Well, so apparently this phenomenon of young men taking guns or cars or some form of weaponry and going on a rampage, intentionally slaughtering as many people as they can for no [immediately apparent] reason and then killing themselves, is not simply some anomaly–it seems to be an almost habitual occurrence, a gruesome symptom of post-modern existence. I base this conclusion on my checking of the headlines now and then, and although I am not going to compile a list of these events, it seems like it happens pretty damn often to me. Often enough so that it should be something that should be worrying us more than Al-Qaeda does. Why do these young men feel the need to destroy others before destroying themselves? It is a sickening display of monstrous intention. These acts are generally premeditated, and their targets are innocent, everyday people, only connected to the murderer by proximity.
The media and horrified parents immediately point their fingers at easy targets such as video games, music, and movies. And while it is possible that the seed of the idea of running rampant with ammo and slaughtering random people could be gleaned from such glamorized violence as depicted in popular forms of media, it is certainly a big step to make from shooting people in a video game to actually gathering arms and ammo and loading them and walking out and shooting real people. It is a step into a complex disturbance much deeper and darker than most people would care to even acknowledge exists anywhere. But, obviously, it exists. And it is affecting minds that seemingly are totally fine, they are totally “normal,” maybe a little quiet or weird. . .and then, suddenly, something happened. What happened?
Anything that could be said about what goes on in the minds of such people is all pure speculation, of course, unless I went out and interviewed a bunch of them, which would be hard given that a lot of them kill themselves in the process. So I won’t try to fathom what might have broken the camel’s back in their minds. But I do think it would be helpful to speculate on why fairly average people would want to kill each other and themselves for no apparent reason.
One thing that always frustrates me with the media and with the way people approach crimes and the criminals who commit them is that rather than trying to understand what might motivate such a crime, the criminals are written off as monsters and their heinous acts are written off as unintelligible acts of primal bestiality. But unfortunately, most people in this world, being intelligent creatures, do the things they do for some kind of reason, whether consciously intentional or not.
To me, when someone commits the crime of killing innocents in a horrific, and also extremely public, manner, it is an extreme call for help. It is a call for help so late in the game that nothing can be done except shoot them or watch them shoot themselves. And that’s just what is so horrible about it to me. These people are not monsters. They have intentionally made themselves appear as monsters in their last act of trying to connect to the outside world, and this must be because they really believe that’s what they are. But they probably know, somewhere within, that they are not such monsters, and so they feel the need to convince the world of such. That is what is horrible to me. Because there is no turning back at that point. That is a sign of such complete and utter hopeless despair.
And so I try to think about what could have made someone think that they are that horrible. Who could really think they were so horrible that they had to show all the world how horrible they were by killing other people? What would lead to such a feeling of oneself? And I think there must be some kind of feeling of impotence, obviously of rage. It has built up so much it explodes. Their only attempt to make themselves known, to be heard, to be powerful, is to kill. That is extreme and terrible and sad. And what that means to me is that something is terribly wrong with our society right now.
Crimes such as these are symptoms of something much deeper that is eating away at the core of our society. People will always kill each other, such is the sadness of humanity. But for people to kill each other in such a manner as this, that is not normal nor does it have a precedent in history as far as I know, although I don’t claim to know such histories. It seems to me to be a symptom of our society as it is right now. And something is wrong, terribly wrong. Why should people feel so outside, so monstrous, that they commit deliberately monstrous acts? When people kills themselves and other people for religious fanaticism, or under the banner of patriotism, or some such thing, at least their acts are intelligible, even if just as horrific. But why would someone just kill, just . . .to kill? And what kind of society would breed the environment of such killers?