Mass Murder - Not a Gun Problem

Episode V: Mass Murder- Not a Gun Problem

Mass murder is defined as the killing of multiple victims in a single incident, typically using the highest level of lethal technology available to the killer, which in most cases involves one or more of the following: firearms, bladed instruments, explosives, arson, and/or vehicles. 

Most humans must overcome a powerful neural wiring to commit the crime of murder, especially mass murder or serial murders. The human brain is coded for compassion, for guilt, for a kind of empathic pain that causes the person inflicting harm to feel a degree of suffering that is in many ways almost as intense as what the victim is experiencing.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet proclaimed, "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!"

 Humans have created phenomenal architectural structures ranging from pyramids to skyscrapers. We've explored the depths of the ocean and the surface of the moon. We've created works of art that can affect emotions and provoke thoughtful conversations. Perhaps what makes us even more remarkable is that we have this seemingly infinite capacity to achieve remarkable things, and yet our history is filled with violence toward one another. How can we dedicate countless hours to matters of art, science, and other sophisticated pursuits and still commit acts of murder or wage globe-spanning wars?

For most people, killing another person, or many other people, isn't a trivial matter. But there are times when one person ends the life of another that seem to defy reason. What makes that happen? So, what causes an individual to commit these atrocities of mass murder?

Knowing right from wrong is important in the legal world. It separates sane people from the insane. An insane person, by legal definition, is one incapable of distinguishing reality from fantasy, or can’t control his or her own actions. Just because a person demonstrates sociopathic tendencies doesn't mean that person is insane.

A lack of empathy and the drive to seek out thrills can lead to violent confrontations. Many serial killers and mass murderers fall into this designation, they kill because they lack the inhibitions and empathy the rest of us possess.

What about acts of genocide? How do societies justify wiping out an entire subsection of people? According to a hypothesis posed by Ervin Staub, genocide is a result of a combination of environmental hardships and psychological coping. Staub suggests that when times are hard, people look for an excuse or scapegoat. That can include identifying a subsection of the population as being responsible for the hardship the community experiences. Wiping out that population is a way to cope with the hardship. It's a means to solve a problem, even though the solution and problem aren't necessarily connected in reality

What about the rest of us? What could drive us to kill? Since our decisions are based upon both emotions and reason, we can sometimes favor one over the other. In emotionally charged situations, we may allow ourselves to act impulsively, ignoring rationality. These so-called crimes of passion can happen between people with strong emotional bonds. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 30 percent of all female murder victims were killed by their spouses. Another 18.3 percent were killed by ex-spouses. Only 8.7 percent of all female victims were killed by a stranger. The assorted reasons for crimes of passion are numerous. Common motives include jealousy, revenge, fear and anger. These feelings may be conscious or unconscious. The act of killing may be spontaneous or premeditated.

Predicting a mass murder is very hard. Murder is an act as old as man himself. I do not believe that legislation of weapons, particularly firearms is the answer to preventing these incidents. Firearms and firearms ownership is not the problem, people are the problem. Do not fall for the propaganda that is gun control. Do not give up the fight for our rights to protect ourselves, families, and property. The Constitution of the United States and the 2nd Amendment are not guarantees of these rights, they are merely a declaration of these rights. The right to keep and bear arms is a right of all free people.

More to come on this subject next time.