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The Root Cause of Mass Shootings Is the Rage of Alienation
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Mass shootings prompt simple explanations of the gunman’s motivation. At Columbine High School in Colorado, the killers supposedly snapped after being bullied. The guy who shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, was wild-eyed, carrot-topped nuts. After a massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, an anti-immigrant manifesto posted online pointed to right-wing politics. Simple mental illness — if there is such a thing — appears to be the culprit in Dayton, Ohio — also misogyny. But the Dayton shooter’s Twitter feed indicates he liked Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. So right-wing media blames his progressive leanings.

And when there is no obvious explanation — as in Las Vegas in 2017, when the mass murderer doesn’t leave a final message, doesn’t appear to have subscribed to extremist politics and was financially secure but drank a lot and may have bought into internet conspiracy theories — we shrug our shoulders and forget about it. But deep inside, we believe there is a simple answer. We just haven’t discovered it yet.

Gun control advocates want to ban assault rifles like the semi-automatic AR-15 used in so many mass shootings. But even if those guns disappeared overnight, gun-related massacres would still happen, albeit with lower body counts, which would be nice, but it wouldn’t address the big question, the one we secretly ask ourselves after such incidents: Where does the rage come from?

Flailing about in search of the enablers of personal mass violence (as opposed to state-ordered mass violence) is useful as far as it goes. The National Rifle Association and the gun lobby make money with every firearm purchase. Victims of mental illness go uninsured and thus undiagnosed and untreated. Hateful rhetoric, most common on the right and most recently epitomized by President Donald Trump, legitimize the dehumanization of future victims.

In the beginning, though, is rage.

The blind anger that, like the medieval image of a succubus insinuating itself into a previously healthy brain, suggests shooting a lot of people is either a solution or at least a satisfying way of venting, is the germ of the idea that leads to the first shot being fired at a military base, an elementary school, a country music concert.

The rage says, “I hate everybody.” It continues, “I wish everyone would die.” It concludes, “I will kill them all.”

I am mystified by the fact that so many people are mystified about rage.

I have been there. I have hated everyone. I have been so depressed that I didn’t care what happened to me. I was furious at how oblivious everyone was to my pain and how nobody cared about me. I wanted them to pay for it. Haven’t you ever felt that way?

Mostly, it was when I was younger. In junior high school, when I was relentlessly bullied and beaten up and neither my classmates nor my teachers interfered — to the contrary, they thought it was funny — I fantasized about going to school and shooting everyone there.

When I was a junior in college, I spent finals week at the hospital due to a freak injury. Several of my professors refused to allow me to take a make-up exam because they were lazy. I got F’s and landed on academic probation. The following semester, one mean teacher gave me a C-plus, and so I got expelled. I lost my job, my dorm room and thus a place to live and wound up homeless on the streets of New York. Watching people go about their day, smiling and laughing and exchanging pleasantries and buying luxuries while I was starving, I despised them. Of course, it wasn’t their fault. I knew that. What was their fault, in my view at the time, was their active decision to not engage in the struggle for a world that was fair and just, not just to me but to everybody.

I imagine that most if not all homeless people feel that way watching me stroll down the street on my stupid smartphone. They hate me, and they are right to hate me.

The NRA and the weapons business and Congress share responsibility, but what really causes mass shootings is the shooters’ alienation from society.

Why doesn’t America enforce mental health insurance parity? Because the American people don’t care enough to raise enough hell to force our elected officials to do so. If you have ever been broke and needed to see a therapist, you probably found out they charge at least $200 an hour and your insurance company probably won’t cover it — assuming you have insurance. American society’s message is loud and clear: We don’t care about you. Go ahead and be insane. Die. Returning society’s contempt for you is perfectly understandable.

The so-called incel (involuntarily celibate) movement of men who hate women because they won’t sleep with them is a perfect example of society’s refusal to try to understand a legitimate concern. In 2014, an incel killed six people near Santa Barbara, California. “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it,” the killer said in a video he posted before his rampage. In 2018, an incel killed 10 people in Toronto with his van.

Experts recommend writing laws to deny incels access to guns, shutting down their online forums so they don’t work each other up and improving their access to mental health care. Those may be good ideas. But they ignore the root of the problem.

ORDER IT NOW

Obviously, no one has to have sex with anyone. Incels don’t have a constitutional right to get laid. But anyone who has ever been young and sexually frustrated (or old and sexually frustrated) knows that sexlessness can literally drive you crazy. Glibly suggesting to awkward or clueless or physically unattractive men that they hit the gym and get their charm on is just as hopelessly naive as Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign. Feeling condemned to a life without love or physical companionship really, truly sucks, and we could start by acknowledging that.

Rage, I think, comes less from having a problem that feels hopelessly unsolvable than from the belief that no one gives a damn about you or your issues. People need to feel heard. People need to be heard.

Given how callous and unfeeling we are about so much suffering around us and among us, the only thing surprising about mass shootings is that they don’t happen more frequently.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Mass Shootings 
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  1. Hateful rhetoric, most common on the right and most recently epitomized by President Donald Trump, legitimize the dehumanization of future victims.

    Hey Ted! Go fuck yourself. Your Left is far more toxic than my Right. You asshole.

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  2. Leaving aside for the moment the nonsensical comment regarding the “Right”, as already addressed by the above poster, I found the article informative if only because the author has first hand experience with being, essentially, disposed of and from that perspective he’s formulated the first theory of why citizens rage across a wide variety of venues.

    • Agree: Digital Samizdat
  3. anon[339] • Disclaimer says:

    White man’s alienation from his own country? Wow! Ted Rall might have swallowed a red pill; it just hasn’t completely dissolved yet.

    • Replies: @J1234
  4. Very nice — but didn’t all these causes exist fifty years ago? A hundred years ago?

    Why weren’t homicidal rampages as fashionable then as they are now? Mental health care was free and widely available in 1919? This fails completely a an explanation.

  5. Blankaerd says:

    Whites have been ripped away from their culture, their families are broken and any form of ethnocentrism is being drilled into the ground by the government, by schools and by our mass-media of news and entertainment. It’s not weird, then, that whites live in an environment that is so devoid of meaningful social interactions that people do not see killing sprees or suicides coming at all and thus cannot prevent it from happening in the first place. More government will not change that unless you want to expand the surveillance state even further, and even then we’d only by combating the symptoms instead of the root cause.

    Heavy internet use is only a symptom of alienation and isolation and not the cause. Banning websites will not make a difference; people are becoming more and more atomized and that’s why they’re starting to become heavy internet users.

  6. LOL. These were real and not staged.

  7. Biff says:

    Hateful rhetoric, most common on the right

    Plenty of that to go around

    https://www.liveleak.com/view?t=uHpAv_1566096128

  8. @Colin Wright

    “Very nice — but didn’t all these causes exist fifty years ago? A hundred years ago?”
    No.
    100 years, even 50 years ago people had a community, they had family, extended family, they belonged to churches, clubs, organisations & unions. They had mutual obligations. For many, simple survival was an issue.
    Furthermore, the State, the media, & Power generally didn’t have the same degree of intrusion into people’s minds & spirits as today.
    People actually believed in things. They weren’t completely disillusioned by government etc. People also tended to have moral sentiments. Many truly believed in Christianity, & tried to live by its precepts.
    I’m not trying to suggest that people in 1919 were either naive nor wonders of virtue — but things were different, vastly different to today.
    Incidentally, a feeling of alienation from one’s community is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness.

    • Agree: Joseph Doaks
    • Replies: @Colin Wright
    , @Corvinus
  9. @Colin Wright

    “Very nice — but didn’t all these causes exist fifty years ago? A hundred years ago?”
    No.
    100 years, even 50 years ago people had a community, they had family, extended family, they belonged to churches, clubs, organisations & unions. They had mutual obligations. For many, simple survival was an issue.
    Furthermore, the State, the media, & Power generally didn’t have the same degree of intrusion into people’s minds & spirits as today.
    People actually believed in things. They weren’t completely disillusioned by government etc. People also tended to have moral sentiments. Many truly believed in Christianity, & tried to live by its precepts.
    I’m not trying to suggest that people in 1919 were either naive nor wonders of virtue — but things were different, vastly different to today.
    Incidentally, a feeling of alienation from one’s community is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness.

  10. The mental health field is composed of people who don’t KNOW any more than the average person, but have bogus degrees that provide an aura of legitimacy. The DSM is a listing of all the conditions the mental health field has identified and none of them are identifiable via any empirical test. The entire field is one giant opinion / scam.

    These mental health practitioners will invent more and more afflictions and people will readily subscribe to having them to provide a name/title/reason for why they feel their life is unsatisfactory. The mental health field creates the environment for many people to essentially become fashionably mentally ill.

    There are real mental cases running around and no one KNOWS why they exist for the most part. The professionals only treat the symptoms because they’re too ignorant to do anything else and yet they charge $200/hour. Great work if you can get it.

    The majority of people seek out these frauds and then consume brain altering chemical concoctions simply because they’re available. The bulk of people aren’t mentally ill, just stupid and yet huge numbers are on antidepressants or other drugs prescribed by these frauds. The field’s existence creates the larger problem.

    Until such time that the mental health field actually KNOWS what’s causing REAL mental issues, the entire field is just a fraudulent scam that should not be supported in any way by public funds.

  11. Anonymous[308] • Disclaimer says:

    Hey Ted,

    Really great Human article you wrote. Thanks for sharing experiences most keep hidden away and thanks for sharing the insights of those experience. The mass shootings are definitely caused by a sick society. You are right that society shouldn’t institute structures of mass surveillance and social control but actually attempt to reform(revolt?) into more humane lines.

    I once knew a Maoist professor (from rural China and born in the 50’s, so he knew what he was talking about.) I asked him the question most communist and myself dreaded at the time, how do you get people to work in a communist society. His answer was one of the most brilliant insightful things I ever heard. He told me that Mao said “people want to work and if they don’t want to work there is something wrong with the workplace.” Well I think something similar can be said about how people want to thrive and cooperate in life and society and if they don’t want to do that that means there is something wrong with society and their lives. but of course there is always a small minority that is incorrigibly lazy and anti-social.

    Here is some incel culture(https://old.reddit.com/r/Braincels/) for you , they are not evil like some pundits make them to be. If anything they are victims coping with dark and misogynistic humor.

  12. This will not explain the entire problem, but pay a visit to your web browser with the search terms “Homicide Arrests 2019 images” and select the “Images” button. Not many women there, but check the ones that are.

  13. @animalogic

    ‘100 years, even 50 years ago people had a community, they had family, extended family, they belonged to churches, clubs, organisations & unions. They had mutual obligations. For many, simple survival was an issue…’

    I’d say you’re about half-right. There was plenty of alienation back then — and of course at least as much sexual frustration. See some of Stephen Crane’s descriptions of big cities, or Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. Less radically, my dad seems to have written off almost all his surviving relatives by 1960 or so; he didn’t know very many folks.

    Life back in the day may have been better in some respects than it is now — but there were still alienated people. It’s just that they didn’t go get a war-surplus Garand and blow away thirty random strangers on a monthly basis.

    So I’d concede your point — but only partially. I suspect other things are going wrong as well. What, I couldn’t say, but I will observe that humans are social animals, society is an enormously complex mechanism that we don’t understand, and yet lately, we’ve been opening the hood and removing what appears superfluous, rerouting connections to what appear to us to be preferable points, and generally having at the workings.

    Let’s assume you understand your 2014 Japanmobile about as well as we understand the workings of society. Now you get yourself some wrenches and a couple of screw drivers, open that hood, and spend an afternoon improving things.

    Report back and tell us how well the car runs.

  14. @RoatanBill

    Chapeau Many time over!

    The US public are simply oblivious to the horrid damage these fake sciences : psychology/psychiatryare metting out to a hapless/unaware population.

    These clueless charlatans : Shrinks, are behind 90% of the woes befalling US society today, and if one takes the time to do so one will come to the result that almost each and every individual involved in a mass shooting, was himself in psychological “counseling” and or under psycho-drugs.

    They, the shrinks with their rube-goldberg nonsense theories are the culprits who are generating the self-hate behind these events, and they must finally be exposed, add to this the fact that they are all leftists/Democrats with a few minute exceptions.

    AJM

    • Replies: @RoatanBill
    , @Joseph Doaks
  15. peterAUS says:
    @RoatanBill

    The mental health field is composed of people who don’t KNOW any more than the average person, but have bogus degrees that provide an aura of legitimacy. The DSM is a listing of all the conditions the mental health field has identified and none of them are identifiable via any empirical test. The entire field is one giant opinion / scam.

    These mental health practitioners will invent more and more afflictions and people will readily subscribe to having them to provide a name/title/reason for why they feel their life is unsatisfactory. The mental health field creates the environment for many people to essentially become fashionably mentally ill.

    Yes.
    You missed, though, the iron logic behind all that, by TPTBs. Iron.
    Brave New World type of logic.

  16. @Authenticjazzman

    The psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, economists, attorneys, astrophysicists, climate scientists and many more are what I call the ‘Opinion Professions’. All these people do is invent theories about how things should run or how the world works and expect the entire sane and rational population to listen to them. These people have sh** for brains. All they have are their OPINIONS without any empirical evidence to back up their claims. We’re supposed to salute their moronic ideas because they have PhD’s (Piled Higher & Deeper) in nonsense.

    Look at what economists have done. They provide cover for the banksters. They can’t prove anything and can’t even do a proper postmortem on an economic catastrophe without another economists coming to the opposite conclusion.

    Law is one giant opinion. Yesterday, people were imprisoned for marijuana possession and today ‘pot’ companies are floating IPO’s on the stock market. Yesterday you got a ticket for over 55 and today it’s 65 and nothing has changes but the damned OPINION of some jerk in office. Did ticketed people get their money back? Did they roll back the insurance increases for a make believe crime?

    Astrophysicists invent Black holes, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Neutron Stars, Pulsars and other nonsense because they want to keep the ridiculous ‘Big Bang Theory’ alive just a bit longer for them to retire. The priest that invented ‘Big Bang’ out of absolutely nothing wanted to marry his religious views with his interest in cosmology and concocted ‘Big Bang’. Why it ever took off is beyond me as there’s not a shred of empirical evidence that supports ‘Big Bang’. Halton Arp, a protege of Hubble, cataloged numerous galaxies that destroy the idea of red shift equals distance, and red shift is the basis of all modern cosmology/astrophysics. For his heresy, he was denied telescope time and hounded out of the US. He died in Germany.

    Climate Science is in its infancy and yet, the frauds expect the entire world to listen to their bogus assertions. They falsify records, make inconvenient data disappear and concoct models that are so wrong they should be ashamed of themselves. If there were any justice in the world, their degrees would be canceled for outright fraud.

  17. nickels says:

    If there is no God, then all things are possible.
    Duh.

    • Replies: @foolisholdman
  18. Corvinus says:
    @animalogic

    “100 years, even 50 years ago people had a community, they had family, extended family, they belonged to churches, clubs, organisations & unions. They had mutual obligations. For many, simple survival was an issue.”

    Actually, those things remain today.

    “Furthermore, the State, the media, & Power generally didn’t have the same degree of intrusion into people’s minds & spirits as today.”

    Really depends upon one’s perspective. YOU may think there is an “intrusion” here. But for a number of White Normies, who make their own decisions about race and culture because they have a pulse on the nation, they may feel differently.

    “Many truly believed in Christianity, & tried to live by its precepts.”

    We still do!

  19. Bison Bob says:

    The NRA does not “make money from every gun sale”. The root cause of the alienation is the decadent, depraved, divisive, anti-family, anti-White, anti-American, Leftist rhetoric and ideology that have come to dominate US society and culture.

  20. @Jim Christian

    This “epidemic” of mass shootongs is mostly, if not completely, part of the drive to disarm the population. One has always to ask the question qui bono when the motive is not immediately apparent. In this case, there are only two groups that benefit from mass shootings/bombings, namely the “Security Industry” and the “Elite”, who are afraid of what the rest might do to them if/when they find out what their Elites have been doing to them.

  21. @nickels

    If there is no God, then all things are possible.
    Duh.

    Wrong.
    If there is no God, then it is impossible that God made the Universe.

  22. J1234 says:

    Ted said:

    But the Dayton shooter’s Twitter feed indicates he liked Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. So right-wing media blames his progressive leanings.

    Here’s CNN’s take on the twitter feed that Ted mentions:

    In the hours before the Dayton shooting, the Twitter account “liked” several tweets about a shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead, including one supporting gun control and others that called the El Paso shooting suspect a “terrorist,” and a “white supremacist.”
    The account retweeted messages supporting Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as posts against ICE agents, including one that said, “these people are monsters,” and multiple posts condemning police, and supporting Antifa protesters, who often use violent tactics.
    There were also many tweets of selfies, photos with a friend and ordinary memes and nonpolitical content.
    The account was suspended by Twitter on Sunday evening. A Twitter spokesperson would not comment on the account, only saying in a statement, “We’re proactively removing content that violates our policies and will be engaged with law enforcement, as appropriate.”

    In other words, pretty much like Ted’s take.

    But here’s Red Ice’s montage of photo captures of the Dayton shooter’s twitter feed:

    Since Ted won’t want to be triggered or trauma’ed by Red Ice, I’ll read some of the feeds for him:

    -“If you’re nazi-friendly or adjacent, unfollow me cuz nazi’s deserve death and nothing else”
    -“Militarist acceleration – burn the world to the ground to start a new one”
    -“We’re gonna lose an entire generation to youtube radicalization” [common left talking point]
    -“Surprise, the administration is racist” [common left talking point]
    -[retweeted item glorifying antifa terrorist who attacked Ice facility with guns]
    -“Kill every fascist” [remember that everyone to the right of Mitch McConnell is fascist]
    -“Cut the fences down. Slice Ice tires. Throw bolt cutters over the fences.”
    -“I want socialism, and I’ll not wait for the idiots to come around to understanding.”
    -retweeted “….an idea on how to get…young people into politics…It involves ski masks.”
    -retweeted “RIP Andy Ngo”
    -retweeted “I could make a joke about our gov’t, but I’d…rather…you pick up arms.”

    So does that sound like mere support of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and nothing more in a political sense? Not really. So does that mean that Ted Rall and CNN are lying by the omission of relevant information? I think you can figure that out.

    So why does the left and it’s support in the media have such a propensity to distort the truth? I can’t say for sure, but the likely answer is that they are in the midst of a moral panic. It’s a secular moral panic, however, so there is very little prayer or soul searching. There is only the worst of what historic Christianity had to offer: a religious radicalism that worships a select few values, then subordinates most other desirable values to a point where they can be violated for the greater good.

    As to the main topic of the article, Ted concludes:

    Given how callous and unfeeling we are about so much suffering around us and among us, the only thing surprising about mass shootings is that they don’t happen more frequently.

    Hmm. Any idea why there were relatively few mass shootings in the 1950’s? Less suffering maybe?

  23. J1234 says:
    @anon

    Wow! Ted Rall might have swallowed a red pill

    Nevertheless, his columns pretty much prove he should stick to drawing pictures…as simple and uninspired as they are.

  24. marylou says:

    Time to look at Dr. Jordan Peterson explaining the matter.

    Listen to the Professor. Sobering and makes sense.

  25. @Joseph Doaks

    Well this is a touchy issue and a hard one to reach concensus on. I myself believe that gays are born gay, and this coming from an arch-conservative.

    AJM

  26. @Colin Wright

    Why weren’t homicidal rampages as fashionable then as they are now?

    Less alienation then, for a few reasons. One is that the ‘grand narratives’ were still in place then: people believed in patriotism, the Church, marriage, family, gender roles, etc (I’m not saying they were right or that it was necessarily a good thing, just that they did). Another is the relative lack of security: well-paying jobs are harder to get now, things are changing all the time, and there isn’t a sense of community among poor people – if you’re poor now, it’s tantamount to being morally wrong. Another is the difficulty young heterosexual men have in finding a partner; or, if they do, in keeping their wife and kids once they have kids.

    Wow, when I look at it all like that, I feel like going out and shooting a few people myself.

  27. ” Keeping their wife and kids once they have kids”

    This is one of the saddest and heart-wrencing unaddressed societal isues of today, that being the phenomena of untold numbers of women who feel compelled to break up an otherwise functioning and content family for the sake of “Finding themselves”.
    Of course this being a leftist concept and akin to the comunist basic idea of eliminating the family and dissolving the institution of marriage completely.
    I really feel sorry for the myriads of young men who have their, and their kids lives, shattered by these psychotic, egotistical women.

    AJM “Mensa” qualified since 1973, airborne trained US Ary vet, and pro jazz performer.

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