Mass Shootings: A Human Disconnect
December 6th, 2019 by Earl Stevens
We just posted the seventh episode of our Threat & Fraud podcast. We finalized our outline for the episode on Wednesday and made arrangements to record the episode on Thursday morning.
When the time came to record the episode, the statistics we had compiled on 2019 mass shootings were already obsolete: Three more people had died and one more was injured in the shooting at a Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
So we updated our statistics and recorded the episode.
We polished up the recording and posted it this morning. By that time our updated statistics were, once again, obsolete. Another mass shooting had occurred at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.
In preparing for our podcast, we were reminded of a study on mass shooters that was completed by the Violence Project earlier this year. The group studied the life histories of those who’ve committed mass shootings since 1966. The study uncovered four commonalities among the perpetrators:
- Early childhood trauma and exposure to violence
- Experienced a recent identifiable crisis point that was well known to others
- Perpetrators sought validation by studying the acts of other mass shooters.
- Perpetrators had the means to carry out their plans (i.e. access to weapons)
These individuals bear ultimate responsibility for their acts. We shouldn’t let them off the hook by any means. But the four common traits listed above indicate that we, as a society, bear some responsibility as well.
The frequency and severity of mass shootings has been rapidly increasing over the past couple of decades. That seems to coincide with the rise of the “information age” and our increasing tendency to connect with technology rather than humans.
Depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and a variety of other health challenges seem to be linked to our “screen time” habits. We’re connecting with technology and not our fellow humans.
We humans are social animals – we need to connect with, care for, and be cared for by those around us.
Loving your neighbor may seem like an idealistic and naive solution to societal problems like mass shootings. And maybe it is. But it’s something we can all do individually, immediately, and regularly.
You can probably think of an example where a simple gesture or a kind word made a huge impact during a tough time in your life. Why not put down your phone and pay it forward?