Similar to you, I get curious about "The Shooter" in mass shootings. I want to know all about this person from their childhood through the time of the murdering of innocent people. For me, it is a matter of wanting to know the catalyst for such a heinous act and most importantly, how did society fail this person to the point of committing a mass murder? In my mind, it is unbelievable tragic and I am sure that it leaves many of you wondering things such as,
All of our communities are impacted by the devastating effects of gun violence. Still, given the fact that white men account for the majority of mass shootings, has our society done a disservice to them by ignoring their problems simply because they are, well white men? If we are, then we need to develop a comprehensive approach that addresses the complex interplay of factors, such as the examples below, that contribute to these tragedies:
Not all shooters have been diagnosed with a form of mental illness. Yet, one of the first justifications about the shooter is that the person is mentally ill, especially if the shooter is white and male. Some media sources discuss the cause of a person's decision to conduct a mass shooting as being due to mental illness more than they do easy access to guns or allowing families to grieve. Mental illness can impact people of all races and genders, and solely focusing on mental illness as the cause for mass shootings has not lessened the number of incidences of mass shootings in the United States.
Recognize that men, overall, are more violent than women. Men tend to internalize their problems, (see my blog about "Pay Attention To Men's Mental Health), www.lisaligginschambers.com/questions/q21-men and are more angry often blaming others for their challenges. These men are in crisis and have legal access to fire arms to relieve themselves of their negative feelings by murdering others and sometimes themselves.
The Shooter Characteristics
The lack of discipline, redirection, or structure reinforces the child's thinking that, it is okay to hurt others. In other words, harming others achieves what they want, (i.e., attention, food, and affection). These boys grow up with a sense of entitlement until society teaches them that this behavior is unacceptable, and they feel angry about it. Masculinity can be questioned and acts of violence, including mass shootings, can make them feel more masculine. As sad as it is, their anger can also stem from racial hatred, misogyny, and political rhetoric that does not condemn white men for this type of violence, but supports it against minorities. This, in turn, keeps up their ideologies and justifies their decision to partake in a mass shooting. This societal privilege is a learned behavior. It is afforded to white men simply because of their race and gender. This privilege can manifest in various ways, such as in the workplace, in politics, in education, and in social situations. Due to this white male entitlement, they receive lower levels of scrutiny and suspicion from law enforcement when crimes are committed. In the case of mass shootings they, nor their copycats, fear repercussions for their decisions to engage in mass shootings.
Decreasing Mass Shootings
Our society needs more interventions in place BEFORE these tragedies happen, including the following:
It is important to note that not all individuals who fit these characteristics will become mass shooters, and that there is no single profile that can accurately predict who will engage in this type of violence. Additionally, it is important to avoid making assumptions or stereotypes based on a shooter's race, gender, or other demographic factors, as this can perpetuate harmful biases and distract from effective solutions to prevent future tragedies and promote a safer and more just society for everyone.