“When discussing Nancy Lanza and other white vigilantes, white liberals like to use the term “gun nut”. This term also individualizes the fetishization of gun violence, defining it with a quasi-medical term: Only a person who is a “nut” with mental issues could love assault weapons. The gun nut frame allows white liberals to distance themselves from paramilitarism without critiquing whiteness or the violence of the state. What they don’t understand, however, is that racist state violence and vigilante terrorism go hand-in-hand.”—We are Adam Lanza’s Mother: Gun Culture is White Culture
Notes on the popular commentary about shootings
1. I find little more abhorrent than the suggestion that concealed carry laws can prevent mass shootings. Ultimately, it would entail that we view most people in public places as potential threats to our lives, and that we be ready to kill them the moment that threat becomes real. That is an expression of the exact dehumanizing logic that enables shootings like these to happen in the first place. The fantasies of being the hero who guns down a potential shooter are all eerily similar to the fantasies of the shooters themselves: both rest on a vision of violence free from consequence.
2. I think part of a real solution to gun violence isn’t (merely) stricter control over who gets the guns that are produced. It’s to produce fewer guns in the first place. Very powerful political and economic forces are aligned against this, but building a movement to change that would have the ancillary effect of directly challenging the gun culture rooted so deeply in the United States.
3. I have little time for those who prefer to spend more time passing judgment on the motives or character of the shooter than reflecting on how to eliminate the causes of future violence. Empty phrases like “he’s going to rot in hell” quell our misplaced lust for revenge rather than allow us to take productive action. Inferences to half-baked notions of ‘mental illness’ to explain the shooter’s motives are worse still: the thought-terminating cliché rests on a demonization of those with mental health problems, which are decisively not a reliable predictor of violent behavior (and especially not violent behavior with a scope like this). The real questions are: how have our institutions to socialize people for compassion, empathy, and respect failed so miserably, and what can be done to correct them? They will not be answered by claims about what the shooter deserves.
“The scariest thing about the USA is it's gun culture. It's a nation of trigger happy overly armed private citizens with fire-power far in excess of what is reasonable for a first world country. There is no sensible reason for a private citizen to carry a semi-automatic rifle or pistol except to hurt another human.”—
“The most theoretically interesting but inherently hardest to establish proposition is that the South has a culture of honor with historical roots that underlies preferences for violence. Southerners do not endorse violence in the abstract more than do Northerners, nor do they endorse violence in all specific forms of circumstances. Rather, they are more likely to endorse violence as an appropriate response to insults, as a means of self-protection, and as a socialization tool in training children. This is the characteristic cultural pattern of herding societies the world over. Consistent with the culture-of-honor interpretation, it is argument-related and not felony-related homicide that is more common in the South. Finally, it should be noted that what is referred to as Southern violence…is actually a much more complicated regional phenomenon. It is the rural counties and smaller towns of the South and West, especially those with a herding economy, that have elevated homicide rates.”—
reposting this. great paper, highly recommended