Please read this article, entitled: 2019 Saw Most Mass Killings on Record, US Database Reveals.
The mass killer can be stopped by bullets. No doubt.
Let’s be clear right off the bat. When it comes to how Americans may die, mass killing incidents are still relatively rare in number. Americans are far more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and a host of other ways, than the active shooter. Note: Don’t confuse this with the data available on gun deaths in the US. A reliable search is eye-opening on that subject (unless you don’t want your eyes opened).
The shocking trauma, however, of a person (almost always male) who grows up wanting to kill other people for no other reason than to kill them is, however, deeply disturbing. This phenomenon is far-removed from typical criminal activity with a more discernible motive. It just doesn’t make sense. It is an indicator of a personality deeply fractured in some way. I also argue that it is indicative of a society in need of rapid deployment of resources to try to figure out how NOT to raise a child in such a manner that they end up fractured like that.
While the active shooter can be stopped with a bullet, this phenomenon cannot. Why? Because, if it could, mass killing incidents would begin to reduce in numbers. We would see fewer boys growing up to become mass killers. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. If we keep going the way we are (all of us, collectively, in society) we are simply sitting back waiting on the next incident. We are, in a very real way, resting on our laurels, as the old folks used to say. While we are pulling the trigger to address (i.e., kill) the next active shooter (and we know that another is coming every day, every week, every month), we are doing little to nothing to stop active shootings. That is nothing but a passive, and very amateurish, way of dealing with this problem.
Yes, I know. We have all of our best practices and industry-standard approaches to hardening targets. We have new locking mechanisms. We have our approaches such as “See something; say something.” We are training our employees to be on the lookout for pre-incident indicators. We are using predictive analytics. We are quick to lock in on shiny new gunshot detection technology. We are creating active assailant response plans. We are drilling. We are doing what we can (well, some of us) to stay left of bang. And let’s keep it up. We must prepare all we can.
All of this is still, however, resting on our laurels. Let’s be clear. What is needed is a dramatic effort toward transformative, positive, social engineering to steer this big vessel of society in a different direction. Social engineering is nothing new and is indeed used on a daily basis for negative and positive purposes, on small and grand scales. I’m saying that we leverage it for the positive evolution of society.
How shall we reverse this phenomenon, recreating a society which is dramatically less conducive to violence and particularly mass killings? Do you even believe that we should attempt a re-creation of society? Do you even believe it’s possible? For the record, I do.
I also sense, however, that most people seem to *not* believe it’s possible. Perhaps too many people have simply lost hope, thinking society is too far gone to re-create it in any kind of beneficial way. Perhaps others think that it’s simply a “criminal problem,” and thus it should remain in the domain of law enforcement. As much as I respect (ethical) law enforcement, what I am proposing for your consideration is well beyond the wheelhouse of the typical law enforcement professional. Perhaps some people believe that it’s such long-term work, the benefits from which they won’t actually see in their own lifetime, that it’s not worth it.
All of these excuses, and they are excuses, are short-sighted and dangerous. They are symptoms of a mind that is simply wishfully thinking that the story of our society will somehow write itself or that, come what may, everything is as it is. That’s the mind of a fool.
If you had a family member who was prone to outbursts of violence toward themselves or others, would you simply wait for the next outburst? Or might you seek counseling? And would you make an attempt to disrupt the generational passing-on of this family dynamic that was likely conducive to this family member being violent? Would you strive to make it so that this family dynamic was transformed and not passed on to the next generation and the next?
Would re-creating our society be more difficult than when our founding fathers and mothers created this society in the first place? I propose that the work that needs to be done now is simply an extension of their foundational work.
It’s easy to make a mess, or to be ok with it, when you’re not the one who has to clean it up. What a shitty mess this is to knowingly hand off to future citizens of our society and the world.
American society now finds herself in sad straits insofar as the mass killing phenomenon. According to me, it’s sad, though, not because it’s necessarily occurring, but because there is such a widespread, short-sighted, lack of vision about how to see a higher/deeper horizon toward which we may all aim and work. If we are not genuinely striving toward leaving this world better than we found it, then why indeed are we here?