At the risk of losing some more friends, I feel compelled to share some personal thoughts on the mass shootings taking place on a regular basis in our country. The reason I feel such a strong need to share on this matter is because I think people have really missed the point. Gun control is not the real problem, although it’s become a real problem because of the real problem, and nobody seems to be talking about the real problem.
What is the real problem? The real problem has to do with mental illness, unresolved anger, untreated depressions, and unrelenting feelings of hopelessness. Regardless what your thoughts are, I ask you to hear me out. Right now health care in the United States is a disaster and we all feel it, but mental health care is even worse. Many insurance companies won’t cover it at all. For people like me in the lower middle, help is practically unattainable. So I’m not going to write this from the perspective of the right or the left. Instead, I would like us to try to consider it from the mind of the killer.
Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe I am any kind of a threat. I have no desire to hurt anyone. But I do believe I share in some of the thoughts that lead to these shootings. I’m not proud of them. In fact, for me they are pretty easy to dismiss for more reasonable thinking. But the fact that the thoughts are there give me a little insight into what nobody else seems to be thinking about.
I believe it all started with Columbine. I remember my first thoughts after hearing about that shooting. Inside I knew that that one event would trigger a whole series of other events and it has. Now if you were never picked on as a child; if you were never the outcast trying desperately just to fit in; if you’ve never thought life sucked and wanted to get back at those who made it suck, you probably won’t relate to this. Perhaps to you, these shooters are nothing more than stupid idiots, cowards, and evil people who need to die and burn in Hell. But that is the very thinking that makes these killers want to shoot people.
There’s no way to know the mind of each of the killers, but I feel there are some things the mass killers have in common.
- They each are suffering from severe emotional pain.
- They feel rejected and incapable of fitting in with those around them.
- They have not found the elements in life that make it enjoyable.
- They feel hopeless and suicidal.
- They are incredibly pissed off at the world, and they want to hurt people. The more the better. In a sense they have found a purpose that they are willing to die for.
- They want to get our attention even if they have to die to do it.
Many of us have had some of these feelings especially while growing up as teenagers, but we found resources to help us deal with the circumstances before our thoughts turned to drastic action. People can normally deal with a few items on the list without it ever becoming a real problem, but when a person is experiencing all of them together, you have a dangerous person. All they need now is the instrument to get our attention.
Now if you are angry to the point that you no longer want to live, but you want to hurt as many people as possible, how are you going to do it? Well a bomb is a pretty good choice. Timothy McVeigh certainly was able to get everyone’s attention through a bomb. But since that time, the government has cracked down in all sorts of ways to prevent anything like the bombing of the Federal building from ever happening again. Plus, not everyone knows how or has the ability to create a bomb capable of killing a lot of people. The Boston Marathon bombing killed 6 people along with injuring several others, but I bet they were hoping for more. But once again, we cracked down on that being able to be done again too.
9/11 demonstrated how a mass amount people could be killed using some hijacked aircrafts. But we’ve also grown wise to that. We’ve increased airport security, armed pilots, put pilots behind locked doors and so forth. Not likely that will ever happen again.
Some had some success using vehicles, but people have more time to move out of the way, it’s more likely to only injure people instead of killing them, and the killer more likely to be arrested being killed himself. I suppose a person could use a knife too, but nobody is going to get very far that way. It is unlikely a person will be able to get in even a couple slashed before being put down by some courageous bystanders.
So again I propose the question: If you have hate in your heart and want to kill as many people as possible using only the means you have available to you, how would you do it? The answer is obvious to me: guns. And it can’t be just any guns either. I would need something that can shoot fast and shoot a lot before being reloaded. I would need several of these weapons so that when one jammed or ran out of ammo, I could grab the next one. Once people have a chance to react, I’d be finished.
This isn’t rocket science. It doesn’t take intelligence to kill a bunch of people. It doesn’t even have to take a lot of planning. It just takes a crowd and some powerful weapons. People won’t know what hit them, nor do they have a chance to respond before there are dead bodies everywhere.
Now if I was such a killer, would I be worried about people in the crowd being armed? No, not really. If I knew who they were (like teachers for example), I would want to take them out first. But considering the fact that assault weapons are capable of killing many people within seconds before anyone has a chance to react, a lot of damage could be done before return fire took place. Besides, as the killer, I’m not planning on being alive when this is over.
In seeking a solution, all the above things need to be kept in mind. Primarily, we need to address why people are getting to the point of angry hopelessness that would lead to the desire to carry out mass murder. That will mean making mental health care available to all the people who need it. It will mean watching for warning signs and trying to address issues before it reaches a state of hopelessness. But I also believe very strongly we are going to need to keep certain weapons out of the hands of certain people.
In writing this, I imagine I will offend all sorts of my friends and family. Just about everyone I know are either gun owners or at the very least want the right to own guns. I share many of their concerns. I grew up hunting and I would like to preserve our right to hunt. I also like to spend time on the range shooting at targets, and I want the ability to protect myself and my family. But I do believe it is possible to have these rights to some degree while restricting those rights from those who may be dangerous. This would mean stricter laws as far as who can own weapons.
Our children are afraid to go to school. Throughout the country children are walking out of the classroom protesting on behalf of their own safety. The NRA with all its money is buying up political power in order to secure its right to sell weapons of every kind to anyone with the money to buy them. It has become a real crisis and until some significant changes are made it’s not likely to get better. We’ve got to get help to people who need it and we need to find ways of keeping such harmful weapons out of the hands of such dangerous people. I’m not for taking away guns, but to not restrict who can own them is a very big mistake.
So I’ve said my thoughts. Please feel free to share yours.
What do you think will help put an end to the mass shootings?