They’re not necessarily evil or mentally ill
Mass Shootings & The Opioid Epidemic
… What Are We Missing?
This began as a reply to a Facebook post asking what group members think the best way to handle mass shootings is.
Let me preface this with: this is my personal running hypothesis. I am in no way stating this as a fact; however, I do think this should be thoughtfully considered and thoroughly analyzed.
I believe (with some fairly good reasoning) that mass shootings, like drug addiction, is a symptom of a much more insidious substructure consisting of larger socioeconomic issues.
It is how we handle mental illness. How people are treated; from small personal groups (family, work, school, church) to larger national and global groupings. What we believe is right & wrong, how we portray ourselves and others socially, what is legal — what is not. How our history affects our thoughts about ourselves and our culture.
I believe that when we see an influx in addiction and mass shootings, it’s not the addiction and mass shootings we need to pay attention to. Let us consider looking deeper and further than simply the perpetrator’s mental condition.
The questions we should be asking ourselves when such an atrocity occurs are:
1) What caused us to ignore or not see the warning signs that the perpetrator may have been exhibiting? How do we address this as a society?
2) What led that person to believe that such an act would somehow either: alleviate whatever was/is troubling them -or- satiate whatever need or craving they were experiencing?
3) What specifically (directly or indirectly) created the series of stressors (personal, cultural, economic, political, etc.) that set this person on the paths from: thought to fantasizing, fantasizing to considering, considering to planning, planning to preparation, and preparation to execution?
This isn’t just the occasional mental illness popping off in the wrong direction. These aren’t necessarily evil people; or even mentally ill. This is a symptom of something festering under the surface with the occasional “rash”. And *if* I am right — I think we should figure out what exactly it is that is festering before it manifests itself in a full blown eruption.
We are a collective super-organism; like a colony of bacteria that rely on cooperative interplay for survival. If we weren’t; groupthink, deindividuation, team synergy, governments, social hierarchies, businesses, families, religions, and many other such collective anomalies would not occur. We rely so heavily on our collectives that being isolated from others (even enemies) for more than 3 days can actually cause brain damage.
This being the case; the same mental & emotional phenomena that can cause illnesses (both mental and physical) on an individual level, are present on a social level as well.
Due to the fact that the internet has allowed us to communicate nearly instantaneously as a global collective; there is absolutely no question that these same social-state mental phenomena have been exacerbated and amplified.
The more prominent provocateurs are:
1) Cognitive dissonance is arguably the largest contributor to our collective awareness that we are fragmented and “broken”.
2) Forced subsumption — when the structure for what is necessary to survive requires actions of us that we know are bad for our health, environment, society, etc.
3) Class discrimination & tribalism.
4) Cultural hypocrisy in laws (maintaining laws that are in disagreement with our current knowledge of the situation and even counter productive to the original intention by which it was enacted), and in national & international matters (starting wars over oil, or to generate wealth, etc.).
These and other similar components affect our collective mental-health that, on an individual level, causes massive internal wars within one’s inner self. When these things happen in collectives, there is an even keener sense of having no control or say over whether or not you play a part in a situation that you don’t agree with and does not conform to what we all know is right and wrong.
Such an intricate, unbreakable, and powerful social dynamic is, from what I can ascertain, the single most potent contributor to these issues.
Think: the magnitude of separation of value during The Prohibition between alcohol as having been a problem and prohibition as having been a problem. This is what I believe to be the magnitude of separation of value between mental health being the problem and my aforesaid argument being the problem.
This is only my personal hypothesis — I’ve not conducted any analyses. However, through personal experience and a keen awareness for how my personal social experience shapes and pulls at me; and my observations of these same forces at play in the lives of others — I’m nearly certain that this is the case.
If I am correct, the only way to quell this is to radically reform our entire cultural scaffolding. If we don’t; political & corporate corruption, greed, strong and aggressive belief structures, and all the other potent forces that have a role to play in this, will continue to grip us as it currently does — with the fallout continuing to accumulate, and these atrocities continuing to rise.
If you think I’m wrong, please — feel free to correct me. I would rather be corrected than continue to believe something that may not be true.