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A Layman’s Take on the Mass Shooting Crisis (Part One)

I wanted to plow this series out starting immediately after those two horrific mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

But Matt Insley, my publisher here at Whiskey & Gunpowder, suggested I let a few days pass before weighing in with what’s sure to be a polarizing point of view…

He said we should allow some time to “weep for the fallen; and weep for what this whole thing says about our country,” as my colleague Byron King wrote in his earlier piece on these tragedies.

And that was definitely the right call.

Now I think it’s time to start talking realistically about this problem, its causes, and solutions — because that’s NOT what they’re doing in Washington or in the media.

To start: Yes, I am a gun owner, avid shooter, and 2nd Amendment rights advocate…

But I’m also an ordinary American just like you, who’s horrified by wrongful gun deaths of any kind, especially mass shootings.

Here in the Land of the Free, we shouldn’t have to live in constant dread of being gunned down by criminals, gangs, racists, bigots, zealots, terrorists…

Or worst of all — by random delusional narcissists primarily bent on infamy.

Yet this is exactly what’s happening in America, more and more with every passing year, it seems.

The question, of course, is the same as it’s always been: What can we do about it?

Well, I’ve been pondering that question for decades — ever since the Columbine High School massacre back in the spring of 1999, in fact.

And while I’m not a psychologist, social scientist, or any other species of egg-headed academic (thankfully)…

I nevertheless have some pretty specific and concrete thoughts on this issue.

Mainly, they revolve around how the “solutions” recommended by our clueless, grandstanding politicians…

Most of whom wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart, or anyplace else a mass shooting could even occur…

Not only won’t work — but could actually make this crisis of violence much worse.

But before we talk about solutions, we need to define the problem. So let’s dive in…

There’s something all these shooters have in common

I know a lot of you probably want to hear my take on proposed restrictions on certain kinds of weapons and equipment…

And don’t worry — I’m going to cover that later in this series.

First, though, I want to focus on something else that’s much more important to understanding and solving this epidemic of mass shootings…

Namely, what I believe is the one obvious reason behind all of them.

And no, it’s not the catch-all “mental illness.”

Again, I’m no shrink, but I think it’s clear that anyone who commits wholesale violence outside the scope of sanctioned warfare is seriously sick.

But nowadays, whether right or wrong, “mental illness” in the under-25 set — the perpetrators of many recent mass shootings — is increasingly chalked up to a litany of familial, social or societal drivers…

Things like bullying, ridicule, rejection, peer pressure, and various types of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

These drivers are nothing new, though. They’re as old as mankind, regrettably…

And so is the spectrum of human behavior that includes hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, and all sorts of other things we use as excuses these days.

Bottom line: Most of the problems younger people face today are the exact same ones that have plagued pretty much every previous generation…

Yet it wasn’t until relatively recently that they started regularly shooting up their worlds over those problems.

The mainstream pundits say that’s because today’s young folks suddenly have more and easier access to guns of greater power…

But that simply isn’t true. And I’ll prove it later in this series.

So what IS the reason for the recent increase in mass shootings in America today?

If you ask me, it’s simply because today’s teens and younger adults with marginal personalities are less able to suppress or re-channel violent urges than their forebears of similar constitutions.

When you strip away all the politics, agendas and BS, I think it really is that simple.

What I want to expose in this series — to both save lives AND preserve freedom…

Are the three “root causes” that have developed over the last few decades that I believe are behind this loss of control over the mass-murder impulse.

Root Cause #1: The screens of social distortion

Some folks (especially on the right-hand side of the political spectrum) cite violent video games, TV, and films as a contributing factor in mass shootings.

But violence in the movies, on television, and in the arcade was around for years before it became shockingly commonplace for adolescents and younger adults to start shooting up public places…

And plenty of research, including analysis conducted by the FBI and Secret Service, has detected no clear causal link between this kind of “screen violence” and real-world violence in young people.

Then there’s social media, the screens we should be worrying about.

The conventional wisdom on this point is that social media is a more impactful forum for mass bullying, ridicule, peer pressure, etc. than the school cafeteria or the mall on Friday night…

And in the last 12 years — the bulk of the social media era — teen suicides have indeed risen dramatically, even doubling in some categories. Lots of recent research strongly suggests that this is not a coincidence.

The obvious conclusion: If social media’s influence could cause a marked uptick in one kind of violent behavior (suicide), it could also spur increases in other types of violent behavior, too — like mass shootings.

But again, this is pretty much the conventional view. My belief about the link between social media and mass violence runs a lot deeper than this.

It starts with the fact that all these shooters seem to have the same mental defect that frees them from the shame of killing others indiscriminately…

Something that allows them to feel entitled to pull the trigger, in other words.

I’m talking about a radically inflated perception of self.

Think about it for a minute: In any mass shooting, the one behind the gun has to believe that whatever individual need the act fulfills for him (or her)…

Is somehow worth more than the collective value of multiple other lives.

I think this skewed sense of their own importance is what makes borderline violent people who’d ordinarily be capable of keeping their homicidal urges at bay…

Lose control over those urges, or feel justified in indulging them on a mass scale.

There’s no doubt in my mind that social media is one of the causes. More and more research these days reveals a link between social media abuse and narcissism…

One such study, in fact, marked a 25% increase in narcissistic traits after just four months of excessive social media use.

In extreme cases, this manifests as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which is marked by — you guessed it…

An inflated sense of self, a lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, a fixation on power over others, and a deep need for fame or attention.

Sounds like the description of some of these mass shooters, doesn’t it?

But I digress. Let me get back to proving that social media is one of the root causes of the declining self-control I believe is behind the growing epidemic of mass shootings. I’ll close this point out with one undeniable scientific fact…

The age at which the pre-frontal cortex of the human brain — the part concerned with impulse control, logic, decision-making, and personality — approaches full maturity is at least 25 years.

So yeah, that basically means anyone under 25 is not yet fully capable of processing some of life’s more painful emotional challenges…

Things like envy, ridicule, rejection, etc.

It also means sub-25s may not be able to keep things like mass adulation, popularity, flirting, and other ego-feeding factors in proper perspective.

The problem is that social media can magnify all this stuff by orders of magnitude.

It can give narcissists a 24/7 platform to feed their egos and addiction to attention…

And slowly convince themselves they’re demi-gods who can do, say, or think no wrong — because of all the praise, flattery, and “likes.”

It can also make the insecure loathe themselves and envy others that much more…

Because of all the unrealistic, glossy perfection the normal and narcissistic tend to post about themselves — and the actual derision they may often get pelted with.

In this respect, social media is a sword that cuts in both directions.

Jealousy, hatred, revenge, racism, envy, superiority, power, delusions of grandeur…

It’s easy to see how these intense emotions could totally consume the minds and hearts of not-yet-fully mature people who are constantly focused on themselves.

This is something no other generation to come before has ever had to deal with…

And that’s why I truly believe it’s one of the three “root causes” of the increasing epidemic of mass shootings in America.

I’m WAY over my word-count here, though…

That means my theories about the other two root causes of mass shootings are going to have to wait.

So will my explanation of why most of the mainstream “solutions” that are currently being bandied about in Washington will only make this crisis worse…

And the measures we SHOULD take as a nation to solve this problem once and for all.

I won’t keep you waiting long, I promise.

Until then…

Sincerely,

Jim Amrhein

Jim Amrhein
Freedoms Editor, Whiskey & Gunpowder
WhiskeyAndGunpowderFeedback@StPaulResearch.com

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Jim Amrhein

Just like he was 15 years ago, when first he sullied the pages of the original Whiskey & Gunpowder e-Letter and various other forums, Jim is still ornery, opinionated, politically incorrect, and shamelessly patriotic. He’s also more convinced than ever before that government can’t do much of anything right — except expand in scope and...

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