A person tends to a makeshift memorial outside the scene of a shooting at a supermarket the day before, in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday, May 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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Arie Kruglanski, University of Maryland

Agonizing questions are being raised by the recent tragic shooting incident in Buffalo, New York, where 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron is alleged to have shot 10 people dead and wounded three. As in the recent years’ similar acts of horror at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, a Walmart in El Paso, and a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, people want to know how such senseless acts of violence can even happen, why they happen so often, and whether anything can be done to stem their dreadful tide.

An easy answer has been to shunt the discourse over to mental illness as the cause and in this way marginalize the problem and identify a ready, if superficial, solution to it: improving mental health. It also absolves the rest of society of responsibility to address a pernicious trend of mass shootings that between 2009 and 2020 claimed 1,363 lives in the U.S. alone, more than anywhere else in the world.

The idea that committing atrocities and killing innocent victims reflects mental illness has been long discarded by terrorism researchers like me. The over 40,000 foreign fighters who joined the Islamic State organization to kill and die weren’t all mentally disturbed, nor were the mass shooters who in the first 19 weeks of 2022 managed to carry out nearly 200 attacks on U.S. soil.

There is a mental and psychological dimension to the problem, to be sure, but it is not illness or pathology. It is the universal human quest for significance and respect – the mother, I believe, of all social motives.

Payton Gendron
Payton Gendron (Erie County District Attorney’s Office via AP)

I am a psychologist who studies this ubiquitous motivation and its far-reaching consequences. My research reveals that this quest is a major force in human affairs. It shapes the course of world history and determines the destiny of nations.

It also plays a major role in the tragic incidents of mass shootings, including, it seems, the Buffalo killings.

Triggering the quest

This quest for significance and respect must first be awakened before it can drive behavior.

It can be triggered by the experience of significant loss through humiliation and failure. When we suffer such a loss, we desperately seek to regain significance and respect. The quest for significance can also be triggered by an opportunity for substantial gain – becoming a hero, a martyr, a superstar.

Both circumstances appear acutely in adolescence, during the momentous life transition between childhood and adulthood, marked by soaring hormones, turbulent emotions and gnawing uncertainty about one’s self-worth. Gendron is 18; most school shootings were carried out by young people between 11 and 17 years old, although the average age of mass shooters is 33.2.

Yet, neither age nor the quest for significance alone can explain the occurrence of mass shootings. After all, the vast majority of adolescents go through their teen years without resorting to murderous violence. What is it, then, that tips the scales for those who don’t?

‘Shortcuts to fame and glory’

The research my colleagues and I have done suggests that a crucial factor in turning a person into a mass murderer is the significance-promising narrative – essentially, a story – that individuals come to embrace. This story acquires its powers of persuasion through the support of the individuals’ social network, the group from which one seeks approval.

The mainstream narrative that most of us follow promises significance and social worth as rewards for hard work, notable achievements and social service.

Yet there exist alternative narratives that offer tempting shortcuts to fame and glory. These identify an alleged villain, scheme or conspiracy that threaten one’s group – race, nation, or religion. The mortal danger being invoked calls for brave heroes willing to sacrifice all on the altar of the cause.

A striking example of such a narrative is the so-called “white replacement theory” that Gendron allegedly embraced. It is the idea that progressive leftists are planning to flood the country with people of color, aiming to disempower the white population and destroy its values and way of life.

The sense of existential danger this theory invokes fuels blind hatred against the alleged usurpers, and presumed conspirators, a loathing that overrides all restraints. It unleashes the rawest, most primordial impulses of which the human reptilian brain is capable. Murderous rage and mayhem are often the result.

In 21st-century America, such toxic narratives not only proliferate but increasingly gain legitimacy and currency within public discourse. Some politicians are quick to recognize the seductive appeal of these ideas, particularly in times of widespread, significance-threatening uncertainty engendered by creeping economic inequalities, the pandemic, inflation and other destabilizing problems.

The wide availability of social media platforms exacerbates the problem by orders of magnitude. In the not-so-distant past, those with heinous views would need to look hard for similarly minded others. But these days, no matter how deviant or morally abhorrent their beliefs, people have no trouble finding soulmates on 4chan, 8chan or Telegram.

First, understand the psychology

This technologically based predicament, and the primitive appeal of violence as a path to significance, make the problem of violence in our public spaces particularly difficult and unlikely to respond to quick solutions.

I have studied this appeal to violence for decades, and I believe that to conquer it requires first understanding the psychology that drives it all. It requires parents to appreciate the dread of insignificance their children may be experiencing, their quest of proving themselves worthy and how the combination of human needs, narratives and networks can produce murder.

It also requires educational and community institutions to provide youngsters idealistic alternatives to violence, to quench their thirst for mattering.

It requires attention to social justice and economic inequalities that leave millions feeling disrespected and left behind. And it requires resolutely confronting hateful narratives, and our demonization of one another.

No doubt, these challenges are a tall order and call for a whole society’s effort, all hands on deck. But if we fail to measure up to the task, murder will not stop. The horrific shooting incident in Buffalo’s supermarket is but a grim reminder of the evil that can happen. Ignoring it is at our own peril.

 

Arie Kruglanski is Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland

Portions of this article originally appeared in a previous article published on March 11, 2021.The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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84 COMMENTS

  1. My bleeding heart also weeps for this poor soul. Give him a haircut. Tattoo a large neon yellow “L” on his forehead and throw him Attica. Then forget about him. Just me.

    • Yeah, and most of the other gun violence on the street is gang-related? Last time I looked Organized Crime Gangs of either the Mob or belonging to neighborhood punk street gangs is already illegal in and of itself so any membership or active affiliation with a criminal gang is a crime in progress.?

      So why aren’t these gang members being prosecuted and ‘red-flagged’ and ‘prevented from gang-banging’ just like they are doingwith lone mentally deranged killers like this punk here? If not just round them all up, arrest and criminally prosecute, evidence of current membership is all that’s needed for a crime–and this is very easy to verify. They never hide it, and gang affiliations on on record in any department. And most big cities already have ‘gang crime units’ dedicated to this info. With today’s technology they could track and monitor the location of any designated known gang member’s location in proximity to each other and immediately intercept and investigate, along with all suspicious activity, contacts, and anything they say on their cell phones? This should be the first and foremost ‘Red Flag’ prosecution if you really want to get it right.

      Instead of doing REAL rights violating unconstitutional so called ‘domestic terrorist’ red flag laws for white supremists or that latest other wack job disarmament scheme as one of those imaginary ‘replacement theorists’, and law-abiding persons who bought triggers and unserialized lowers and want to make their own firearms to save a few bucks in a regime induced inflated economy?

      Then they can solve and and future prevent an amazing amount of shootings and street problems and etc. with GANG Control instead of gun control!

      That is, if this Marxist anti-2nd/A g really waned to curb the gun violence? But they won’t. Because they don’t really care that street gang gun violence hurts anybody because they WANT it to because they use it to forward their real agenda of banning ALL guns from Everybody!

      • Buffalo Shooter Was a Left-Leaning COVID Nazi, Wore Hazmat Suit to School

        https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/kevindowneyjr/2022/05/19/mad-vax-yo-buffalo-shooter-was-a-left-leaning-covid-nazi-wore-hazmat-suit-to-school-n1599100

        “As PJ Media’s own Matt Margolis reported, the shooter’s manifesto claims he was anything BUT a conservative. He wrote this about his political leanings:

        When I was 12 I was deep into communist ideology, talk to anyone from my old highschool and ask about me and you will hear that. From age 15 to 18 however, I consistently moved farther to the right. On the political compass I fall in the mild-moderate authoritarian left category, and I would prefer to be called a populist.

        Later on in the manifesto, he continued:

        I would prefer to call myself a populist. But you can call me an ethno-nationalist eco-fascist national socialist if you want, I wouldn’t disagree with you.

        Matt Margolis also noted:

        He [the shooter] also repeatedly attacks capitalists, and rejected the conservative label because, he wrote, “conservativism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it.

        In addition, the Buffalo shooter had some not-so-nice things to say about Fox News regarding the hiring of Jewish people.

        If you’re still not convinced this wackjob is a lefty, his family is now stating that the gunman lived in a seemingly constant state of COVID-19 panic. A cousin of his mother told reporters the shooter “bought into the fear of COVID.” She claims he wore a respirator mask to family functions and an entire hazmat suit to school.

        “And then he got COVID just a few weeks ago,” the cousin told reporters. “He went to family functions with a respirator mask on. He totally wasn’t going to get COVID, and then he got COVID.”

        “They were vaxxed to the max,” the cousin continued. “I don’t know if it was a bad case, I just know he caught it.””

  2. There is no way you will convince me a mass murderer is simply looking for nothing but significance. Everyone searches for meaning in their lives, any kind of meaning – personal relationships, careers, etc. Virtually no one ever in the history of humanity goes on a murder spree. The ones who do have a GD screw loose.

    Sick of “experts” like this making excuses for reality. Not surprised a professor wrote this.

    • Colonel Travis,

      Your suggestion that all mass murderers have a screw loose depends on your specific definition of having a screw loose. Regardless, I think it is much more useful to recognize the fact that many people simply embrace evil and intentionally cause pain and suffering.

      In some cases people cause pain and suffering for the simple “reason” that, if they cannot be happy, they don’t want anyone else to be happy either. In other cases people cause pain and suffering because they feel “powerful” being able to cause such strong emotional responses in their victims. In still other cases people cause pain and suffering in the course of achieving some goal (such as attaining riches). Finally, some people cause pain and suffering because they are pure evil.

      Is it possible to head-off some people who would otherwise go on to be spree killers? Perhaps. I believe the greatest chance of that requires traditional, stable, loving, and responsible families raising children with love, support, and responsibility. Beyond that, the best answer is to be ready to respond effectively to attacks which are, sadly, part of the human experience.

    • There is a lot that this doctor said which was flat out wrong, but I think he may be on to something. There are many instances in history where people are happy to do what is normally considered evil without being insane. This happened in regimes like the NAZIs, Soviet Union, Fascist Italy, and many others. Given an ideology and sanction from pears (in those cases regimes) people committed mass murder on a scale that this 18 year old cannot even imagine. Not only bureaucrats signed orders to kill thousands or millions (in peacetime), but there were people who were committing the actual act of murder in the name of their ideology. So it is not far fetched to say that an adherent of particular philosophy/ideology that he has found on social media, sanctioned by peers on social media, caused him to act out. It does not exclude psychopathy of some some sort as well, but it may not be necessary for him to have done an act that he sees as righteous.

      • I didn’t say the person had to be insane. Those who are clinically insane are incapable of understanding the decisions they make. But when you kill like this a-hole, you clearly do not have a moral compass. That, also, is a mental issue.

        Like most or all of us here, I carry every day and have guns all over the house. Not once have I gone on a murder spree. Now what makes me different than those who do?

        • Col. I have news for you. There is no such medical term as “clinically insane”. Insane is a legal term.

      • I don’t think it was pears that are the sole cause of trouble . Apples have a bloody lot to answer for as well. Look at what happened to poor old Adam when his missus, who had the odd talent for communicating with reptilians, went and ate one. They both hads to put their kecks on for a start! ANd what a bunch of kids they had! The boys had to go bugger off to the LAND of NOD for their oats and then took to fratercide. Did A and have any daughters? if not why not. If that wasn’t bad enough ‘Bloody Giants had to get involved in the gene pool I bet bthat hurt their feelings and not just their feelings either. What a load of utter bullsocks!.

  3. You know, as a beneficiary of higher education myself, I generally approve of it whenever done right. But this egghead, he’s all wet. This is how the coddling of criminals begins.

  4. “…It is the idea that progressive leftists are planning to flood the country with people..”

    Illegal Aliens….and it’s not just an idea, it’s being done. As to the why? Who knows what the reasons are but there is no doubt it is being done on purpose.

  5. “it is not illness or pathology. It is the universal human quest for significance and respect” Reasonable start.

    “significance and social worth [are] rewards for hard work, notable achievements and social service.” Even better: the problem isn’t the quest for respect, but the lack of “questing” – the sense of entitlement to what one has not earned.

    “It requires attention to social justice and economic inequalities” Fail Your solution to entitlement-driven violence is to increase subsidies for the entitled? To continue to promote the “self esteem by handout” narrative rather than teach that the only legitimate basis for self respect is development of a respectable self?

    So close, yet so far.

    • This punk kid was driven by the oldest lie in the universe: I will ascend, I will be like God”. Only one problem…. there is but one God and He answers to no one but His own standards. Significance IS a driving force, and a powerful one at that. I quickly think back over the long train of murderers, both the types this kid fits, and the nutjob tyrants that took over natioins and cultures and ran them. And tried to subvert any others they could. ALL were after notoriety and glory they never earned, nor were worthy of. This kid included.

      You are on the mark coming against the idea of “incresing subsidies for the entitled” “Social justice and economic inequalities”? Hah/ What a sick laugh.
      Social justice demands this kid’s execution. and that would come nowhere near “evening up the score”. But it might put a trace of fear in the next “entitiled” punk wishing to make a a name for himself, even of a bad one. “Economic inequalities”? More sick laughter goes here. Consider for a moment or three the economic burdens now placed upon the survivors of those who are dead at the hand of this misfit. Meanwhile the sick perp now incurs crazy high debt to be paid by the taxpaying public who now must support him as he languishes in prison somewhere, or on oversight with an ankle locator and monitors. Vast sums of money now to be poured down the hole he has created for lawyers, courts, proffessional witnesses and analists….. rough guess is above a quarter million to the end of his trial, then the annual “rent” he’ll require for however long the jury decides.

      You wanna talk about “economic inequalities” there are some places to start. This kid KNEW it to be wrong to go off and kill a bunch of innocents, yet did it anyway. Social justice?

      • I like that: “..and He answers to no one but His own standards.”
        I guess HE sure did make us in his ‘image and likeness then?

      • SO why did not GOD stop this fool in the first place There is only one god Eh > He must have one very odd sense of humour is all that I can say.
        I do not know whwet i I got it from but at an early age I had the capability of CRITICAL THOUGHT That’s for sure. I well remember at around 10 years old arguing with myn Sundat y School Teacher that poor old GOLIATH didn’t stand a chance agains ce a speedy kid who could s kill a wiolf with a sling shot -Goliathy being a bloody sight biggervbtarget and all that. I can also remember [ being a Farmers Boy I had a pretty damned good Idea of the Mechanics of animal reproduction an knew you should NOT cross daughters with brothers, Fathers with daughters and mothers with son’s – so I had to point out that LOT the ONLY Righteous Man of the Ciries of the Plains had no problems and with gods permiussion getting his TWO daughters up the duff [among it is historically rumoured a few daughters to boot] Whch seemed very odd to me. My Su8nday Scg hool teacher poore o0ld chap muttered something about those daughters getting randy old LOT drunk [ blaming it on the girls again god? ] on Wine . I had to press him into WHERE CDID THEY GET THE BLOODY WINE from seeing as how they were cut off from the outside world !!. The upshot was that I was probably the first boy to be banned from Sunday School. Never did get a decentv reply. ! And my Mum and Dad has a serious problem because going to Sunday School with my sisters was the only opportunity they got for a spot of the old undisturbed rumpy-pumpy

        • Albert Hall, the British Subject.
          It is really very simple. Even a fool like you should be able to understand. God gave us humans something called free will and he does not interfere with it. You see that is how you gain either eternal salvation of eternal damnation.

      • Dude,
        Right. Perceptiveness / wisdom about facts and causes; idiotic conclusions and recommendations.

    • Yup, I was just going to mention that. If you study all the cases going way back to even before the OK incident whose main character pretty much fitted this ‘significance disability’ theory, you’ll find that most who could be analyzed all had fundamental self-esteem issues mixed with sociopathic tendencies. And anybody who spends enough time researching the cases and how quite a few Gs (but not ours, of course) have mastered the ‘art’ of Manchurian Candidate Psyco-programming through hypnotic brainwashing with the aid of ‘special’ drugs and if one could see all the details of the perpetrator’s build up to the crime they’d notice an ‘unusual’ similarity that not only accounts for the necessary psychological elements of an ideal patsy, but also involves the ‘availability’ and access to the subject for mission control and efficacy.

      The social media is a cornucopia of ‘good’ prospects for this type of ‘candidate’. With unbelievably refined methods of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)
      previously advanced in unethical marketing and now exploited by anybody or any group, it’s literally easy peasy to ‘work’ a subject these days. To wit, the recent case of the militia group wanting to kidnap that Midwestern governor and take her for a boat ride? That was so obviously ‘worked’ that the accused were all acquitted! It’s nothing that new, but it’s a great tool for illegal entrapment and abuse of Due Process Rights for an important agenda?

      In this particular case, it struck me that the school took him in for a full day of ‘behavior vetting” and then let him go. Did they do a blood test on him for drug use? Set up mandatory visits to a shrink? Did any other state or G ‘officials’ pay him a visit? He had been ‘nutting’ out for a long time. Was he seeing or being treated by a doctor for his issues prior or as a younger kid Animal torture starts early? That theatre killer with the red hair with some kind of gimmick costume who opened up on the audience was previously under psychological care by a former Military doctor???

      And if one wants to ‘ballistically’ crunch reference numbers’, didn’t another period of an abnormal rise in such mass shootings also occur during a critical time of a heavy Gun Control push for bans for a political campaign necessity also occur in the past under a different Marxist G administration?

      Oh well, who cares, really. Everybody knows that anybody who subscribes to stuff like this is just a confused Conspiracy Theorist. And if they don’t be careful, They will be designated as Criminal Conspiracy theorists and won’t be allowed to tweet, post, or have any firearms.

      Meanwhile, the street gang violence with continue to escalate, and everybody will still be trying to ‘understand’ the rise in mass shootings.

      November midterms can’t get here soon enough…

  6. Don’t give a damn about some aholes mental condition or any other motive. Just allow me a unobstructed line of fire.

    “One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure – and in some cases I have – that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.” Jeff Cooper

    • “Treat men generously, else destroy them. They take revenge for slight injuries. For fatal ones, they cannot.” Niccolo Machiavelli

  7. All mass shooters do have one thing in common that the medical profession and most of society does not recognize, EVIL. These are Godless, evil people. Take God out of society and this is what you get.

      • You mean those like now in control in Afghanistan?
        Or are they just poor indoctrinated and misled innocents like today’s liberal arts graduates?

        • Yes, the exercise of pure, unadulterated evil is rampant in Islamist countries. There, it is a deeply embedded socio-cultural issue. I was thinking more generally about the entire Theocratic religionist phenomenon historically, and thus the main rationale of the Founders for the 1st Amendment.

  8. A sense of significance or accomplishment can come from overcoming difficulty. A real difficulty. Hitting a new squat PR. Building a deck. Programming a piece of software. Earning a certification. Summiting all the 4000 footers. Talking to that pretty girl.

    Too many people substitute fake accomplishments like video games or social media likes. The dopamine hit is very similar but not the same. Like a drug. It’s a false high leaving your soul unsatisfied.

    Either that or their helicopter parents step in to take on the difficulty themselves or get their kids out of having to confront it leaving them soft, dependent, depressed and feeling unaccomplished.

    If you want to enjoy life you have to live it.

    • Like… going outside… and really talking….like in person…to actuall people?
      Now your just taking crazy.
      People still do that ?

  9. Prof Arie does NOT seem to be removing culpability. It seems he is saying some people feel lost, isolated, purposeless. He is NOT, however, explaining why they choose rabid violence. He only says some wh feel lost, isolated, and purposeless otp for a violent response.

    He does make a reasonable point that such violence might be reduced if people felt more connected. I, however, am not sure. I’d like to know what percentage of our mass shooters have been on prescribed psychotropic medication. I suspect there is a biochemical connection. Even if that connection were to be proven, I would be hard-pressed to say it removes culpability.

    • Here’s my opinion. This psycho may have had the cards stacked against him anyway due to some malfunction. However, would he be hanging out online all day if he was busy with school and work? Would he be obsessing over racist theories if he had a regular girlfriend? These are sincere questions because I haven’t heard if he had a job or a girlfriend. What I do know is he had too much time on his hands combined with a feeling of hopelessness. That’s a recipe for disaster. He had previously said he was going to kill himself.

      “I’d like to know what percentage of our mass shooters have been on prescribed psychotropic medication.”

      More than a few. I’d caution against drawing too many conclusions just based on that. It could be that they were taking those drugs because that’s what they were told would “fix” them. It turns out, the drugs didn’t fix them. At best, the drugs can be used as a band-aid to get you through a short time as you’re diligently addressing the problem by other means. However, they’re prescribed as a solution.

  10. What is insane is the NY perp encountered little to no resistence from the victim pool and that insanity is linked to Gun Control. Gun Control works that way…People subservient to Gun Control are subservient to tyrants, murderers, rapists, perverts, kidnappers, bigots, etc.

    Add insult to injury when the worthless azzhat Gov. of NY calls for more Gun Control. She actually believes all Black Americans are fools and are going to fall for Gun Control the very agenda that left them unarmed and unable to fight for their lives…cracker’s got another thing coming.

    • Realistically if there is one legal concealed carry holder in a store it is a rarity in most of NY. The areas it makes the most sense have the most restrictive permitting process and where it is hardly needed are essentially shall issue (when you are allowed to buy your first pistol). This has been changing the last 2 years but it is a slow process for people to realize they may need it anywhere.

  11. The “white replacement theory” isn’t exactly a conspiracy theory.

    Though in reality, the end result has less to do with race and more to do domination of leftist goals. The left does want to overthrow the republican system of government and weaken western civilization but racial conflict is simply one means of achieving a much more sinister end. Their ultimate goal is achieving a Maoist “cultural revolution” to create a “global communist utopia”. They don’t really care what color everyone is at the end of that road, as long as they get there. The fact the left pushes racial conflict is evident in their behavior and media presentation of the last 10 years. There’s a myriad of tools they use however, including releasing criminals at a high rate regardless of race, accusing anyone not left wing of terrorism, gun control of the law abiding, laughable economic policies, childish foreign policies, use of their own forms of terrorism through media and riots, threats and attempted assassinations, arson, rape, brainwashing, and the obvious constant attempts at overstepping any form of authority they can grasp. I’m sure there’s things I’m missing on that list.

    Fighting against them can and is being done but conducting mass murder only helps them, and they know this. I wouldn’t be surprised if the left was actually behind the “great replacement theory” to try to generate mass shooters to further their goals.

    • “The “white replacement theory” isn’t exactly a conspiracy theory.”

      Keep in mind that the liberal establishment is only interested in obtaining and maintaining power. The Dems and the media (but I repeat myself) are busy conflating a racist ideology with rational discussions about immigration. They’re doing this for two reasons: to shut down any discussion about their immigration policy, and to attack their political opposition. How can you tell they don’t give a rat’s a$$ about this kid shooting up the supermarket? Because, instead of trying to actually understand the situation, they’re spending their time attacking their opposition which includes anyone who didn’t vote for them. One can’t begin to solve a problem without first properly identifying it. They’re just trying to cancel Tucker Carlson. The shooter gave the specific websites where he learned about that stuff, and Tucker wasn’t included. The shooter even made fun of Fox News. What a joke.

      Now let’s talk about replacement. Like you said, the liberal establishment ultimately doesn’t care about skin color. They only care about the power. However, they came up with the strategy to add people to this country that will increase their power. I have personally noticed articles since the early 2010’s bragging about a change in demographics making the Democrats an unstoppable political party. They have continued to talk about that to this day. Why did the Puppet open the borders as soon as he took up residence in the White House? There’s a reason for all things…

  12. I am concerned lil’d’s search for significance will result in mass murder and devastation in the wake of his Caravan of Death.

    • He’s the perfect fascist foot soldier. He’ll rape and murder with no guilt. He will, however, not risk a confrontation with an armed victim.

      Stay armed.

  13. Thank you. Someone else said it.

    You don’t have to be mentally I’ll or insane to commit a high profile massecre; you just have to think you’re justified in doing so.

    They want validation and attention and holy crap is this the best way to get it. Anti gun politicians/supporters, deep down, don’t really mind this either which is insidious as all hell.

  14. Oh, dear God in heaven! Parents (Plural? Fathers?) must pay attention to their children, schools and society must provide idealistic alternatives to violence AND we have to stop demonizing one another? We are so doomed, because the first item is possible only in a minority of homes, the other two are impossible to even get a consensus. This guy means well, but the bottom line is the murderous mutant problem is not going to be solved so teach your kids the three attitudes: alert, hyper alert or ready for fight or flight.

  15. There is no one dumber than a stupid smart person and the humanities departments at universities nationwide are full of dumb smart people including the author of this article. I have a really good memory and I’m old enough to remember the left in this country gleefully discussing how they can’t wait until about 2040 when America would no longer be majority-white. They talked about it the way little kids talk about Christmas morning but about ten years back they clammed up about it and now pretend that they’ve never mentioned it before.

    • Yup, absolutely accurate. I also remember that Time, or Life Magazine came out way before that with an article on that topic and a prediction with maybe a hundred pictures across the cover page with the theme depiction of what the average American will look like in the future changing images from the current white until all the interracial offspring production produced an average image of a very Tan person with dark hair. You know, something that you can see on any beach during any summer anywhere in the Country?

      At least then the despicable corrupted powers that be then might not be able to so easily foment and fabricate a specious notion of Racism among us to divide non-racist Americans for Political agendas as they can today.

  16. Pretty much I agree with this article. Most of these shooters are trying to make a statement of some kind, usually political.

    • If you bothered to read the kids Manifesto you would find out that he was quite resentful for being diagnosed as schizophrenic.

  17. “Murderous rage and mayhem are often the result.”

    Say what? Often means frequently. This type of shooting isn’t frequent, especially when you consider the size of our population. Obviously once is too many, but I was trying to take this article seriously, and now I can’t.

    “But these days, no matter how deviant or morally abhorrent their beliefs, people have no trouble finding soulmates on 4chan, 8chan or Telegram.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t he say that he just learned about this during the Covid lock downs? Was he searching for similarly minded people or did he happen upon it because, as he said, his school was closed and he was bored?

    “…the primitive appeal of violence as a path to significance…”

    I’m not disagreeing with this premise. I think he discovered a way to give meaning to his life. However, for whatever reason, he’s leaving off the part of him being a homicidal maniac. He said he was going to shoot up his school and kill himself. He also mutilated and beheaded a cat.

    From the NY Post:
    “When I came home at ~10:30 I was eating pizza bites when I hard my cat Paige scream from the garage,” Gendron wrote.

    “I quickly enter and the gray cat was attacking her. I then spent the next hour and a half chasing the cat around the garage and stabbing it with my knife (the camo one).”

    The radicalized teen took meticulous notes of the killing, recording the time at which blood spilled from the feline’s mouth, what knife he used to stab it and how many times he slashed its neck until its head was detached.

    He also posted disturbing photos of the cat’s decapitated body and his own face sprayed with splatters of blood.

    “It bled from the mouth at about 11:00 and at about 11:45 I was able to grab the cats tail and wind up and smack the cats head on the concrete ground,” he wrote. “I did that a few times and when it went limp I grabber [sic] a hatchet and swung at its neck ~20 times until it came off.” -end post quote

    This guy was a certified psychopath. He was going to kill. It was a matter of time. He ended up choosing to kill black people because he discovered (and probably obsessed over) some racist ideology on the net while he was bored. This psycho didn’t have a purpose for living, but he found one. His purpose now is a hope to inspire others, not just to further this racist ideology, but (probably to a greater degree) to be looked up to and admired by others.

    “It also requires educational and community institutions to provide youngsters idealistic alternatives to violence, to quench their thirst for mattering.”

    No, you idiot. That’s why we’re in this mess. It requires parenting, loving families, and teaching morality (the real kind). The government isn’t going to do a better job of raising kids.

  18. The author is right in as much as media fame gives these murderers a “legacy.” Sadly, the media is making these attacks more likely due to the attention they give. (PLEASE don’t say the shooter’s names! Don’t give them the infamy they seek.). Where the author goes wrong is leaving the analysis there. These people are choosing evil and extremely deviant means to achieve fame. This is not the mark of a sane person. There is definitely something wrong in their ability to reason and solve their problems. That doesn’t mean they are completely irrational — they clearly plan, strategize, and contemplate their crimes to achieve their sick and twisted goals. So, yes, lack of meaning helps drive their attacks, but the author misses the disconnect between a normal response to this problem and what these (expletives deleted) do.

    • This right here.

      The author is making a convoluted argument when a simple explanation is more compelling. These people desire fame but are willing to settle for infamy and it is not a new phenomenon.

      From Wikipedia: “Herostratus was a 4th-century BC Greek, accused of seeking notoriety as an arsonist by destroying the second Temple of Artemis in Ephesus The conclusion prompted the creation of a damnatio memoriae law forbidding anyone to mention his name, orally or in writing. The law was ultimately ineffective, as evidenced by mentions of his existence in modern works and parlance. Thus, Herostratus has become an eponym for someone who commits a criminal act in order to become famous.”

      This toad burnt down one of the Wonders of the World knowing he would be sentenced to death so that he could achieve fame. And Time magazine gleefully puts the pictures slugs such as those responsible for Columbine on the cover. I could point to other losers who got significant press but in total they are metaphorical sons of Herostratus and as such should never be addressed by name.

      Instead we should honor those like Air Force Cadet Matthew J. La Porte and Dr. Liviu Librescu who gave their lives trying to protect other students.

  19. “There is a mental and psychological dimension to the problem, to be sure, but it is not illness or pathology.”

    This guy is speaking in terms of “illness or pathology” as when they were examined.

    “mental and psychological dimension” reflect and are mental health. The terms ‘illness’ and ‘pathology’ indicate ‘longer term’ or permanent conditions and in some cases a temporary condition. The desire and drive to carry out murder is in fact a severe adverse/detrimental mental health. The condition may not be longer term, or permanent, but the condition did exist when the act was carried out – it is a 100% fact that mass shooters (and terrorist) have severe adverse/detrimental mental health issues at the time they carry out their acts of murder.

    While there is some truth in the “idea that committing atrocities and killing innocent victims reflects mental illness has been long discarded by terrorism researchers” (very little truth, a truth only present with the most liberal of mental health professionals) – there is zero truth in the fact that committing atrocities and killing innocent victims does not represent severe adverse/detrimental mental health issues at the time they carry out their acts.

    This guy is splitting hairs in an attempt to say “oh poor mass shooter is just misunderstood, they are on a quest for significance and respect and are victims.” – its another way to say “if the tool of the act was not available then the act would not have been committed” which is another way to say “gun control”. We already see this concept in play now, criminals in the democrat ‘revolving door’ justice system where they are caught then released ’cause ‘reform’ ’cause racism, misunderstood, rehabilitation, and any number of reasons ‘so its not them but its the guns so lets get rid of guns’

    This guy is applying the same concepts that very liberal mental health professionals apply to criminals, that they are just misunderstood and not “mentally ill” so lets forget that they slaughtered innocent people in their state of severe adverse/detrimental mental health issues at the time while on a quest for significance and respect.

    Every mass shooter in the last 30 years when examined were determined to have had severe adverse/detrimental mental health issues at the time they carried out their act. It may not qualify as “illness” in terms of a condition that causes ‘mental health disease’ like this guy is trying to outline with hair splitting – but severe adverse/detrimental mental health issues it was that produced an overwhelming driving force for them to commit the acts they did.

    • to Booger Nose

      quote——————:“if the tool of the act was not available then the act would not have been committed” which is another way to say “gun control”. —————quote

      Correct. The proof is in the pudding and foreign nations do not have near the mass murders we do and its precisely because they do have strict gun control which weeds out mental basket cases and restricts or bans the civilian ownership of weapons of war. Their countries have just as many if not more mentally ill people than we do yet their mass murders are way more difficult to carry out without the massive firepower available to American psychopaths and criminals. This is why you saw some psychopaths resort to using vehicles and trying to run down people at gatherings but this was curtailed quickly with barricades when such attacks occurred as in France and Germany.

      Would affordable health care also help? Yes but it has been blocked by the gangster criminal Republicans as far back as when Ted Kennedy wanted to pass Universal Health Care and has been blocked ever since then by Republicans preventing passage by every Democratic President that wanted to pass it.

      Make no mistake gunning down 450 some people by Paddock at Los Vegas would never have occurred without easy and unfettered access to modern military style weapons capable of massive firepower by any psycho that wanted one.

      • And the Author of the article was correct when he mentioned the tremendous amount of hate stirred up by people like Tucker Carlson on Fox News and on Right Wing Social Media.

        • How about the hate you stir up? You insult and argue like an undisciplined 13yo? You demonize entire sectors of the American public.

          What sort of rage filled massacre are you building yourself up to, herr dacian?

        • We need socialized medicine like they have in Canada.

          Why is Canada euthanising the poor?

          Since last year, Canadian law, in all its majesty, has allowed both the rich as well as the poor to kill themselves if they are too poor to continue living with dignity. In fact, the ever-generous Canadian state will even pay for their deaths. What it will not do is spend money to allow them to live instead of killing themselves.

          https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-is-canada-euthanising-the-poor-

        • Except the author didn’t mention Tucker Carlson or Fox News. The author mentioned other websites as well as other mass murderers as the shooter’s inspiration because the shooter literally wrote down his inspirations. You only see Tucker and Fox because you’re the target audience of the MSM/Democrat propaganda that uses tragedies as an opportunity to push their lies and target their political opposition.

          It’s interesting to observe the results of propaganda in real time. You think you see something that isn’t even there simply because you were told that it is there.

        • Dud brain your post is non-sense as well as non sequitur. Trying to argue which Right Wing racist tv show or website is the most hateful is just plain nuts. The fact is that they are all promoting fanatical hatreds which propel and influence mentally deranged people to commit acts of violence.

      • dacian, the Dunderhead “Mass Murder”? According to the FBI a “mass murder” is where they are four or more deaths due to gun fire.. Seems to me that the number is arbitrary and capricious to say the least. Why isn’t it three? Or six? You speak of “civilized nations” as if it were some kind of panacea. Gee, if I recall correctly London had a mass knifing a couple of years ago. I didn’t and don’t hear you saying a thing about that.
        As to your “universal health care”, the American people do not want your Canadian or British “universal healthcare.” We see unreasonable and ridiculous delays for simple ordinary procedures. We see where a procedure or surgery is denied because the “death committee” deems it to be unreasonable as the patient will probably die soon anyway. I am sure you will counter that insurance companies do that now when they determine a procedure is “experimental”. Well, our system is not perfect, but it is a hell of a lot better than Canada’s or Great Britain’s. If you want “universal healthcare”, migrate to Canada or Great Britain, if they will take you. Canada has a very liberal immigration policy for Americans (if you are one).

        • To Walter

          quote–As to your “universal health care”, the American people do not want your Canadian or British “universal healthcare.” We see unreasonable and ridiculous delays for simple ordinary procedures.———————quote

          This is the standard baloney that the uneducated Far Right believe but in reality Canada gets people in to see a specialist for serious matters far faster than the Americans do. I myself along with other friends of mine here in Capitalvania have waited as long as 3 months to see a specialist and I know of cases personally where people died waiting.

          So please peddle your extreme ignorance and paranoia to the unwashed, not people who have been through the American system.

          And Paddoc could never have thrown knives at people from 400 yards away and slaughtered so many people.

        • dacian, the Dunderhead. To you anyone to the right of Karl Marx is an “uneducated Far Right”. I have multiple friends that live in Canada. And they say different. Here in the US you get to see a specialist if you have decent coverage rather quickly. I KNOW I have. No delays here. If you waited three months to se a specialist, you must have sh**y insurance probably ObumaCare crapolla.
          You might want to take a shower, and use plenty of mouthwash. Your B/S isn’t cutting it.
          No, your terrorists in Great Britain work up close and personal Here in the US, if you come up against someone like me, you would not get close enough. And there were multiple deaths there in Britain when that terrorist attacked.

        • dacian the unutterably stupid and pathetic,

          You are not only a damn liar, you are a CLUMSY liar, and completely inept at debate (pro tip: Learn the f***ing difference between “anecdote” and “data”).

          “In the United States, patients must wait two to four weeks to get an MRI . . . ”
          https://cornellsun.com/2018/02/08/mri-wait-times-must-be-shortened-to-improve-health-care-cornell-researchers-say/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CIn%20the%20United%20States%2C%20patients,MRIs%20readily%20unless%20in%20emergencies.

          “Patients also experience significant waiting times for various diagnostic technologies across the provinces. This year, Canadians could expect to wait 5.4 weeks for a computed tomography (CT) scan, 11.1 weeks for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, and 3.5 weeks for an ultrasound.”
          https://www.fraserinstitute.org/studies/waiting-your-turn-wait-times-for-health-care-in-canada-2020#:~:text=Patients%20also%20experience%20significant%20waiting,3.5%20weeks%20for%20an%20ultrasound.

          OF COURSE you lie; you’re a Leftist/fascist, they always lie. But try not to be so obvious about it, fool.

        • No Booger Nose you need a remedial course in reading comprehension, you failed when you read Walter’s ranting post.

          And as far as seeing a doctor in Capitalvaina for even a simple procedure or even an office visit, try it sometime and see how long in can often take. I wanted a skin tag removed (about a 10 minute job at most) and had to wait 3 months.

          Try again Booger Brain you failed.

        • herr dacian. If you waited 3 months for a skin tag removal it was for one of two reasons. During the covid lockdown such procedures were curtailed simply because they were not a priority. In that case you’re using the pandemic procedures that you cheered on to blaim America’s medical system for a non existent ‘failure.’

          Second option. Because of your mental illness you are a ward of the state. Unable to hold a job you’re on the public assistance train. A non priority procedure such as skin tag removal will take a little longer.

        • Dacian, the Dunderhead. Speaking of reading comprehension courses, you should take “hooked on phonics” You Leftists have a bad tendency to twist whatever is said to fit your own Leftist agenda.

      • Canadians are waiting longer than ever for medically necessary treatment, finds a new study released by the Fraser Institute in Dec 2021, an independent, non -partisan Canadian public policy think tank.

        The median wait time for treatment in Canada for the year 2021 was 25.6 weeks, up from 20.9 weeks wait time in 2019.

        Fraser Institute has been studying wait times across Canada by surveying specialist physicians across 12 specialties and 10 provinces since 1993. This year’s wait time is the longest wait time recorded in this survey’s history and is 175% longer than in 1993, when it was just 9.3 weeks.

        • Careful, Alien, you will totally confuse dacian the Dunderhead. Not that he isn’t confused already.

  20. I’d like to start with a few things. I could have a long post about this but have other things to do quite frankly:
    1-What definition of “mass shooting” are you using. The FBI defines it as 4 or more people killed in a single event. If you want to have an honest discourse stop padding your numbers. It’s a form of demagoguery.
    2-Why no mention of the MSM? The APA themselves says that there are guidelines that the MSM could follow to reduce mass shootings, things such as not showing the killers likeness or giving their name. Things like talking about the suffering of the victims. I don’t see any mention of that, the MSM is happy to stand on the graves of these people while serving as the marketers to the next person with problems they can repeat the cycle with in a self sustaining fashion.
    3-Why not get to the root of the real problems which are suicide and servicing the drug economy?
    4-Why not mention that many of these mass shooters were on some sort of psychotropic drugs at the time of their shootings? Strike a bit close to home?

  21. The “professor” adds spice to their biased recipe by including “mass shooting” statistics from Everytown and NPR. Even with valid points, the message loses any significance or respect.

  22. Nonsense. This buffalo lunatic wrote about how he stabbed a cat and then beheaded it was a hatchet. This guy was a sicko and a complete fucking psychopath.

  23. I agree with the author to this extent – I do believe that most “mass shooters” are seeking a (warped) form of ‘validation’ or ‘fame’. Beyond that, he’s spewing male bovine excrement.

    How can a person who commits a mass shooting NOT be insane?? No matter WHAT your cause, that you would feel justified in killing strangers to make your point is the definition of insanity. And to do such a heinous act to “make a statement” is obvious insanity. (Just to be clear, I do not think the “insanity defense” should exist. Take “insanity” into consideration in sentencing? Sure. Allow it as a “defense” to murder? Gedoudahere with that shite.)

    So what?? ALL humans want/seek meaning and validation. Somehow, the VAST majority of us manage to achieve it, or at least cope with it, without killing innocent strangers. I can envision reasons why a “sane” person might commit murder of someone they knew. Not saying it’s “right”, but I can envision the thought process that gets them there. There IS no rational thought process that gets you to “murder a roomful of people I’ve never met in my life”.

    I don’t give a rip what your “cause” is, I don’t care about your worldview, I don’t give a crap that your mommy didn’t love you, or you got bullied in kindergarten – if you are capable of killing total strangers in bulk, you are straight-up, full-on, bug-f*** nuts. And you need to die. End of story. This ain’t rocket surgery, folks.

    • “I do not think the ‘insanity defense’ should exist.”

      It is the opposite of a defense. It is a factor in aggravation, not mitigation.

      Humans have rights because humans have reason and responsibility. Sentencing varies between punishment and reform or rehabilitation. A dangerous criminal disavowing reason and responsibility makes clear he has zero potential for repentance or rehabilitation; by his own admission he is a rabid wolf, whose eradication is the common interest and responsibility of mankind.

      • You are, of course, correct (definition of a smart person: Someone who agrees with me, of course!). But you, and I, are talking “should be”, not “is”. In various forms, the “insanity defense” is, in fact, a recognized legal defense to many criminal charges, including capital charges. Whether in the form of the M’Naughten defense or “unable to understand the consequences of their actions” or some other formulation, pretty much every state recognizes the defense. I think that’s stupid. We kill rabid dogs; “rabid” or insane people should be treated similarly. Side benefit? We’d be rid of dacian the stupid.

  24. “I am a psychologist” = I don’t know anything but I can make up a name for everything. It’s science.

  25. That’s why I say we have no hope for change except by force. This country has been taken over by corrupt politicians for over 45 years. Everyone one that in government from the past 45 years has baggage. They all need to be put on trial and investigated.i do home work ….. 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤.𝐜𝐨𝐦

  26. Many years ago, there was a kid, amout nine, in our church. He had some issues behind him. His father “Bad Jeff” was back in jail…… So forth.
    I was an usher for Easter service and we put folding chairs at the ends of the pews to take care of the larger than usual attendance. I told the kid I wanted him to make sure the chairs were all lined up with the pews so the older folks trying to get into the pews wouldn’t trip and hurt themselves. He was on that like white on rice and if he’d had a micrometer, he’d have used it. Reported back to me that it was done. I inspected a couple and agreed. He went out of there looking like he’d left his coat hanger in his shirt.
    After the service, I invented something else I needed and went looking for him. I spotted him with his family unit and pointed. He gave an exaggerated sigh, being called upon again for special tasks and off we went.
    It doesn’t take much.

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