have become a culture that despises men — not just fathers, but all men. The current Leftist phrase “toxic masculinity” says it all. We tell our young men that they are violent, hate-filled, stupid, regressive beings that need to be sidelined and silenced. Instead, we should be telling boys that they have wonderful virtues — they’re brave, and loyal, and imaginative, and energetic. Then, we should work on harnessing those virtues.
The Leftist way creates violent, angry, nihilistic men who are completely disconnected from society. The smart, humanist way creates kind, brave people who protect the weak, rather than try to destroy everyone.
A cultural loss of respect for life. For all the Left’s hysterical cries about kids in concentration camps, the point of that protest is simply to open the borders to replace America’s existing voting population. It is not about life. If it were about life, the Left would stop enticing people, especially families, to make the dangerous trek across the deserts and rivers that separate Latin America from North America.
The Left’s real lack of respect for life is shown in other ways. It’s shown by the way abortion has become its central platform. I know from living in the suburbs for decades that the women in my world are pretty conservative — except that they will go to the mat for abortion. It is their central political/religious tenet. It is the one thing, more than any other thing, that activates their political neurons. To keep those neurons firing, the Left has shifted from “keep abortion safe, rare, and legal,” to “abortion should be legal up to, including, and after birth.” That’s not a life cult; that’s a death cult.
The attack on the death penalty is also a lack of respect for life. In my podcast, I bumbled through an explanation based upon my reading of Dennis Prager’s excellent The Rational Bible: Exodus, which I already read, and The Rational Bible: Genesis, which I am currently reading. Here, though, I’ll let Dennis Prager explain it himself:
We are also losing our anthropocentric world view, which diminishes the value of human life. The Bible is about man as the center of a God-created world. Every human life is a reflection of God, so every human life is infinitely precious. Western history has also been a human-centric history. Whether Biblical, Greek, Roman, or Western, we learn about great men (plus a few great women). Sure, most of history has been about slaves and other masses ruled by these great men, but our histories still imbue the men with personality. We’ve seen our world driven by their desires, angers, insanity, visions, etc.
Starting 150 years ago, though, with Marx, history stopped being driven by individuals — that is, individuals stopped mattering — and we were told that it is driven by mass movements of faceless groups and classes. No wonder, then, that Stalin said, or reputedly said, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” Once you start viewing death statistically, you’ve lost entirely any reverence for human life.
Within our own life times, we’ve seen the return of pagan Gaia — or Nature — worship. Leftists in thrall to this belief system openly yearn for a mass die-off of humans or demand that humans cease reproducing. They want to return the world to a presumably Edenic pre-human time. The fact that Nature, untempered by humanity, is red of tooth and claw, that it’s an endless, bloody, violent, painful fight for survival, seems to elude them entirely. All that the Gaia worships know (or think they know) is that humans are bad and Nature is good.
As I understand it, when it came to the El Paso shooter, this kind of Gaia-centric world view, or eco-fascism, was the driving force behind his murder spree. He didn’t want to kill Hispanics because they were inferior, which would be a racist, or white supremacist, view. He wanted to kill them because his environmentalist world view says Hispanics coming to America is putting unneeded, excess pressure on our environment. That’s pure Leftism.
De-institutionalizing the mentally ill. I’ve been grumbling about de-institutionalizing the mentally ill for decades. I remember as a child how San Francisco’s Summer of Love in 1967 morphed into the endless winter of mentally ill, drug-addicted people taking over San Francisco’s parks and streets. Once upon a time, Americans more humanely put people with severe mental illnesses or addiction problems into institutions, where they were safe, clean, fed, and cared for.
There is no doubt that some of those institutions were cruelly run places and needed reform. Thanks to the ACLU, though, we didn’t reform them, we destroyed them and put their residents onto the streets. People with intractable mental illnesses were suddenly left to fend for themselves. They ate out of garbage cans, slept in gutters and doorways, and literally rotted to death before the eyes of people hastening to and from work in downtown San Francisco. The scary ones ranted and raved to invisible demons and, occasionally, acted out by attacking passers-by.
As news reports about Leftist cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Sacramento show, there are more and more of these pathetic people now. It’s entirely possible that the prevalence of marijuana is worsening the situation. I strongly suspect that the young male shooters who pop up in the news on too regular a basis are regular pot users.
It is a cruel, stupid society that does not care for its mentally ill or for those rendered incompetent by substance abuse. Moreover, the more functional ones are periodically going to be very dangerous.
Psychotropic Drugs. In lieu of institutionalizing people, we drug them. We also drug them when they’re unhappy. And, when it comes to normal boy energy, we drug boys so that they’ll sit quietly in classrooms the way girls do and willingly talk about their emotions. The latter class of drugs — the amphetamines used to treat ADD and ADHD — have a paradoxical effect in children, which is to calm them down, rather than rev them up. As the boys get older, though, they find themselves addicted to drugs that rev them up, increase violent tendencies, and generally turn their brains to cottage cheese.
There’s also a growing body of evidence that the other meds so freely prescribed can make people violent and/or suicidally depressed. I believe that most of the young men who engage in mass shootings outside of inner-city ghettos have been on psychotropic drugs (although I know nothing about the past weekend’s shooters). We are medicating ourselves into murder.
The Media. Here’s a bonus idea that I forgot to include in the podcast. In a media age, whether the old media of television or the new media of the internet, everybody, especially young people, wants their 15 seconds of fame. How better to get it than going out in a blaze of glory? Keep in mind in this regard that young people consistently fail to understand that, when they’re dead, they’re not experience that blaze of glory. They always imagine a post-death future in which they are still actively participating — and the media promises them a celebrity they can only dream of in life.
Mass shootings are still extremely rare, no matter what the Left tells us. Nevertheless, it would be nicer if there were no mass shootings, rather than occasional shootings. Getting rid of guns is a meaningless exercise that erases one of our pivotal natural rights without addressing the myriad reasons young people, especially young men, today feel that killing people en masse is a good thing.