A while back, after a different mass shooting (Charleston maybe? Or possibly Oregon? I, unfortunately, didn’t put enough specifics in the article, and am basing it entirely on the timeline), I argued that “mental health issues” is not the reason people commit mass murder. It seems like it should be a rather easy notion to follow, but people (i.e. Republicans) can’t seem to shake the idea that a shooter’s actions seeming irrational and baseless to us doesn’t actually make him “crazy.” And even when he is actually “crazy”, that doesn’t really explain why he would carry out a mass murder.
So if crazy doesn’t explain why someone would gun down a group of mostly strangers, what does? Oh, good ole fashion, superiority-fueled hatred.
I mean, it’s understandable why so many supporters of the NRA would want to claim that the issue is mental health. That seems uncontrolled and sporadic. There’s nothing to do about a crazy guy (except, you know, fully fund mental health treatment and not stigmatize people with mental health issues as “crazy” and label mass murderers as nuts). It makes sense that Republicans wouldn’t want to address mass shootings as an issue of abusive white men radicalized by their own belief in their marginalization. That would require going after their President and his base.
But why aren’t we, the theoretically sensible, evidence-based believers of commonsense gun laws comfortable with labeling abusive, shitty behavior as abusive, shitty, and dangerous? Specifically, when someone seems to be an unmitigated jag to all of his wives, could we maybe, just all agree that that guy’s a piece of shit, and we should condemn his behavior? Notice I didn’t say, “Can we throw Gary Oldman in jail?” Or “Can we take away Oldman’s Oscar and kick him out of Hollywood?” I said, “If a guy is treating the women closest to him like shit, can we acknowledge that’s shitty?” Partly because guys who abuse women turn out to not be that great of people, but mostly because, you know, maybe women don’t deserve to be abused just because they’re in a relationship or because being wildly emotionally erratic and harmful isn’t “real” abuse.
And who knows, maybe once we’ve associated enough terrible abusive, racist, sexist pieces of shit with the mass shootings that we and we alone can’t seem to solve, we might just start thinking of being a terrible, abusive, racist, sexist piece of shit as a bad thing all on its own.