Monday, 21 May 2018

I'm curious. What does everyone think the root cause/fix for increased shootings in the US is?

So. I've been having a big discussion on facebook about mass shootings. Most people seem to just take the stance of, ermahgod guns and seem to ignore everything else. I believe that yes, we need more gun control-not ban-control but i can't believe that the weapons of choice are the core of this issue. Note: I think at this point an all out ban in the US is impossible. We can't stop there. Hell, maybe it shouldn't even begin there. There is more wrong with our society and it seems like we ignore it.

What are we doing to cause these kids to snap in a way/frequency that we never saw as kids.

Please see comment for my whole ramble, had to cut it down for size limits

What say you SE'ers? Is it the guns, is it something else, is it a combination? What is your thought on the core of the issue?
[NSFW] [ask SE] [+7 Good]
[by Mythtyn@3:12pmGMT]


Bob Denver said[1] @ 6:41pm GMT on 21st May [Score:5 Insightful]
American popular culture likes the rapid and final removal of problems. It is promoted as an effective solution in films and games. Those characters who do so are lionised. There is rarely a negotiated solution. Most highly-visible American heroes demolish their opposition, whether in business or war.

As much as I enjoyed Inception and Altered Carbon, they play to this mindset. I am not saying that they cause the problem—enough research has shown that violent games and film don't incite similar behaviour in the real world. I am saying that they are a symptom—the quick fix that relieves the sense of powerlessness against corrupt authority, vast inequity, inequality, bullies, rejection and humiliation and social isolation. In the face of all of the foregoing, we seek an equaliser of some sort.

I've always defined a cowardly act as one where excessive force is used because reprisal is feared. One sees this in the activities of some police forces' actions against the US African American community, the actions of ICE and the US federal government towards the Hispanic community, the actions of the US military in countries where they don't belong (pretty well everywhere since WWII) and the very existence of the death penalty. Innocent people have died because the governor or the AG has refused to acknowledge new evidence because of fear of losing their political career.

Please note that I am not calling every individual American/ US soldier a coward. I am saying that the national psyche is cowardly and that has influenced people who have not been educated to develop the proper coping skills.
spaceloaf said @ 8:51pm GMT on 21st May [Score:1 Underrated]
"the national psyche is cowardly"
This +1000.

Speaking as a US citizen, the US is the most scared country I've ever lived in. This country is afraid of everything: black people, gay people, women, Muslims, immigrants, the government itself, poor people, etc. People are even scared of health care (e.g. "death panels").

FUD is not just a marketing strategy, its a literal way of life for US people these days. When someone is scared and feels cornered, they will lash out irrationally and disproportionately to the actual threat.

While it would be tempting to put all the blame on the media for giving voices to these fears, I think it has become part of the national character. Even without the mainstream media, we have all these communities on twitter, reddit, etc. where like minded people can go to reinforce their own skewed view of the world. Its self-propagating at this point.
arrowhen said @ 10:57pm GMT on 21st May
I think our problem is that we're a nation that was born in war and never quite figured out what to do with itself when there wasn't a war on. We've always had enemies, and that's always made it easier for us to define ourselves by who we're not -- we're not the British, we're not the Japs, we're not the Rooskies -- than to take the time to figure out who we really are.

We've been defining ourselves by our enemies for so long that we don't know how to do it any other way. When the only options we see are war or identity crisis, it's natural that we'll pick war. And when international politics fails to provide us with enemies abroad, we use our American ingenuity to cobble some together at home out of whatever materials we have laying around.
Bob Denver said @ 2:38am GMT on 22nd May
But, I'm not sure that the USA has always had enemies, any more than anyone else. The story has always been that other countries have hated America because of its freedoms but, with the exception of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour not much else has been done that wasn't a response to something that the US started. Kind of like Batman, who created all of his nemeses after the Joker.
arrowhen said @ 2:45am GMT on 22nd May
That's what I'm saying, we've always had enemies, even if we had to make them ourselves (and sometimes of ourselves), because we don't know what to do without them.
dolemite said @ 7:02pm GMT on 21st May
Well said. And, well, sad.
midden said @ 11:12pm GMT on 21st May
Fear Sells. Targeted Fear Sells Even Better. Weather it's politics, deodorant, or school districts, the total saturation and sub-sub-sub-demografic targeting of modern media has made fear a more effective and more broadly used tool for selling everything. Manipulation via Fear only works when your target feels themselves to be (or hopes to be) clearly distinct from the object of fear. When there were three TV stations and half a dozen news papers that had to appeal to the broad majority of the national population, Fear of the Other was mostly turned outwards at other countries. It's a lot easier to turn that fear inward at each other, these days, when the next-door neighbor you've lived 100 ft from for five years could easily live in as different a social, cultural, and intellectual world as someone living on another continent. Your neighbor is the Other. Fear Them!
midden said @ 3:48pm GMT on 21st May [Score:3 Insightful]
I suspect a big part of it is the "meme" of the school shooting itself, or the public shooting spree in general. There have always been disaffected, deeply troubled kids/people in general, but the outlet for that rage and frustration was more likely to be channeled in other directions. It has happened for as long as humans have had weapons, but, now, when some poor emotionally tortured person is clawing for an outlet for the pressure, one of the options fairly high up on our cultural menu has become, "shoot a bunch of people." The American fascination and addiction to guns isn't the direct cause of the meme, but their wide availability and easy access are factors that have helped make it possible. The pornographic coverage of such incidents makes the meme even stronger.
alloy said @ 5:34pm GMT on 21st May [Score:3]
Culture of winners and losers, turbocharged in the modern age. Breakdown of community and high expectations pushed on adolescents + Easy access to guns.

This is an uniquely American problem created by everything thats wrong in this sosciety.
crwk8 said @ 3:52pm GMT on 21st May [Score:2 Interesting]
Back in 2015, someone at the New Yorker put out a very interesting approach to explaining the phenomenon as a "slow-motion, ever-evolving riot"

I think that even the INCEL violence outburst fits the notions exposed in the article.
midden said @ 4:12pm GMT on 21st May
Interesting. I think the Threshold model Gladwell writes about fits well with my Meme model. The idea is out there and growing stronger. It becomes easier and easier to choose that particular path.
Spleentwentythree said @ 11:44pm GMT on 21st May [Score:2]
lack of girlfriends ( or boyfriends )

seriously, if these social outcasts were getting laid they could deal with most anything else life was throwing at them rather they brooding and lashing out in violence.

mandatory after school programs where they mix it up with both genders working together in common interests, smaller classrooms with more one on one action with their teachers, music and art classes where they can show off talents, school events other then dances, keep them busy and mixing with other people

captainstubing said[1] @ 6:40am GMT on 23rd May
I guess more one on one action with their teachers might help some of them feel better.
HoZay said @ 10:49am GMT on 23rd May
We really need to start paying teachers a lot more.
rndmnmbr said[1] @ 12:15am GMT on 22nd May [Score:2]
As one of those kids who could have been a school shooter...

I had it all. The boiling anger at the "injustices" meted out to me, the social disconnect that let me consider such an act, the despair that nothing and no one cared or mattered, and the easy access to guns. And I think the deepest reason I didn't was that I lacked the will.

There is a reason why school shooters almost always commit suicide at the end of their spree. School shooting is an act of suicide in of itself. The media told me that women and wealth and power are given away for free to everyone, but I wondered why I hadn't gotten mine yet. Everyone harped on about how I was so smart, implying that all I needed for success was built-in, but where was that success? Was there something wrong with the way I was made, that such obvious rewards were continually denied to me? Did the universe that heaped such riches on everyone else not care about me? Have I been lied to all this time?

No one, or at least no one I would have listened to, bothered to sit me down and tell me the truth: I had been lied to, and lied to myself even more. Intelligence was useless without work ethic; only the foundations of everything I needed to succeed was built-in and I would have to consciously develop the needed skills and maturity to attain that much-desired success; everything that I believed would be given to me I would actually have to earn the hard way, whether through hard work and sacrifice for money and power or through changing my selfish, petulant, entitled behavior into something women liked and wanted for relationships; I was young and impatient and had a long life ahead of me to achieve my goals; the media I consumed was lying to me about how difficult life really was, partially because it was escapist fantasy but mostly because it was trying to sell me something; that the world is unfair and unjust and any fairness and justice I sought I would have to find within myself.

And that I should not despair. I was not alone in struggling with my sense of self-esteem and worth - everyone around me was struggling with the same things. Some had it easier than me, by virtue of economic circumstances and better mental health, but they struggled nonetheless, caught in that terrible transition from the selfish nature of childhood to the selfless requirements and sacrifice of adulthood.

And I feel a tiny amount of sympathy for the shooters (but let's be clear, not as much as I feel disgust and antipathy for their actions). They're stuck in the thoughts of adolescence, can't find the needed trigger to bring them to the adult understanding of what the rewards of life will actually cost, and despair. And they hold a gun to the world, partially because the media they consume glorifies senseless violence, partially because they feel it's the only way to make any kind of mark on a senseless and unfair universe, but mostly to end the pain and despair they're consumed with.
jsabin69 said @ 2:00am GMT on 22nd May
I read this and all that stood out to me is that it's the mass social inequality as a root. All those things you were promised but denied without "hard work" the "american dream" if you will are readily available to the rich but denied to the poor and the pull yourself up by the bootstraps is just a myth distracting the poor from noticing while they are robbed by the rich.

As many have noted it's no single factor but I think that the mass inequality is one of the largest if not largest factors leading us here. when one feels hopeless one does desperate and suicidal things. Social inequality definitely leads many to feel hopeless and desperate.
electric guppy said @ 4:32pm GMT on 21st May [Score:1 Underrated]
My speculation: first, it isn't any one factor. The absolutist, black-and-white, "if only X" (if only parents taught their children better, if only there were more CC permits, if only guns were outlawed, etc.) approach is, IMHO, unrealistic and simple-minded. The upside is that progress can be made on multiple fronts and each person who cares about this issue can help by working whatever facet s/he feels passionate about.

Technology in its various forms plays a significant role. I think we (US population at large) are missing a cultural norm or principle regarding the proper relationship between technology and people. What I mean is that, for example, humans have had thousands of years of experience with ethanol, and we have come to a sort of cultural understanding of its benefits and risks, and collectively we have developed some norms about it (don't drive a car while intoxicated, etc.) But it takes a long time (multiple generations) for this societal wisdom to be developed. But the legitimate manifestations of this wisdom take many forms: some are laws, some are lessons we teach our kids, some are social norms, etc.

One facet of technology has to do with the rise of the internet and ubiquity of smartphones as an intermediary for human interactions. Much ink has been spilled wrestling with the implications so this is not new ground. In the meantime, since we haven't developed strong cultural norms about it, we have allowed the mass subordination of people to the technology. Our interactions have changed and we are engaging with others less as humans and more as disconnected objects. That leads to loss of empathy and an easier path to inhumane behavior on many fronts.

Weapons are also a technology, and the same principle must be applied there: is the technology being used in the service of people? This is where I think the rabid 2nd amendment promoters get it wrong. Sure, they are useful tools, but let's maintain the proper subordination of tools to humans. Translating that principle into practical terms is messy like everything else, but we must struggle with it and make improvements here, too.

LurkerAtTheGate said @ 6:58pm GMT on 22nd May
useful tools, but let's maintain the proper subordination of tools to humans.

It's funny, but that was the stance of the NRA prior to the 1970s. The NRA President testified before Congress when the National Firearms Act of 1938 was written, and said "I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses."
rndmnmbr said @ 4:26am GMT on 23rd May
It's sad that corporate money turned the NRA from something cool and good into just another lobbying arm of the gun industry.
backSLIDER said @ 6:38am GMT on 23rd May
Except most of the money for the me a doesn't come from corps. It comes from members. I don't like how they do things, they are pushing a culture war that "fires up" their base but doesn't help convince anyone of their course.
slaytanik said @ 6:45pm GMT on 21st May [Score:1 Underrated]
Just to add something else to the discussion, I found this interesting:

How the American Media Fuels A Cycle of Violence
Mythtyn said[1] @ 3:14pm GMT on 21st May
Below is what i wanted to post as my thoughts in the main post-had to cut it down to character limit:

So. I've been having a big discussion on facebook about mass shootings. Most people seem to just take the stance of, ermahgod guns and seem to ignore everything else. I believe that yes, we need more gun control-not ban-control but i can't believe that the weapons of choice are the core of this issue. Note: I think at this point an all out ban in the US is impossible. We can't stop there. Hell, maybe it shouldn't even begin there. There is more wrong with our society and it seems like we ignore it.

What are we doing to cause these kids to snap in a way/frequency that we never saw as kids. When i was a kid, guns were more readily available, with less gun control and we never saw this.

Is it that we need to fix mental health availability/destigmatization ( i think i just made that word up)? Is social media causing kids not to be able to disconnect, so the problems follow them all day and is always at their forefront? Is it that we don't allow kids to fail anymore, that they expect things to be handled for them? Many kids seem to lash out/shut down when they fail as they don't seem to know how to handle it. Is it that weno longer teach them correct conflict resolution so that they know how handle things? Were parents more involved when we were kids? Is it that we have taken the fear of consequences out of our youth?
norok said[1] @ 4:45pm GMT on 21st May [Score:1]
It goes further back than social media. I was coming up through middle and high school in the 90s when these actually starting becoming a thing. I was in High School when Columbine happened. Everything changed.

The nerds like me and my friends that played Magic: The Gathering amongst ourselves during lunch instead of sportsball became acutely aware that we were being watched more closely that we would not be the next to "snap." None of us had violence in our hearts but there was a good friend of mine that did have a boiling anger inside him. I recognized it and he was even joked about openly, on top of other things, that he might be "our" school shooter. In the final years he was able to turn his anger into art and then dropped out of school.

These shootings, then as now, happened in cycles. There was a clear copycat element to it. The infamy, that their name and their anger would be given a voice by the media was what I believe drove many of them over that edge.

The question back then was the same as it is now, "Why?" To most everyone it was a tossaway rhetorical question. But those that didn't "fit in" knew the answer. The pressure to conformity is tremendous and brutal at times. I think it's the same for both males and females. Males just have a much more narrow outlet.

In the regard that these are all male shooters it's clear that it is a problem in masculinity. Not "toxic masculinity," as calling it such is asinine and counter productive to understanding the problem in an effort to solve it. It's not "lack of prayer in schools" either. It's the much more important overarching cultural element of a rite of passage; an acknowledgement of the value of becoming a man and the responsibilities entailed.

I am very fond of the mentorships in inner cities focused on at-risk youth with absent fathers, criminal families, etc. to try to break the cycle. Normally I'm not a fan of handing over these duties to the government but I see no other way. In yogi's example of Switzerland one thing to note is their compulsory military service. I'm not a fan of that either but when drawing the comparison it has to be considered. We have to teach young men how to be men within our culture somehow... and we're not doing it.

TL;DR. The media giving them fame, a lack of healthy masculinity in our culture.
4321 said @ 3:44pm GMT on 21st May [Score:-2]
filtered comment under your threshold
midden said @ 4:16pm GMT on 21st May [Score:-1 Original]
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Ankylosaur said @ 4:22pm GMT on 21st May [Score:-1 Insightful]
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midden said @ 4:32pm GMT on 21st May [Score:-1 Insightful]
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4321 said @ 6:09pm GMT on 21st May [Score:-2 Unworthy Self Link]
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dolemite said @ 6:46pm GMT on 21st May [Score:-2]
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Jack Blue said @ 3:37pm GMT on 21st May
Guy with gun. Combination how you raise, handle those two.
yogi said @ 4:45pm GMT on 21st May
It's a combo of things, so your query as to root cause might need augmentation. First, though, "weapons of choice" as a term might be misleading; focusing on the mental health issue is problematic (see below; social media is a red herring; and using the word "many" w/o scientific substantiation can add too much weight to a desperate issue;

One factor is availability of assault weapons. That's been shown to be one of THE major factors, and it's a reasons why the HRA lobbied Congress to take funding away from the CDC which substantiates that. So a ban on assault weapons, as well collecting them and getting rid of them would go a long way towards making things safe.

Another huge one is culture: Switzerland, for example, is often held up as a paragon of virtue in that they apparently have a higher per capita gun ownership ratio than us, but a dramatically lower death rate from guns. I think it's clear that the culture--that is, the way the predominant mind-sense in our nation perceives guns--would encompass the mental health aspect.

If you combine those two issues I think you'd go a long way towards stopping mass killings.
backSLIDER said[2] @ 6:41am GMT on 23rd May
The NRA wanted funding taken away from the CDC because the guy in charge at that time had openly said that he wanted to show guns are the problem. But NRA didn't actually get what they wanted. The CDC can and does collect numbers on gun violence.
I completely agree with the culture thing.
HoZay said @ 11:25am GMT on 23rd May
backSLIDER said @ 3:54pm GMT on 23rd May
Meh, you are kind of right. "The Dickey Amendment said CDC can do the research. But they can't use any of these funds to promote or advocate gun control. " So the NEW got what they wanted in that the CDC couldn't lobby.
HoZay said @ 4:02pm GMT on 23rd May
but they did shut down the research. The CDC apparently took it as a funding threat, the effect was that gun violence research hasn't happened since the Dickey Amendment was passed.
bobolink said[1] @ 6:12pm GMT on 21st May
Anyone watched "A Clockwork Orange" lately?
satanspenis666 said @ 2:10am GMT on 22nd May [Score:1 Informative]
Does it count if it's abased on a British book?

There is an extra chapter in the British version of the book, where Alex meets up with the other one of his old Droogs, who his now good. Alex later becomes good due to his own free will. The chapter was taken out of the American version and I like it better this way. I like a plot that doesn't necessarily have a happy ending.
bobolink said @ 2:30pm GMT on 24th May
It counts. America is based on British books with modified endings.
foobar said @ 6:23pm GMT on 21st May
It's the guns.

That's it. Any other thoughts-and-prayers handwaving is just nonsense trying to distract from the fact that America is ridden with uncontrolled firearms, so of course this is going to happen constantly, and will until you start taking them away and locking them up for the very few people that should be allowed access to them.
backSLIDER said @ 6:57pm GMT on 21st May
If it wasn't guns it would be something else. Look at India.
mechanical contrivance said @ 7:09pm GMT on 21st May
Guns make it easier to kill groups of people and they're readily available.
backSLIDER said @ 4:50am GMT on 22nd May
Easier then a car or truck? Easier then a bomb? Easier then poisons? Guns are used because they have scared the shit out of people and become an automatic front page news item.
foobar said @ 7:18am GMT on 22nd May
Yet those all manage not to be issues in other countries.
Mythtyn said @ 10:15am GMT on 22nd May
What about London. No guns, but they just had to ban carrying knives due to the number of stabbings. Can't even carry a locking knife.
foobar said @ 7:00pm GMT on 22nd May
Yet the homicide rate is much lower, and the mass homicide rate lower still.
backSLIDER said @ 6:35am GMT on 23rd May
But it isn't lower then it was before they banned guns. It didn't reduce those.
foobar said @ 5:26am GMT on 24th May
Hmm, nope, there hasn't been a school shooting since, and only one spree killing.

Look, it's really very simple. If you let people have guns they will use them.
conception said @ 7:19pm GMT on 21st May
I think the only problem with that solution is that guns are very low tech. There is no way to prevent people from getting a gun and making ammunition for it - though you can make it more difficult.

80% lowers + jig can't really be outlawed. Outside of the barrel, the rest of the parts can be 3d printed. Bullet technology is hundreds of years old.

Worse - there are terrifying options for people who don't want to put in the effort. Bombs, obviously are the go to. To be followed soon by drones with bombs.

I don't see a policing solution - only societal ones.
foobar said @ 11:43pm GMT on 21st May
Every other country manages it.
backSLIDER said @ 4:47am GMT on 22nd May
Gun have been more or less completely restricted in India for 50 years. Then in the 80's bombings started. They have hundreds of bombings a year. So not every other country.
foobar said[1] @ 7:20am GMT on 22nd May
Most Indians also have to shit in the street. They don't even have a Tim Hortons. Come on now, set your bar a wee bit higher.
conception said @ 9:19pm GMT on 22nd May
I mean... is that true?

Outside of the politics of the various sources there - if you consider the EU as a political entity like the US (rather than per country) it has a lower, but comparable rate. But they still happen with some regularity.

Gun Control I think would help with firearm deaths in general, which is one of the things the US is a leader in, but stopping mass, planned violence? Seems unlikely to deter or stop it.
foobar said @ 3:59am GMT on 23rd May
I mean, I feel pretty safe dismissing out of hand anything that calls Snopes into question.
lilmookieesquire said @ 10:44pm GMT on 21st May
If the King The Mice and The Cheese taught me anything everyone from the fifth grade up needs to have personal child sized WWII styled tanks but limited to anti personnel weaponry- ballistics are only special occasion.

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