So What Causes Mass Shootings, Anyway? Research Suggests Many Are The Result of Media Coverage

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Adam Lankford, among others has recently been studying the rise in active killings in America, and most have come to a conclusion on what, for at least a large percentage of perpetrators, is the underlying motivation. If you’ve been following these stories in the media, or social media as most do, the answer might surprise you. It’s not racism, it’s not even political ideology, so much as it is a desire for recognition.

Sad, lonely people, most often young men, who have no prospects, no hopes, and no dreams, fall down a rabbit hole of internet incel garbage, and discover that there is an entire social class of celebrity, many of whom are household names, that they can enter if they can work up the courage to apply. That class of celebrity is, of course, mass killers. Research indicates “that the hazard of observed active shootings was a function of the number of active shootings that preceded them in the previous two weeks”. But how does reporting the news cause more news? More and more studies are pointing to the well established, and thoroughly studied contagion effect.

Lankford’s study shows that these killing-spree ‘rockstars’ net more media coverage expense than actual celebrities involved in public-outcry generating scandals like Johnny Depp or Chris Rock, and blow the more mundane, Kim Kardashian variety out of the water. There’s no comparison. According to Lankford’s data, the Pulse nightclub shooter in Orlando got nearly 11 times more single-month media coverage value than Will Smith did for coming after Chris Rock.

This level of non-stop sensationalizing of horrific acts of violence seem to significantly impact a particular audience: Those on the fringes of regular society who have no strong social links to friends, family, or co-workers, and who are ripe for radicalization of some form or another that preaches violence as a solution to some socio-political ill. But as these studies seem to indicate, those ideals are really just an ad-hoc justification for the end-goal of all this, which is fame, recognition, and an end to their total obscurity.

Many solutions have been proposed to end spree-killings in the United States, and as more and more of them happen here, (or in other countries which we are constantly told never happens), the urgency to find a solution grows. If something with some science behind it isn’t proposed, then we can’t be surprised when the entirely unscientific solution of gun control becomes the order of the day.

Do your 2A rights a favor, and look into this subject, share with your friends, and most importantly; tell your legislators.