Breaking Down the Mass Shooting Hysteria and Blame

This videograb taken from the Twitter account of Derek Myers on August 4, 2019 shows police officers walking behind police cordon following a mass shooting in the popular bar and nightlife Oregon district in Dayton, Ohio. - Nine people were killed in a mass shooting early on August 4 in Dayton, Ohio, police said, adding that the assailant was shot dead by responding officers. (Photo by Derek MYERS / @DerekMyers Twitter account / AFP) (Photo credit should read DEREK MYERS/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States has been rocked yet again by two horrific mass shootings that occurred on Saturday. The first occurred in El Paso, Texas, a bordertown on the US-Mexico border at a local Walmart which killed 22 and injured 24. Then on the other side of the country in Dayton, Ohio outside a local nightclub where 9 people were killed and 27 injured.

The killer in El Paso was identified as 21 year old Patrick Crusius who was arrested by authorities after the shooting. A manifesto published on the online messaging board 8chan has been attributed to him where he states his motive is to stop ‘the great replacement of white America with Hispanic immigrants from Mexico.

The killer in Dayton was shot dead by police within 30 seconds of opening fire. Hours later he was identified as 24 year old Connor Betts, one of the victims of his attack was his own sister. His twitter account was discovered to have tweets opposing Donald Trump and fascism, and supporting Elizabeth Warren, Antifa, socialism and Satan. He had a long history of mental disturbance.

When the motive of the El Paso killer was reported President Trump’s rhetoric repeatedly warning of an invasion from Mexico was blamed for inspiring the attack. Crusius said in his manifesto he held his anti-immigrant views before Trump became a political candidate though was a fan of Trump.

Many prominent supporters of Donald Trump did not immediately condemn the El Paso shooting as motivated by white nationalism and that a crackdown on the ideology was needed. Many conservatives did say this however after the Christchurch mosque shooting in March (the El Paso killer was inspired by the Christchurch shooter).

This time they instead waited for confirmation of the political affiliation of the Dayton shooter. Once it was confirmed he was a leftist Trump supporters said that the left are home to mass murders as well. An example of this was Quillette reporter Andy Ngo who did not mention the shootings until he could hold the left responsible for one of them.

So a blame loop has been created where each side blames the other for the increased gun violence in the United States which has seen 250 mass shootings in the United States in 2019 alone. While the two most recent mass shooters were white there is no racial dominance in the mass shooting perpetrator numbers.

Many people hearing these constant reports of mass shootings from the United States have gone as far as to call the nation a failed state which should come with travel warnings.

The response to this view as well as to the local hysteria has been to put the deaths from mass shootings in perspective with the other causes of death in the United States. The US is a large nation with 327 million citizens so deaths of all kinds will be a greater number than other nations. This was outlined most articulately by astrophysicist Neil de Grasse Tyson.

But this ignores the fact that the sheer number of mass shootings in the United States dwarfs those of all other western nations. So it is not wrong to claim mass shootings as a uniquely US phenomena.

With it reaffirmed that mass shootings are perpetrated in the United States by people from many sides of the political spectrum, other blame factors were then attributed and explored.

The availability of guns in the United States was at the top of the blame list, with calls for Congress to ban “assault weapons”, introduce universal background checks and prevent the mentally unstable from accessing firearms.

The reality of gun control in the United States however is the states and cities that have the strictest gun control laws have the highest number of gun murders, such as Chicago and Washington DC.

President Trump in his first full statement on the mass shootings blamed ‘white supremacy and ‘mental health promising more resources for the FBI and to introduce red flag laws.

Trump also mentioned the least responsible reason for the mass shootings violent video games such as Fortnite. Fornite has 125 million users worldwide, studies have repeatedly shown there is no link between violent video games and more real life violence.

The fact that both the left and the right have blamed each other for the increase in the political aspect of mass violence in the United States is a further demonstration of how polarized politics as become in the United States.

Political rallies are often marred with violence requiring heavy law enforcement. There have been mass shootings at two US synagogues motivated by antisemitism in 2018, a left wing activist shot Republican Congressmen Steve Saclice and three others at a Congressional baseball game in 2017. An Antifa member also attempted to attack an ICE detention facility last month.

The most legitimate explanation I have seen so far for the rise in mass shootings in the United States over the past 20 years is the breakdown of the family unit. 26 of the 27 mass shooters up to March 2018 came from families without either a biological father or father figure.

Fatherlessness is also responsible for other modern societal dysfunctions, violence and crime. Don’t take my word for it, here is Barack Obama’s Father’s Day address in 2008: ‘children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it’.

The broken and decaying city of Baltimore has been in the news recently due to President Trump’s twitter attack on the local Baltimore Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings. The Baltimore Sun which defended their city from Trump’s attack wrote in 2018 that a major factor in the violence plauging the city was fatherlessness.

This reality should not been seen as an attack on alternate families which can still offer stability and nurture.

But we as a society should be fostering and encouraging stable, traditional nuclear families who show their children love and help them through troubled times. Divorce and having children out of wedlock while it should not be stigmatized should not be encouraged.

All political leaders in the United States now agree that these levels of mass shootings cannot continue, that modern US society is in a crisis, but it appears that it is still too difficult to actually explore the causes of this rationally without resorting to partisan shots.

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