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Do “The Motivations” Really Matter?

Another horrible mass shooting in America on Saturday night. A 72-year-old Asian man went into two clubs and killed at least ten people. He used a Cobray M11 9mm semi-automatic, which allows a killer to fire 30-round magazines in rapid succession. The weapon is illegal in nearly every developed country except the United States.

How did he get it? Probably in one of the ways that people get such weapons, almost always because they want to kill people. That aspect is important. Why he did this awful act is less important, I think, though the human mind always seeks for answers. He apparently had been a dance instructor in one of these clubs, at some point. Was that part of the motive, or was it just that he knew the surroundings?

The man was eventually cornered, and killed himself. So no one can ask him why. Many of these people end up killing themselves. Supposed experts in psychology might come up with theories based on what is known about his life, things he said or wrote. Does it really matter? Again, the human mind wants to know, or try to know. And the people trying to figure it out might think that by unearthing the reasons, if indeed anyone can do that, particularly with a twisted and murderous psyche, this will help prevent more such mass shootings. But I see no sign of it.

Something snaps. Or the mind was warped long ago, and then ultimately it led to this. And then after some articles are written about motives, the story recedes, as we wait with dread for the next one, which will have a different immediate motive , although there are probably some common threads in these. But the obvious similarity is the weapon of mass destruction.

Philip K. Dick wrote the great short story “Minority Report.” It was expanded to a movie, which had some of the story’s elements, and then added other aspects. The essence of Dick’s story was the imagining of a future society where people who were called “precogs,” and had some ability at foresight, could predict which people would later commit murder, though they were not always correct; hence the ” minority report” which might say that there was a chance that the person would not kill.

A society which was overrun with crime decided to lock up anyone whom the precogs listed as a person who would later commit murder, and keep them in some kind of suspended animation cubicle forever/ The murder rate was significantly reduced. But there were two questions: Was this moral for society to punish someone for something he had not done? And what if the minority report were right, in that case, and he would not have committed the act? Where should society morally stand?

Well, we do not have that ability now, but it may well happen. Now, we seemingly have no ability to predict these events; or even if there were warning signs, no legal system to keep the person from committing the mass murders. So the studies about ‘”motivations” do not seem to do us any crucial good.

There have always been bad, twisted, and dangerous persons in the world. But the vast majority oft them didn’t have access tot weapons which could kill hundreds of people. The gun culture in America is the most important problem we face.

And in some ways,though probably not purposely, the search for individual motivations may actually be a distraction and a detour, taking us away from what has to be the real focus, if we wan t to be able to reduce or even stop such horrific events which do not happen at all in many other countries which do not fetishize guns, do not have an organization which spends all of its time trying to sell guns to adults, teenagers, and now children; and do not have a political parry which is obsessed with allowing anyone to buy as many weapons as they want to,.

And which has installed a High Court which continues to insist that the term ” a well-regulated militia” was intended to protect and allow deranged and murderous individuals who want to kill as many people as they can with their guns. And which does not react, when such an event happens, by greatly strengthening the gun laws so that it will not happen again, but which is so afraid of the gun lobby, or so deluded, as to think that it is worse to try to keep these mass-killing weapons out of the hands of anyone who is not a soldier in military combat, than to allow anyone to buy the weapons, and potentially use them to kill people who happened o be in the club or arena or school or movie theatre where the murderer decided to carry out his mission of death.


5 Responses

  1. Other countries have mental health issues, and violent video games, etc etc. Yet, these other countries do not have mass shootings like we do. There’s one missing element…and that is easy access to convenient weapons of mass murder. It seems obvious to everyone except a significant chunk of our own government….

  2. It is so obvious, yet the Far Right and the gun lobby won’t admit it. The media should constantly highlight this glaring disparity in global statistics,, but they don’t, for fear of upsetting the Far Right and the gun lobby and the billionaires whom they elect. The media could turn popular sentiment on his issue if they really wanted to. Instead they wanted to talk about inflation last year, and now it is storage of classified documents. They report the killings, but say very little about the clear causes. This is an appalling abdication of responsibility on their part.

  3. IMO lobbying is a big part; and really what is lobbying (of the financial sort) is in reality bribery. Perhaps if we starting calling them bribers instead of lobbyists maybe we’d see some movement. Never having had much to do with government it seems to me that everything must be bought somehow. True of things no matter whether they are supported by liberals or conservatives.

  4. Obviously, we need strict gun control and enforcement laws enacted in Congress. Obviously, this will never happen when Republicans continue to worship guns and certain Democrats in the Senate continue to love the filibuster.

    Republicans say ‘mental health’, not easy access to guns, is to blame for mass shootings and gun violence in general. We do have a mental health crisis in the US. Yet in their blatantly fraudulent ‘concern’ for people’s psychological well-being, Republicans are trying to destroy programs like Medicaid, which is the largest single payer for mental health services in this country.

    Easy access to guns, yes, but not to mental health care. That is the Republican way. That is insanity.

    • I don’t think that Republicans care about gun violence, unless it were to directly affect them. And i am certainly not hoping for that, but the words of Trump on January 6 were very telling. He said, “Take down the metal detectors. They’re (the insurrectionists) not there to hurt me.”

      I really do not believe that they care about anything butt themselves, maybe their immediate families, their money, an their political power. They have no empathy, and will never vote for major gun control legislation. The best hope would be to convert those who support it, to become single issue voters. Enough Democrats in Congress could pass it.

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