Miniblog #160: Careful Reflections Concerning the Connecticut Tragedy
I’ve five, intertwined thoughts a day after the tragedy in Connecticut. First, my heart is broken for the family and friends of victims as well as those of the shooter. I cannot imagine the grief they’re experiencing. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. Second, there’s a great deal of faux thinking going on.11.That is, uncritical, undeveloped, and uninspired thought that’s getting passed off as critical, developed, and inspired. N.K. Clifford once observed, “The Evangelical Protestant mind has never relished complexity. Indeed its crusading genius, whether in religion or politics, has always tended toward an over-simplification of issues and the substitution of inspiration and zeal for critical analysis and serious reflection.” Just now I think this applies equally to American society as a whole. Third, too many people are jumping to dealing with the symptoms while ignoring the disease. Look, I’m virtually a pacifist.22.No one can accuse me of being in cahoots with the GOP, the NRA, or any strand of the diverse conservative ideologies that exist. I, personally, am in favor of more and responsible gun control. At the same time (not “but”), this knee-jerk turn toward gun control is too easy. I’m not saying gun control isn’t a part of the solution. What I’m saying is you can’t fix a problem you haven’t identified, and it seems to me the underlying problem(s) remains largely ignored. Fourth, there’s a disturbing sociological trend evident in all these senseless, public shootings. To the best of my knowledge, dating back to Columbine almost all of the shooters have been middle-class, white males. This raises the question, what the hell is going on with middle-class, white males?! Beyond a fairly simple theological explanation concerning the depravity of man, this issue needs to be studied by a collaborative team of psychologists and sociologists.33.A research university needs to hop on this pronto. Anyone know any scholars in these fields? Fifth, I think the key word we all need to start using is “multicausal.” We Americans are imbued with pragmatist DNA to our core such that we want to know the cause. We tend to like short, simple answers because it’s readily understandable and relatively addressable. The trouble is, that’s seldom the way the world works. We need to embrace the multicausal complexities as they exist.44.So, for example, I’ve zero empirical evidence but, in no particular order, here’s a list of 10 things I suspect may have contributed to this trend:
1. Growing legacy of such events promotes copy cats.
2. Disintegration of the nuclear family.
3. Romanticization of violence in the media.
4. Ready availability of resources, i.e. guns.
5. Technological develops isolating individuals.
6. Epistemological relativity undermining moral consensus.
7. Mobile society straining sense of community and belonging.
8. Popularity and graphic reality of video games enhances plausibility.
9. Pharmaceuticals are masking rather than addressing emotional instabilities.
10. White males have no positive narrative of purpose for identity and are suffering from perceived loss of significance.