U.S. Mass Shootings In 2019 Essay

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Introduction
Mass shootings in America have become more prevalent than ever before.  Depending on how one defines “mass shooting” the number of mass shooting incidents in America this year alone could range anywhere from half a dozen to more than 200.  Even at the strictest definition of mass shooting half a dozen is too many.  Last week, two mass shootings occurred back-to-back on different sides of the country—one in El Paso, TX, where 22 died, and one in Dayton, Oh, where 9 died.  As the nation becomes, to a degree, desensitized to the violence year after year, whether it is the Parkland shooting or the Virginia Beach shooting, the Orlando shooting or the Vegas shooting, one still wonders what can be done to address this issue.  Some believe stricter gun laws are needed.  Others believe it is a mental health issue.  This paper will discuss both, define the term mass shooting, describe the two most recent mass shootings in the U.S., examine the statistics and identify some possible ways to prevent shootings of this nature from occurring in the future.

What is a Mass Shooting?

While there is no standard definition of “mass shooting” the term is widely acknowledged to include any type of shooting in which there are multiple victims of firearm related violence.  However, the U.S. Congressional Research Service has defined the term as including any public mass shooting wherein the shooter targets four or more people at random and kills them (Bagalman, Caldwell, Finklea & McCallion, 2013).  This definition aligns with the FBI’s definition of mass murder (Morton, 2010).  As Evon (2019) observes, “according to the FBI, the term ‘mass murder’ has been defined generally as a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered, within one event, and in one or more locations in close geographical proximity.”  This definition is typically used when referencing mass shootings; however, it is by no means a standard definition and most mass shootings that receive media attention involve at least a several dead or wounded.

El Paso and Ohio

In El Paso, Texas, 21 year old Patrick Crusius opened fire using an assault rifle in a shopping mall parking lot before entering a Walmart and shooting more victims there.  He killed 22 people in all and wounded dozens more (Blankstein & Burke, 2019).  The shooting was described as an act of hatred towards Mexican immigrants, though the shooting was completely random and did not target Mexicans specifically.  Three Mexican citizens were killed in the rampage in El Paso, which is a border town, and that was all—the rest were Americans (Blankstein & Burke, 2019).  The shooter left behind a manifesto that analysts have stated was inspired by some of the rhetoric of President Trump and his views on illegal immigration.  Crusius had driven more than 600 miles from his Dallas suburb to open fire in El Paso.  He surrendered to police after leaving the scene in his car and stopping on the highway upon seeing a motorcycle police officer.  Crusius exited his car, arms up, confessed and surrendered immediately (Pasquini & Hanlon, 2019).

Crusius had apparently already published “a four-page manifesto filled with racist language and hatred for immigrants on 4chan and 8chan forums” that explained his reasons for wanting to kill (Chastain, 2019).  In the manifesto, the following words appeared:  “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion” (Chastain, 2019).  Crusius’s identification with the Christchurch, New Zealand mass shooting, in which the shooter targeted Muslims, indicates that the motivation for the El Paso shooter was racially-driven.

Beyond his desire to stop the supposed scourge of immigration into the U.S., Crusius most likely had anti-social disorder.  He was described by people who knew him as being “standoffish” and “an extreme loner, who always sat alone on the bus in junior high and high school” and...…problem becomes one of how to address an issue that seems beyond any rational solution.  The problem, ultimately, is cultural.  The culture of the modern world has produced a self-centered, narcissistic environment in which individuals feed on negativity in order to stoke their own egos.  There is not enough order or sense of the higher good that is consistent with the ideals of the foundation of Western philosophy as described by Socrates and Plato.  The Transcendental Good has been washed away by the doctrines of materialism and political ideology.  To really prevent mass shootings in the future, it is going to take more than drugs and gun laws.  The American culture needs to be fundamentally shaken and woken up from the long slumber that is has been in for the past few decades.  Families need to put their children first and they need to realize their responsibility in all this.  The mother of one of the Columbine shooters said in a recent TED Talk that there is no way a parent can know that this sort of thing is going to happen.  That is a fundamental untruth.  Parents who are involved in their children’s lives and who do all they can to steer their children towards the Good know how incorrect that mother is.

Conclusion

The problem of gun violence and mass shootings is only getting worse.  Restricting gun access may seem like a practical solution, but it is improbable.  Drugs like SSRIs are only temporary band-aids used in mental health.  A real solution to this problem must address the culture, and it must start with families. 

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Bagalman, E., Caldwell, S. W., Finklea, K. M., & McCallion, G. (2013). Public mass shootings in the United States: Selected implications for federal public health and safety policy. Congressional Research Service.

Blankstein, A. & Burke, M. (2019). El Paso shooting: 20 people dead, 26 injured, suspect in custody, police say. Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/active-shooter-near-el-paso-mall-police-responding-n1039001

Chastain, M. (2019). What we know about El Paso shooter. Retrieved from https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/08/what-we-know-about-el-paso-shooter-patrick-crusius/

De La Garza, A. & Zennie, M. (2019). Dayton Shooting Lasted Just 32 Seconds and Left 9 Dead. Here's the Latest on the Tragedy.  Retrieved from https://time.com/5643405/what-to-know-shooting-dayton-ohio/

Durden, T. (2019). Dayton Shooter Was A Pro-Satan Leftist Who Supported Warren, Sanders, Antifa And Communism. Retrieved from https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-08-05/dayton-shooter-was-pro-satan-leftist-who-supported-warren-sanders-antifa-and

Evon, D. (2019). Did the U.S. Have 251 Mass Shootings in the First 216 Days of 2019? Retrieved from https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/251-mass-shootings-in-us/

Kauffman, J. M. (2009). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs: More risks than benefits. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 14(1), 7-12.

Mass Shootings in 2019. (2019). Gun violence in America. Retrieved from https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting

Morton, R. (2010). Serial murder. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder

Pasquini, M. & Hanlon, G. (2019). 20 Killed and 26 Injured in Mass Shooting Inside Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Retrieved from https://people.com/crime/el-paso-texas-shooting-walmart/

Woods, A. (2019). Another ex-girlfriend of Dayton shooter Connor Betts said she saw red flags. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2019/08/06/another-ex-girlfriend-of-dayton-shooter-connor-betts-said-she-saw-red-flags/


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