Why are there not more mass shootings?

You might have heard that there was a mass shooting in Las Vegas recently (although really, what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas).

This got me thinking about broken people. Lots of people are broken in some way. Some people have Tourette’s, some people have multiple personalities, some people get angry at the TV, some people get into bar fights, some enjoy raping children, or adults, some people murder. Actually lots of people murder.

I’d go as far as to suggest that we’re all a little bit broken in some way. And that the extent to which we are screwed up might form a distribution something like this:

When a person has been provided with a malfunctioning brain by The Almighty, we sometimes consider the person to be at fault. In other cases, we consider them the victim of the fault. Compare a person with schizophrenia and person with a bad case of the paedophilia. Both these people were dealt a malfunctioning brain, but you think about them quite differently, don’t you.

My point: if you can put aside the outrage, forget about blaming someone for their actions and just think of them as an expected point on a distribution, some things become clear.

The mass-murder formula

It’s a Venn diagram, wouldn’t you know.

In one corner we have the genetic mutation that makes you unhinged enough to want to murder as many people as you can.

In the second corner is your surroundings. I would like to think that some people will be born broken, but through a loving family or support group manage to get through life without climbing the clock tower.

On the third corner is opportunity.

Now, please don’t shoot the messenger, but here’s the bad news, America: the first two aren’t going to change. And it seems pretty certain that you, on the whole, don’t want to change the third one.

So this is your life now.

There will continue to be about 43 murders a day, which you won’t see on the news and you don’t even think about (be honest with yourself), then about once a year there will be a group activity where a few dozen people get killed by the same person at the same time and then you’re going to care and hashtag something on twitter in support of the victims.

It’s going to happen again and again, you’re going to get sad, you’re going to get mad, but it isn’t going to stop. If you care about being happy, you might as well stop caring about mass murders now — just like you stopped caring about those 43 individual murders (daily!) long ago. You heartless swine.

Let’s dive into the opportunity circle. If the dude that shot all those people in Vegas had lived in Australia, or Japan, or the UK, or anywhere else that doesn’t have “Freedom”, it wouldn’t have happened. The guy would still exist, he would still be a crazy person, probably still think about killing lots of people and maybe even try to kill a person or two, but a mass-shooting wouldn’t be on his bucket list.

Unless is was 20 years ago in Australia. A crazy person back then could get their hands on some decent fire power. In fact one crazy person did just that, killing 35 in a shooting spree in 1996. So now Australian’s don’t have guns no more.

(in a shooting spree or on a shooting spree?)

On the other hand, if you’re a nut job in the USA, mass murder is pretty damn easy. I’d be willing to bet that stocking up on a small arsenal is less effort and paperwork than doing your taxes. And I don’t want to pick on just the USA. In Sudan if you’re born a nut-job with a taste for human destruction you’d probably get a gang of 12 year old soldiers together, buy them an AK-47 each ($50 a pop) then rape an entire village and burn it to the ground. But that sort of thing doesn’t make the news.

When so many people are a few sandwiches short of a picnic, and it’s a piece of cake to stock up on some guns and point them into a crowd (particularly if your getaway vehicle is self-deliverance), why doesn’t it happen more often?

That’s all, I don’t have a point, a call to action, not really even food for thought. I just find that interesting.

A parting thought: my grandfather decided to quit smoking when the cost of cigarettes reached $1 a pack. They did, and he did.

Maybe a certain country should make an agreement that when the first mass shooting cracks the 100-fatality mark, guns become illegal.

Just a thought.

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