'Catastrophic scene' inside Tulsa medical building where five people died in mass shooting
Is there a good resource for understanding what it takes for someone to get to the point of committing a mass shooting? I know people don’t want to lend any air or martyrdom to these monsters, but how can we prevent these attacks without understanding why they happen? America having guns isn’t enough to explain it to me. Yes, without guns these types of attacks would be much harder. But most Americans have access to guns and don’t go on a murder spree.
I’m looking for more than “America sucks”. I want something like a biography. And not an auto-biography.
The Violence Project’s mass shooter database breaks down commonalities between different mass shooting events. It’s more observational than explanatory, so it might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s probably a decent starting point. They also published a book, but I can’t speak to it as I haven’t read it yet. You can also find summary articles of the database’s findings such as this one.
If you want a more biographical writeup, Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold (one of the shooters at Columbine High School), has a book called A Mother’s Reckoning which is about her experiences regarding her son before and after the shooting. Her son was deeply mentally ill, but hid that from her.
Sue’s acccount doesn’t give any definitive answers, but I found it a very valuable read. Since the shooting she has devoted herself to mental health awareness and donates all revenue from the book (she doesn’t want to be seen as profiting from tragedy). Her perspective on her son is also corroborated in Dave Cullen’s Columbine (also a very insightful read), where Dylan Klebold is characterized as deeply depressed, while Eric Harris (the other shooter) is characterized as more pathologically uncaring and malicious.
People kill because they feel it is the best course of action. It’s not a difficult calculation. All you need to become a mass murderer is two things; a hate of the people you are targeting greater than the value you have on your life, and the means to carry out the murders. Sadly American society makes both readily available.
Sorry but that’s the kind of explanation I was hoping to avoid. It’s too hand-wave-y. You’ve skipped to the end where someone already hates others, doesn’t care able their own life, and wants to resolve both of those issues through an act of violence.
What do you want me to do, enumerate the various reasons people hate? To explain how people keep being goaded to increase the intensity of their hate? These are exhaustively documented phenomena that are easily observed.
Also I did not say that the person involved needs to not care about their life. I said they have to have a hate that is more powerful than their will to live. It’s a very important distinction, mainly because it is a much lower bar to clear.
Yes but there's a big difference between "already empirically understood" and "I personally understand on a gut level". The latter is what I'm looking for.
For example - I learned a little bit about how fascism gained popularity in Germany through school. But I know much better how it can happen having lived through a few years of a country idealizing fascism (Trump and his following is literally dictionary definition fascism).
“There is nothing more this community can do for us than pray for the families and loved ones of the victims of this senseless act,”
Thoughts and prayers.
If the defeated inaction around even the smallest changes in gun control and gun cultural in the US are a foreshadowing of the inability to act on climate change, we are absolutely fucked.