Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Another Horror

      This one worse than the previous mass shooting, though I recoil from the idea that any murder is less bad than any other.

      I'm writing about yesterday's mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.  Nineteen elementary-school children, two adults and one murderer, all dead.  And this just days after an attention-seeking mass killer in Buffalo, NY, a stopped-early attempt in California and what appears to be a gang-related shoot-out in Chicago that killed two and injured eight.

      Wikipedia has a list.  Like any such list, there are plenty of details to quibble over, but that won't make the victims any less dead.

      Public figures all across the political spectrum have all said the expected things.  After years of this kind of tragic attack, anyone who pays much attention to the news knows where they stand and a lot of us have near-reflex responses.  That's not a good thing; no matter what your opinion might be, the events that give a reason to share it shouldn't be as common as they have become.  This shouldn't be a habit.

      I don't have any answers or proposed solutions.  Killing so many preteens is especially heinous.  The apparent racial motivation of the Buffalo murderer is despicable but it's familiar, even if most racists are content to merely wave signs and rant at one another and passers-by.  But once again, the news cycle made the perpetrator famous: name, history and manifesto.  At least now, most of the news services flutter fans and deplore the practice -- but they do it anyway, lest the competition beat them to it.  And when one of these twisted losers gets the spotlight, others too-often follow.

      Twitter succumbed to pin-the-killer-on-the-other-guys, with at least one truly inflammatory red herring achieving brief prominence.  It's not a helpful practice; it just adds to the churn and the glitter of attention.

      The United States has roughly as many firearms as people.  Every single one of them can do serious harm to innocent others.*  Rounding them all up and locking them away is not just impractical, it's impossible.  (And that's without addressing the serious individual rights issue and the likely civil response to such an effort.)

      These kinds of killer -- indeed, most mass and spree killers -- appear to be largely male and between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.  Men in this age range do seem to have greater issues with modulating their emotions, with judgement and impulse control, precisely why armies invented sergeants.  Is that a significantly contributing factor?  I don't know -- but it's the kind of thing we need to start figuring out, instead of shouting bumper-sticker slogans at one another across the scene of the most recent outrage to make headlines, because mass shootings aren't stopping.  Better ways to make our familiar old arguments won't slow the murders down and the next bloody-handed loser is already staring at TV screens, newspapers and websites in rapt attention as they proceed to make Uvalde and the killer there tragically infamous.
* If you're seeing ambiguity over "them" being people or guns, you're right.  Both can do great harm.  Only one has volition.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

The horrifying thing is that this didn't have to happen. Any number of people in the community saw the signs of a spree killing in planning. They dismissed what they saw with the excuse that the kid's a weirdo. They said to themselves it can't happen here. No one reported anything.

So what's to be done. I attended a lecture by retired Lt COl. David Grossman a couple years ago where he outlined his violence prevention program that worked on multiple levels to detect these aspiring spree killers. When such a person is found, he also has program for treating such disorders. Big Gun Control fixates on the fact that he includes armed school employees as the last layer of defense against school violence rather than discuss the features of his program that appear to work.