Posted in Thoughts

Why the killings?

Broaching the subject of guns in the U.S.

That’s right, I don’t take it easy on Sunday, do I?

My past life included data analysis. I can look at numbers and spin them to make them say what I want them to say. With that in mind, when I see an article about Why the Killings?numbers and shootings in the U.S. I always take it with a grain of salt and find that one key fact, or fact the article reveals that they really didn’t want to say but had to in order to be legit.

What you do is surround that one fact with everything you want the reader to see, or bury it so far down the article that the reader has left by then with the opinion you wish for them to have. For this article, good information and articles to read are actually at the end.

First of all, we all know shootings and killings happen in the U.S. and with the media coverage, we know it happens daily. Even our president addresses the subject at times. After the recent shooting in Oregon at a local community college, the president called for more gun control. This after over the past weekend there were 50 shootings in his home city of Chicago without a word being spoken by the president. That according to information provided by Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee in a recent interview on CNN.  I’m just pointing out how information and numbers are USED for a purpose. Killings are killings no matter the location or number or by whom. No matter the spinning, the killings happened.

Looking at an article by the Washington post from this year, although it is written to influence readers of the evils of guns, or so it seems in this writer’s opinion and that opinion may be in error, the data given shows the number of owners of gun owners, according to a poll, is decreasing and the number of Active Shooter Incidents has been decreasing since 2010.

That says to me that in the overall, the U.S. is on the way to where it needs to be. So why so many shootings? For one, it’s easier to report these days than it was at one point, at least on a national level. We see it more easily in the media and thus it must be reported to the F.B.I. from which most data for analysis is culled from.

You all know I have issues with media on this subject. A mass shooting happens and the U.S. media coverage becomes a feeding frenzy. It is almost sickens me how they almost seem to thrive on reporting this information. At times the initial information reported is not accurate, but instead of waiting for confirmed details, some news outlets want to beat their opponents to the news punch first. This initial report is at times all the casual news and media consumer pays attention to.

The percentage of assault deaths has been decreasing over the past 40 years as well. But with such a large country, large population, free reign of the media without government interference, everything is show in all the gory details. Well the details we’re given.

So why an increase in mass shootings? That’s what people want to know and what I’ve been asked, although not exactly that way.

There are a few things you can look at and all are opinion. Why opinion? Because if it were the fact that gun owner numbers are increasing, the information in the article doesn’t support that. So we have to look at what is making it happen. I think all of these things work together to give the answer.

  1. Mental instability, not always mental illness. In order to go out and perform a mass killing by shooting you have to have something wrong with you. I don’t care if you pass psychological tests for sanity, that doesn’t mean you are mentally stable. There is something twisted to make you want to do that.
  2. Media attention is given to mass killings. If you do a mass killing and you have the problems in #1 then you are likely seeking attention and want to either become a 15 minute celebrity or a dead note statistic to always be on some list forever.

There are likely other reasons, but those are the two I seem to always think of. Mental instability encompasses so many things. I think I need to clarify what I mean I say mental instability. I also include those who are unduly influenced by life situations to do stupid and despicable things.

What influences these “things”? Well that would be a matter of opinion unless each and every individual involved were truthful during a psychiatric evaluation and knew for themselves why the did what they did. But that’s not going to happen. But let’s look at what might be those things that are not life/mental scarring/altering situations but are still mental influencing things.

  1. Relationship breakups
  2. Feelings of being an outcast and rejection
  3. Economic situations giving one a feeling of nothing left to lose
  4. Anger at political environment/situations

And of course more. But these are what I thought of in this moment. A more recent Washington Post article talks of how there has been a more mass killings than there have been days in this calendar year so far in the U.S.

Here’s the thing about reporting, and I hate to say it because it upsets me that it happens on both sides of the line. The articles lean one way or the other with data spun to support what the writer wants to convey. I know. I was a data spinner. Being a data spinner doesn’t mean a liar, it means you take the truth, report it, but you don’t emphasize the parts you don’t want focused on.

Also according to an article in USA Today titled Behind the Bloodshed, 53% of the occurrences are family killings. Although mass killings in the media always seem to be involving shootings, the truth is stabbings, strangulation, blunt objects, and even house fires account for them as well.

An article by livescience.com  titled Why America Is Prone to Mass Shootings states that even though violent crimes are down, the mass shootings are on the rise.

“Especially some of the younger ones — they want attention,” said Mary Muscari, a forensic nurse at Binghamton University in New York who has studied revenge-driven mass killers. “That’s why you see them wanting to have a bigger head count, a bigger body count, to try to outdo the last one or to do something that is going to cause more of a rise.”livescience.com

In an article on qz.com by Corinne Purtill titled It’s time to change the way the media cover mass shootings, numerous references and links are provided to research about the copy-cat syndrome being real. The final paragraphs are very revealing. Also the study in Vienna, Austria after the great number of suicides in their subway system and what the government did, are very interesting and telling. I encourage you to read the article.

So why so many mass killings in the U.S.? Is because the number of gun owners has increased? Apparently not since that number is supposedly decreasing. So what is it? Is it the because the number of gun related incidents are on the increase? Again, that number is on the decrease, with only the mass shootings on the rise.

That makes me believe it’s not the number of guns in the country, it’s those certain people who own them and their stability of mind with some seeking attention/fame/celebrity.

What do I think should happen? That is one huge article I could write and perhaps I should, not that it would influence any decision making people. People are going to kill if they want to kill no matter what they have to use. I think maybe I will write that other article, just to get it out of my head and system.


Ron_LWIRonovan is an author, and blogger who shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.WordPress.com.

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Ronovan Hester is an author, with a debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling now on available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. "5.0 out of 5 stars: Now, I want to warn you… this is not your typical pirate tale! It’s BETTER!" "5.0 out of 5 stars: Totally unpredictable and a real gem of a discovery - Highly Recommended" "5.0 out of 5 stars: An action packed journey to piracy and revenge – all in the name of the crown, queen and county – set in 1705." He shares his life of problems and triumphs through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of writing, authors and community through his online world has led to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge, Weekly Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

11 thoughts on “Why the killings?

  1. I agree with what you say. It seems that the media hype about mass killings feeds the need for media who are competing with other media. Also, mental instability increased with the Reagan administration and the closing of long-term psychiatric facilities. Another problem is that with economic times as they are, there is not money or sufficient insurance for those who need help and counseling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting article, but the thing I focused most on was your comment about mental instability. Any time there’s a mass shooting (or any other sort of stupid, attention-seeking atrocity that seems to serve no function) there’s always a glut of “We need to ban guns/knives/rocks/whatever implement was used”! “We need to restrict access to movies/video games/books/the internet/porn/whatever scapegoat we want to say inspired it today!” There’s always the 800 screen shots of crying victims or victim’s family members, alongside the obligatory shots of the perpetrator’s family and friends (often with the “he was such a nice boy, I don’t know what went wrong” or “now the heavy-handed police/vigilante/martyr/insert person who stopped the spree here have deprived us of the love of our son/brother/wife/sibling/insert relation here.”) There’s half a dozen “experts” explaining how their pet beef caused the problem and how your vote should swing their way next time the issue comes up to prevent further tragedies, and there’s another half dozen “experts” explaining how it’s all a hoax designed to take away our civil rights.

    And yet nobody ever just comes out and says “Wow. This guy was f**ked in the head, did something terrible, asinine, dangerous, deadly and stupid, and cost a lot of innocent people their lives. So let’s all stop talking about it, stop spamming it in the media and turning them into a posthumous celebrity, kay? And quit with the ‘they were such a nice kid’ videos, because obviously something was wrong with them, and all the times he pushed little Suzie on the swing or how many amazing dubstep tracks they made is not going to bring the people he murdered back to life. Hitler was a painter, but don’t see anyone talking about how sad it is he’s gone, or debating all the laws we should pass so no one else does what he did, do we? And how about you let the victims grieve in piece, and stop using what happened as a soapbox?” And then actually follow through with it.

    Until someone does that, every time some hang-your-hat atrocity occurs (note the “meh” and nonexistent reactions to dozens of folks getting shot in cities like Detroit, Chicago or L.A. on a daily basis…) it’s going to become a numbers game of “how can we spin this to get what we want out of it?” Which is, quite frankly, bloody disgusting.

    Ahem. Sorry. Got a little ranty, there. TL;DR: Not enough people point out that the perpetrators of these kinds of crimes have to be fractured in some way to do what they do; it’s not because there happens to be a gun sitting nearby that makes them do it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ranty is healthy. Perhaps if more people had been ranty things would be different in the world. Also that last article I think, from qz, check that out. The sheriff refused to give the guys name, Said he would never give them the celebrity they were after. Then read want the people reporting did immediately after quoting him.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. While you make some good points (numbers can be manipulated, media has a narrative they want to promote, gun ownership is going down, gun crime is going down, etc), I want to mention 2 things.

    1) It is a mistake to conflate gun crime with mass shootings. Most crime is done by poor people or by those involved with selling drugs. If we ended the War on Drugs and gave everyone the kind of quality education that we actually are paying for and demanded that companies that sell things here must pay people a living wage, the crime would be drastically reduced and gun crime along with it. We won’t do any of that, of course, because too many corporate CEOs get their inflated bonuses from things the way they are, too many police departments get their military-grade toys from the feds using money taken in from the drug war, and too much of our foreign policy would have to be redone from scratch if we stopped attacking those people in other countries who are just selling things here that people here want to buy. Mass shootings are very different because they are almost always done by disgruntled white guys, mostly of the far-right or paranoid type, and those shooters are rarely poor. Dealing with mass shootings will take a different approach than dealing with gun crime in general. What that approach may be is open for debate, but we won’t have that debate because those who love their guns will not even consider that the 2nd Amendment was put in place at a time when there were no local police so it was intended to allow the citizens to maintain law and order, and the main law it was intended to maintain was that of slavery in the South. This is why it uses the term “State” rather than “Nation” or “Country.”

    2) The mentally-ill are far more likely to be the victims of violence than they are the ones doing the violence. This has been shown repeatedly, most recently by Vanderbilt University, which is right here in Tennessee. See this: http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2014/12/mental-illness-wrong-scapegoat-shootings/ So, using the mentally-ill as a scapegoat to avoid talking about the fact that the USA has far too many guns in circulation for any rational needs does not hold water. We need to have this discussion about what to do about guns; every other industrialized nation has had it and they have reduced the number of guns and the number of mass shootings. Allowing these mass shooting to keep going on while people are running around calling themselves “pro-life” is absurd. Any rational person who is actually pro-life ( a label most conservatives apply to themselves) would be in favor of fixing the gun situation in the USA so that mass shootings would be a thing of the past.

    The one thing you said that I totally agree with is that some (most) of the shooters do it for the publicity that it gets for whatever statement they want to make — for the infamy. How you would stop that from happening in a corporate-capitalist society where a very small number of megacorporations own all of the mass media is beyond me. Perhaps someone could sit Rupert Murdoch and Saudi prince who are the 2 largest shareholders in News Corp (which owns Fox) down and explain to them that they would lose all of their assets in the USA unless they stop cooperating with mass shooters; then do the same for whoever is in charge of the other media conglomerates. Then actually cease their assets if they refuse to be good corporate citizens. Of course, this would be totally illegal under current laws and even more so under the Trans-Pacific and other recently-proposed multinational treaties, but it could be done if the politicians actually heard from enough of their constituents demanding that it be done.

    Or we could just let the Australian Murdoch and the Egyptian Saudi and the other foreigners who control so much of the mass media continue to profit from the death of innocent children.

    Like

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