Robert Evans, of Cracked, recently interviewed a man he refers to as “Jack” to gain a better understanding as to why mass shooters decide to kill.
His interview uncovered important information that he has shared as myths surrounding mass shooters. We found them important to share, as it is vital that the human race get a better grasp on what is happening.
“There’s A Fundamental Difference Between Mass Shooters And Terrorists”
Evans points out that when white kids or adults go on mass shooting rampages, they are not considered “terrorists” by the government or media. Instead they are considered “killers” or mistreated individuals who lashed out on their community.
On the other hand, the Paris and San Bernardino attacks were defined as “terrorism.” Thus, the difference between the two scenarios is that one has to deal with insanity of some sort, while the other is organized because of religion or politics.
In truth, the definition of a terrorist by the FBI is as follows: Acts that are “dangerous to human life” that are meant “to influence or coerce a civilian population.”
Is there a REAL difference between a teen who is pissed off at the world and decides to shoot up his high school and a Muslim guy who decides to stockpile weapons and kill his coworkers?
Yes, they were both motivated for different reasons (i.e. because the teen may have been bullied and the Muslim man for religion/politics), but they were both trying to make it a point to “influence or coerce a civilian population.”
So they are both terrorists.
“Mass Shootings Begin with Mental Illness”
Donald Trump and other government officials want the population to believe that mass shootings are all about mental illness, but this is not always true.
Mass shootings often begin with anger, rage, and a strong conviction for an ideology. This isn’t always the case, but for the teens who were bullied and the radicalized Muslims (or even Christians) who decided to pull the trigger to make a point, this is not true.
“Violent Media Doesn’t Influence Mass Shooters”
It appears that very few want to admit that violent media may play a role in a person’s willingness to commit murder. However, when Evans interviewed “Jack” things got interesting.
Jack didn’t necessarily blame video games or movies, but he did share the following: “The idea to go into my high school with two sawed-off shotguns, a bayonet from the [Boer War], hundreds of ammo, and pipe bombs did not come to me overnight. It started off like most fantasies. ‘Reservoir Dogs’ had come out that year, and Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven’… but I think the violence didn’t help to set the mood.”
Jack also admitted to listening to “rebel” songs that were anti-government. He shared that the songs didn’t necessarily make him do what he did, but they reinforced his anger and reasoning for taking action against his fellow students.
He further withdrew into isolation — away from his family members and friends — and this is when the influence of violent media and music had a larger influence.
“Mass Shooters Do It Because They Enjoy Killing”
There is an idea that mass shooters go on rampages because they love killing, but when interviewed suicide bombers and shooters alike paint a different story.
Most have described going into “robot mode.” They decide they need to take action and then somehow detach from their humanity.
Jack explains that as he planned the school shooting the people he most wanted to gun down were “characters in a story I was planning out in my head, like people on a movie screen.”
However, something happened just as he was about to go forward with his plan, “It’s like… a lens changed on a camera. Everything I’d been doing up before that point seemed like somebody else. As soon as somebody realized what I was doing, the blinders went off. Fear and Guilt… there’s a whole swarm of emotions. The desire to survive was probably the one that kicked in more than anything.”
Jack had brought all of his weapons to school one day, but before he could commit the act, his vice principal called him into his office.
He still served 10 years for planning the attack, but now Jack is married, has a child, and is living a normal life.
“These People Are Irredeemably Broken”
Evans shares a handful of situations in which suicide bombers and shooters changed their minds.
For example, a suicide bomber was about to follow through and was pulled out of his robotic state when he saw a mother and child together. He decided that he couldn’t hurt these innocent beings that love each other.
Another example is a man who was supposed to assassinate another man. He had his gun in his pocket and then somehow saw the humanity in the man he was going to kill. He decided not to follow through.
And then there is Jack: He was confronted by an adult (his vice principal) and knew there was nowhere he could run. Instead, he could serve his time for plotting the attack and work on regaining his innocence … and that he did.
In reading Evan’s article and listening deeply to the stories he tells, it appears that there’ more than meets the eye where mass shooters and suicide bombers are concerned.
Those who have gone into “robot mode” can snap out of it and reclaim their humanity. And we, who do not understand the mentality of a teen who feels rejected or a radicalized Muslim who plans to commit Jihad (regardless of their rational), can be softer in our dealings with the people we don’t know well.
In the end, we’re all a part of an interconnected Web. If we are to solve (or better) the current situation, we all need to work toward it together, rather than polarize even further.