Why Do Mass Shootings Happen?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

David French:

Writing in 2015, Malcolm Gladwell wrote what I think is still the best explanation for modern American mass shootings, and it’s easily the least comforting. At the risk of oversimplifying a complex argument, essentially he argues that each mass shooting lowers the threshold for the next. He argues, we are in the midst of a slow-motion “riot” of mass shootings, with the Columbine shooting in many ways the key triggering event. Relying on the work of Stanford sociologist Mark Granovetter, Gladwell notes that it’s a mistake to look at each incident independently:

But Granovetter thought it was a mistake to focus on the decision-making processes of each rioter in isolation. In his view, a riot was not a collection of individuals, each of whom arrived independently at the decision to break windows. A riot was a social process, in which people did things in reaction to and in combination with those around them. Social processes are driven by our thresholds—which he defined as the number of people who need to be doing some activity before we agree to join them. In the elegant theoretical model Granovetter proposed, riots were started by people with a threshold of zero—instigators willing to throw a rock through a window at the slightest provocation. Then comes the person who will throw a rock if someone else goes first. He has a threshold of one. Next in is the person with the threshold of two. His qualms are overcome when he sees the instigator and the instigator’s accomplice. Next to him is someone with a threshold of three, who would never break windows and loot stores unless there were three people right in front of him who were already doing that—and so on up to the hundredth person, a righteous upstanding citizen who nonetheless could set his beliefs aside and grab a camera from the broken window of the electronics store if everyonearound him was grabbing cameras from the electronics store.

Gladwell then argues that Columbine changed the thresholds …

If this is the best French could come up with, he should have just shut up and done chores that day.  Next, to NRA president Oliver North.

“The problem that we’ve got is we’re trying like the dickens to treat the symptom without treating the disease,” Mr. North said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And the disease in this case isn’t the Second Amendment. The disease is youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence.”

He said everything from violence on television to Ritalin, a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, may be contributing to the problem.

North should have just done chores too.  Good Lord.  Ritalin.  Mr. North is a doctor now.  Did you know that one of the intended side effects of Ritalin is to slow the response time during testing, not speed it up?  To be sure, doctors probably over-prescribe Ritalin like they overprescribe many things, but Oliver North needs to go get an MD before I’ll listen to any more of his claptrap.

Hey, here’s an innovative idea.  It’s not Ritalin.  It’s not thresholds.  It’s not guns.  Shootings, whether “mass” or otherwise, are a symptom of the moral malady that afflicts our society, the sin sickness of the souls, which is the rejection of Jesus Christ as the only savior and the only Son of our Father, truly God and truly man.  Rejection of Christ means rejection of His law-word for our lives and for society.  The two propositions are corollaries of each other.

So here’s the project of the social planners: teach children that God doesn’t exist and that morality is a social construct, pile them into places with no protection, and then be surprised when they act like there is no God.

Of course, since the only remedy the social planners will countenance is more social planning, they want all of your guns – except those that belong to the social planners.


  1. On May 21, 2018 at 7:36 am, Fred said:

    “…teach children that God doesn’t exist and that morality is a social construct, pile them into places with no protection, and then be surprised when they act like there is no God.”

    Herschel wins the Internet for today!

  2. On May 21, 2018 at 7:52 am, Gryphon said:

    Exactly. The Degradation of Community, Family, Religion, and Moral Standards are a Key Component of the (((bolshevik))) communist protocols and manifesto.

    The Kid who did this Shooting had been “Cut Loose” from any form of Cultural and Moral Standards, and was surrounded by influences that reinforced only the most Negative of Emotions. No Surprise that He reacted accordingly.

    Communism/Socialism has as its Root the ‘state’ as God. In order to accomplish this POLITICAL Goal, all parts of Normal Culture, particularly White, European, Christian Culture, must be Destroyed.

    There is a War on for Your Soul. Who do they (((bolsheviks))) Worship?
    That will tell you All you need to Know.

  3. On May 21, 2018 at 8:07 am, Kelley Taylor said:

    I think the only failure of Granovetter and Gladwell is that they did not properly address any root causes in the text you provided. I see truth in Granovetter and Gladwell’s theory as they address the mechanics of how this train wreck continues to unfold, but I’m not so sure they would completely disagree with you about the root causes. Younger generations, unfettered by traditional moral codes (both from religion and strong communities) and lacking in solid male role models would, indeed, be easily swayed by a mob mentality. Many young men particularly from inner cities and suburbs are being denied the opportunity to engage in traditional male sporting pursuits with other men that occupy their minds and teach them responsibility i.e. hunting, fishing, target shooting, etc. It’s no wonder our young folks are doing stupid things.

  4. On May 21, 2018 at 8:40 am, Houston said:

    So here’s the project of the social planners: teach children that God doesn’t exist and that morality is a social construct, pile them into places with no protection, and then be surprised when they act like there is no God.

    ^ This. They started a generation ago and we are now reaping the results.

  5. On May 21, 2018 at 8:52 am, dad29 said:

    The axiom you present re: morality, God, etc. is dead-on. We all pray for a re-awakening to right thinking and right order which necessarily includes the Judaeo-Christian moral tradition.

    But North is not completely wrong; he just mentioned the wrong drug. As another ‘net pundit has observed, many of the anti-depressants which are WIDELY prescribed have adverse reactions in people under ~25 years of age; that “adverse” is that the drugs can make the taker more violent and less self-controlled. That’s a deadly combination.

  6. On May 21, 2018 at 9:01 am, Michael said:

    I’m hardly a “spiritual giant”, but Hershel is spot on: This is a spiritual sickness, caused by exactly what he mentioned – rejection of God. Nothing else will correct the problem until we turn back to God.

  7. On May 21, 2018 at 10:22 am, revjen45 said:

    Prior to GCA68 you could mail order a 57mm artillery piece and ammo delivered to your home, but people didn’t shoot up schools. Maybe it just didn’t occur to the disgruntled to bombard a school as an expression of their own inner demons. Every time it happens it becomes more “normal.” So this time it was perpetrated with Fuddguns. Let’s hear from the Fudd Brigade. What will they want to ban now? Revolvers? Pump shotguns? Nobody needs more than 2 shots to shoot a bird and everybody knows that handguns are more dangerous to their owners than to assailants, right?

  8. On May 21, 2018 at 11:31 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “Shootings, whether “mass” or otherwise, are a symptom of the moral malady that afflicts our society, the sin sickness of the souls, which is the rejection of Jesus Christ as the only savior and the only Son of our Father, truly God and truly man. Rejection of Christ means rejection of His law-word for our lives and for society. The two propositions are corollaries of each other.”

    “So here’s the project of the social planners: teach children that God doesn’t exist and that morality is a social construct, pile them into places with no protection, and then be surprised when they act like there is no God.”

    The Cultural Marxists have spent the last century doing their best to undermine the foundations of western civilization – the community, the home, the church, the family, the proper roles for male and female in society, the school, and traditional sources of authority, moral and otherwise – from parents to teachers to coaches and clergymen and drill instructors.

    As they have, termite-like, attacking these foundations of society, they have created a popular culture which is a cesspit of violence, immorality, debauchery and sin.

    The contradiction the Cultural Marxists can’t explain is how it is that in the America of eighty-to-one-hundred years ago, firearms and ammunition were more-easily obtained than today, and much more ubiquitous as well, since our society was a more-rural one then – yet mass-shootings were almost unheard of in the general population.

    The problem isn’t guns, which are inanimate objects; the problem is our degraded and corrupt culture – a culture created almost entirely by the Left.

  9. On May 21, 2018 at 4:00 pm, Mack said:

    Since we are at war, I propose the following:

    As a condition of continued federal funding, the US DOEd will require all K-12 schools to bring back the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue shall be erected at the front entrance and the Commandments posted on every classroom wall.

    Let SCOTUS reconsider the ban as judicial error.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

You are currently reading "Why Do Mass Shootings Happen?", entry #19270 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published May 20th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (679)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (34)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (17)
Ammunition (76)
Animals (32)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (176)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (72)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (27)
Australian Army (6)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (78)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (18)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (14)
Body Armor (18)
Books (3)
Border War (10)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (38)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (2)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (10)
CIA (27)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (216)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (143)
Department of Homeland Security (21)
Disaster Preparedness (3)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (12)
Donald Trump (8)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (2)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (27)
Featured (180)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (994)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (15)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (43)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (986)
Guns (1,495)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (8)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (13)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (19)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (81)
India (10)
Infantry (4)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (23)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (379)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (61)
Islamists (91)
Israel (18)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (80)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (3)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (3)
Lawfare (7)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (50)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (258)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
Media (42)
Memorial Day (5)
Mexican Cartels (32)
Mexico (44)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (4)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (5)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (24)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (16)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (52)
NATO (15)
Navy (22)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (3)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (57)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (218)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (58)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (2)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (403)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (436)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (159)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (75)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (29)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (255)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (28)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (20)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (5)
Survival (25)
SWAT Raids (54)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (4)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (17)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (94)
Thanksgiving (8)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (18)
TSA Ineptitude (11)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (5)
U.S. Border Security (14)
U.S. Sovereignty (17)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (3)
Uncategorized (56)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (219)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (3)
War Reporting (19)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (60)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (21)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2019 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.