By James Alan Fox
Propaganda CNN News
There are few criminal events as stunning and frightening as a mass shooting. The suddenness, randomness and unpredictability of episodes like Friday’s early morning massacre at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater cause us all to wonder whether any place is safe.
In our search for some pattern or commonality to these tragedies that might help us make sense of what appears so senseless, we invariably seek answers to such questions as: “What would inspire someone to commit such a dreadful act, one that was clearly planned in terms of time and place?” and “Are there measures that would reduce the likelihood of such events or at least reduce the carnage associated with them when they do occur?”
Because the shooting suspect was alive at the scene — many mass killers commit suicide — we might learn a lot more than usual about a motive for mass murder. Of course, that will do little to help us prevent future events. (The number of mass murders in the U.S. has remained fairly steady, averaging about two dozen cases a year since the mid-1970s.)
Even though there is a general profile that typifies these perpetrators, their exact identities become crystal clear only in the aftermath.
If one thing is predictable about mass shootings, however, is that they will spark arguments from gun control advocates and gun rights groups alike. Both sides of the gun issue will probably view this tragedy as one more example of why more or less gun control is the answer … and both sides will be wrong.
Tighter restrictions on gun purchasing — for example, eliminating multiple gun sales and closing the gun-show loophole — may help reduce America’s gun violence problem generally, but mass murder is unlike most other forms of violent conflict.
Mass killers are determined, deliberate and dead-set on murder. They plan methodically to execute their victims, finding the means no matter what laws or other impediments the state attempts to place in their way. To them, the will to kill cannot be denied.
Mass shootings have been exploited just as effectively by pro-gun groups to promote legislation allowing ordinary citizens to carry concealed weapons in public places. Concealed-carry proponents suggest that an armed citizenry would deter criminals or at least reduce the death toll.