The recent shooting at a Colorado movie theater has left many people in shock, and many more people wondering what motivates a person to commit such horrific atrocities. People need to stop thinking of these mass shootings as single, isolated events. When you examine the history of the past twenty years, enough time for a generation to grow up with mass shootings, you will realize that these are part of a larger phenomena and that these need to be addressed as one entity.
There is a list of shootings that involve multiple victims, and the list is 62 pages long. However, it only stretches from modern day to 2005.
Tuscaloosa, AL July 17, 2012
A gunman stood outside of a crowded downtown bar and opened fire from two different
positions early Tuesday, sending patrons running or crawling for cover. At least 17 people
were hurt. Nathan Van Wilkins, 44, surrendered about 10 hours after the shooting near the
University of Alabama campus, police said. Authorities believe one of the bar patrons was a
target of the rampage and that it was connected to an earlier shooting at a home. (Alabama
shooting suspect surrenders, SFGate, July 17 2012) Chicago, ILJuly 11, 2012
Four youngsters are among the latest victims caught in Chicago’s gun violence epidemic,
including two middle school-aged girls who were wounded in a neighborhood park on the Far
South Side. (Gun Violence Leaves 4 More Chicago Youth Wounded, CBS Chicago, July 11
2012) Dover, DEJuly 9, 2012
At a weekend soccer tournament in Delaware three people died and two were wounded. The
dead included the tournament organizer, a 16-year-old boy participating in the tournament and
one of three suspects alleged to have initiated the deadly violence Sunday afternoon at a park
near downtown Wilmington. (3 dead after gunfire at Del. soccer tournament, AP, July 9 2012)
Chicago, ILJuly 6, 2012
Three people were shot, a 19-year-old man was shot in the calf, a 34-year-old man was shot in
the back and a 24-year-old man was shot in the thigh. The oldest was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in critical condition and the other two were taken to Roseland Hospital, Alfaro said. Someone approached the three on a bicycle and opened fire. (3 dead, 7 wounded in shootings across city, Chicago Tribune, July 9 2012) Chicago, IL10/8/2011
In the span of one night, 3 people were killed and twenty were injured in the city of Chicago.
The injured victims include 10 teenagers, including a kid who was accidently shot by a man showing him a gun. Two men and one woman were killed. (At least 3 dead, 20 injured in Chicago shooting overnight. Associated Press October 8, 2011) Chicago, IL9/2/2010
Four men were fatally shot execution-style in a garage. The men’s hands, feet and mouths
were bound with duct tape. Multiple weapons were found at the scene. (Relatives say slaying of 4 men in garage a mystery, WGN- CHICAGO, September 3, 2010) Louisa, VA8/22/2010
At least four people were wounded and two killed when someone opened fire over a property
dispute. When police arrived, the suspect attacked police and they killed him. Several victims
were family members of the shooter. (Portia Smith, Louisa shootout leaves 3 dead,
FREDERICKSBURG NEWS, August 23, 2010)Hartford, CT8/3/2010
A disgruntled employee, who claimed he had been harassed because he was African-American, opened fire at the beer distribution factory where he worked. He had just attended a disciplinary hearing relating to his theft of beer from the company before the shooting. He killed eight people and injured two before calling his girlfriend and then taking his own life. (Ray Rivera, Troubles Proceeded Connecticut Workplace killing, NEW YORK TIMES, August 3, 2010)
Fox News has another list, mainly from the 1990s and early millennium. Shootings both at school and elsewhere have become so commonplace that they fail to receive the attention they had fifteen years ago.
— Feb. 14, 2008: Former student Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, fatally shooting five students and wounding 18 others before committing suicide.
— Dec. 5, 2007: Robert A. Hawkins, 19, opened fire with a rifle at a Von Maur store in an Omaha, Neb., mall, killing eight people before taking his own life. Five more people were wounded, two critically.
— April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, 23, fatally shot 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, then killed himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
— March 21, 2005: Student Jeffrey Weise, 16, killed nine people, including his grandfather and his grandfather's companion at home. Also included were five fellow students, a teacher and a security guard at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minn. He then killed himself. Seven students were wounded.
— March 12, 2005: Terry Ratzmann, 44, gunned down members of his congregation as they worshipped at the Brookfield Sheraton in Brookfield, Wisconsin, slaying seven and wounding four before killing himself.
— March 5, 2001: Charles "Andy" Williams, 15, killed two fellow students and wounded 13 others at Santana High School in Santee, Calif.
— Nov. 2, 1999: Copier repairman Byran Uyesugi, 40, fatally shoots seven people at Xerox Corp. in Honolulu. He is convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
— July 29, 1999: Former day trader Mark Barton, 44, killed nine people in shootings at two Atlanta brokerage offices, then killed himself.
— April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.
— May 21, 1998: Two teenagers were killed and more than 20 people hurt when Kip Kinkel, 17, opened fire at a high school in Springfield, Ore., after killing his parents.
— March 24, 1998: Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed four girls and a teacher at a Jonesboro, Ark., middle school. Ten others were wounded in the shooting.
— Oct. 16, 1991: A deadly shooting rampage took place in Killeen, Texas, as George Hennard opened fire at a Luby's Cafeteria, killing 23 people before taking his own life. 20 others were wounded in the attack.
— June 18, 1990: James Edward Pough shoots people at random in a General Motors Acceptance Corp. office in Jacksonville, Fla., killing 10 and wounding four, before killing himself.
As you can see, the multitude of shootings reveals that the problem is not single, isolated events. Shootings did occur prior to the 1990s, but they were years and sometimes decades apart. American culture has changed dramatically since then, and has changed even more since the start of the 1990s. Something happened within our culture to make the shootings now commonplace. Because shootings are now so commonplace, they must be regarded as a problem within American culture and must be treated as such. The solution to eliminate massing shootings means that we must find and change the parts of culture that lead to the shootings.
Therefore, I will pinpoint the cultural elements responsible for these atrocities. Because a great deal of Americans are raised within American culture, many share these traits. Cultural beliefs and values can express themselves in many ways.
One element that leads to violence is a disrespect for police officers. When public enforcement of the law is disrespected, then the law itself is disrespected. When the enforcement of the law is not appreciated, then the laws themselves are not appreciated. In the absence of law, violence emerges alongside anarchy. This disrespect and hate for law enforcement is obvious with the Occupy Protests, which claims to represent 99% of the people. I do not know if they represent 99%, but these protests and what they do represent have emerged out of American culture.
Police are investigating an Occupy Wall Street sympathizer’s online threat to kill cops.
A man with the Twitter handle “smackema1” tweeted this message at 11:39 p.m. Saturday, following a clash at Zuccotti Park — “we wont make a difference if we dont kill a cop or 2.”
Cops are also pursuing phone threats to two cops and their families made Saturday, officials said.
Another Occupy Protestor reposted another essay that someone wrote about hating cops. The essay is full of paranoia and offers no facts. Instead, the cop-hater essay encourages the reader to imagine hating cops.
Pretend you see a cop. Pretend you’re doing nothing illegal. Pretend you don’t need police protection. You’re minding your own business, and BAM, you see a cop. What do you feel? Right then. In your gut. On a scale from minus five (fear or loathing) to zero (nothing) to plus five (warmth, comfort, safety).
Think about the stories you just told me. Think about how the cops treated you. Think about their perspective on you that they kept trying to get you to see? What is it about that perspective? What are they feeling toward you? Think about all the cop shows you see. What do the cops feel toward those they encounter? Contempt, at best. More likely hatred.
The essay encourages people to hate cops without any proof or evidence. The essay attempts to encourage people to hate cops with the notion that cops are evil. Yet it offers no facts and replied upon emotion. If law enforcement is not obeyed and not respected, then the laws themselves cease to be obeyed and respected. Thus, the law becomes meaningless and worthless in the hearts of the people. Crime emerges and flourishes. If the law is not admirable, then there is no reason to admire the enforcement of the law. So, if you continue to lack appreciation for the enforcement of our laws, then you contribute to the problem within our culture.
A flyer at the Occupy Pheonix protest stated:
The next time you hear of a police officer being killed 'in the line of duty,' take a moment to consider the very real possibility that maybe in that case, the 'law enforcer' was the bad guy and the 'cop killer' was the good guy.
As I have said, disrespect for enforcement of the law leads to anarchy and violence. At the Occupy Protests, the paranoia of police reached such an extent that women refused to go to the police for help. Instead, they segregated the women from the men.
Zuccotti Park has become so overrun by sexual predators attacking women in the night that organizers felt compelled to set up a female-only sleeping tent yesterday to keep the sickos away.
The large, metal-framed “safety tent” -- which will be guarded by an all-female patrol -- can accommodate as many as 18 people and will be used during the day for women-only meetings, said Occupy Wall Street organizers
Liberals like to demand gun control and banning guns. If guns are such a horrific evil, then why is gun violence considered a beautiful and elegant entertainment? Liberals insist on banning guns, yet they see nothing wrong with evil as entertainment. Movies that have glorified gun violence such as Hitman, Wanted, XXX have developed a culture in which people think of gun violence as beautiful and desirable. And you cannot argue, "it's only entertainment" and then condemn the shooters who entertain themselves this way. Only a person who finds amusement in suffering and death would enjoy a television series in which the main character stalks out victims without compassion, remorse, or mercy, and then methodically tortures them.
The shooter at Virginia Tech posted stylized pictures of himself with guns. A month or so later, previews for the movie Hitman appeared in theaters. The previews featured stylized pictures of gun violence reminiscent of Virginia Tech. Hitman appeared in theaters after the shooting, so that movie by itself could not have motivated him. Instead, that movie appears to take inspiration from the shooter. It blends good and evil, regarding evil as holy. It praises bloodshed "with brilliant execution." Those same people enjoyed and cheered for the same things within the movie Hitman that they condemned within the Virginia Tech shooter.
So, if you think gun violence is great entertainment and if you enjoy watching a person stalk victims and kill without compassion or remorse, then you contribute to the problem within our culture. Serial killers and mass shooters also consider it great entertainment, which is why they torture and kill to begin with.
Video games with realistic violence also contribute to the problem within our culture. These games contribute to the problem for the same reason as movie violence, but more so because they place boys into the game where they can shoot and kill. With the video games, they are participants of the violence and are not merely spectators of the violence. It really bothers and disturbs me when parents buy M-rated video games for 12-year-old boys. Of course, the parents want to cry out, "it's only entertainment." Something evil should never be entertainment. So, if you do not want your boy to commit such violence in real life, why do you want him to entertain himself with participation in such violence? Parents, why do you want your 12-year-old boys to fantasize about shooting and killing people through video games?
So, here we have yet another cultural element. The shooter thinks of gun violence as entertainment. Gun violence as entertainment appears in movies and video games. Both emerge out of the same culture, and therefore share certain cultural similarities and influences.
A generation of young adults have grown up with mass shootings as a part of American life throughout their childhood. Shootings have become a part of our culture in and of themselves. Now, murderers will chose mass murder due to historic precedence. These will kill because others have done it before them. It has become simply the thing to do.
When I went to Michelle Malkin's blog, I discovered another cultural attribute that contributes to the murders. In the news media, there has been more focus on the shooter and less focus on the victims. Perhaps the theater shooter committed the crime for notoriety, and the news outlets are giving him what he wanted.
Many TV viewers have e-mailed their frustration with news outlets running wall-to-wall coverage and photos of the alleged Aurora movie theater shooter. They don’t want to see his face. They don’t want to keep seeing his name.
I share that sentiment completely. While law enforcement officials have not yet released a public list of victims, friends and family members are spreading word on social media about the loved ones they have lost.
Focusing on the killer and not on the lives of the victims makes the killer more important than the victims. There is no attention given to who the community lost. If we do not know who we lost, then we cannot mourn. The families are mourning for who they lost, and as a community, we need to mourn with them.
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