Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mass Killings: Semantics and Future Trends

This is post is about the surge of mass killings in the USA ( lone gunmen shooting random strangers in a public place for the sole purpose of killing, rather than for money or political terrorism ). I am going to be highly parasitic, pointing the reader to authoritative writers blogging on the phenomenon, lifting quotes from them, then making a few quips of my own. Here are the list of blogs with significant, mature things to say on the mass killing issue:

great quotes from the above links:

It is only when (leadership) allows ignorance about the evolution of weaknesses and imbalances into crises to exist that crisis conducive environments can grow and intensify. The more established the dysfunctions and weaknesses the thicker the veil of ignorance. The vulnerability of an organization does not so much reside in its actual weaknesses as in the ignorance of these weaknesses, an ignorance that is activated by defense mechanisms that regulate the managers’ threatened self-esteem and leads them unconsciously to favor laissez-faire over correction. The more entrenched the imperfection, the more likely it is to lead to a disruption and the more prohibitive the psychological and sometimes economic cost of a correction. — “Is Crisis Management (Only) a Management of Exceptions,” Christophe Roux-Dufort, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, June 2007

Do we man the equipment or equip the man? (this is a deeply penetrating phrase that points toward human's integration of technology into social judgement and solutions. )

(Retro-Romanticism and Jingoism?): We must learn, unlearn relearn and become once again the resilient communities of our frontier history.

For my part in the above ideas for solutions to thwart the further rise of mass killings, I offer: little. At least little for the societies who congregate in these public places. My solutions for this issue:

  • Live in apartments or condos above the 1st floor.
  • Shop online.
  • if attending a church, attend one that has armed guardslike this.
  • Live in the inner-city, as suburban and rural people are more likely to be mass killers.

Of course the above are cases of abandonment and lily-pad hopping, which is exactly what I intentionally have done. If I was to support measures to suppress the rise of mass killings, it would fit something antithetical to "systems intervention" at the personal level. I don't believe a professional class of psychiatrists or theologians should be imposing even a benevolent or healing mechanism in the mass killers head, nor do I want the local community to impose its normalization. Above all no one should ask about another persons character, unless entering into a business or marital contract. These "rules" I have against intervention or character evaluation (even with intent to improve) leave only an impersonal , mechanistic or intelligent-technology solution.

The foundation of this stance is that society has become too large and complex for humans to effectively intervene and manage. A set of good do's and don'ts, or mantra such as "anything goes except violence"; do not map well onto the world. Most writers make a career out of claiming the world is the thing in error and needs simplifying. Those writers are wrong. The things which do not map, even benevolent thought-controllers, are the error. Ten Commandments, Bodhisattva Vow, a rap song that preaches pacifism -these all fail to change the world because they were not made with a knowledge of its whole. Only something non-human can gain that knowledge.


BFGalbraith said...

This is an example of hippies rejecting technology, again with fatal consequences, IMHO.

The University of Utah is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to mass-shooting threats: on one hand they are not good enough for the religious extremists who would generally consider BYU to be the lesser of the two evils of the major universities in the state, and on the other hand they are not good enough for the political extremists which make up the bulk of the anti-establishment movement because they are a state-funded institution.

They (and the other state funded schools) have a unique solution as far as higher education is concerned:

Like a Partial Reinforcement Extinction Effect ( ) I don't think a community has to have everyone trained & armed to prevent mass killings, but rather just a good random segment of the population (preferably one or two per class, so perhaps 1 in 10 students.)

We can be hippies like Japan or Cowboys with our current anarchical gun control system, but we shouldn't try to be both. To maintain a right, it needs to be used. Stop voting, and we don't have democracy. Stop carrying arms, and only fruitcakes will be slinging the hot lead in emergencies, and we won't have the right to carry arms much longer (which just for the record would be fine by me, since I certainly don't want to be one of the volunteers to carry extremely-inconvenient loud and dangerous self-defense equipment.)

The Serpent Lord said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but mass killings are at least as likely to happen in cowboy towns as in hippie communities.

From an individualistic psychological perspective (ala Objectivism) mass killers choose their crime to get attention following the example of other mass killers they have seen or read about in mass media. (Only mass media matters because making the nightly news is the only way the killer can be sure to have a massive audience.)

The obvious solution is then for the mass media to censor their selves or have the state do it. However a collectivist conclusion to an individualist analysis has few friends.

Here's an individualist conclusion: the masses of (individual) people who watch mass killings on the mass media which they support by consuming mass market products advertised on the mass media are making a choice to support a system which has the unfortunate consequence of increasing their chance to die by gunshot wound. Each individual who stops watching the news makes little difference to the collective suicidal tendency of the masses, but makes a huge individual difference in owning his personal destiny.

Meanwhile I am struck by the connections to the Zombie Survival Guide (live above the 1st floor) and the lasting UN Protectorate status of Kosovo which suggests that those individuals, communities or states who cannot defend themselves and are not wiling to enter into a symbiotic relationship with those who can defend them will eventually become foster kids of the UN and other post-nationalist institutions.

LanceMiller said...

Since the mass killer *may* be motivated by fame in the mass media, why not instantly revoke his legal name, and use only his social security number, or
even more sci-fi-ish mass killer number?

Headline: Killer GHW-1809 shot 8 in Omaha Mall.