Reflections on the Random Mass Killing


WILLIAM MARSDEN observes today, in a Postmedia article “A touch of socialism might tame America’s killer psyche,” that

Murderous rampages have become so commonplace in America they have reached a level of banality that has earned them their own massive, militaristic and bureaucratic response system. The shooter opens fire. Police “active shooter” squads — on call 24/7 — are deployed. The shooter either commits suicide or is shot dead. The police are declared heroes. The victims are mourned and become “patriots.” Their family photos drift ghost-like across TV screens. Friends of the shooter struggle to comprehend why such a good-natured guy would do such a terrible thing. Blame inevitably falls on, as the Chicago Tribune ruled in an editorial Tuesday, “a lethal grudge and a gun.”

There is no repudiating that the mass killing of strangers in crowded public places is a template act, from beginning to end scripted and carried out along known and predictable lines. For years the question Why? has necessarily occurred, under the assumption that a coherent explanation is available.

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