Sorry about the facetious title, because “Why now?” is an excellent question.

There is nothing new about guns, or schools, or even school shootings. Yet if this article is correct, since 2010 the numbers of school shootings have in fact skyrocketed.

I am at a loss to explain the apparent acceleration of this phenomenon. It appears to be fueling itself. But how?

There have always been antisocial misfits, even angry suicidal antisocial misfits — who want to go out in a blaze of glory and take as many people with them as possible. But why have their numbers increased since 2010? What has happened? Blaming guns — or “easy availability” of guns — is the standard liberal retort. But there have been guns in this country from day one, and they used to be more easily available than they are now. Seriously; when I was a kid you could buy a gun by mail order with zero background check, and no verification of identity at all. Over the years I have seen guns become more and more difficult to obtain.

Obviously these ever more restrictive laws work, right? It’s illegal for minors to buy guns, and guns are banned in schools. And certainly, murder is illegal, right? Surely no one suggests that murdering students is allowed?


Our president says that the murdering of students is allowed:

“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America,” said the president, who was visibly frustrated as he delivered a statement on Thursday’s mass shooting in Roseburg, Ore.

I don’t care how “visibly frustrated” the man might have appeared. To say something like that is the essence of demagoguery. It ignores the simple reality of the country’s legal system to maintain that because a mass murder was committed, that it was “allowed.” Was the Manson gang “allowed” to murder their victims? Apparently the president believes that anything that happens, no matter how evil, is “allowed.” And the press goes along with this fraud, because (so they claim) the president was “frustrated.” To carry his frustrated logic a step further, let’s assume that Congress were to pass confiscatory gun control laws of the sort the president wants, and that the Supreme Court upheld them. Guns would not disappear, and shootings would continue, because just as criminals do not obey existing laws, they wouldn’t obey new laws. Yet by the president’s logic, these shootings, too, would have been “allowed.”

Blaming the increase of school shootings on guns, while silly, is a slight step more grounded in rationality than claiming that mass murders are “allowed.” But if guns “cause” school shootings, then why has there been such a dramatic increase since 2010? It has not become easier to buy guns since then; if anything regulations have grown. Blaming guns makes as much sense as the way some social conservatives are blaming the absence of God.

Guns have been present in this country for centuries, and are more restricted now than ever. Religion was not suddenly removed from the schools in 2010. If taking religion out of schools caused murder, there would not be a sudden acceleration.

What about antisocial misfits who so hate people and themselves that they are willing to become suicide killers to make a statement? Are there suddenly more of them? Why would young people (people coming of age) have become more antisocial in the recent period since 2010? Has something happened under the radar that has been missed?

What does it mean to be “antisocial” today? Has it taken on a new meaning? What is antisocial? To be anti anything, it is first necessary to define the opposed thing.

What is social? Has that changed? If anything, I would think that what most people would call “social” has been changed in a rather major way by what is called “social media.” Stuff like Facebook, which dates back to 2004. I like Facebook because it has enabled me to connect to long lost friends, as well as immediately make connections with new friends.

Friends. That word.

Friends are friends, right? Um, not necessarily. Friends these days may be people you have never met and might not like, although I hasten to add that I have never met some of my best friends, and I am serious! This kind of stuff is confusing (and bear in mind that I did not grow up using social media). But surely social media could not be causing mass murder. Why would it? I mean, if you have decided you hate everyone so much that you are willing to commit mass murder against total strangers, what could social media have to do with that?

So I am puzzled. It would be as irrational to blame social media as it would to blame the absence of God or the presence of guns.

Still, a lingering question in my mind is whether that growing group of people I just verbosely called “antisocial misfits who so hate people and themselves that they are willing to become suicide killers to make a statement” might not be seeing or reacting to social media in quite the same way I and most other people do.

Might this relate to what psychologists call a decline in empathy?

If in fact empathy is declining, wouldn’t that fuel both sides? If a person can’t get and does not expect empathy (even from “friends”), then it might follow that he would have no empathy for them either.

Like I say, I am at a loss. Obviously, 99.99% of social media users, no matter how angry or antisocial they might become, never commit murder. I’m just wondering out loud what might have caused that tiny percentage of antisocial misfits willing to commit murder to recently increase.

Any ideas?

MORE: While it can be debated how much of a threat school shooters are, the president certainly thinks they are. So let’s suppose we take Obama’s rhetoric at its face value and assume that the United States is now “allowing” a dire new threat. Who are the attackers? Young suicidal maniacs motivated by personal grudges like virginity?

Why on earth would this country disarm itself in the face of such an attack?

And why on earth would we disarm ourselves when the attackers are dysfunctional man-children who have arisen from within our own country?

The president’s argument makes no sense at all.