In truth, and especially because so many perpetrators of these acts commit suicide, we likely may never know on a case-by-case basis who was inspired by similar prior acts, particularly since the ideation may have been subconscious.
But they do tend to leave behind a manifesto or social media history that can point to their thinking and influencing factors.
Obligatory mention that There were more murders in Chicago this week and it gets no media headlines.
And even if clickbait is banned and subscription mandatory, media would be in a race to the bottom. Just a slightly different one.
Oops, you forgot to change the capitalization on your copypasta.
The BBC and it’s ilk was a beacon for years. The trope is exhausting.
I've suggested before on HN that active shooter drills- which are apparently widespread now in US schools- might be themselves a source of contagion. Because they provide exactly those "seeds of ideation", both by simulating the events and by implicitly suggesting that these kind of occurrences are in the realm of possibilities and somehow expected.
Framing suicide as a bad solution to a problem reaffirms that it is still a solution, and gives room for the individual to justify away the taboo aspects (my situation is different because...). I don't know the right, ethical approach and I'd prefer to leave that discussion to psychologists, but we absolutely need to address it so people know what to look for in loved ones who may be at risk.
Personally, I think some people who may consider suicide are terrified of death in other situations. For some reason, suicide is different than dying in some other manner. Maybe it's about control, maybe it's a cognitive disconnect, IDK. What I do know is that it's a problem that we need to address through eduction, I'm just not sure on the best way to do it. Ignoring the problem seems to just push it online where the information can't really be controlled, so I think parents need to learn how to broach the subject.
No way will I subject my child to this. It seems far more damaging than helpful.
This seems significantly higher than what I'd think. Do most mass killings not make the news? How is this defined?
Not saying it's not a "mass shooting", but the thesis in the OP article needs to be understood in such a context.
Gang violence/vengeance isn't going to be influenced by media or copycat effects one iota.
I'm not endorsing you, I'm suggesting you consult available reference material before you start asking rhetorical questions. A Socratic/tendentious style of argument where you solicit participation from your interlocutors doesn't play well here. If you have a point it's better to just make it and back it up with reference material as many participants have busy lives of their own.
How frequently is this happening in other countries?
Here's what I've found so far:
So, indeed, compare USA's violence score with:
* those of the countries where the USA have put their own violent influence to steer benefits back to them (Central & South America).
* or those where another white supremacist ideology has been prevalent and is being actively fought against (South Africa).
But, surely, don't compare with countries that would be good reference to compare against (aka, friends with which you ought to have shared some common history, like, Europe).
Little in comparison.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_shooting#North_America > United States
"The United States has had more mass shootings than any other country in the post-WWII era. (five references)"
1) Firearm control - complicated political issue, with reasonable people on both sides of the issue. And even if there were federal (executive, legislative, and judicial) political unanimity on action (there is not and can't be for decades), it remains a larger practical problem than in any country that has so far banned guns. State and city-level action has not proven very effective.
2) Political control and censorship - only a fraction of these killers seem to be radicalized, and they generally seem to be lone-wolves. It seems a course ripe for abuse.
3) Drug enforcement - it has been pointed out that almost all of these killers have addiction problems of some kind. Anti-depressants may also play a role. But drug use seems too tenuous a connection, and these substances are used by such a broad swath of the population without this effect, that it would be hard to fix this with drug enforcement alone.
4) Psychological intervention - could the right sort of intervention at the right time avert these killings? It's hard to believe not, but since we can't predict the killings, we can't do much here. But if we had better knowledge, it's possible to imagine something as simple as voluntary social media guidelines (for 24-hour news, Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), that might alleviate the problem. Or something far more heavy handed and open to abuse or misuse, including high school psychological testing and reporting, mandatory social services checkups, etc.
If I were an engineer tasked with solving this problem, I would try the full-court press solution on all of these, rather than fixating on any one component.
Solution "4" is the most interesting to me, because it seems the least explored, and the place where increased knowledge and new techniques could possibly have the greatest effect. I think that we should be especially interested in how exactly people become killers, whether there are multiple types (there certainly are), and what are the necessary stages in the process. Studies like this are especially vital and interesting to me, and we need to spend far more effort on this type of research.
The biggest danger that I can see is that political and emotional energy on the impossible solutions prevent useful action anywhere.
EDIT: More on this study. The nice data fit on their contagion equation is very interesting because it begs to be expanded. The "contagion" is mediated by the media somehow. Is it as simple as reading stories about other shootings leading to more? Or is there a media climate effect? What other types of media can lead to shootings, etc. It would be tremendously helpful to learn enough to be psychologically precise about all of this.
Terrorism and lone wolf massacres feed trough 24/7 catastropheporn in the news.
Let's face it. Our society is entertained by news reporting. Discussing it with others is fun. May be a taboo to say it aloud.
Even as things are, the US media omits a great deal of information about terrorism and mass shootings out of a mix of sensitivity and caution.
But media and audience live in symbiotic relationship with killers. Everyone gets value from the killings.
How do you break the profitable and addictive value chain?
This reminds me of the suicide study discussed in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.
People seem to want to be famous, and recent events remind at-risk people that committing a mass killing is a quick way to be noticed. This is part of your #2, but I think it can be improved without abuse.
I think that if we can drastically reduce the reward for committing these acts, they'll decrease. I don't know the proper solution here, and I'm definitely not suggesting 1st amendment restrictions, but perhaps police can work with the media in a way that we can improve the reporting of these events to reduce copy cats without impacting the ability of police to investigate the crime.
That being said, we also need to determine whether any proposed cure is better than the disease. #1 and #2 enter a dangerous constitutional area, #3 has arguably caused more problems than it solved (helps organized crime), and #4 is a huge expense without proven results. The average person's risk of being involved in one of these events is vanishingly small, but you wouldn't think it from watching the news. Before jumping to solutions, we need to quantify the benefit and the cost in a way that the average person understands, and that is a very hard task.
One thing that I've begun to think is that as a nation our overall social climate has declined over the past few years, post-social media and iphones. It's hard to imagine that social climate issues wouldn't be related to a change in violence. (But maybe it's just my post-2015 family dinners and nobody else's!)
I'm not sure what the solution here is, but I'm worried that we'll trample our rights in attempting to solve the problem without actually solving it.
Restore as much autonomy to especially adolescent students as possible while still accomplishing education. Stop driving kids into a corner and making them feel so desperate and trapped that they're willing to throw their own life away just to do a little damage and escape.
It is not about politics at all. You can convince even the hippiest left-wing peaceniks into terrible activity.
All you have to do is fixate the subject on either side of a dialectic argument involving force, violence, duress .. injustice. Or even better, all of the above.
The root of all radicalisation is individual responsibility.
I mean, something to balance and show some equivalence?
Because the single biggest real threat to any US citizen today is an other US citizen that can grab a weapon at will.
And it happens that in the overwhelming number of cases, the person that becomes a mass-murderer is a white, conservative, pro-right, pro-weapon, pro-republican.
Not acknowledging this is either total denial - or total complicity.
And. This is totally about politics (how a government deals with its people). NRA politics; that serves a very specific ideology.
Look in Wikipedia this category: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Mass_shootings_by_cou... - then browse by country.
All countries, but the USA have sporadic sub-articles. USA has whole sub-categories.
USA are the _single_ country in the world where there are as many mass shootings, every year. When there are been more than 250 in the USA in 2019, there hasn't been even 10 in any other country in the world.
(to the down voters: downvote as much as you want guys - facts are facts - you are only deluding yourselves - you should look in the mirror more and stop considering the USA as the center/perfection of all things, because it's not)
So? The world knows that American's are okay with violence. We haven't been hiding ourselves from its victims, or at least .. a big portion of the world sees and knows all too well, what most American's don't or won't: a principle product of the USA is violence.
Either way, the two (radicalisation and contagion) aren’t mutually exclusive. In my opinion a large part of the motivation behind these shootings is the potential for fame and for the actions to be seen by the whole world - regardless of whether they’ve been radicalised or not.
And the fact you made an account specifically for writing what appears as rational arguments but aren't at all (and are in fact dog whistles), doesn't go in your favor.
But there is absolutely crowdsourced coordination on identification of targets, weapon platforms, and methods. And as everyone on HN already knows, crowdsourcing is a highly effective tool for getting things done. It works just as well for terrorism as anything else.
Uh, have you heard about the KKK?
Freedom of speech is not absolute, why in the world should owning a device intended to kill be unlimited?
Many are against the return of the assault weapons ban and banning of higher capacity magazines. In general I find that many 2nd amendment supporters are fearful of an expansion of gun control laws, but they're not out there arguing there should be no gun control laws.
Most gun enthusiasts I know hate gun bans because they hurt responsible gun owners far more than criminals. Many gun enthusiasts like "tactical" weapons and mods, and these are precisely what these bans hit. They've already shown willingness to go through hoops, so I think a different approach is in order.
I believe all weapons should be legal, but more dangerous weapons should certainly be harder to get. Automatic weapons, for example, should require more training and secure storage than handguns, and some handguns should require more training and secure storage than hunting equipment.
- guns unlikely to be used in crimes (single shot hunting rifles and shotguns, revolvers) should require ID + quick background check (submit name to police database for smoke test) to purchase
- larger magazines, semi-automatics, and self defense ammunition require passing a basic gun safety course and access to secure storage for protected items (e.g. home safe)
- automatic weapons require regular inspection by some local authorities that checks correct storage habits
And so on. I think most gun enthusiasts would be okay with this, provided independent third parties can do the checks (gun club, dealers, etc). Gun owners would then bring documentation showing that they're allowed to buy firearms of a given class. Everything should be as anonymous as possible (separate ID from proof of compliance and require a warrant to link the two).
That being said, most proposed legislation seeks bans, not reasonable regulation, so it's understandable that gun enthusiasts push back.
Automatic firearms are so restricted because they didn't think a complete ban would be upheld by the courts, yet the restrictions are essentially a ban since I cannot reasonably get access as a mentally stable (I hope) person without any record.
Automatic weapons are fun, and at least in my area, I can rent them at local shooting ranges. But going the extra step and buying them it apparently way more difficult. The net result is that only the military, police, and criminals have automatic weapons, so average gun owners are the only real people affected. It makes sense that gun owners are against new regulations, because these regulations seem to just restrict their rights without solving anything.
Another silly thing is that guns tend to get restricted based on how they look, not on how dangerous they are. "Tactical" guns are considered "assault weapons", while the exact same gun without the trimmings are considered "hunting equipment" and not subject to the same restrictions. Does a pistol grip and some black plastic/metal decorations really make a gun more dangerous? No, but they make a gun more fun to own.
It seems people aren't really interested in actually solving problems, they're just interested in looking like they're trying to solve problems, and the average voter isn't educated enough about guns to recognize reasonable regulations. IMO, we should be educating people about guns instead of trying to ban them. Perhaps we need to include gun training in our K-12 education since it's part of the Constitution. IMO, respect for guns is the biggest deterrent to gun crime.
Any additional limits. There are already plenty of laws on the books around gun control, it’s disingenuous to pretend as though none exist.
When there is a tyrannical government in power who is violently oppressing the people, would any new laws eventually prevent me from walking up to an agent of the tyrannical state and shoot them in the head? i.e., would it be possible to have localized insurrections against government? Make no mistake, it is this fear that prevents most governments from overreaching.
If the answer is no, then the rule is not allowed. Licensing would be a slippery slope into complete gun control and consolidating power over the people.
If you want further proof, look at what is happening in the socialist countries in South America. The government is murdering their own people who are defenseless.
If you want further proof that an armed populace is a good check against (real or perceived) tyranny, look at Afghanistan, Iraq, and of course USA (hello UK!)
Which should probably tell you something about the assumption about the accessibility of the guns, and the likely outcome of your fantasy there...
Whether you like it or not, the US lost in Vietnam, they lost in Afghanistan though I haven't kept up on Iraq, reading a few books about the topic showed me that the main impetus for leaving is that it is hopeless for the US to "win".
Edit: IF memory serves, this was the plan laid out by Bin Laden. The guy even put it on video and the stupid US government followed through. Unfortunately, web bitrot has made it difficult to find the relevant articles.
But it's worth noting that no victory was achieved by the insurgent forces that ever lasted in any of those places: the US, so long as it maintained the military will to stay, could bomb and destroy the insurgents indefinitely. It just couldn't tolerate the political cost of why it's people were being sent to die "over there", and a public which was and is dissatisified with foreign civilian casualties inflicted by US military missions.
I suppose the closest analogy is Syria but even there, there is so much proxy war going on that it's impossible to discern the reality of the situation.
Bottom line is that it is in the best interest of the political elite to avoid angering a non trivial portion of an armed population. There is no such restriction on a disarmed population.
You seem to be building a lot of assumptions into "the government is tyrannical but don't worry everyone will definitely support me when I start shooting at cops because that's how that works.
Brit here. What are you on about?
And just FYI, most government murder of their own citizens has been done by left wing governments in the last century.
Want to guess what Nazi was short for? National Socialist Party.
Want to guess the first step of murderous left wing governments? Gun confiscation.
Am I saying that the US government is going to murder citizens (lol, already does it)? No. But don't make it easier.
More significant measures like requiring a license or limiting magazine capacity are somehow characterized as over reach.
Would be interested to hear how that is rationalized.
Limiting magazine capacity is opposed because it is an ineffectual restriction that largely serves to annoy hobbyists. Many proposed restrictions are like this. That's one of the reasons people encounter so much resistance to proposals, because they're often obviously rooted in ignorance and have little regard for their side effects. For instance, since "history of mental illness" is one of the things that could be used to restrict one's ability to purchase firearms, many enthusiasts who may be suffering from mental health issues will not seek treatment.
 In many states I can sell a firearm to another individual without involving a licensed middleman (FFA), but I do not have access to the system they use for background checks (NICS).
Which other Bill of Rights freedoms require a license to practice? Certainly free speech can and does lead to violence. Should we also require a license for that?
Do some research on Venezuela, it happened in this decade. You can go back further if you'd like.
Your questions point to the answer: city and state laws are far less effective when someone can bypass them by taking a short drive.
> Which other Bill of Rights freedoms require a license to practice?
Note that in this case, the freedom in question starts with “well-regulated” and that was commonly accepted as having meaning until the post-civil rights act backlash caused major reversals at groups like the NRA. Accepting some limits is literally just rolling back to the mainstream consensus position from the founding of the republic until the 1970s.
It’s only recently that people claim regulated means government regulated instead of how the term was used when written, as clearly explained in writings of the times.
Note that 45 or so states, modeling their constitutions after the Federal one, and not misrepresenting this phrase as you do, also include personal right to bear arms. This is further evidence of how the term you misrepresent and selectively misquote is meant.
That you have to spin it against the original meaning as written by Founding Fathers in the Federalist papers, as detailed in Congressional Research Reports, as evidenced in numerous State, Federal, and recent Supreme Court cases, shows the absurdity of this misrepresentation.
If you're honestly interested, here  is the text of a study commissioned from the 97th Congress on the topic, with plenty of historical citations on the meaning of the terms you selectively misquoted. It gives the history of how the term came to be in the constitution from common law, clearly showing they did not use it as you claim.
“Before the Supreme Court’s 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, the right generally had been understood by federal courts to be intertwined with military or militia use.”
It's also the meaning more clearly laid out in the 45+ states constitutions explicitly naming a personal right, since they modeled their Constitutions after the Federal one. The distinction between the two is a very modern dichotomy. And I listed the text of the CRS report above.
Wikipedia has a decent summary of US legal cases . Note the Supremes ruled it was individual in 1939 according to this summary.
Here's a summary of state Constitutions . Note how many explicitly give personal, mot militia, rights to bear arms. These are modeled after the meaning of the Federal Constitution as those states saw it when adopting their Constitutions.
> Pre-Heller, the vast majority of lower federal courts had embraced the collective right theory.
Similarly, it would be useful if you discussed the reasons why the founders chose not to include any of the proposed individual rights language in the second amendment draft. It was a deliberate choice not to and there’s plenty of historical context available.
If, as you claim, there was not individual rights in previous drafts, it would be useful if you addressed why in the ratified Amendment they did add it. Because if it’s as you claim, that is pretty solid evidence they wanted the individual rights.
Also, why did the vast majority of the states make it abundantly clear when making their constitutions, modeled on the Federal one?
Firearm restrictions also inhibits civilians from resisting state violence if it ever came down to it. I've heard the tanks/planes arguments, but if those are so effective why are we still in Afghanistan? (hint: they have firearms)
I see what's good in the argument that people should be able to respond to tyranny with force, but I'm wondering how often this could actually happen on such a big scale that it would matter instead of being crushed by the State in a matter of hours or days, at best.
And I furthermore wonder whether weapons being legal would matter much in such a situation.
The best chance of subduing (by any means) an attacker is when they aren’t actively shooting at you. That only happens when they need to stop to reload or change weapons.
Reloading time is negligible. There are many youtube videos showing this. It takes no time to switch to a different weapon.
I grew up target shooting weapons of all sizes and shapes. It is a lot of fun, no doubt.
But their capabilities to inflict massive damage in seconds should make it clear that they require special consideration.
In addition, the objects we are talking about today are orders of magnitude more deadly than those originally considered by the Bill of Rights.
They also had things like the puckle gun and the founders were aware of advancing weaponry.
They had small bore cannons back then, you could legally own those under the 2nd amendment. You're telling me that artillery, which can be fired at effect 1000 yards away from it's intended target, is less deadly than a semi-automatic rifle?
This isn't sark, just pointing out a reasonable logical destination for the reasoning.
... and if you're the leader of a large enough nation, the US will even sell you planes and tanks.
In our shortsightedness we are dismissing the future possibility of foreign invasions, domestic tyranny, and civil war. Let's consider the former; if the US has registration laws and China invades/wins, then all of a sudden Chinese officials have the addresses of every potential source of violent dissent in their hands. I realize the threat of invasion isn't really practical today, but with policies we put in place today we'd effectively be putting our ancestors in the worst possible situation in the event they ever had to defend themselves against tyranny whether foreign or domestic.
I understand that gun violence sucks, but regulation/registration has consequence - we may see benefit, some of it we may never see but our children will (for a rather recent example, see Venezuela). Our communities are living with these monsters, we are ignoring them because our lives have become so centered around live news, social media, and debating over the internet instead of talking to each other.
Banning guns, knives, bats, fertilizer, whatever isn't going to stop this epidemic - and doing so will just prevent ourselves from being able to prevent those who are determined to do so.
what if they can't pay for it? are gun manufacturers now violating the "equal protection" clause? they're denying people the ability to exercise a constitutional amendment simply based on their ability to pay.
So let's ignore the cost; in principle, for defence against an out of control government for which guns are needed, are USAians who are pro gun also pro the idea private citizens owning serious artillery, explosives, tanks etc?