Social Dysfunction and Mass Shooting

For the content below, I reference THIS post.

I’m not sure why I thought that data collection for this project would be a walk in the park, but the more information I gather, the more I realize that I have even more to gather. Let’s say I start researching how a shooter got his guns (of the 10 or so shootings I’ve researched on that parameter, 100% of the firearms were obtained legally, with a majority doing so despite a record that should have prevented the sale).

 

Big digression, sorry. I’ll start looking for how they got guns and see something about exposure to domestic violence. Then I’ll remember a blurb about so and so watching his mom get beat up, so I’ll add that variable.

 

All told, this dataset contains 20 (as I count them) variables, including –

three demographic measures (it’s been a while since grad school – some of these might not belong to “demographics”). These are the “invariable variables” – the shooter was stuck with these upon being born –

  • Location (state)
  • Date of birth
  • Race

 

Six components that the shooter had some control of –

  • Specific location of shooting
  • Date of shooting/age
  • Graduation date
  • Death toll
  • Injured toll
  • Status of shooter (suicide, KIA, or captured)

 

Three variables of what I will call “life experience”

  • Military status
  • Relationship with the father
  • Exposure to domestic violence

 

Seven dealing with guns

  • Shooter use of AR-15
  • Shooter use of an automatic weapon
  • Shooter use of handguns
  • Shooter use of other semi-automatic
  • Any other weapons
  • Total number of weapons
  • Legality of gun acquisition.

Diagnosed and/or suspected mental and social disorders.

I’m jumping the gun here when I report that, of seven of the more recent shootings, at least four had either been diagnosed or been suspected of having some disorder on the autism spectrum (including Asperger’s). Compare that to one out of every 68 kids in the US are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My methods and results are far from conclusive, but warrant a closer look, in my opinion. Let me be clear – I’m not suggesting that individuals with autism are inherently violent; merely that, as a social disorder, higher functioning individuals on the spectrum may lack the social coping mechanisms of the typical person, yet they are exposed to the same reality of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other perversions of social norms that the rest of us must face. More than the disorder itself is the treatment, or rather lack thereof. A study released in 2016 by the CDC “shows that, overall, less than half the children identified with autism (43 percent) had received comprehensive developmental evaluations by age 3.” In effect, it’s the lack of intervention that is to blame, not the disorder itself.

 

Ok, that was a big digression, please forgive me.

 

Another common factor that became apparent was military status – of the nine of the more recent shootings, four of the shooters were either active, discharged or interested in joining a branch of the military. Again, this figure is far above the national average of 0.4% or roughly 1 out of 250 people…

 

I have to stop myself now. I’m drawing conclusions from an incomplete dataset of a handful of cases. In the statistical world, that’s a sin.

In any case, I think there is evidence that this issue is far more complex than simply restricting access to guns.

This should not suggest that we should abandon the effort to better control guns. Access to guns gives the crazy inside these individuals form and direction.

I hope to have a more complete dataset soon and will report back with more conclusive observations. Stay tuned…

One more thing – You may not have heard about it, but on Tuesday 3/20 a Maryland student tried to shoot up his high school. He was thwarted by the School’s resource officer – I feel he should be mentioned by name and marked as a hero – Blaine Gaskill was reportedly facing the shooter within seconds of the first shot. Thanks to his prompt response, the shooter only fired on two individuals – Desmond Barnes was shot in the thigh and has been released from the hospital. Jaelyn Willey was shot in the head, rendering her brain dead. She was pulled off life support and died Thursday 3/22. My condolences to her family and friends…

273irg

I was initially incensed by the lack of media coverage, thinking there just weren’t enough dead school children to make headlines. Then I decided that it was a good thing. No doubt the shooter in Maryland was inspired by the Florida shooter, who was inspired by another school shooting and so on. By not sensationalizing it, perhaps we’ll get a reprieve from the bloodshed. There’s an idea media, don’t have a “breaking news” orgasm and ejaculate sensational information every time there’s a shooting. Just a thought…

 

FIN

 

@JarrettLWilson

 

The Second Amendment and the Freedom from Fear

Peep this here, internet. A nice gentleman at the Stonehenge Corner responded to my post about snowflake syndrome and the second amendment.

His opinion, notably on gun control, runs counter to my own.
Instead of resulting in strife and foul language, we’ve approached one another amicably, with a genuine desire to find out what’s behind all this violence.
I think that we’ve arrived at a satisfactory alternative to guns as the root cause – a cause that I will be delving into in greater detail on my next post. The issue I speak of is fatherlessness. To find out how we arrived at this middle ground, you’ll want to read my original post linked above, his response – which I’ve reblogged here and our commentary on his blog.
Please feel free, nay compelled, to comment with constructive suggestions and opinions – agree or disagree. Be part of a solution. You are but one voice, but together we are an ear-splitting din.

Happy reading!

The Stonehenge Corner

bill-of-rights

The attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkville, Florida, by former student, Nikolas Cruz, has generated much anger, bitterness and arguing. In the nineteen days since the shooting, Florida has banned AR-15 rifles, only to rescind that legislation fifteen minutes later; survivor David Hogg has become a media star and the new face for gun control; and, according to a new survey, the solid majority of people who make up the Left in America, want to ban guns—not just AR-15s but other rifles and handguns as well.

I wrote last time that tragedies like Parkland become the nuclei of what has become the cyclical gun debate between the political divide when other questions, such as fatherlessness, would be more important debates to have. But, as I also admitted, (paraphrasing Samuel Johnson) people do not so much need to be taught new things as reminded of things and…

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Mass Shooter Profiles

As reported LAST WEEK, I’ve started to compile a database of mass shooter profiles.

I didn’t get near as much done as I would’ve liked. All the same, I’m going to publish my labors up to now.

I haven’t collected all the data that I’d like to and, as a result, I haven’t started running basic statistics (frequency tables, etc.) But, there are a few curious trends I’m picking up on.

Firstly, I’m using the top 20 shootings listed HERE as a starting point. Wikipedia has a similar page, but every fact is linked to a more credible reference. During my initial sweep, I didn’t take note of how many guns the shooter had or the category of the weapon(s). I will continue to add –

  1. Gun data
  2. More specific notes about the shooter – including analyzing background. The words “autism”, “Asperger’s”, “loner” and “bullied” are mentioned frequently – I’d like better numbers on that stuff for each shooter
  3. More shootings. I’ve decided to go beyond NCLB, but not rule it out as a key factor in our troubled times.
    1. NCLB era shooters can be isolated from the rest of the shooters to see if they possess some unique characteristic that might point more definitively to issues caused by the parameters of NCLB

A few curious coincidences (curioundences?) I’ve found are –

  1. The prevalence of social development disorders, like autism spectrum disorder mentioned above, and
  2. The desire to enlist or successfully joining a branch of the armed forces.

All that said, here is the table that I’ve labored to produce. Again, it’s not finished, with the way things are going it’ll probably never be finished, unfortunately. If there are any variables you feel should be included, please leave a comment.

Uhh, I dont’ know why, but despite all my effort to get the data into an embedded spreadsheet, it defaults to the bottom. Scroll up a ways to see the content.

The Second Amendment and “Snowflake Syndrome”

I’ve been somehow involved in education for about 13 years. At this point, I’m subbing – mostly at the local HS, sometimes at the local middle school where my education career started. I’ve a daughter in public school.

 

With all the school shootings, am I scared for myself, my daughter, and the students I’ve come to know? Yes.

 

I don’t espouse the idea that violent video games/movies, etc. are responsible; seems to me that this belittles the issue – like avoiding a cancer screening because the abdominal pain is “just indigestion.”

 

I do think that, like a stubborn virus or infection, the cause is a gnarled lattice of factors fit for Dr. House.

 

Submitted for your review, internet, I’ve identified two components that I believe to contribute to our troubled times –

 

  1. The second amendment/right to keep and bear arms –

Let me start by saying that the right itself is not the issue. The issue is the narrow-minded, no compromise mentality of its proponents

 

Does your right to keep and bear arms supersede my right to peace of mind from knowing that my daughter, her friends, students I’ve come to love in my own way, and my own person are safe as we go about our daily lives? Another way to say this might be my right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

 

Listen, we don’t have an amendment that specifically says “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle.” BUT, we do have one that “Protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.” (amendment #9)

 

This is a gross oversimplification of that amendment, but we can no longer imply safety and security for ourselves individually in this once great nation (still waiting for you to “make it great again”, comrade president – dead school children and unchecked bigotry do not a great country make).

 

Anyway, as “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle” is not “enumerated” and we’ve become perverted enough as a nation to think that the right to own a shiny piece of metal that makes lots of noise and puts holes in things is more important than the life of someone’s child, perhaps it’d be appropriate to “enumerate” this right or invoke the ninth?

 

Let me be clear – I’m not saying take away all guns. I’m simply saying that we need to have a more rigorous process for acquiring a gun and to prohibit the sale of assault rifles to civilians.

 

To accomplish that, we need to compromise.

 

HERE,  the blogger from Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

provides several compelling reasons why civilians don’t need automatic weapons.

 

Ok, I feel like I’m digressing. Shootings are merely one symptom of a much deeper problem. Getting back to the virus/infection analogy. There’s a school of thought that says that society functions like an organism. A dysfunction occurs when some part of that organism fails to perform properly and throws the whole system into chaos.

 

So, what social organ is dysfunctional? It would be tacky of me to raise this point and not offer my explanation, so here goes –

 

  1. “LOOKATME! LOOKATME! LOOKATME!”

 

In my opinion, our country suffers from an affliction that I will call “snowflake syndrome.” We have become accustomed to praise and recognition of our achievements, no matter how small, we are surrounded by stuff we want but can’t afford and a social media juggernaut that has evolved beyond our control.

 

This paints a picture of a world of material success and social acceptance – for most Americans, is that the case? The individual has taken over. Instead of “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, it’s “ask what my country can do for me, then sue for more”

 

Listen, internet – my education is in sociology. Indeed, in my case the old phrase “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail” rings true. When I hear of a mass shooting or other such atrocity, I instantly look for information about the suspect’s race, gender, socioeconomic background, affiliations, etc.

 

Such information can be compared to ingredients in a recipe – each of us is a dish made with slightly different ingredients and preparation instructions. Time in the oven could be family makeup, oven temperature could be schooling experience (public/private, and so on), an extra teaspoon of salt might be an abusive dad.

You will, as many have, say this is far too simple for a creature as complex as a human.

Such a “flavor” prediction is far from possible at this time precisely because of its complexity. Is it possible? Given rigorous application, yes I think so.

 

“But wait, I’m a special and unique snowflake!” cries the millennial. In a way, that is what the school shooters are saying with their actions. Gloominess and despair that was once reserved for suicide have become a license to commit atrocities in order to take center stage in a nation obsessed with being a unique individual.

We are not a nation of ~327 million people, we are a collection of ~327 million egos that happen to live on the same patch of earth.

 

Based on the demographic data from 2016 found HERE), that number includes a hair over 200 million white people. To each individual white person living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

Almost 60 million of that population is Hispanic or Latino. To each individual Hispanic or Latino person living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

African Americans are more than 42 million strong. To each individual African American living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

Even the American Indian/Alaska native population sports a shade over four million. While this certainly makes you more unique I still must say to each individual American Indian/Alaska native living in the US, you are not special.

 

I hear the refrain of a lonely white person in Hawaii “surely I am unique among all these copper-colored people!”  . To you I say “nay! You are but one white bird in a flock of 266,400!

“What of me? A female in the far flung land of Alaska.” To you I say “don’t despair madam! You share that frozen chunk of earth with 350,499 other members of that whimsical gender!”

 

It gets better, dear reader. Take heart, foreign-born male of two or more races located in Payne county, OK, seek and ye shall find 71 other souls in circumstances as unique as yours.

 

I could continue on like this – “I’m a white woman with red hair living in Waldo county, and I’m so frustrated that I can’t fit a whole hand into a Pringles can.” I don’t know if you will find other redheads living in Waldo county vexed by the same predicament. Believe it or don’t, a community over 900,000 strong shares your frustration. Find it HERE. You’re welcome.

 

Some of you are asking “where’s Waldo… county?” It’s in Maine. The county seat is the city of Belfast.

 

Moving on… if you’re like me, then you can’t abide standing idle watching your hot pocket spin as its bombarded with microwaves. That’s 90 seconds that you could’ve spent cleaning out your belly button or throwing away expired cans of pinto beans. Look no further than the Facebook group entitled “Accomplishing something before the microwave reaches :00” I tell you what, I’ve since joined this thriving (1 million +) association of go-getters, and I’m wracked with anticipation to learn the nuggets of wisdom that are surely waiting for me.

 

HERE is a short list of groups that cater to very particular interests. You can bet that if there is a group established for the sole purpose of spending Sunday mornings cleaning public toilets in Japan for the fun of it, you’ll find something out there that offers an opportunity for you to rub elbows with like-minded individuals who are as “unique” as you are.

 

It is my first instinct to apologize to anyone I’ve offended with my words here. However, the persons inclined to be offended by my message are the ones who most need to hear it. That said, let me offer some consolation – you are very, very special; as special as everyone else on this plot of earth with its imaginary borders and it’s constitutional government.

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