School Shootings and American Society

A couple of tweets from me in relation to the latest school shooting in the US:

It is understandable that in the wake of something as horrific as a school shooting, there are calls to “do something”. When you have tens of millions of people all calling for something to be done, it is tempting to pretend that what can be done is simple. Take this idiot, for example:

It’s not my intention to re-hash the difficulties of addressing American gun crime in this post, I believe I adequately covered them here. Instead, I’ll engage in a little speculation as to what other factors, aside from America’s gun laws, might be causing the rise in these sort of shootings.

From what I can gather, the profile of a school shooter seems to be a rather weedy, angry, young white male who doesn’t have many friends, can’t get laid, and thinks the whole world is against him. Rather than running around trying to ban middle-aged Oklahoma hunters from buying rifles, we’d probably be better off trying to figure out why these lunatics feel so alienated and how to spot them before they go and shoot up a school. I’ve been reading reports that the FBI received multiple warnings about this latest idiot, but didn’t do very much. Perhaps it’s very difficult to intervene without grossly infringing a citizen’s rights, but I’d be more inclined to cut the FBI some slack if they weren’t expending considerable efforts in trying to unseat the president having failed to scupper his election campaign. If there is one area worth spending serious time investigating, it’s how to identify disaffected young men in advance of them shooting up a school.

Why these losers feel the need to shoot up a school is perhaps more complicated, but the reasons probably can’t be decoupled from contemporary American society and their place in it. Western education systems have become almost entirely feminised, benefiting girls at the expense of boys. Boys are continually told they are a problem, and what used to be passed off as ordinary boy’s behaviour is now treated with drugs. I’ve seen people on social media speculating as to whether the over-prescription of drugs might be a factor here; rather than blame the drugs as a cause, I’m more inclined to think a society which feels the need to pump boys full of drugs to control their behaviour might, in other ways, be creating monsters. Correlation rather than causation, in other words. In an increasingly sexualised society where girls are encouraged to put out while still in school and amateur porn is easily accessible and suffers no shortage of volunteers, awkward young men might feel the pains of rejection even more than they did in previous generations. Perhaps a society in which people gain instant fame for achieving nothing of note drives it, in part? Maybe these boys don’t take kindly to being called racist simply for being white, or told they are basically rapists just because they are male. The number of overlapping and interconnecting reasons might run into the dozens.

Whatever the reasons, young men growing up to be very unsure of themselves and seemingly unable to handle the world around them is a real phenomenon, and in fairness has probably existed since Cain reached his teens. What we can say is that the behaviours we’re seeing from young men, at least in America and the west in general is different – and I’m not just talking about school shootings. Apparently young men aren’t interested in forming relationships as much as they were, and a substantial number uninterested in sex altogether. A lot of them, to put it bluntly, are an absolute bunch of wet nappies.

The other day I came across this article:

Most American parents hit their little children. And most believe that they are doing something both effective and right.

But they are wrong.

The scientific case against spanking is one of those rare occasions in which, over a span of 50 years or so, a scientific controversy actually gets resolved, as various programs of increasingly rigorous research converge upon a consensus conclusion.

And, you’ve guessed it, research has shown that spanking does in fact increase children’s stress levels, as well as their risk for a host of future psychological problems.

Well, perhaps this is what the data shows, I don’t know. But do children and yound adults have fewer psychological problems than in the days when they were spanked at home? It doesn’t seem like it. And here:

Spanking Children Promotes Antisocial Behaviour and Slows Mental Development

We’ve got articles confidently asserting that spanking makes kids antisocial and prone to violence written by people congratulating each other on having outlawed the practice. At the same time we’re all wondering why teenagers are running around massacring their classmates. If I’d written articles like this, I think I’d have had the self-awareness to maybe tone down the celebrations a touch.

I’m not trying to say that spanking kids will stop them shooting up their school when the pretty girl in class turns him down for a prom date. What I’m saying is that societies, and human behaviours within them, are incredibly complicated and can’t be reduced to simplistic, politically-driven soundbites such as “deadly gun laws” and “the spanking debate is over”. Part of the reason why school shootings are likely to be a regular feature in America for quite some time is that too many people will want to engineer society in the hope of eradicating them while failing to acknowledge the damage they may have wrought through decades of similar social engineering. The way things are heading they’ll end up tightening the laws on people with mental illness buying guns, but expand the definition of mental illness to include anyone with thoughts they don’t approve of. This will lead to further alienation and frustration, while the genuine psychos slide unnoticed through all the noise on the radar.

What they need to do is to put all their efforts into identifying the handful of youngsters who will go so far as to shoot up a school, and leave everyone else the hell alone and stop wasting valuable resources cajoling, bullying, and threatening them into political submission. They won’t though, so the shootings will continue.

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53 thoughts on “School Shootings and American Society

  1. FINALLY someone addressed the elephant in the room RE American school shootings: they all take place in “Gun Free Zones”.

    A challenge for all readers, but especially the brits: look up actual FBI crime statistics for murder weapons in the US. Also look up the demographics of our murderers. You will be shocked that (surprise, surprise!) they do not fit the narrative our media has put forth:

    Those eeevil high-capacity murder machines known as AR-15’s? All rifles – a category that includes the most popular rifle type sold in the US known as the AR-15 – account for fewer murders than HANDS, FISTS, and FEET. It’d be a bit more persuasive if those demon guns that give the left the ickies killed more people than human extremities.

    Also, for those who trot out the “look at the UK’s stats – they’re not violent sociopaths like the yanks” argument, the demographic data on US homicide should be enlightening. To paraphrase Milton Friedman: in America among British descendants, we’re very peaceful too. I don’t support restricting gun ownership for black males despite by doing so the US murder rate would theoretically drop to those of western Europe. Why? Because welfare-trapped gangbangers offing each other don’t disqualify innocent blacks’ right to effective self-defense. And disturbed teenagers performing revenge fantasies don’t disqualify my right to have a rifle capable of sport, self-defense, and checking tyranny – especially when my mitts are statistically more dangerous to my fellow citizens.

  2. “…in a country which is awash with guns.”

    Never mind the country, you just described our house!

  3. “Also, for those who trot out the “look at the UK’s stats…”

    In criminology and particularly in international comparative criminal justice, attempts to compare the homicide rate in the USA with the murder rate in the UK are often used as stock examples of the congruity problem.

    While the two rates might superficially sound the same, they measure very different things. No serious researcher would ever attempt a side by side comparison without very complex adjustments and some claim that no comparison is possible.

    And this is dealing with the Gold Standard of crime data. Rates of recording of other crimes are often compared to murder/homicide, because “you can’t have dead body without paperwork”.

    With that in mind, it becomes apparent that any such comparisons in the media are, at best, inept and at worst deliberate misinformation.

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