The Cause of Mass Shootings

Again… and again… and again.

Mass shootings – broadly defined as four or more persons killed or injured in a common or closely-related shooting incident, not including the shooter – have become commonplace in American society. And they happen everywhere: schools, churches, medical facilities, restaurants and other social and entertainment venues – in other words, they occur everywhere. There is no longer any such place as a safe haven. More than half of mass shootings have some connection to domestic or family violence. More than a third of mass shootings involved a shooter who was prohibited from possessing firearms. And in almost half the cases, the shooter exhibited something noticed in retrospect – words or behaviors – that should have indicated that he was a danger to himself or others.

There are those who always do and will lay the blame on the guns, because that is most often the tool used. But, at the expense of being chastised and ridiculed, I submit that the guns are not the problem. Guns in and of and by themselves do nothing – they do not discharge, they do not aim, they do not kill; they do NOTHING. But put that same inanimate object in the hands of a person intent on doing evil and heinous things and the situation becomes different. So which is the cause of the bad deed – the inanimate object, or the person utilizing the inanimate object?

As always, the aftermath of a horrific incident immediately brings out those who call for more gun control. But do you ever notice that those same people never have any other reasonable solution to the problem? Those people never have suggestions related to mental health, or the socio-economic problems that created the shooter, or more effective law enforcement response and intervention, or anything other than “… control the guns and make more gun laws… ” When was the last time you heard the question “Where were that guy’s parents when he walked out of the house with the gun?” or “Why didn’t that guy’s parents know what he was posting on social media?” or “What happened in that guy’s life that caused him to be so angry and violent?”

Or even better, why do we wait until after the horrific incident to think about these things??

If as noted above about half the persons involved in mass shootings were found to have exhibited words or behaviors that should have indicated that they were a danger to themselves or others, why didn’t someone notice or report beforehand?

Do I have the specific answers to the problem of mass shootings? I DO NOT. But I do know that there is no empirical evidence to show that taking away guns or making more gun laws will in itself solve the problem. And I do know that people who are raised and nurtured in an environment that fosters respect and love and sound societal morals and values will significantly reduce the number of the kinds of people who become angry enough and disillusioned enough to go out and start shooting other people.

Here’s another question to ponder after yet another mass shooting:

Has the number of mass shootings increased because there are more guns, or has the number increased because we for some reason have more unstable people who want to become mass killers? And are there fewer mass shootings in other countries because there are fewer guns, or because the people in those countries are healthier and more stable and more resources are spent to assure that harmony?

Have the sociologists and psychoanalysts noticed any correlation between mass shootings and the progression of technology? Have there been more mass shootings since people no longer have to interact with other people on as regular a basis because of social media? Have there been more mass shootings since 75% of top movie box office hits involve violence in some form? Have there been more mass shootings since 75% of the most popular video games involve death and destruction? And have there been more mass shootings since all these technological “advances” have pretty much replaced the simple nuclear family and personal interaction as the norm in America?

There are 30 deaths per day directly attributable to drunk driving accidents, yet I have never heard an outcry for more laws to control alcohol or cars (both of which are the “tools” in a drunk driving accident). We know that more laws are not needed because the other common denominator in those accidents and resulting deaths is the drunk DRIVER and his lack of personal responsibility and accountability.

Yes, these tragic incidents need to stop. But blaming the guns and pushing for more gun control laws is not the answer and will not solve the problem. And the problem will continue until we find a way to fix the issues related to the people who do the shootings.

I’m sorry… but that is the hard truth.

Jon C. Paul, CPP is an independent Security Consultant and Court-recognized security expert, Board Certified in security management. Mr. Paul’s business, Special Service, provides outsourced security consulting and management services as well as litigation support for matters related to security. Mr. Paul’s blog, The Security Consultant, features both conceptual and practical commentary on a wide variety of security-related issues.

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