Wednesday, July 25, 2012


In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado shooting news pundits and blogs are postulating causes, conditions and incidents that may have led to this senseless mass killing. 

The normal lunatic fringe is adding their conspiracy theories to the mix; but few, except their ilk, are paying attention to them.

There is no one reason that we can attribute to this particular attack or other similar unprovoked attacks on the general population.   The causes are unfathomable but many conditions exist that act as a catalyst. 

There have always been people that live on the edge of sanity, and the propensity for violence has always been there.   Conditions that can trigger these antisocial meltdown include depression, paranoia, extreme stress, sexual deviance, religious mania, schizophrenia, low IQ, a need for acceptance (cults,) – and the list continues. 

I have lived for seventy-plus years (and been conscious for most of that time.)   Looking back, I perceive a societal trend that seems to lend itself to the mix.

These kinds of atrocities were not common fifty years ago.  Of course, the U.S. population has almost doubled since 1960; so the numbers of people capable of these actions have increased proportionally.

The main trend I see is that over the last fifty years we have moved into an era of social isolation.   People with problems use to interact with society in order to function in their daily life.  To communicate you had to speak to friends, family and other people.   You had to constantly interact on a personal basis. 

During the fifties and early sixties there were ‘action’ movies and TV shows, but the violence was regulated.   Interaction with people on a daily basis kept you grounded so that fantasy worlds were recognized as fantasy. 

Today’s population is inundated with images of extreme graphic violence and as a results we have become somewhat deadened in our emotion toward actual killings.  Many young men after work or school immediately plug into video games.  Research has shown that boys by the age of 21 have spent 10,000 hours playing video games.  All of these games are violent, and participants vicariously kill or be-killed.  These games roll play carnage; and for some obsessed young people the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred.

During the fifties and sixties there were a few mass killings (suicides,) but they were the results of religious cults.   Individual acts of mass violence were rare; and when these occurred the general population felt a personal revulsion.

We have been desensitized.   It seems that among the general population, the killings at Columbine High School and in the theater at Aurora have taken on the quality of a reality show.   We have become a voyeur nation. The feeling of personal loss and compassion would have been much more genuine fifty years ago. 

We live in a world of social media resulting in social isolation.   Young people’s brains are becoming digitally rewired. Where we once spent hours interacting directly with people we now spend hours on the computer.  Talking to people, even on a cell phone, is rare – now we text or tweet.    I have seen young people at the local college sitting at a table together texting rather than talking.  

There are catalysts to these senseless killings.   The availability of guns, fantasy role-play, violence in media, the opportunity for instant fame and recognition via the twenty-four hour news networks all have their place in the execution of acts of carnage by unhinged individuals; but they are not in themselves the cause. 

In closing, it is my belief that society is following technology, and as a result the individual is becoming more isolated.  Because of this social isolation society has moved to a point of apathy toward others.  We are seeing in these killings a Darwinian adjustment of society and a rewiring of the individual’s brain to function in the new techno-environment.   The result of this new environment is an acceptance that this type of violence is the norm, and though regrettable will continue. 

Or as Yellow Dog Granny might say: we’re all fucked.
the Ol’Buzzard




  1. I read that gun sales are going through the roof as people arm themselves to protect themselves or in case the government bans guns. If you can't buy a tank or an RPG, why can you buy an assault rifle and 6000 rounds of ammunition? It is long past the time for common sense to prevail in America. I do not think it is possible. You will simply have to shoot it out and the last person standing "wins". Just keep it within USA.

  2. This is so intriguing to me. I can almost tell you the day things begin to change for the worse. It was in 1967. It seemed all of a sudden we began to hear of burglaries, drugs came into use by the middle class, a new social consciousness was developing, Viet Namn, and then... technology for everyman, social isolation, video games, guns for everyman, the death of God...

  3. This has been going on for a long time, they have just gotten more efficient at killing people in recent times.

    The bombings killed 45 people and injured an additional 58; most of these were children in the second through sixth grades. The Bath School Disaster is the deadliest act of mass murder in a school in United States history, claiming more than three times as many victims as the Columbine High School massacre, and half-again as many victims as the Virginia Tech shootings. It was also the worst act of domestic terrorism in the United States until the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
    This happened in the Downer Peninsula of Michigan in 1927.

    In the 50s there was the tower massacre at University of Texas and then there was the Charles Starkweather crime spree in the late 50s. Those are just a few that come to mind, there were more, most were just local news not as well publicized as the modern atrocities.

  4. Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her father forty whacks, and then when she was done she gave her mother forty one..
    give every body axes..I hate guns..

  5. Opinion piece in Washington Post today.

    Read the comments. The nutbars are out in full force to stop anyone from even talking about it


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."