Is a mob enforcer crazy? How about a suicide bomber? What they do often takes serious planning. It’s not random or spontaneous at all. Mark Manson says maybe we’re looking at our mass killers in the wrong way. Maybe they’re not crazy at all. Maybe they’re just psychopath killers whose methods are indistinguishable what terrorists do. He calls it non-political terrorism. “The cheerleader wouldn’t sleep with me so you all will suffer and die” is little different from “The infidels will die.”
School shooters plan their attacks for months and keep detailed journals gloating about how the coming slaughter will be in the media and terrify the public. This is exactly the effect political terrorists want. And no one says political terrorists are crazy.
An FBI study on school shooters found school shootings are never a result of a crazy person “snapping.” Most shooters do have serious mental health or emotional issues, but they all plan their attacks months or even years in advance. And as they plan, they almost always “leak” information about the attack beforehand, sometimes intentionally, and sometimes in incredibly obvious ways.
I’ve been clean and sober a long time and know someone who had been a mob enforcer. Once he put down the alcohol and drugs and got in an environment where there were people who cared about him and who he could care about, he was just like anyone else.
Here’s what doesn’t get the headlines: Empathy. Listening to those around you. Even if you don’t like them very much. We have come to live in a culture where it’s taboo or unacceptable to simply check in with people emotionally and offer some empathy and understanding. I’m not saying this would magically fix all gun violence. I’m just saying that all of these things — the lack of gun laws, the lack of health care, the inability to have basic conversations with friends and neighbors about what’s going on with them, these are all extensions of a callous and self-absorbed culture that lacks any real empathy.
When there’s a shooting, everyone jumps in with their own agendas.Instead of saying we need better mental health facilities, maybe we could all, in our daily lives, look for who needs help and try to get it for them.
Despite being relevant and important discussions, the glamorous headlines are ultimately distractions — they just feed into the carnage and the attention and the fame the killer desired. They are distractions from what is right in front of you and me and the victims of tomorrow’s shooting: people who need help.