Originally Posted by Jonathan
Mentally healthy individuals do not gun down 26 people.
The de facto restriction of health care (it's expensive thus hard for people without much money to get) means some people are not getting the help they need. It's entirely possible that something like that coupled with the perception or reality of desperate conditions create an atmosphere of crushing despair that can push people to awful places.
It's all speculation at this point until more information comes out.
Its not a fair reason to point out, a lot of people are trying to make this about mental health care, but its being a simpleton on a cultural problem. Yeah, some people don't get the help they need and its tragic, but others do and shit happens all the same. The Aurora shooter, it turned out, got excellent care from a psychiatrist who is a pioneer in violence prevention. A sense of alienation can be a factor, that perhaps healthcare COULD help with, but not necessarily, and so can the desire of infamy and adoration (mass killers and serial killers are seriously romanticized, and seem to really enjoy it.) We don't know enough to speculate.
And even if its mental illness, mental illness manifests itself in cultural ways. Someone in Florida is not going to get ice madness, and a Canadian with social anxiety disorder or agoraphobia isn't going to be diagnosed as a Hikikomori. When mass killings seem to be a social disease, we should really look for cultural reasons why this happens.
As for the army thing, the thing is, yes, I think generally when we live in comfort, we have an aversion to violence, but we also have a fight or flight response like every other animal. The best way the army gets soldiers to fight is to instill a feeling of fraternity, you look out after your own. Even when people get turned onto violence, they might not shoot if they don't feel like people are depending on them. During the GI Revolt in Vietnam, soldiers who would frag officers were still being violent and still had that sense of fraternity, but they still has a conscious to try and end the violence with the Vietnamese. In times of anomie, anybody can do horrible things. In times of war, everybody can do horrible things, even civilans with no army training (like what often happened during the collapse of Yugoslavia or civilian Nazi supporters).
Originally Posted by AshleyO
Ape. I almost... I ALMOST want to agree with you. That mass shootings such as this could be likely the result of white middle class discontent.
But even I'm not quite ready to make that leap even though so far as I have seen, most of the shooters of the past few decades seem to have been white and middle class. But we must also take into consideration that other kinds of crimes are under-reported or even reported differently.
So I want to say you're on to something, but even I don't think there's enough evidence to draw a conclusion of mass shootings based on class and race.
The book focuses more on serial killers than mass shooters (although they are talked about), but Hunting Humans by Elliott Leyton talks a LOT about factors of class in each study case. I had to read it for the course he used to teach before he retired, and the new professor supplemented with more recent studies, but what I remember is that often, the killers are seeking social status or power over those who have status over them. Kemper, for example, said he tried to only kill women who seemed rich, and was distressed and felt guilty when one of his victims he later suspected was actually poor. Bundy was very much like this, very obsessed with class and status, and sought to exert control and power and vengeance because he wanted to be elite. Can't have it, so must destroy it. Maybe one factor is the sense of entitlement to privilege.