What’s Behind the Frequent Mass Shootings in the United States?

What’s Behind the Frequent Mass Shootings in the United States? August 5, 2019

What’s Behind the Frequent Mass Shootings in the United States?

My fear is that mass shootings are becoming so frequent that many people, perhaps most people, will begin to take them for granted as “just the way things are.” My hope is that a special group of sociologists and psychologists will form a task force and study the shooters to figure out what they have in common and what is prompting them to commit these mass murders.

The only thing I can see that they all have in common—besides the use of guns and the extreme violence—is that they are all relatively young males. (Please don’t post a comment about some female mass murderer; of course that has happened but it is not common at all.)

Some of them are racists, “white nationalists,” claiming to be angry about something related to race, immigration, etc. Some of them are just angry at co-workers (or former co-workers) or a specific church or club or school.

Some of them may be clinically insane; most do not seem to be. (Their actions are insane, but I’m talking about clinical insanity.)

Some people are claiming the problem stems from the easy availability of guns or America’s love affair with guns and violence. Some people are blaming video games. I doubt these explanations—as applying to all or even most of the shooters. Guns have always been around in America. When I was in high school in the late 1960s most of my male peers had at least one rifle and probably also at least one shotgun. I owned a .22 rifle for a while. We were strongly encouraged to take shooting lessons at the local gun club. Rifles and shotguns were cheap and easily purchased at many “big box” stores. I bought mine at a K-Mart. I only used it for target practice and “plinking”—a word we used for shooting at things out in the “woods” or on an isolated farm.

I don’t think anyone has quite discovered the underlying reason(s) for the recent epidemic of mass shootings. The only thing they all have in common is relatively young males as the shooters. There’s a place to begin.

*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*

What is it about young males in America that is prompting some of them to kill so many people?

I suspect that nobody is really studying this because studying males is not an ingrained habit among academic researchers. For many years now almost every university in America has a gender studies program that focuses almost exclusively on females.

There must be some growing psychological problem among young American males. What is it? I’m not a psychologist or sociologist but I know there are many who, if they put their heads together and really studied the problem, might come up with an answer.

So why is that not happening? I can only suspect a reason. Perhaps the answer would not be welcomed by fellow academics. Because of the widespread belief in universal “male privilege” there is a common belief that if females have a problem it’s society’s fault and if males have a problem it’s their own fault. Well, perhaps there’s a lot of truth in that. But does it really help all of us potential victims to use that “male privilege” belief (which I know is not universal) to dampen or exclude serious research into a possible social-psychological problem SOME young males are experiencing in America today?

I am NOT suggesting that the shooters are victims; I am ONLY suggesting that there MAY be some underlying common perception among them that needs to be discovered in which case, if it is discovered and linked to the shooting, educating young males needs to take a somewhat different approach.

Here is something that I suspect and have read some experts saying. When males feel disrespected or bullied or left out they often lash out against others. When females feel the same they tend to hurt themselves. We have paid a great deal of attention to girls and women who feel (and really are) disrespected, bullied, left out, but almost none to boys and men who feel the same. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that most of the mass shooters have something in common, some inner psychological anxiety—whether rooted in reality or only in fantasy—that tips them over the edge into violence against people they mistakenly blame for what they regard as their “plight?”

I also wonder (just curious) if a thorough and in-depth study of the shooters would discover that most of them lacked a strong and good male influence in their young lives.

Okay, now I’m just rambling and guessing. But I am of the opinion that this situation needs more focused and in-depth study on the maleness of the perpetrators and whether there is something in our society that is prompting them to commit these horrible acts of violence now (in recent years).

*Note to commenters: This blog is not a discussion board; please respond with a question or comment only to me. If you do not share my evangelical Christian perspective (very broadly defined), feel free to ask a question for clarification, but know that this is not a space for debating incommensurate perspectives/worldviews. In any case, know that there is no guarantee that your question or comment will be posted by the moderator or answered by the writer. If you hope for your question or comment to appear here and be answered or responded to, make sure it is civil, respectful, and “on topic.” Do not comment if you have not read the entire post and do not misrepresent what it says. Keep any comment (including questions) to minimal length; do not post essays, sermons or testimonies here. Do not post links to internet sites here. This is a space for expressions of the blogger’s (or guest writers’) opinions and constructive dialogue among evangelical Christians (very broadly defined).

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