Mass Killing Incidents: Is there a Solution?

Karl Popper Problem Solving Quote

Hi All,

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 assailant/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 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.  

Frederick Douglass Quote It-is-easier-to-build-strong-children

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 and 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 from recurring.  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.  This is all very important.  Let’s keep it up.

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 as well for the positive evolution of society.

How shall we reverse this phenomenon by 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, though, that many, perhaps due to a sense of hopelessness, do not think it’s possible.  They simply resign themselves that things are getting worse and that we can’t do anything about it.

Indeed, 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.  I don’t agree with that.

All of these are excuses, and they are short-sighted and dangerous.  They are symptoms of a mind that is simply wishfully thinking that the story of our society will somehow re-write itself without sophisticated human intervention and work, or that, come what may, everything is as it is.  That’s the mind of a fool.

JFK on inaction

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 a mess, 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.  That’s lazy and unethical.

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?

Do I have all the answers to address this issue in such a manner that future citizens, many generations from now, inherit a different society with far less likelihood for boys growing up wanting to kill people for no reason?  No, I don’t have all the answers.  I’m just a lone voice in this wilderness we call society pointing to the need to not simply keep responding to the next active killer, but to also be doing something that we believe is effective to utterly transform the dynamics which give birth to the active killer in the first place.


3 thoughts on “Mass Killing Incidents: Is there a Solution?

    1. Dear Sonya,

      Thank you for your visit and valuable comments.

      I absolutely agree with you. As Goethe reminds us, if we can do something, let us do it. Taking a first bold step often brings with it a hidden power, enabling us to then continue to constructively unfold it further.

      Thank you again.

      All good wishes,


      Liked by 1 person

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