Massacres, Mundane Murders And Our Social Issues


Numbers on gun violence
Numbers on gun violence

This past Memorial Day weekend will forever be remembered for Elliot Rogers.

But less in the press were the humdrum murders that do not move the needle much in the conversation about guns in America.

A week before the holiday, gun violence claimed the lives of at least 80 people across America, and as this story from the Huffington Post says, it didn’t have the level of sensationalism that gets people talking, which means that it was just another day of the black, brown and poor killing the black, brown and poor.

Those are the stories relevant to far more people. On a local level, New York City saw an uptick in shootings and you can always check Nocera, which is a gun violence blog from the NY Times about NYC. And on a hyper local level, Brooklyn was very violent during the Memorial Day Weekend, with The Brooklyn Reader reporting about a one-man crime wave in Crown Heights.

Those are the stories that are often underreported, and that is a problem

Unless you’ve been living under a rock while living in these United States, you’ve heard about the deranged rampage of Mr. Rodgers and you’ve also heard about his “manifesto” and Youtube videos where he posted rabbling, rambling diatribes about retribution and revenge, which changed the narrative.

His venom, in both his written word and video recordings, was mostly directed at woman, whom he felt ignored and spurned him at every turn, which he felt was the reason that he, undeservedly, was still a virgin up to the day of his death.

He also felt that he was a god, which was a big swing from the rejected loser that loathes his life, but it’s part of the nuance of the story and why it’s pushed Donald Sterling out of the top news slot since the very first, ugly report, on Friday, May 23rd.

And don't even get me started about Donald Sterling and rent
And don’t even get me started about Donald Sterling and rent

His obvious struggles with mental health, have once again, breathed life into the mental health industry’s assertion that not enough resources are dedicated to dealing with mental health issues, and how the combination of a person having a break or schism from reality, while also having legal access to guns, is akin to a powder keg bouncing around a matchbook factory.

The question is: does America really give two pills about mental health? Because there sure hasn’t been much visible effort made to deal with it. Yet, the mental health of mass murderers– be they college students on or near college campuses or the military on military bases– is a pretty consistent thread in these mass killing conversations.

Elliot Roger’s disdain for and violence against women, was far too common. And in fact, New York City has a very famous serial killer who also was angry over his lack of success with women and thus singled out attractive young women as victims. That guy is named David Berkowitz, aka, Son of Sam (or .44 Caliber Killer).

Social media’s subsequent handling of the Elliot Roger story, has elevated several social issues to trending topics and spawned the hashtag #yesallwomen. The hashtag squarely and aggressively replied to the male reaction, on the internet, to women broaching the conversation that the psycho killer also had real misogyny issues, and those issues shouldn’t be ignored, swept under the rug or subjugated to the grieving of victim’s families or the sensationalism of the murders.

He wasn't upset about getting caught, but was probably a little salty he was on the cover of The Post

His misogyny issues were real. They were instrumental to the killing spree. Elliot Rodgers wanted to do something horrible to women because he hated and despised them. He killed and injured all those people because easy access to handguns allowed him to do it.

The culture of rape and physical violence against woman is not exclusively an American problem and in fact can be seen all over the world. The kidnapping of the three hundred, Nigerian school girls that’s still in the news; the Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai who got shot in the head for going to school; or the particularly gross and inhumane treatment of women and girls in India who routinely get acid thrown into their face, by scorned lovers or ex-husbands are examples of this barbaric, misogynistic behavior.

The two teen girls that were recently gang raped and hung, in the Uttar Pradesh state, in northern India, is almost beyond comprehension. These societal ills can become even deadlier in American, because of our EZ Pass access to handguns.

No caption makes any sense
No caption makes any sense

America’s race and discrimination problem, it’s institutionalized racism issue, the prevalence of mental health challenges amongst the American population, misogynistic attitudes and actions towards women and how men feel they have domain over women and their bodies…

…These are sissures in the fabric of America that needs to be addressed, because it’s those sissures that create the environment, birth intent, despair and germinate the instances, in which the thought to use a handgun is perfectly matched up with the ready-availability of handguns in the United States.

So stricter laws or not, until more respect, understanding, valuation of all people and more attention is paid to the mental well being of people in all communities, a restriction of gun access won’t put an end to the sensational mass murders nor to the the greater amount of low wattage killings that are a constant in less affluent neighborhoods across the country.

You can’t legislate love.

Richard Burroughs

It's variations on my name, but it's the same human. I'm Richard Chandler Burroughs, novelist (A Rendezvous With Destiny) and blogger (Uncontrollable Urges). Richard Burroughs as a marketing strategist,...

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