Institute for Legal, Legislative and Educational Action
Mass shootings aren’t uniquely American, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. They happen all over the world and we’ve seen them more times than any of us care to count.
However, I’d be lying if I tried to pretend they don’t look like a bigger problem here than elsewhere.
Our issues tend to be fodder for journalists throughout the world, which is why I decided to look at a piece from an Indian publication about American mass shootings. They spoke with an “expert” about just why they happen, and his answers are as annoying as it gets.
The US has reasons to be worried when it comes to gun laws and shootings. According to a 2007 survey, 88.8 civilians per 100 owned firearms.
Reasons are varied when it comes to mass shootings in the US– it could be anything from white supremacy playing out to mental health episodes, or power as Stanislav Vysotsky, Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Fraser Valley, British Columbia says.
Professor Vysotsky breaks down for THE WEEK the reasons behind mass shootings and more.
Why do you think gun crime, i.e mass shootings are so high in the US?
Reasons for mass violence due to guns are several. One of the main reasons is easy availability of firearms. There are more guns than people. But there are also other issues like a culture of hyper individuality– the focus is primarily on individuals. Also, individuals who feel alienated feel the need to assert themselves. Another reason is history. Gun ownership and buying of firearms began during colonial times. It became normalised for people to own firearms to protect their property.
Purchase of guns went up post the shooting at Walmart and the 2018 Pittsburgh shooting at the synagogue, gun sales, in fact, went up as people feared that the firearms used in the shootings would be banned. Not only did the demand for those firearms go up, but the price also rose. Yet another reason is that a lot of content people are consuming online is manifesto content, mainly white supremacist content—white supremacy– several sites are promoting white supremacy and a lot of alienated white people subscribe to it.
The professor is entitled to his opinions, but he’s not entitled to go through life without being told just how wrong he is.
I mean, look at his explanations and try to convince me that they’re not out of some leftist playbook.
Individualism is the problem? Sounds like someone wants to make a case for collectivism. The constant barrage of “white supremacy” claims? Sounds like the American media.
The truth of the matter is that while there have been those motivated by racist sentiment, many others are motivated by rage or any number of other facts. In fact, most mass shooters have no ties to white supremacy in any way.
And colonial history contributes to this because people more than two centuries ago owned guns?
I hate to break it to the professor, but Canada was colonial as well. People there had guns. Just as many, in fact, as the American colonists. They were a frontier society very similar to ours except that when the American Revolution broke out, they sided with Britain.
If that were, indeed, a factor in mass shootings, then why doesn’t Canada have more of them?
Now, understand, there likely is something distinctive in American society that leads to mass shootings. I won’t pretend otherwise.
However, there’s been almost no research done to delve into just what that might be.
So what the professor here is doing is putting his left-leaning bias on display and basically blaming mass shootings on all the things that helped make this country great. What’s more, he’s not presenting them as opinions, but because of his job title, they’re being presented as absolute facts.
They most certainly aren’t.