Yesterday was the latest multiple shooting here in the U.S. This one was in Washington D.C.
The shooter was a depressed, anxious and disgruntled young man whom authorities believe slipped across the state line into Virginia (where there are little or no state restrictions on buying guns) and bought this semi-automatic rifle:
It's called an AR-15. It was created for use in the American armed forces. It is excellent for battle because it is lightweight, easy to use and reload, and it can kill many people in a short period of time.
It is either illegal or very difficult for civilians to purchase and own in nearly all western countries.
But in the US, there are no federal restrictions on semi-automatic weapons like this one.
There is even a "Hello Kitty" version available for purchase here in the US
The AR-15 was used in many of our most famous recent American mass-shootings, and for good reason. It's an extremely efficient killing machine.
They are still gathering information about the latest shooter. But what they do know is he was a big fan of violent video games. "You could say he was obsessed with them," said one media personality. Literally every mass shooter has spend hour after countless hour obsessively playing them. In their minds, I think, they are literally "in training" for "the big day."
Speaking of violent video games and the media, Grand Theft Auto 5 came out recently, to little or no uproar or outrage by the media, or strangely, even by conservative family organizations.
Violent shooting video games like Grand Theft Auto are used by our military to train special forces units for battle. They do this very efficiently and realistically. It's kind of like how pilots train in those flight simulators. It's not much of a jump to go from the computer generated image to the real thing.
Anyway, each time Grand Theft Auto comes out with a new version, the news media basically gushes about how cool it is, and how fresh and realistic the effects are.
By the way, Grand Theft Auto isn't just about stealing cars and violent automatic weapon battles. It also features crack cocaine, rape and prostitutes.
Chris and I were in Roatan, Honduras when the Sandy Hook murder-suicide took place (that's what they are, by the way: these shooters to a man are despondent and suicidal, as are Islamic terrorists). That was the one where a couple of dozen children and teachers were killed. We happened to be traveling with several Canadians during this time.
The Canadians looked at Chris and I and asked with calm, sincere, clear-eyed honesty:
"Wow. What's going on in your country? Why doesn't anyone want to change things? How can you live this way?"
Well. It's kind of hard to explain...
The rest of the civilized world looks at us this way as well. They truly don't understand.
Anyway, this morning the news is showing politicians say that their "thoughts and prayers" are with the victims and their families. This is getting a bit tiresome.
To me, if you are a politician, and you take money from the NRA and you pass laws that make automatic weapons easily available to basically anyone, then you come on TV and say that your "thoughts and prayers" are with the victims and their families -- well -- I'll let you be the judge.
Another thing I'm tired of? The media asking: "How could this happen?"
We know how it happens -- and why. There is no more mystery to it.
The Randy Newman's song I Just Want You To Hurt Like I Do pretty much explains the mental/emotional state of these shooters:
If I had one wish, one dream I knew would come true;
I'd want to speak to all of the people of the world;
I'd get up there, I'd get up there on that platform;
I'd talk to the people, and I'd say:
'It's a rough, rough world -- it's a tough, tough world;
And things don't always go the way we plan;
But there's one thing we all have in common;
And it's something everyone can understand;
I just want you to hurt like I do;
I just want you to hurt like I do;
I just want you to hurt like I do --
Honest, I do -- honest, I do -- honest, I do.'
-- Randy Newman, "I Just Want You To Hurt Like I Do."
So I'm not watching the news today. Watching it -- well -- it tears a bloody hole in my gut.
And I don't want to hear the question: "Why do they do it?" anymore.
Because we know why they do it.
They do it because they can.