When Mass Murder Becomes Commonplace
Tragedy has played out so often that it has become a statistic.
The story of psychopaths, mostly young white men, with guns killing lots of people plays out so frequently in America that it’s to impossible to find anything novel to say about it. There was another in a Buffalo supermarket Saturday and, alas, another in a Laguna church yesterday. The usual suspects are reading off the same old scripts as in the last hundred times this happened.
The headline memeorandum flagged from the NYT live blog, “Classmates recall the suspect as ‘quiet’ and reclusive,” is almost comedic, recalling a classic Saturday Night Live sketch from almost four decades ago. Then again, the fact that SNL was parodying news coverage of killings (back in those days, just one person at a time) that long ago is on point.
Just scrolling the NYT coverage, one sees all of the classics:
- “Grief and Anger Sweep Through Buffalo a Day After a Racist Massacre“
- “‘Nobody Cares About Us Here’: The Anger on Buffalo’s East Side“
- “Before the massacre, the gunman’s erratic behavior attracted attention.”
- “Officials call the Buffalo massacre the latest example of domestic terrorism.”
- “The suspect received a mental health evaluation after making threats last year the police said.”
- “New York’s laws on buying long guns are less restrictive than for handguns.”
- “Washington officials condemn white supremacist ideology and its ties to the far right.”
- “The suspect bought his weapon without leaving an impression, a gun store owner said.”
- “Gov. Hochul and Buffalo’s mayor call for stricter gun control and hate speech measures after shooting.”
- “The 2019 New Zealand massacre is a grisly inspiration for racist attacks.”
One doesn’t really need to read the stories, as they’re all so familiar.
We’ll certainly get the usual “debate” about guns. And about the responsibility, or lack thereof, played by politicians and media personalities aligned with the shooter. And the problems with our mental health system. And of disaffected youth.
And then we’ll quickly move on to the next mass shooting which, sadly, has already taken place.
And nothing whatsoever will change. Except the body count.
Well, there is one side that provides the ideology of quite a few of the shooters, doesn’t want to restrict the ability to own guns, and couldn’t care less about funding mental health care.
In other words, one side wants the current situation to continue. Because it plays well with their primary voters.
And the other side can’t get rid of gerrymandering and the filibuster.
It’s not that nothing can be done, it’s that a controlling minority doesn’t want that to happen.
It’s a political choice.
They’re not psychopaths, James. They’re followers of the Fox/Republican cult. They’re not acting by themselves, as the copied manifestoes indicate.
Tucker Carlson and Elaine Stefanik say it plainly, as did a Republican candidate for Senate from Arizona a couple of hours after the deaths.
Calling them psychopaths, which implies that they are responding to inner issues, plays into the cult’s preferences.
We can’t stop the deaths until we recognize the causes.
When someone is in a bizarre toxic relationship it’s a well known problem that they lose a realistic perspective and normalize bizarre and abusive behavior.
The Buffalo shooter was given a frikkin’ assault rifle by his parents on his 16th birthday. When he later made “jokes” about wanting to commit mass homicide to his teachers, it didn’t even seem to occur to anyone to take guns away from him and the rest of his household. This is considered standard practice.
The US has a bizarre, toxic relationship with guns. The problem isn’t just the crazies and disturbed. It’s the tens of millions of people who are normalizing the gun as some kind of macho talisman.
If you have a gun in your household it is multiple times more likely to be used to commit a murder than prevent one, regardless of your education level or socioeconomic class. And it is an order of magnitude more likely to be used in suicide.
Don’t listen to me, listen to Liz Cheney:
This. Too many people believe only a “crazy person” would arm up and head to the local (or distant, in this case) grocery store to mow down patrons in cold blood. But if history has taught us anything, it’s taught us entirely sane people are fully capable of doing utterly murderous and abominable things.
Calling people like Gendron “psychopaths” is simply a cop-out. They are sane people motivated by hatred, inspired by the hateful words and acts of others, and enabled by what @MarkedMan has correctly called America’s toxic relationship with guns.
We know the causes, but in America the political system puts people who should be in the political minority into power instead. And so here we are, unable to effect any change, with the umpteenth iteration of a bunch of dead people and bullshit like “thoughts and prayers” as we await the inevitable next pile of corpses.
They have been conditioned to believe, literally, that non-white people do not share the same values, and do not respect the constitution. They believe non-white people are going to disrupt the country they live in and love by not being “patriotic”.
This is not a mental health issue. This is a propaganda, and availability-of-guns, issue, and it needs to be regulated.
Charles Manson didn’t kill anybody directly, as far as we know.
This, exactly. It’s a massive cult, and the guns are just one of many valences. The antiabortion garbage is another. Also the QAnon fantasies. The Comet Pizza adenochrome blood libel as well.
Just a massive bunch of deluded people disconnected from objective reality, making their own reality.
According to multiple news sources, Gendron had planned to continue his shooting spree after he’d finished at the supermarket, driving up and down Jefferson Avenue looking for additional targets..
I’m still waiting for the good guys with guns to show up. And why isn’t our armed society a polite society?
Indeed. Mental illness and crazy are not the same thing – that’s like saying a heart attack and “feeling achy” is the same thing. One is diagnosable and potentially treatable while the other may be just part of the aches and pains of life.
Racism isn’t a mental illness but a learned behavior. Political extremism isn’t a mental illness but a learned behavior. Being willing to kill for your belief is about as human as it gets, thankfully uncommon but not as abnormal as people like to think. Human beings being terrible is unfortunately NORMAL. Assh^le is not a mental illness but chosen state of being for millions of people across the globe.
We need to stop pretending they are sick as that implies they had no choice in what they’ve become. They WANT to be this way. They choose out news sources to reconfirm their biases and actively deny when one of their own goes and does the thing they spend months talking about. Poisoned they may be from FOX and hateful rhetoric but they willingly seek the chalice to drink more. Carlson gleefully makes millions while building up an army of people unwilling to state a grocery store full of dead Americans is a bad thing done by one of their own. If they admit it’s a tragedy at all, they give tots and pears and move on to the latest outrage without care for why it happened…. or will happen again.
Because America has a dangerous, toxic, extremist Supreme Court majority of far right Federalist Society radicals.
Over the past few decades, Republican judicial activists created a heretofore nonexistent individual right for almost any individual to own almost any firearm they want with little restriction or regulation — contradicting both the text and original intent of the 2nd Amendment.
Near the problem’s root, per usual, is the dishonesty, selfishness, and hypocrisy of conservative jurists. And the failure of American voters to reign in these thugs in robes.
The Roberts Court has blood on its hands and will go down in legal history as one of SCOTUS’s worst eras.
How much the Supreme Court merely manifests our society’s toxic relationship with guns, or exacerbates it, is an interesting discussion. But the fact that in millions of households around the country normal behavior comprises buying assault rifles for 16 year olds, or spending more on guns, ammunition and tactical gear than on a car, or hanging around talking about the kill power of one pistol versus another – that’s the immediate problem. There are tens of millions of US citizens that have an extremely unhealthy relationship with guns and no matter how we change politically, that will remain true for decades to come.
That’s interesting. The “manifesto” is still being verified, but contains contravening statements. And there is no mention of Fox, or Carlson, although there is criticism of Fox.
“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.”
Authoritarian left, you say?
“But you can call me an ethno-nationalist eco-fascist national socialist if you want, I wouldn’t disagree with you.” He also repeatedly attacks capitalists, and rejected the conservative label because, he wrote, “conservativism is corporatism in disguise, I want no part of it.”
I didn’t realize Fox had become the home of eco-fascist national socialists.
He’s mentally unstable, people. And in your lust to score political points, each time you make reference to a cult you might want to take a look in the mirror.
I also notice that in the variously vapid to banal comments there has been not one word about the fact that 10 dead is an average weekend in Chicago. And no white supremacists among the perps.
Back to your ghoulish political point making now.
*sigh* I don’t have the energy to debate your bullshit. He flat out tells you why he did what he did and you’re parsing it to try and find gotchas. He tells you he moved to the far right and wanted to kill Black people but y’all see the word “socialist” and go ooohhhhh, gotcha libs!
Keep pretending he’s not one of you. Keep pretending he’s just sick and not spouting the exact same crap as all the people you hang out with and the shows you listen to…. because if he’s sick, that’s means you are too.
From the piece linked, excerpts:
Again, my emphasis
And, here is how LGM sums it all up:
@Drew: “He’s mentally unstable, people”
He set out specifically to kill Black people. I guess that’s just too uncomfortable for you to acknowledge. Or maybe you just don’t see anything wrong in it.
@KM: “He tells you he moved to the far right and wanted to kill Black people but y’all see the word “socialist” and go ooohhhhh, gotcha libs!”
And in his genius, neglected to note the word that preceded “socialist” — national.
As you might recall from history, many countries had socialist parties called something like “The Socialist Party.”
One country had a party named “National Socialist,” but they were usually called by their favored abbreviation. Nazi.
This kind didn’t want to support Bernie. He wanted to put Bernie in a death camp.
@Drew: I notice that in Republicans’ usual racist “But Chicago” concern trolling, there’s never one word about how the “murder rates in the 25 states Trump carried in 2020 are 40% higher overall than in the states Biden won.” Or that “the five states with the highest per capita murder rate — Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama and Missouri — all lean Republican and voted for Trump.”
But that’s even before you take into account it would take a million weekends in Chicago to catch up to the white supremacist body count, whether it be from chattel slavery, colonialism and genocide. Or from terror attacks and hate crime murders caused by the ghoulish GRT bunk pushed by Republican leaders like Tucker Carlson and Elise Stefanik.
Or from Trump’s ghoulish decision to let COVID run rampant because he thought it would kill mostly black people, effectively murdering 1+ million Americans.
You remember Trump, don’t you Drew? He’s King of White Male Grievance, a racist birther bigot who controls the Republican Party, who tweeted a White Power video on June 28 2020, and who praised pro-Confederates marching alongside tiki torch Nazis that chanted “Jews will not replace us.” The pathological lying orange fascist who incited a QAnon #MAGATerrorist attack to destroy democracy but who your party of amoral, anti-American, forced birth scum want to make president again.
@Drew: P.S. You can get back to being a right wing hypocrite who pretends to be aghast at those scoring “political points” while your GQP masters ban black books to score cheap political points, cancel black athletes to score cheap political points, erase black history to score cheap political points, attack Disney’s free speech to score cheap political points, and smear teachers, gays, and Ketanji Brown Jackson as pedophiles and groomers to score cheap political points (while protecting teen sex trafficker Matt Gaetz and abuse-enabler Gym Jordan).