Thursday, October 1, 2015

Usual Suspects

I just finished a book on the Newtown shootings. The usual list of subjects are lined up and dissected -- mental illness, access to guns, violent video games -- while ignoring the most salient fact in all mass shootings: they're almost always committed by men. If we're going to talk about mental illness, we need to talk about men and mental illness, not just their access to firearms. (Mentally ill people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.) Men are less likely to seek out mental health services, more likely to react to anxiety and depression with violence, and their aggression, something seen in women as potentially pathological, is encouraged. Was Adam Lanza isolated? Of course he was. Affected by the violent video games he played? Most likely, but I'd look that as a symptom rather than a cause.