It’s been a tragic month for America. Starting in Vegas with 58 people murdered and 489 wounded. Days later a terrorist attack in New York killing 8 more people, injuring 11 others. Not even a week later and a lone gunman murders 26 more (so far, 10 more are in critical condition, 4 others stable). So, can we talk about this yet?
Trump has blamed two of these shooting on mental health (and one on immigrants) but you will forgive me if I don’t trust him to lead the conversation about how or why these shooting have gone from rare events to yearly tragedies to monthly occurrences and now we are heading straight towards weekly mass killings. It’s up to us to show the politicians how to lead by furthering this conversation ourselves. Hopefully they will follow in our example.
So, is this a gun control issue or mental health? Both? Here are my thoughts. The attacks themselves are mental health, obviously, guns don’t kill people without intervention from man and sane men do not kill random people. However, the astounding number of folks that they are able to kill with these attacks is a gun control issue.
I think the evidence for mass shootings being mental health related is that if the shootings were “rational” in the shooters mind then they would be terrorists, there would be a “reason” for the killing. We haven’t seen a manifesto yet. No sane man decides to kill at random for no reason. It’s a “snap” effect built up after years of untreated mental weakness. I’m betting the snap takes place well before the actual shootings. This is why we do see the intricate planning but no meaning beyond personal pain. For months I imagine it’s just a fantasy they live in their heads, the typical “revenge fantasy” ala Death Wish (pretty much all of Charles Bronson’s career really). Then they seclude themselves and after a while they become dehumanized. With no attachments to people, people soon become the enemy. That self imposed solitary confinement is what blurs their reality enough for them to either not think of people as “real people” but characters in the story of their life…or they feel like the solitary confinement isn’t self imposed but instead that they are being ostracized. Then one day life is too painful. They decide that they want out and instead of just leaving they want to share just how much they hurt before they go.
These people aren’t evil. They are sick. If you leave any disease untreated long enough it kills you. But unlike cancer this disease convinces you to take your own life and apparently, sometimes, as many other lives as you can. Sure, many diseases are contagious but this one can kill you even if you have never met patient zero. He can be hundreds of yards away and his illness can touch hundreds others. If that doesn’t creep you out,, then maybe you misread the last paragraph because a disease that not only kills but turns men into killers is horrifying.
Which brings us to the numbers. I don’t think it’s an outrageous idea that the better guns get the more people you can kill. I don’t even want to get into “gun control” at this point. I’m just pointing out a fact that the better weapon you have the more damage you can do. Can we agree to that?