Let’s not start this post by recapping all the mass shootings, including school shootings, America experienced just this year (OVER 600!). We all know the detailed statistics. Instead, let’s jump right into how the United States never again need experience mass shootings.
This is necessarily a long story because while the reason we experience such events is relatively simple, that simplicity masks a lot of complexity. By the end of this piece, however, a complete picture will reveal itself. It will show why we experience such events and how we can put an end to them.
Even though nearly half of Republicans say we must learn to live with mass shootings, a mass shooting-free society can exist. After all, countries such as Japan and Korea have extremely low mass shootings instances. Comparatively, the United States has had more mass shootings than any other country, more than 20 times than other high income countries.
American mass shootings represent over 30 percent of the total mass shootings worldwide. That’s despite the US making up only five percent of the world’s population.
Given so few other countries see anywhere near the number of such incidents, ample evidence shows fewer mass shootings are possible, contrary to Republican perspectives.
We can enjoy a mass-shooting free society. We can get there easier than people think. And, we can do it without taking anyone’s guns. Or curtailing anyone’s freedoms. The how is complicated. But it can be done. Let’s examine that path to a mass-shooting-free society.
Excuses, excuses, excuses
Elected leaders such as Texas Governor, Greg Abbot points to poor mental health as causing such events. But every country has mental health issues and extremists. Meanwhile, virtually every American political leader on the left, at least those not corrupted by the gun lobby, say political unwillingness perpetuates such events. That unwillingness being stoked by politicians favorable to gun lobbies, who lavishly finance these elected leaders’ political ambitions.
Contrary to such knee-jerk political reactions from both the left and right, a mass-shooting solution requires an increase in individual freedoms, not a decrease. The solution proposes not more gun control, but less.
Understanding why that’s necessary requires going beyond superficial explanations, knee-jerk reactions and political posturing for why mass shootings happen. That’s what we’ll look at first.
We must go beyond such obviously superficial explanations because the problem is deeper than gun accessibility. Mental health alone doesn’t explain why so much gun violence happens either. That’s because mass shootings, in and of themselves, are not the problem we must solve. The problem is an economic and political one. But it’s even more complex than that, as we’ll explore in more detail.
Suffice it to say these complex, deep and more significant problems, many of which are intertwined, must be unwound. We then must eliminate them. That is, if we want a nation where children attend school with no worries about hiding under desks, and parents no longer fear some disturbed man – and it’s nearly always men…at least so far – will end their child’s life prematurely.
The problem is an opportunity
As mentioned before, the problems are multi-faceted and intertwined. But they share similar roots. I’m going to do my best to clarify the complexity. It will seem I’m beginning with a rather superficial explanation. As we’ll see, however, the real reason these things happen so often is anything but superficial.
So what creates these events?
The philosophical cliche is right: the problem is our collective opportunity. The same opportunity facing our nation in the form of mass shootings also presents itself to us individually as a chance to free ourselves. If we seize the opportunity, enormous progress will result on nearly every social problem we experience.
The Greek Poet Hesiod grokked this. Hesiod described several ages indicating subsequent phases through which human civilization evolved. His description ends with something called the Iron Age, which could describe our current reality:
In some ways it sounds uncannily like today, doesn’t it?
In referring to this Iron Age, Hesiod described his own time not ours. Still, his words certainly resonate today given violence, division, political theater, corruption and…yes…the demise of Twitter.
Joking aside, when it comes to mass shootings, it does seem there’s no help against that particular evil. Are we really helpless though?
Overwhelmed by shit
Look around you. Our global culture faces more trouble from more angles than ever before.
SCOTUS now exists as a deliberately-designed additional political wing of the right. Decades of conservative politicians’ manipulation of the Christian Right turned up the volume on the abortion debate. Republicans, fearing the real possibility of never winning an election again, have turned to all kinds of plans to jigger voting districts and voting regulations, causing more chaos in the electoral debate.
At the same time, the insurgency that is Donald Trump and Steve Bannon is destroying the Republican Party. So it’s not like Republicans have anything to celebrate. Especially since their Mid-Term red wave expectations crashed and burned against a mainstream electoral rebuke.
Bannon and Trump’s early successful media strategy created a deep schism in today’s political arena, introducing lies and false “facts” as real which have helped these two guys make serious inroads into overthrowing American democracy.
This was not done in secret. Bannon, the chief strategist for Trump, made his strategy plainly public: “The Democrats don’t matter,” Bannon reportedly said in 2018. “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.”
Today shit flies everywhere. It’s splintering the Democratic Party. It floods social media with influencers hyping the bling life, while cultivating body aspirations that make no biological sense, except for a sliver of humanity. So as individuals we turn to anorexia, plastic surgery and, sometimes, suicide.
Black Lives Matter, transgender, The Great Replacement, The War on Christianity, they all represent shit flying from the fan that is Steve Bannon’s capture strategy. So much shit flies, no wonder people go numb over the sheer number of top-level social crises. There are just too many to stay on top of.
Christians at the center
No wonder too that Christians feel beleaguered. Their overly simple, overly homogenous worldview now bumps up against so many alternative realities, Christian leaders’ explanations for these realities lead Christians directly into insecurities they feel. Does an all powerful being (the Christian God) really need sinful humans to bring His Kingdom? Seriously now, if God really is god, he needn’t rely on puny humans to do his bidding. But some Christians think God does need them.
And besides, Judgment Day, by definition, brings with it great “trials and tribulations”. No matter how stable one’s faith in God, if one has a heartbeat, living in the “end times” can spike the pulse in fear. It doesn’t help that Republican leaders stoke those fears by claiming the world is against them. Little do most Nationalist Christian Americans realize, they’re working for Satan, not their Christian God.
But all this shit, again, represents enormous opportunity. And, as previously said, the worse it gets, the greater exists opportunity. The only thing keeping us – as individuals and as a society – from reaching and then living said opportunity is our willingness to continue eating Steve Bannon’s shit.
In order to have those opportunities become our actual future, we must embrace a new way of being. Not only way of living, not a new way of doing things differently, but an actual new way of being. And that must happen at an individual-by-individual level.
Some reading the following are going to believe I advocate mind control or cult-like expectation that everyone think similarly. But look around. Enough people are already thinking like those around them. Or those they listen to. As a result, these people, the ones not thinking for themselves, create much of the mayhem.
And many supposed Christians lie at the center of all that.
Manipulators are winning
It is a classic case of the 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of problems we see happening result from metaphorically 20 percent of the population. Not pointing fingers, just stating the case.
The challenge is, at any given point, that 20 percent comprises different actors. So it’s never necessarily the same 20 percent creating 80 percent of the problem. That’s why it looks like it’s far more people than we think creating chaos.
As mentioned already, if you look at the United States today, many people’s minds already are under someone else’s control. They are being manipulated by certain others hell-bent on producing outcomes that are in the manipulators’ best interests. Not the interests of those manipulated.
In other words, the manipulators are winning.
No, the manipulators aren’t a secret society. Just like Bannon’s strategy announcement the manipulation happens right in the open. It happens through social and economic dynamics, and government activities which enforce and amplify those dynamics.
All these dynamics are not nefarious either. They all have origins in a basic tenet that enjoys global acceptance despite massive problems it creates.
This tenet is the number one thing charging people up with enough negative emotion such that the only outlet is to go into schools, churches, subways, pizza restaurants, hotels, entertainment events and take the lives of seemingly innocent people.
Nature vs. nurture?
I will get to describing this tenet in a little while. But first, let’s look at the dynamic that turns an ordinary human being into a mass shooter. That dynamic may not be what you think.
The nature versus nurture debate has gone on for decades. I am assuming that it is neither one or the other, but a combination of both shaping how a person observes, interprets, and talks about their experience.
But let’s not get into the weeds of scientific debate. Instead let’s get more subjective about it, by examining how emotions, and ignorance in their purpose, create and perpetuate active shooter events.
Consider that every active shooter shares basically the identical emotional state. The state tends to be extreme insecurity. It then devolves into powerlessness which then ricochets back into revenge, rage and anger. It’s revenge, rage and anger, backed by powerlessness that spark violent action.
The active shooter feels they have no other option than violence, in other words.
Take a look at this list of emotions below. They range from the most pleasurable at the top, to the most uncomfortable at the bottom. Most people have had some experience with every emotion on this range.
But consider them closely and you will see that the majority of people tend to hover between eight and 15.
I would argue hardly anyone understands the purpose of emotions. Emotions are meant to guide a person with regard to what it is the person wants as their life experience. Emotions are more than just a passing chemical cocktail triggered by sensory input. Science has not gotten around to understanding the guidance role emotions play in a person’s life.
And we are unnecessarily suffering because of that.
Emotions have purpose
Emotions act as early warning signals. They give the person a heads up as to what’s coming in their future. Positive emotions tell the person more positive experiences await in the person’s future. Negative emotions do the opposite. Negative emotions say to the person “change what you’re doing or you will encounter more negative experiences.”
This is so obvious, most of us miss it. If you touch a hot stove, the sensation received as emotion immediately triggers reflex actions which remove your hand from the hot stove. Ignore that obvious signal and your hand will increasingly cook.
The same holds true with emotions and larger world events and situations. But the emotion/trigger response isn’t about the hand on the stove. It’s about the thinking that had the person put their hand on the stove in the first place.
Notice after having burned one’s hand, one will THINK DIFFERENT about hot surfaces. The same holds true for every single other thought one experiences. Emotions, in other words, when used correctly, help a person tune their thinking so they think thoughts that generate behaviors and experiences consistent with what they want: a consistently improving life.
The more positive one’s thoughts, the more positive emotions one feels. The better the person feels, the more affirming actions they’ll take. In addition, the world around them will reflect that positive disposition, bringing to the thinker more positive life experiences. The opposite holds for negative thoughts.
Negative amplifies negative
Now think about someone who spends most of their time in the emotions below number eight on the scale above. Such emotions are saying “hey, what you’re looking at is triggering us, stop looking at that. Or, change how you’re thinking about what you’re looking at so you feel better. Otherwise you’re in for trouble!”
But our anonymous individual doesn’t know this. They have ingrained negative attitudes (beliefs) about immigrants and minorities or something else they’ve been manipulated to blame for their troubles. Beliefs they likely inherited from their family or online or whatever. Those beliefs usually come accompanied by other beliefs, existing in a constellation of like beliefs.
So let’s say this person hears about a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest, most likely from Fox News. He’s watching Fox News because that station aligns with his already negative emotional trend, developed over time. The protest, the medium through which he hears about it, and his own mental disposition all draw and then amplify new thoughts and beliefs which come into his mind.
Think about Fox News from the lens of the emotional scale above. What is the dominant emotional “flavor” of Fox News? That’s right. Fox News stories market negative-emotional-range-flavored content. Fox News content, in other words, is a perfect match to our hypothetical person’s disposition.
So when he feeds on a steady diet of Fox News (or MSNBC for that matter) emotions of anger, fear, insecurity, disempowerment, etc. will find a home in this person. They will become chronic. And the person will see world events through those lenses.
The pot boils over
So our hypothetical American will interpret everything he sees in light of his beliefs. Successful brown people aren’t smart or deserving. They “got over” through equal opportunity laws or admissions quotas. Obama is from Kenya. Democrats rigged the election.
Remember what emotions are about. Negative ones are early warning signals. Positive ones say “expect great things in the future.” But if you don’t get the message, the message’s volume, so to speak, will increase.
If a person remains at 14 or below on the emotional scale above, it becomes easier and easier to only see evidence confirming a 14-level disposition. And, the more evidence the person sees, the deeper his conviction becomes that that’s the way life is.
What’s more, his life will prove his beliefs true. His experience will filter out all life events disproving with his beliefs. He will not see them. All he’ll see are events confirming his negative beliefs, such as All Cops Are Bastards. And those confirming signs will grow ever more intense. Our hypothetical person’s disposition will grow ever more negative – helpless, angry, lonely, and vengeful…
You can see now how a mass shooter would emerge from an unsupportive or negative family environment, a chronic bullying environment at school, a steady diet that the world is out to get him, his race or his religion or all of the above. His pot will literally boil over, leaving him no other choice than violence. For violence is an instantaneous expression of force, masking insecurity, powerlessness and fear.
Chronic negativity is misogyny
Certain societal conditions exacerbate this dynamic. The most pernicious, and yet commonly accepted, condition is that people must “earn a living“. Everything in society organizes around this basic tenet. As a result, very few basic needs, including, for the most part, love and belonging, can be enjoyed without first generating “income”.
The INCEL phenomenon classically proves the argument. Such women-, world- and life-hating men get there through a successive perceived, yet no less valid, experiences confirming for the men that woman have no interest in them. Powerlessness, anger an helplessness draws such men together. Then they put a name on their experience: Involuntarily Celibate (INCEL). All the while none of these men know what’s happening inside them or how to reverse or stop it.
If you think about thoughts and their connection to emotions, it’s easy to see how a person who feels they must earn that which they know deep down is naturally abundant would also feel a cognitive-emotional dissonance. A dissonance which would generate a chronic condition somewhere around nine and 13 on that scale of emotions.
From there, going deeper down the emotional scale comes easily. The moment one’s income is at risk, or the moment one risks social ostracism, or the moment someone convinces them others are out to get them, deeper negative emotions surface.
A predominant or chronic negative trend is on the rise in America. This unconscious condition arises from the one-two punch. It is the need to earn a living combined with an amplification of beliefs about that, organized in a constellation around a core of cognitive-emotional dissonance.
Everyone’s livelihood, love, things they want or want to keep, all depend on how much income one enjoys. And one’s income depends on going out and working for another. Someone who could cut one off from that income at any moment. Everyone therefore lives in a low-boil of anxiety and potential disappointment and frustration, fear and anger. Mainly, because they know it doesn’t have to be this way.
All that leaves people bouncing around in the realm of nine through 23 on the emotional scale, with infrequent visits to levels seven to four. And relatively rare visits to the emotions at three or above.
All it takes is a dominant state of being at or below 18 on the scale. A steady diet of external impressions designed to stoke 18-level thoughts over time makes mass shooters an inevitability. Legislating gun ownership or access will not prevent that. Especially in a country hyper-focused on work, with everything one needs separated from people by a paywall, and people immersed in a culture that worships guns at the expense of nearly all else.
Why mental health isn’t the answer
And yet, the answer isn’t better mental health. That’s because no amount of mental health in the world will solve the cognitive-emotional dissonance created by having to EARN something you know DEEP DOWN exists in ABUNDANCE. There is nothing scarce about what people need to thrive. It all exists in abundant quantities. Why people must earn them is an anachronism. It’s time to treat this tenet as such.
This basic tenet fuels a chronic anxiety and insecurity in nearly everyone. Then, when everyone is forced to give up part of what they earn to support things they disagree with, those people feel exploited or worse. Politics and money as a means to make things happen are anachronisms too. Both increase frustration among some because every year something happens through the political system some number of people would rather not happen. And their hard earned money gets used to pay for it.
That’s a problem.
Trying to make people ignore that basic bit of fake news – that people should EARN their living – through counseling won’t work. Nor will counseling cause people to ignore the fact that their money often gets used in disagreeable ways. Instead, counseling will only exacerbate the emotional triggers. That’s because human nature, at its core, wants the life it knows is possible. One tied to and reflecting the natural abundance of the natural world. A world oriented to happiness and self-realization. Often our culture and economy run counter to this basic natural orientation.
Mental health means aligned living
We know mental health doesn’t work because we’ve tried for CENTURIES to get people to go along with the idea that they must earn their living. And despite all the success we’ve seen, the massive material wealth and prosperity we’ve realized through the centuries, we’ve seen equal amounts of poverty, sickness, despair, war, anguish, frustration, finger pointing, protests and so on.
All the above emotions, for some people, are emotional gateway drugs to the bottom of the emotional scale. It’s not true for everyone. But it is for enough.
Mental health happens when one lives in accordance with what one knows at the core of what and who on is. It’s a knowing we all share, save for the most distorted among us. For the rest of us, we know life is meant to be fun, easy and free of experiences which conjure below-eight emotions.
So our angst and anxieties are healthy. They tell us something is amiss. But we are so inured to life as it is, with no vision for how it can be, we mask the healthy response to an unhealthy environment with drugs created from that money-based environment. Rather than changing the environment, we think it better to mask our mental maladies with chemicals.
So the answer to mass-shootings isn’t gun control, nor is it mental health. The mass-shooter problem is a psycho/social/economic one. It has its origins in certain beliefs. Beliefs perpetuated by culture, politics and economics. And the answer is doing something about THAT. Not guns.
The way out
Consider this: What would happen if no one had to do anything they didn’t want to. Instead, they could do whatever they want. Consider too if everyone’s basic needs were available in a way that costs them nothing, nor does making and providing these things cost anyone else anything. And, if what people do creates benefit for society, people and the planet, they get compensated commensurate with impacts their actions produce. Should such impacts endure under this scenario, the responsible actor keeps on getting compensation. In other words, pretty much anyone would enjoy perpetual compensation streams for past acts.
So, people could do virtually anything and receive compensation that keeps coming in. And once they get that compensation, no one can take it from them for any reason. They could do NOTHING and still receive compensation because merely existing generates some benefit (to parents, spouses, children, society at large, etc.).
Forget about details about how all that happens, although those details have been thought through already.
Now consider this: In such a scenario, why would someone go on a shooting spree? Why would someone work a job they hate, or find boring, or unsafe. Would people work for sadistic or salacious bosses?
Why would someone shoot up a school if everything they want is amply available to them? Who would they blame and for what? A lot of problems start with poor parenting borne of a lot of reasons, including parents having to be away from children, working in stressful jobs alongside other adults whose parents raised them poorly for the same reason. And all this happens to earn money needed to pay for things we need.
The future evil-free
In our hypothetical scenario above, parents generate income for being with their kids because doing so generates positive impacts. And, as with many positive-impact-generating actions, the income keeps accumulates and keeps coming long after kids have grown. Why? Because nothing is more valuable than the next generation, adequately raised.
Raising them neglectfully is high risk. It literally can cost lives.
Violence in every case is a response to chronic angst borne of resisting the way our society says we must live. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a conservative, a progressive, a christian, a black person, a trans person a muslim or a racist. The pressure we put on one another to perpetuate this TRULY BIG LIE that we must earn, kills many of us violently and many, many of the rest of us in slow motion.
It’s hard to hate people giving you everything you need while expecting nothing in return. It’s hard to hate a system that enriches you just for being. And, if you do ANYTHING that creates value on top of that, you get compensation that keeps coming in long after you acted.
This sounds like a far-fetched scenario. But it’s already planned out and ready for implementation. It’s called Copiosis and it represents The New World order people have nightmares about.
Only, it’s not a nightmare. It’s freedom. It’s the gods showing us mercy instead of forsaking us as Greek Poet Hesiod decried. Copiosis is the light that dispels the evil we feel so powerless against.
Check out Copiosis. You’ll find there’s a lot there to feel hopeful about. It’s the New World Order that is our future. A future that’s ours for the taking. One in which we never need experience another mass shooting.