Tag Archives | shootings

Are Shooting Spree Killers Following A Cultural Script?

Via the Public Library of Science, Daniel Lende on the need to understand horrific mass shooting as a cultural practice with underlying meaning, rather than as anomalous, randomized insanity:

Paul Mullen, the esteemed Australian forensic psychologist, invokes cultural scripts as central to understanding why young men like James Holmes, Anders Breivik, and Jared Loughnerdo what they do. It is not because they are insane, some idea that seized them from the inside. Rather, they act out something – and the young men who do so are not random members of society, but have definable characteristics.

Mullen compares these mass killings to the Malaysian amok, a recognized “culture-bound syndrome” often defined as a “spree of killing and destruction (as in the expression “run amok”) followed by amnesia or fatigue.” (For more references, [search] Google Scholar for “amok Malaysia”.

Mullen also counters the common explanation in the United States and elsewhere that these killers must somehow be insane or mad.

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Adam Lanza’s DNA To Be Studied In Search Of ‘Killer’ Genes

If certain mutations or abnormalities are blamed for Lanza’s actions, what will we do with other individuals who possess them? The Christian Post reports on a possible preview of witch hunting in the 21st century:

An “Adam Lanza DNA study” has been given the go ahead to see if there is anything inside his genetic makeup that could have given any indication of the horrific acts he was capable of ahead of time.  The study, which is believed to be the first of its kind, is expected to delve into Lanza’s DNA in the hope of finding any kind of genetic abnormalities or mutations in his DNA.

The study has been commissioned by Connecticut Medical Examiner, H. Wayne Carver, who has reached out to geneticists at the University of Connecticut to carry out the study. It is expected that the geneticists will analyze his entire genome in huge detail to try and find any mutations.

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Senate Bill Proposed To Study And Possibly Crack Down On Video Game Violence

Congressional Republicans poised to censor video games to ensure that a massacre at a school never happens again. In all honesty I thought kids just played Angry Birds nowadays. IGN reports:

A proposed bill could lead to a study of the role of violence in video games. In the wake of the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, West Virginia senator Jay Rockefeller has proposed a bill to study “the impact of violent content, including video games and video programming, on children.”

In a statement posted to his site, Rockefeller wrote “I have long expressed concern about the impact of the violent content our kids see and interact with every day. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, I have introduced legislation to direct the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the impact of violent video games and other content on children’s well-being.”

Under the bill, the National Academy of Sciences “would be directed to conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children.” Rockefeller also noted plans to call upon the FCC and FTC to “expand their work in this area.”

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Hey NRA, How Dare You?

Wayne LaPierre._Photo: Gage Skidmore (CC)

Gretchen Whitmer, State Senator for Michigan, says what the vast majority of Americans believe, writing at Huffington Post. NRA members, listen up and take back your organization from the lunatics running your asylum.

Barely more than an hour after our nation took a moment of silence on Friday to reflect on the tragic events that took place in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association ended their organization’s own silence by telling us that the mindless violence we saw is simply now a part of life. They said that it was Hollywood’s fault that incidents like these happen and that the only way we can hope to keep our children safe as a result is to keep them surrounded by more and more guns.

As a mom who holds the safety and happiness of my two girls above all else, I have only one response to NRA President Wayne LaPierre: How dare you?

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Sandy Hook Shooter Adam Lanza’s Mother Was A Paranoid Survivalist

Via the Independent, when preparation for civilization’s breakdown becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy:

The mother of Adam Lanza, the gunman who killed 20 children and six adults in one of America’s worst ever school massacres, was a “survivalist” preparing for economic and social collapse, it has emerged.

Nancy Lanza was a so-called ‘prepper’, part of the survivalist movement which urges individuals to prepare for the breakdown of society by training with weapons and hoarding food and other supplies. Mrs Lanza is thought to have trained her sons to shoot, taking them to local ranges.

Friends and family have portrayed Mrs. Lanza as a paranoid [individual] who believed the world was on the brink of violent collapse. “She prepared for the worst,” her sister-in-law Marsha Lanza told the Chicago Sun-Times, saying Nancy repeatedly talked about her preparations for the economic and social meltdown.

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Sales Of Assault Weapons Skyrocket Following Sandy Hook Shooting

It turns out that a school massacre is better than any advertising that money can buy. The Hartford Courant reports:

Some gun retailers this week are reporting a spike in store traffic, in excess of the usual holiday rush, in the aftermath of the Newtown murders. Since Friday’s shooting, customers have crammed parking lots and thinned out inventories.

Doug Odishoo, owner of Delta Arsenal in Meriden, said, “As soon as this shooting happened on Friday, I almost sold out of everything. Saturday I couldn’t keep up with it.” He said people walked into his shop, looking at the AR-style guns and saying, “I better get one before I can’t.”

Resurrected talks of gun control, some shop owners said, are pumping up the market for rifles, especially AR, or assault rifles, like the Bushmaster’s civilian version of the military’s AR-15 that Adam Lanza used on Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In Worcester, Mass., at Pullman Arms, co-owner Alicia Merritt called the jump in business “dramatic.” She said she did $30,000 in business on Monday — up from a usual Monday of about $2,000.

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Semiautomatic Weapon Manufacturer Bushmaster’s ‘Man Card’ Campaign

Via Buzzfeed, a fascinating just-deleted social media-based marketing campaign from Bushmaster, maker of Adam Lanza’s gun of choice. The Man Card campaign is centered around panic over potential loss of masculinity, with the ability to publicly revoke others’ “man cards,” and the promise that use of a Bushmaster assault rifle will provide the reinstatement of one’s man status:

The company that produces the semiautomatic rifle used in the Newtown, CT, shootings is currently running an online campaign based around virtual cards that “prove” the bearer’s manliness. One specifically talks about how unmanly it is to be afraid of elementary-school kids.

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On Fox News, Mike Huckabee Says The Sandy Hook Massacre Was Caused By Lack Of School Prayer

For U.S. conservatives, it’s time for lawmakers to stop beating around the bush and finally put a halt to the epidemic of mass shootings — by mandating the Bible in public school. Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who is now a pundit and host on Fox News did not mention guns, gun culture, or assault rifles in talking about the country’s latest mass killing, but said, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be surprised that schools would become places of carnage?”

Huckabee seemed to see church-state separation as responsible for the horrors Friday at an elementary school, where 20 pupils died: “We’ve made it (school) a place where we don’t talk about eternity, life — that one day we stand before, you know holy God in judgment,” said Huckabee.

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Anonymous Versus Westboro Baptist Church

A worthy target of Anonymous's ire, methinks. Via BetaBeat:
The Westboro Baptist Church, widely reviled for its homophobic beliefs and protests of veteran funerals, announced on Saturday that it would picket at Sandy Hook Elementary School following the tragic shooting there Friday that took the lives of 27 people. Members of Anonymous began an operation against the Church to discourage them from protesting at the school and compounding the misery already experienced by Newtown residents. In a video uploaded by KY Anonymous, the hacker collective states: We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred...
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Tragic Events In The News

Fred Rogers. Photo: KUHT (CC)

There’s only one news story that matters today: the shooting massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, CT. We’ll leave the breaking news coverage to others. For now we appreciate Deanna Zandt‘s tweeted suggestion of this advice to parents from Mister (Fred) Rogers:

In times of community or world-wide crisis, it’s easy to assume that young children don’t know what’s going on. But one thing’s for sure — children are very sensitive to how their parents feel. They’re keenly aware of the expressions on their parents’ faces and the tone of their voices. Children can sense when their parents are really worried, whether they’re watching the news or talking about it with others. No matter what children know about a “crisis,” it’s especially scary for children to realize that their parents are scared.

Some Scary, Confusing Images
The way that news is presented on television can be quite confusing for a young child.

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