Next? Aurora, Colorado. Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. The Washington Navy Yard. The college town of Isla Vista, California.

Naturally, we respond by trying to pinpoint the cause: bad parenting, mental illness, guns, video games, the media, heavy metal music, or just plain evil. Once some ‘other’ is identified as an offending agent, we set up a kind of quarantine so that it can be banished from society and no longer threaten. Hoping to allay fears and respond to emotionally charged demands for action, politicians jump on this or that bandwagon with proposals for legislation aimed at sequestering and eliminating would-be culprits. Then we go about our lives, until the next mass shooting occurs and the cycle is repeated.

In the short term, this process makes us feel safer than looking inward and thinking: ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’ But what if the reality is that the underlying cause of mass murder lies not in something external to ourselves, but rather something at the root of human instinct and behaviour that’s also interwoven into American popular culture? This possibility suggests that, rather than trying to get rid of some offending external agent, a more meaningful approach might require looking within ourselves and our own communities for a solution.”
……It would seem that the fear of falling victim to the kind of violence featured heavily on the nightly news, ranging from domestic murder to global terrorism, has become something of an industry in the US. At the same time, whether morally justified or rationalised, protecting oneself and one’s family by arming against ‘the bad guys’ and taking ‘an eye for an eye’ remains an enduring US fantasy.

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