, 13 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I can't stand post-shooting Twitter, but the different-yet-same shooters in El Paso and Dayton are making me try one more time.


Is that clear enough? Good. Next. /1
If we're going to do this as a "what variable changed" problem, guns didn't change. There used to be machine guns in America. Lots of other weapons. Stuff guys brought home from various wars. And yet, *young men shooting up public places* was not a constant. /2
This should raise the suspicion of a logical person that if there were always plenty of guns, plenty of mental illness (more untreated in earlier times) and plenty of racism (more more than in the 21st century), maybe something else is going on. /3
It should also raise the suspicion that the "weird loner shooting up the school/mall/dorm" is almost *entirely* a post-modern phenomenon, relatively unheard of until the late 1970s. Yes, isolated incidents - like the the Texas 1966 shooter - but not this. /4
And it's especially suspicious that this *particular* type of incident is becoming more common even as crime is going *down*. Worse, something that was a primarily weird white kid phenom is starting to branch out to young guys of other races. (Virginia Tech, Dallas 2017). /5
So, YES, by all means, make it harder to up the body count. Get Congress back in session and pass those bills, just on *sheer principle*, because no one needs a gazillion-bullet clip in a military style weapon. Fine. Stipulated. I'm WITH YOU on that. Got that? /6
But until we have a discussion about why a particular subset of *young men* have become walking time bombs, we're just treading water until the next shooting - or the next McVeigh type bombing, until or the next Elliot Rodger plows his car into a crowd. /7
Lots of countries have guns. (We pretend this isn't true.) Even more countries have insanely higher rates of gun *and* non-gun violence and murder. But the "Freak walks into a bar or dorm and wipes everyone out" seems to be primarily a North American and European experience. /8
(Yes, I said "North American and European." Canada, Germany, Norway, UK, and others have had these same kinds of shootings, but we're the world leader, clearly.) /9
I think there's a cultural determinant in here. Some disaffected young European men become jihadis. In China, they attack kids with knives. Our gun availability makes gun massacres easier to do, but the bigger problem is *young men with narcissistic fixations on massacres.* /9
I don't know why they do it. I have theories, but I'm not a sociologist. What I am is a social scientist who knows the difference between dependent and independent variables, and this whole debate is so screwed up, in every direction, that it's no surprise we get nowhere. /10
So, yes, ban some of these weapons. Pass laws. But if we're not having a debate and a hard look at why our culture, for nearly 40 years, has been producing this particular kind of misfit, then I'm not sure it's going to matter much. /11
Thank you for coming to my TED talk. I don't care if you @ me because I've already had a day of reading everyone's highly performative tweets and a couple thousand more won't matter. /12x
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