Going Postal: from the Comments

One of the joys of having a blog with 10 readers is that a bunch of them actually add content.  From the comments to this post (about the Collier Township, PA mass shooting) by CHenry:

Sadly a recurring pattern of tragedy. A mentally ill person: depressed, angry, frustrated and paranoid, socially isolated largely due to the behavioral features of his disordered personality (I say “his” particularly because it is true, most of these mass-killer-suicides are men) and then some event that triggers the lethal cataclysm of violence. It doesn’t even have to be something most people would think would trigger someone to break, maybe the failure of a brief relationship, or something more significant like a job loss.

U. Texas at Austin, Port Arthur, Tasmania, San Ysidro, California, Ecole Polytechnique, Quebec, Kileen, Texas, Dunblane, Scotland, Virginia Tech. All very similar, and there have been many more.

The gun control activists point to the weapons of choice. They have a point: semiautomatic firearms give an assailant a huge advantage of speed in making a body count when turned on unarmed and trapped victims. But even in places where gun ownership is tightly controlled, those with the determination to kill have found weapons of their choice.

We live in a society where it is startlingly easy to be alienated and alone, even in a crowd. For whatever reasons, the ties that bind us to one another, community, family, church, friendship and work are much more tenuous than ever before. People with thought disorders and violent tendencies have probably never been freer, both of the laws that once gave a society powers to confine them and of the observation and social controls that a world of smaller communities once imposed on their behaviors.

The lonely berserk stranger, hell-bent on wreaking as much destruction as possible before his own destruction has become the dark meme of modern living. Going postal.

I don’t see a practical answer to this problem.  Good comment.


Comments

  1. Jabulani says:

    You are both correct.
    For me though, the truest part of this is “We live in a society where it is startlingly easy to be alienated and alone, even in a crowd.” I’ve seen this happen, often to older people and especially in England where personal space is mostly not invaded, particularly if you don’t know the other person. Thankfully I’m a South African (albeit diluted after 20 years of living in UK) and I will talk to anyone. Smiling at someone or saying Hello is free but it might just make their day. Personally? I don’t think I much like our “new and improved” world; it was a much nicer place when there were “the ties that bind us to one another, community, family, church, friendship and work”

  2. It is a very good comment, the shooter had a website, that was taken off after the shooting, but was still available on Google Cache, and was by far one of the most disturbing things I have ever read. On August 2nd he posted the following:
    The biggest problem of all is not having relationships or friends, but not being able to achieve and acquire what I desire in those or many other areas. Everthing stays the same regardless of the effert I put in. If I had control over my life then I would be happier. But for about the past 30 years, I have not
    Looks like CHenry hit the nail on the head. If you feel like reading it, just go on Google, It’s only about 7 pages or so but extremely disturbing. (http://74.125.93.132/search?hl=en&q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fgeorgesodini.com%2F20090804.htm&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&oq=&aqi=)

  3. You know what scares the crap out of me more than guns, more than the lonely stranger?

    The fact that a significant number of the incidents cited, the murderer specifically targeted women.

  4. There is no known solution to this. The idea that people like this just need to have happy thoughts, count their blessings, is about as useful as thinking that if only someone had smiled at him once in a while, then things might have been different.

    This was a disturbed person, who first of all had no sense of how he appeared to others, that his idea of making every effort to be friendly was probably rather creepy and off-putting. Even if someone had been his friend, his counselor, his therapist, it’s likely he would have not understood that kind of relationship either, and maybe they would have been among his victims.

    About all we can do is realize that these people are out there.

  5. Jack Coupal says:

    U. Texas at Austin, Port Arthur, Tasmania, San Ysidro, California, Ecole Polytechnique, Quebec, Kileen, Texas, Dunblane, Scotland, Virginia Tech. All very similar,

    All very similar? In what way?

  6. Jack Coupal asks: “All very similar? In what way?” [In all bolds, no less.]

    Well, lets see.
    All of those places are sites of mass murder incidents. (I’m hoping that is obvious.)
    All of the mass murders were committed by a single gunman and all were male.
    All of the gunmen had histories of exhibiting significant behavioral or psychiatric disorders that preceded their killings.
    All of the killers killed seemingly random victims not known to them.
    All of the killers used semiautomatic firearms
    All of the killers planned their killings well in advance
    All of the killers committed their crimes in their home communities
    Only one survived his crime (Port Arthur, Tasmania), two were killed by police (Austin, TX, San Ysidro, CA); the rest committed suicide at the scene.

  7. My conversational tongue-in-cheek solution that is specifically designed to induce CVAs in members of the hoplophobic minority is to suggest that the optimal solution to the gun problem would be to have the government issue a handgun to every adult, along with a reasonable supply– to me, that’s 1000 rounds for starters– of ammunition.

    I then state that the first six months would be a little dicey while all the yahoos and idiots blew each other away, but after that:

    1. Crime would be non-existent when compared to current rates;
    2. Politeness and “manners” would suddenly be the norm, rather than the exception, and
    3. The average American IQ would go up 25 points minimum.