Charlie's Blog: How To Prevent Mass Shootings


How To Prevent Mass Shootings

Do you know what punishments I've endured for my crimes, my sins? None. I am proof of the absurdity of men's most treasured abstractions. A just universe wouldn't tolerate my existence.

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman went to the top of the tower at the University of Texas at Austin and proceeded to shoot people from his perch with a rifle. He killed 14 people and wounded 32 before police were able to gun him down. Whitman's story is important to remember because it is the first incident of what we know today as a mass shooting. The incident would have far reaching impact from law enforcement practices to debates about the causes of these incidents and how to prevent them. The most notable impact was the creation of the SWAT team that is now a permanent feature of law enforcement divisions.

Why did Whitman do it? There are many theories with the most popular one being that a brain tumor discovered during an autopsy was what drove Whitman to uncontrollably perform a well thought out and prepared ritual of mayhem. Others may point to his abusive father, Whitman's abuse of drugs, his frustrated career in the Marines, his parent's separation, and on and on. Whitman wrote in his suicide note:
I do not quite understand what it is that compels me to type this letter. Perhaps it is to leave some vague reason for the actions I have recently performed. I do not really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I cannot recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts.
Whitman requested that he have an autopsy done on his body.  But the clincher for me is when Whitman writes, ". . .I do not consider this world worth living in." This was Whitman's justification for killing both his religiously devout mother and his darling wife. He killed them as painlessly as he could manage before climbing the tower and committing mass murder.

Many thinkers, politicians, and pundits have opined about the epidemic of mass shootings in this country. Generally, the opinion about what should be done falls into two categories. One group says that we should control or ban all firearms or put restrictions on who can purchase them. The problem with this prohibition thinking is that it will probably be as effective as the prohibitions on alcohol and drugs have been. The other group pushes for more responsible gun ownership, yet they fail to explain why the good guys with guns are never around when you need them leaving the cops to hopelessly defend people's lives when it is obvious they can't be everywhere at once. But this debate overlooks the fundamental cause of all mass shootings. Mass shooters are fundamentally suicidal.

Suicide rates are at a 25 year high. Suicide kills more military members than war. In 2010, suicide passed car accidents as a cause of fatality. The suicide rate rises and falls depending on various factors such as the economy or family crisis. It is doubtful that it can ever be eradicated. But no one ever talks about mass shootings as acts of suicide of a high and aggravated nature. The debate is overwhelmingly about guns when the real debate is about an existential crisis.

Charles Whitman did not kill those people because of a brain tumor. The Columbine killers did not kill their victims because of Marilyn Manson CDs. The reason these people acted out is because they concluded that life was no longer worth living. The trigger event may have been nothing more than a bad mark on a school assignment. Yes, it really can be that stupid. So, the anger of the fundamental injustice of life combines with a feeling of futility, and the mass shooter decides that he (always he) is going to assert some sort of control over a life that has screwed him over. This is usually a destructive act where other people die to pay for the injustices of life. The killer may subscribe to various theories and beliefs to "justify" himself whether it is the nutty environmentalism of the Unabomber, the racial hatred of Dylann Roof, the "pro-life" stance of people who attack abortion clinics, or radical Islam. None of these philosophies are relevant to the issue. They are merely distractions from the fundamental motives of these killers.

Suicide stems from depression, and depression is simply anger without enthusiasm. The anger has no outlet, so it turns inward consuming the person's soul. By unleashing the anger out into the world, these killers find relief for their souls. We have to get to this core of anger. Why are people so angry? The answer should be obvious. These people are angry at God. But since God is in Heaven, this only leaves the victims of this world to pay the price these angry souls wish to inflict on the Almighty. For some people, self-destruction is the answer, and they pass away quietly and forgotten. Others don't want to go quietly, so they decide to take as many with them as they can.

Clearly, the rise of secularism bears a great deal of blame for the suicide epidemic. Since mass killings are an extension of suicide, we can say that the erosion of religious belief is responsible for the epidemic of violence. Not all atheists become mass killers, but all mass killers are fundamentally atheists. Even Charles Whitman expressed ambivalence about the the existence of an afterlife in his suicide note when he said that he hoped his mother would be in Heaven if it existed. As the American Journal of Psychiatry reported:
Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found. 
Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt
Western society especially the United States has become less religious. Let's be more precise. The USA has become less Christian. Religious affiliation has dwindled. One fifth of the American public now claim "none" as their religious affiliation. As for the rest, they are too ashamed to admit they don't attend services offered by the religion they have declared. For all intents and purposes, the USA is a nation of practical atheists. Whether these atheists are willing to admit it is beside the point. If you don't pray or go to church, you are an atheist.

I will sound like an Old Testament prophet at this point of the essay, but I don't care. This epidemic of mass shootings is simply the bitter harvest of generations of secular public school education, a media hostile to religion, and parents too sorry to give their children any moral or religious instruction. Without this religious sensibility, the masses are thrown into the existential wasteland of the past century that minds like Sartre, Nietzsche, and Camus grappled with. Those men at least had education and intelligence to fall on, but the masses are one great herd of imbecility having nothing more than popular entertainment to draw upon. They seek desperately for some answers to their existential despair and end up with a mix of a stupid ideology married to videogame violence. This impulse finds it fullest expression in radical Islam which now presents itself as the "answer."

The real answer for this crisis is the Christian religion. Atheism has no answers. You realize this when you ask yourself some fundamental questions. Why is life worth living? Why should I do right when I can just do wrong? Is anything really wrong? Since I will never have to answer for it, what is to prevent me from killing as many people as I can before taking my own life? The only answer the atheist can provide is that life is material and has no purpose. There is only pleasure, and then there is death. There is no right or wrong. There is no good or evil. You can see the impotence of these atheists when their only response to violent Islamic factions is to say, "Allah probably does not exist." Somehow, a purely scientific worldview doesn't cut it.

The way to prevent mass shootings is to return to a time when these things were rare. This was back before Whitman climbed that tower. In those days, such a brazen act shocked and horrified a nation. Now, I doubt we will get to the end of this week without hearing of another event like it. The reason the Whitman shooting in Texas was rare was because America still had a credible claim to being a Christian nation. You said prayers in public school and prayed before football games. Most people went to church, and it was a scandal if you didn't. Now, when these shootings happen, you get this:

Somehow, religion is now the cause of the epidemic. Amazing. While liberals were using these tragedies to score political points, the conservatives were turning to God. This is what separates liberals from conservatives. Liberals are atheists. They mock God, and they mock all who believe in God. They are the ones who have done everything possible to remove God from the public sphere. Now, we have a godless and stupid generation that resorts to murder on a mass scale. Yet, when these atheists turn to a murderous religion like Islam, these same liberals decry the Islamophobia. Amazing. They are for anything so long as it isn't Christianity.

Christianity needs to make a comeback in America. God is the only fix for what ails this country, and I don't mean the god of Islam. When we people reclaim Christianity, they find a reason and purpose for living. They form a conscience. They pray instead of picking up a gun and shooting up a school or other public place. They become better people. Our government, our schools, our churches, and our families form what we become. Godless liberals have had it their way, and this is the result. We are a nation of homicidal maniacs and sex perverts masturbating to internet porn. God is not the joke. We are the joke.

I pray for this country. I remember hearing people from my younger days saying the exact things I am saying now and thinking they didn't know what they were talking about. I now know those fools were truly wise. But for some reason, no one can see the cause of the problem or its cure. They are blind. We have destroyed this nation, and somehow, it is God's fault.

It isn't God's fault. It is our fault. We have done this to ourselves. And God can and will fix this. He is the only one who can. God has not left us. We have left Him. We are now a godless culture of death and destruction. We need prayer and repentance.