This is a series of posts I made on Twitter following the shooting in Newtown, CT yesterday. I could flesh them out, but I like them as is, sketchy and impressionistic as they are. Edited simply to correct two typos and expand abbreviations.
Most of the responses to today’s mass shootings, from people I mostly respect, boil down to 1) gun control! 2) crazy people! 3) evil!
Some things I haven’t seen get much attention as factors in today’s killing: 1) masculinity, 2) poverty, 3) individualism, 4) market economics.
Masculinity 1: There’s a reason most mass killers are male. We value men who are visibly powerful and use violence to solve problems.
Masculinity 2: Build your identity around self-reliance, providing, and mastery of violence, and when something’s taken away, boom!
Individualism: We have become a nation where needing help is seen as weakness and dependency and offering help is an affront.
Poverty: There are very few resources for people who need help, and fewer still for identifying those in need: financial, mental, emotional, etc.
Market economics: The market provides, where there’s profit. Much greater motive to provide tools for violence than provide help.
Gun control is probably not the answer to this kind of tragedy, though it might make a dent in the ~10k US gun deaths annually.
Greater mental health resources are obviously needed, but not all mass killers are demonstrably crazy. Killing is often the only sign.
Not all mass killers are evil, either (except by tautology). Killing is a casual part of daily life in our society (e.g. industry, military).
In the end, mass killings are product of a society willing to trade tragedy for low taxes, the illusion of independence, and traditional gender roles.