Coming from Europe where mass shootings are not well-known has made me think and reflect on the reasons that would push someone to commit that kind of act. I am always trying to understand someone’s urge to kill as many people as possible without them feeling guilty for anything. One of the main explanations that we hear all the time is that the man was “mentally disturbed,” the man had “mental problems,” or the man was known for “problematic behavior.”
I agree that going through psychological problems is overwhelming and can motivate people to commit all kinds of acts, but people have psychological disorders and mental problems all around the world, so why is this phenomenon so prevalent in the U.S? Could there be any other social or political influence? Is this an American “identity?” How does the easy access to guns correlate with the high number of mass shootings? What is the political background behind these mass shootings? Are mass shootings getting way more attention from the media because they are more unusual compared to other fatalities by firearms?
Vox’s journalist, German Lopez, brings up some scary facts about guns in the U.S. In 2015 there was one mass shooting per day on average. There have been more than 2,000 mass shootings since 2012. America has more guns than people, and U.S population makes less than 5% of the world’s population, but has 45% of the world’s private gun owners. These facts invite us to reflect on the importance of gun control and the big question: Would gun control reduce the amount of mass shootings? According to him, it is proven by a strong correlation that states with more gun control have a lower number of deaths from guns.
As mentioned before, mental health seems to be a very good logical explanation for this phenomenon. Anyhow, I don’t believe that by saying this, the authorities or the media is finding an explanation or something to blame. Many times, mental health sounds like an excuse for not doing anything about guns, as I believe the underlying reason is mental health problems; that we are in this problem, not the problem with too many guns are not the problem. We have a huge problem, and we need to wake up. I think that for a serious matter like this we need to be able to ask the right questions. We also must educate ourselves on not only on how to notice mental health problems, but also to learn how to take care of it. In addition, we should have a deeper understanding of laws that would help bring changes on a structural level, and most importantly, read between the lines of what media is paying more attention to, and what is really going on in a more general picture. Maybe it is time to wake up by the noise of the bullets before being killed by them!