By: Nolan Wadsworth
WORLD, [SPECIFICALLY THE U.S.A. BECAUSE THAT SEEMS TO BE THE FOCAL POINT] – Did you know there are entire websites dedicated to tracking mass shootings in the U.S? https://www.massshootingtracker.org/data/2017. That’s kind of fucked up don’t you think?
Think for a minute about all the work that goes into designing and maintaining a website. You’d have to register the domain, put all the coding work in, and constantly update the site. The Modern Spirit is dedicated to delivering Guelph’s Most Impactful News with regular publishing dates and we work really hard to bring you (mostly) top-tier content. For someone to put that kind of work in, there must be something they can update frequently, so multiple websites dedicated to one specific set of violent instances in a very specific “non-violent” geographic region is straight-up bonkers!
Since 2013, 1890 mass shootings (4 or more people targeted) have occurred in a very specific geographical location (‘Murica, Fuck Yeah!). So, what is the problem? You’ll hear that guns are the problem, you’ll hear how mental health is the problem, and you’ll hear how terrorism is a problem. No one questions all three of those familiar topics (maybe they’ll choose one or two). We’ve done this dance before, and we most certainly will do it again.
The question we ask whenever someone grabs a gun and shoots up a church or a school or a movie theatre is the reactionary “Why?,” but we stop there. Heated debate around gun control is like a pop-up shop, here for a day and gone again the next. “Guns should be outlawed” VS. “We need more guns”. Instead of asking just “why?” if we shift our focus to a wider perspective we could ask “What is it about the world we live in that makes us feel threatened and in need of a tool used specifically to end lives?” or “What makes us feel like we need guns to be safe?” [to give a few very specific examples]. Maybe we could ask “Why are there a disproportionate number of male shooters?,” or a more poignant “Why is there an overwhelming amount of mass shootings—54 percent of cases—that relate to domestic violence?” (https://everytownresearch.org/reports/mass-shootings-analysis) There is a trend that links “celebrity” shooters, as well as the anonymous ones, to spousal abuse at some point or another [ED. see the link above].
The most recent shithead, who shot up a church in Texas, was kicked out of the military for beating his spouse. Violent tendencies can show early on, but the mechanisms in place to keep citizens safe from violent people with kill-machines are basically non-existent. Shifting the blame to these assholes gives the shooters – even with that final bullet in their head – more power than they deserve. These men are a symptom, not a cause. They ultimately made a decision to be the worst, but I think there’s more to it.
How is it that these men are able to shoot indiscriminately? I say that power and control play a pivotal role in these no-longer-isolated mass-shootings. It’s not a stretch to say domestic abusers value control over their lives and, by extension, their partner’s life. Systems of violence and domination are a core theme in masculine culture today. This – in turn – normalizes and encourages violence and domination.
You’ve seen it everywhere.
But sure, all these shooters are isolated “Bad Apples” with mental health issues or terrorists with easy access to a gun in a culture that fucking loves guns and loves shooting people even more. We need to ask the right questions if we want the real answer.