As much as I hate to admit it, President Stopped Clock got it right while, dancing in the blood himself, he accidently said something profound. Paraphrasing, he said that our reactions to these events are becoming routine.
Consider it for a moment. These things go off like they are scripted. A young male, often on one or more psychotropic drugs, always with some sort of axe to grind, kits himself out with one or more guns and as much ammo as he can carry. He then goes to a gun free zone and proceeds to shoot people until the good guys show up and either shoot him or he suicides.
And when one of these events happens, the reactions are just as scripted.
- The media goes into a hyperventilating feeding frenzy, because, by God, if it bleeds it leads and this is blood on an industrial scale, so we're going wall-to-wall.
- Groups like the Brady Bunch fill in the blanks in their pre-written press releases and start sending out pleas for money.
- Anti-gun politicians start demanding the rights of those who had nothing to do with the crime.
- Pro-gun activists, having learned from Newtown, immediately go on the offense, because we know that if we don't we're going to get steam rollered by those whose emotions demand that they "DO SOMETHING!!!" no matter how useless it will actually be.
In the meantime, the next young man is slowly but surely ramping himself up to act. All the fury that we unleash seems to ensure that a bizarre version of the Werther Effect will take place. (Hat tip to Roberta for that piece of knowledge.)
So how do we break the cycle? Currently, our side is fixated on mental health. If we can just fix our mental health system, we say, we're going to go a long way toward stopping these events.
Perhaps, perhaps not so much. It seems that the mental health professionals, some at least, disagree with that assessment. While spree killers fit an identifiable profile, so do a lot of other people who will never become spree killers. As one of them noted in the quote I lifted for the title to this post, you can't go out and round up all the people who fit that profile.
An article on Breitbart's Big Government site holds forth the notion that the attacks on men, masculinity, traditional masculine roles and role models is the problem. The author believes that the problem is that the normal male urges are attacked, suppressed and drugged into control in our society, and that in a tiny percentage of males, they burst eventually forth in a short fury of suicidal action--a spree killing.
Others in the gunny part of the blogosphere (I haven't went looking, I'm just going on previous experience) will be advocating for legal changes that allow those who wish to do so to be armed any and everywhere they wish to do so. While I support that in abstract, having seen how many people handle guns in gun stores, gun shows and at various ranges, I wish we could attach some substantial and continual professional training requirements to that.
Perhaps the solution is equal parts of the above--better mental health availability, an acknowledgement by society that men and women are different and that's actually an OK thing and some substantial legal and social changes. Perhaps there are some other things we can toss in there as well that would help.
I know that I am tired of seeing people die useless deaths at the hands of spree killers. I'm tired of seeing their families being paraded in front of cameras when they should be allowed to do their grieving in private. I'm tired of wondering if it might someday be one of my kids who dies uselessly because our society has went off the rails somewhere.
I'm also tired of do-gooders who want to shove their "We know best" solution to the problem down my throat. I'm tired of be painted as guilty simply because I'm a gun owner. I'm tired of having to defend myself to those who refuse to even attempt to understand who I am or where I come from.
I suspect that I'm not alone in being tired.
I believe that this "rise of the spree killers" is in some way a symptom of a far deeper problem. In short form, I guess you could put it that our society is rotting from within. As happened with ancient Rome, conquest from without was made possible by weakness from within, and folks, the termites and carpenter ants are busy, busy, busy.