Yeti

Why now?

VikingsGuy

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Messages
9,087
Location
Twin Cities
This post is NOT about gun control, the 2A, black scary guns, hardening schools, or arming teachers. This post is an attempt to share thoughts about why indiscriminate public "mass" violence appears to be happening more frequently. If you feel the need to argue about all the things this post is NOT about, please take it to another place.

As for arguments that this post is not about hunting and therefore should be deleted - lots of discussions on this forum are not about hunting. We have discussed mental health in many threads. Wept with fellow members as they shared mental health issues with kids and suicide. It is appropriate that we do so. This is a community - shaped around public land hunting, yes - but a community nonetheless, and communities talk about all kinds of pressing issues. Further, HT users are largely gun owners and none of us or our families are immune from our growing mental health crisis. Discussions about guns and mental health are appropriate (and even necessary) amongst hunting families.

So, to my thoughts.

I have struggled with, "why does it seem worse now?" Many hypotheses have been floated, but the studies end up showing little correlation and no clear causation. Each may be a small straw in the bigger bundle, but none have been able to explain the increase. These include in part:

Increase in single-parent families
Increase in the number of firearms in the country
Increase in the perceived military nature of firearms
Violence in movies
Violence in music
Violence in video games
Loss of religious beliefs
Poverty
Drugs
Self-aggrandizement
Lack of opportunity
The internet causing isolation
Increase in school bullying
Excessive individualism
Decay of the mental health system
Background check "loopholes"
Increased perceived "gun culture"
etc

But if none of these actually correlate well with known shootings/shooters how do we make sense of a clear increase?

Another thought was triggered by my youngest daughter who is taking a social psychology class this semester. She was sharing some interesting observations about the "Riot Effect". The riot effect is the premise that in a given population a very very small percentage would be the first one to throw a rock through a window and start a riot, but a still small but meaningfully larger percentage of a population would join a riot if they saw the first person throw a rock through a window ("second rioters"). Further, a still small but larger percentage would join the riot if they saw 3 or 4 people already in progress ("third rioter"), etc etc etc until you reach a point where the proverbial "average person on the street" is grabbing a looted TV. That at some point, each person will participate in "mob behavior" if enough are already doing it. This is not "copy cat" behavior or "attention-seeking behavior", it is more of a threshold to anti-social action in a "mob setting".

In the case of school shootings now vs the 1970s, could the riot effect explain the difference? In a world with very limited communications about local events in other parts of the country (the 70s) would the very very low frequency of "first rioters" act as a natural cap on such activity? That only a few people in the country would act like this alone, and when they did act, a lack of national immersive coverage would fail to engender the larger number of "second rioters" to act. Not due to lack of "publicity", but rather via the failure to create a sense of common connection/mob for potential "second rioters".

It is a premise that a very very few people are pre-disposed to acting as a lone active shooter/bomber, but that a bigger number (while still small) would do it if they saw others -- and with ubiquitous internet and TV coverage of these shooters, do the "second" or "third rioters" now feel as if they are part of a "group/mob" of the disaffected - an event that wasn't likely in the 70s, where local news was local and national news was on tv for a half-hour a day.

This theory suggests that people haven't changed - the number of pre-disposed first rioters/shooters is the same as always, as is the number of "second rioters/shooters", but the 24/7 news cycle is creating a "virtual mob" that triggers latent "second" and "third rioters/shooters" so to speak.

There is a fairly solid body of evidence that mass violence events tend to come in clusters and that many shooters/bombers in recent years are very aware and tuned into prominent shooters of the recent past such as Eric Harris.

Who knows the truth, but at the moment, this seems to me like the best explanation I have heard to date. And sadly one that offers no simple solution or easy source of unilateral blame.
 

4ohSick

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Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
219
Location
Helena, MT
I think there's a lot of merit to the mob theory argument. While social isolation is a bigger issue in the internet age, I also think it's easier for disturbed individuals to find "communities" in the dark corners of the internet that validate their perceptions. An example is incel culture on Reddit/4Chan/pick-your-poison, but whatever your particular brand of hatred, there are like-minded individuals that can come together without the limitations of geography.

Another factor I think bears consideration, though probably less directly, is the embattlement politics that have been ever-growing. The branding of people who think anything different as enemies and all the war-themed rhetoric has to have some effect on providing internal justification for war-like action (in a small subset of cases).

P.S. Thanks for another thoughtful thread. Hopefully it can survive as long as the other before inevitably devolving.
 

Randi

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Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
565
Excellent, thought provoking, post,

As I have mentioned before, I believe "defunding the police" and "liberal sentences and bail" could also be added to your list. The new "smash and grab" crimes, "shoplifting" is now done by filling up a grocery cart and walking out, not by grabbing a candy bar and slipping it into your purse. Not enough police presence IMHO

I have studied the "Riot Effect" and although I agree with its premise, I dont feel it is new. I remember studying the Rodney King riots that happen in L.A.

" Nothing else to do, lets go join the riot", "anger for both "real" and "perceived" issues that effect an individual". Some did it or were part of it, just for the free stuff they looted from the stories within the riot area. The riot's recently in Portland, Chicago, Milwaukee, etc-----different cities, different decade--many of the same reasons and outcome .

I also mentioned this yesterday after watching the members if the Judiciary committee, discuss the Child Protection Act. I agree with you that are leaders need to find some common ground.

I recently had a conversation with a member of this forum who is older than I , different sex, leans more liberal in his thinking/politics than I, and yet, We found common ground and did so with common courtesy while discussing our differing opinions. And, I learned form him because he wasn't shouting at me, so to speak or playing "gotcha" politics.
 

88man

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Messages
2,054
Location
Pa
This post is NOT about gun control, the 2A, black scary guns, hardening schools, or arming teachers. This post is an attempt to share thoughts about why indiscriminate public "mass" violence appears to be happening more frequently. If you feel the need to argue about all the things this post is NOT about, please take it to another place.

As for arguments that this post is not about hunting and therefore should be deleted - lots of discussions on this forum are not about hunting. We have discussed mental health in many threads. Wept with fellow members as they shared mental health issues with kids and suicide. It is appropriate that we do so. This is a community - shaped around public land hunting, yes - but a community nonetheless, and communities talk about all kinds of pressing issues. Further, HT users are largely gun owners and none of us or our families are immune from our growing mental health crisis. Discussions about guns and mental health are appropriate (and even necessary) amongst hunting families.

So, to my thoughts.

I have struggled with, "why does it seem worse now?" Many hypotheses have been floated, but the studies end up showing little correlation and no clear causation. Each may be a small straw in the bigger bundle, but none have been able to explain the increase. These include in part:

Increase in single-parent families
Increase in the number of firearms in the country
Increase in the perceived military nature of firearms
Violence in movies
Violence in music
Violence in video games
Loss of religious beliefs
Poverty
Drugs
Self-aggrandizement
Lack of opportunity
The internet causing isolation
Increase in school bullying
Excessive individualism
Decay of the mental health system
Background check "loopholes"
Increased perceived "gun culture"
etc

But if none of these actually correlate well with known shootings/shooters how do we make sense of a clear increase?

Another thought was triggered by my youngest daughter who is taking a social psychology class this semester. She was sharing some interesting observations about the "Riot Effect". The riot effect is the premise that in a given population a very very small percentage would be the first one to throw a rock through a window and start a riot, but a still small but meaningfully larger percentage of a population would join a riot if they saw the first person throw a rock through a window ("second rioters"). Further, a still small but larger percentage would join the riot if they saw 3 or 4 people already in progress ("third rioter"), etc etc etc until you reach a point where the proverbial "average person on the street" is grabbing a looted TV. That at some point, each person will participate in "mob behavior" if enough are already doing it. This is not "copy cat" behavior or "attention-seeking behavior", it is more of a threshold to anti-social action in a "mob setting".

In the case of school shootings now vs the 1970s, could the riot effect explain the difference? In a world with very limited communications about local events in other parts of the country (the 70s) would the very very low frequency of "first rioters" act as a natural cap on such activity? That only a few people in the country would act like this alone, and when they did act, a lack of national immersive coverage would fail to engender the larger number of "second rioters" to act. Not due to lack of "publicity", but rather via the failure to create a sense of common connection/mob for potential "second rioters".

It is a premise that a very very few people are pre-disposed to acting as a lone active shooter/bomber, but that a bigger number (while still small) would do it if they saw others -- and with ubiquitous internet and TV coverage of these shooters, do the "second" or "third rioters" now feel as if they are part of a "group/mob" of the disaffected - an event that wasn't likely in the 70s, where local news was local and national news was on tv for a half-hour a day.

This theory suggests that people haven't changed - the number of pre-disposed first rioters/shooters is the same as always, as is the number of "second rioters/shooters", but the 24/7 news cycle is creating a "virtual mob" that triggers latent "second" and "third rioters/shooters" so to speak.

There is a fairly solid body of evidence that mass violence events tend to come in clusters and that many shooters/bombers in recent years are very aware and tuned into prominent shooters of the recent past such as Eric Harris.

Who knows the truth, but at the moment, this seems to me like the best explanation I have heard to date. And sadly one that offers no simple solution or easy source of unilateral blame.
Yes & go watch a high school basketball game or a baseball or softball game pretty rare that someone is not yelling out of control at an umpire or a coach. Lots of bad people out there nothing surprises me anymore. Now thats local right.
As I always thought transients were or are the craziest of folks.
 

PrairieHunter

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2018
Messages
1,502
Location
Laramie, WY
Life is hard enough with all the challenges mentioned. People are unhealthy which is a major health issue with all the junk food, fast food, pills, soda, etc people put in their bodies. Then we added a pandemic and now out of control inflation, fuel prices, etc... and most people are not making any more $. Something has to give.
 

LWC55

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,011
Location
North TX
Not enough real struggle anymore.
Too much time on everyone’s hands to think about how they’re not fitting in or never gonna make their mark.
One generation ago they didn’t even have central air bro.
I was about to post the same thing. All of us obviously have too much time on our hands lol. Our grandfathers didn't have time to sit around and argue about such nonsense.

1654283079892.png
 
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Nameless Range

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Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
4,566
Location
Western Montana
I think your daughter is on to something, insofar as there is a social contagion aspect to it. I would also say, in the context of school shootings, a conversation I recently had with my daughter regarded the social contagion aspect of thinking things are more prevalent than they are - from racism, to shootings, to whatever. I know you are talking about gun violence in general, but here is an example of what I'm talking about.

Since 1999, about 185 students and teachers have been killed in gun-related violence at schools. That's less than 10 a year, and for sure 10 a year too many, but at any given time there are 60 million K-12 kids in schools across this country at any given time. Does a less than one in 10 million chance of being killed in a given year, or a one in 4 million of being injured by gun violence, justify active shooter drills? Does it justify kids even worrying about it? I don't know. When juxtaposed against other statistics related to school age mortality one wonders. Does it follow for other kinds of gun violence? I don't know, but probably not as much. Unfortunately, gun violence in schools is on my mind lately.

I think your list is correct, and I think it is correct to say the reasoning is multivariate. There is a sickness in our culture, and I don't think it is going to get better anytime soon. I recently listened to this podcast and found it balanced and enlightening. Both the host and guest are gunowners - but reasonable, realistic and solution-oriented. It is dissatisfying that no real solutions exist that are plausible. At least in the current environment. If there was any common thread to their discussion of the mass murders we have seen, to me, one seems to be a theme of isolation. Something that seems to be exacerbated, and as easily accepted as ever, in this increasingly digital world.

 
Last edited:

idelkslayer

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2013
Messages
207
I think most if not all of your list would be mitigated if we had strong 2-parent families, and churches (or other purposeful social community, clubs, volunteer organizations, etc.). These organizations used to be more prominent but have fallen to the wayside as we have found more and more ways to entertain ourselves as individuals. We, especially children, need a structure and purpose and community.

I firmly believe that every home with children should have one parent at home whenever the children are home. Traditionally, the homemaker was the wife, but I don't think it matters as long as one parent is always there when the children are. Otherwise, a child arrives home to an empty house with no one to talk to about their problems from that day, so they go to the internet where there is a distinct lack in loving thoughtful advice. If a person doesn't have a supporting family, church or other social community the internet is the only place to turn. And with few exceptions, it is not a good place.

Self-aggrandizement - Agreed. Promoted by movies and social media telling people to be themselves and damn anyone who stands in the way. Social norms are important to maintain a functioning society.

Lack of opportunity - I translate this to a crappy education system. Maybe we need to move past the industrial revolution model of public education and fund a variety of education options. Increase access to trade schools as an alternative or parallel to high school. Why should a 16 year old who has no plans to go to college be forced to sit through years of high school when they could be working and progressing in a trade or other profession.

Increase in school bullying - I don't think this matters if a person has a strong family, church or other social community.
 

homers

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Joined
Sep 20, 2015
Messages
1,460
Lot's of societal changes over the past few decades, some with negative consequences. Specifically to mass shootings, predominately by young males, the difficult part is that while we can say certain things may contribute to someone acting out, the fact is the vast majority don't. Social media, bullying, drastic increase in SSRI's/anti depressant usage, breakdown of family, etc impacts 10's of millions of kids, yet only a handful will become a mass shooter. Even those who are unfortunately suicidal, a small fraction of those will shoot others. If it was an easy thing to fix, steps would have been taken. I don't know if there is a good way to screen out those who will probably become a mass shooter.
 

Lilhowie83

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Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
494
Location
Southeast Idaho
I think most if not all of your list would be mitigated if we had strong 2-parent families, and churches (or other purposeful social community, clubs, volunteer organizations, etc.). These organizations used to be more prominent but have fallen to the wayside as we have found more and more ways to entertain ourselves as individuals. We, especially children, need a structure and purpose and community.

I firmly believe that every home with children should have one parent at home whenever the children are home. Traditionally, the homemaker was the wife, but I don't think it matters as long as one parent is always there when the children are. Otherwise, a child arrives home to an empty house with no one to talk to about their problems from that day, so they go to the internet where there is a distinct lack in loving thoughtful advice. If a person doesn't have a supporting family, church or other social community the internet is the only place to turn. And with few exceptions, it is not a good place.

Self-aggrandizement - Agreed. Promoted by movies and social media telling people to be themselves and damn anyone who stands in the way. Social norms are important to maintain a functioning society.

Lack of opportunity - I translate this to a crappy education system. Maybe we need to move past the industrial revolution model of public education and fund a variety of education options. Increase access to trade schools as an alternative or parallel to high school. Why should a 16 year old who has no plans to go to college be forced to sit through years of high school when they could be working and progressing in a trade or other profession.

Increase in school bullying - I don't think this matters if a person has a strong family, church or other social community.

I agree with you on all of your thoughts. I would also add to the 2 parent family, the parents have to be engaged and involved with the kids too. I know to many people that have kids, but both parents work and have their own extra curricular activities, thus leaving their kid to be raised by a daycare or baby sitter.
 

88man

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2011
Messages
2,054
Location
Pa
I think your daughter is on to something, insofar as there is a social contagion aspect to it. I would also say, in the context of school shootings, a conversation I recently had with my daughter regarded the social contagion aspect of thinking things are more prevalent than they are - from racism, to shootings, to whatever. I know you are talking about gun violence in general, but here is an example of what I'm talking about.

Since 1999, about 185 students and teachers have been killed in gun-related violence at schools. That's less than 10 a year, and for sure 10 a year too many, but at any given time there are 60 million K-12 kids in schools across this country at any given time. Does a less than one in 10 million chance of being killed in a given year, or a one in 4 million of being injured by gun violence, justify active shooter drills? Does it justify kids even worrying about it? I don't know. When juxtaposed against other statistics related to school age mortality one wonders. Does it follow for other kinds of gun violence? I don't know, but probably not as much. Unfortunately, gun violence in schools is on my mind lately.

I think your list is correct, and I think it is correct to say the reasoning is multivariate. There is a sickness in our culture, and I don't think it is going to get better anytime soon. I recently listened to this podcast and found it balanced and enlightening. Both the host and guest are gunowners - but reasonable, realistic and solution-oriented. It is dissatisfying that no real solutions exist that are plausible. At least in the current environment. If there was any common thread to their discussion of the mass murders we have seen, to me, one seems to be a theme of isolation. Something that seems to be exacerbated, and as easily accepted as ever, in this increasingly digital world.

Yes one death is to many for any reason of course. I would bet more than 10 kids overdose a year at school or more than 10 a year are stabbed or more than 10 poisoned. Lets face it a school shooting is a great talking point for anti gun left thinking folks and they certainly don't want to mis a good opportunity to have some form of increased gun legislation and of course the publics eye off of the crushing inflation and crazy fuel prices.
We need to do something about drugs in school>
Lots we need to do.

a friend of mine lost a middle school son to a school stabbing 20 years ago
GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!
 

LWC55

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Joined
Mar 4, 2016
Messages
1,011
Location
North TX
Since 1999, about 185 students and teachers have been killed in gun-related violence at schools. That's less than 10 a year, and for sure 10 a year too many, but at any given time there are 60 million K-12 kids in schools across this country at any given time. Does a less than one in 10 million chance of being killed in a given year, or a one in 4 million of being injured by gun violence, justify active shooter drills? Does it justify kids even worrying about it? I don't know. When juxtaposed against other statistics related to school age mortality one wonders. Does it follow for other kinds of gun violence? I don't know, but probably not as much. Unfortunately, gun violence in schools is on my mind lately.
While 1 is too many. It is worth discussing the actual prevalence. I didn't check your numbers but assume they are close to accurate. Thanks for posting.
 

gouch

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Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
842
Location
SW Oregon
Since 1999, about 185 students and teachers have been killed in gun-related violence at schools.
Actually, the number is around 650 for gun related violence, with another 1700 injured. The 185 number is just for "mass shootings." I wouldn't pretend to know why we seem to be losing civility in America or even if we are. When you look back through history there are plenty of examples of some pretty horrendous things people have done to other people here in America. The fact that it seems so bad right now might be more a factor of getting to see happen it in real time or perhaps we are developing more of a conscience and have less tolerance for the violence. That would be a good thing.

The "Riot Effect" Theory is interesting since it is a dynamic of a mob. So, the question would have to be, can social media groups constitute a mob? I think maybe they sometimes do.
 

Nameless Range

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Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
4,566
Location
Western Montana
Actually, the number is around 650 for gun related violence, with another 1700 injured. The 185 number is just for "mass shootings." I wouldn't pretend to know why we seem to be losing civility in America or even if we are. When you look back through history there are plenty of examples of some pretty horrendous things people have done to other people here in America. The fact that it seems so bad right now might be more a factor of getting to see happen it in real time or perhaps we are developing more of a conscience and have less tolerance for the violence. That would be a good thing.

The "Riot Effect" Theory is interesting since it is a dynamic of a mob. So, the question would have to be, can social media groups constitute a mob? I think maybe they sometimes do.

That’s a good correction. The article I referenced doesn’t really make it clear. Some interesting graphics within it

 

Jorgy

Active member
Joined
May 13, 2013
Messages
599
Location
Land-O-Cheese
Yes one death is to many for any reason of course. I would bet more than 10 kids overdose a year at school or more than 10 a year are stabbed or more than 10 poisoned. Lets face it a school shooting is a great talking point for anti gun left thinking folks and they certainly don't want to mis a good opportunity to have some form of increased gun legislation and of course the publics eye off of the crushing inflation and crazy fuel prices.
We need to do something about drugs in school>
Lots we need to do.

a friend of mine lost a middle school son to a school stabbing 20 years ago
GUNS ARE NOT THE PROBLEM!
i don't understand how any rational person can say, with conviction, that guns are not the problem. I'm not infering that there aren't alot of other factors, but come on. Isn't there a saying about like "the first you have to do is admit you have a problem"
 

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