Yes, the most recent of many shootings. If you are an American, I do not hate you, but yes, I hate your country and I hate your 'culture'. America worships death. What should I think? Here are some thoughts I have put out here and there. They are copy/pasted, so don't expect an essay.
Massacres happen far less often, and with far fewer casualties, if the weapon is less 'effective'. If I have to have a massacre at the school where I teach, let it be while in Japan where the man will only have a knife.
Incidentally, Japan allows hunting, whatever you think about it, but the gun control is strict, and handguns, automatic and semi-automatic long guns are banned outright. There is also a mental health interview before licensing. This is a culture with some wound up and crazy people, but the gun-murder rate is even lower than Canada's. Go figure.
Gun control means a lower gun-murder rate. Anyone who'll argue against that either doesn't know what they're talking about, is lying, or is a victim of 'truthiness'. I have no time for any of these collaborators in the deaths of children, women and men.
If I were American, I would leave that hole if I could; as I would if I were Albertan. I can barely tolerate what Toronto's become, in the ridings which won't go Conservative. Sadly, though my family can live in Canada and Japan, due to marriage and parentage, I am not happy with the conservatism in either. Still, happier to send my children to school in either than in the US.
Countries with or without gun control more stringent than the US should have the same proportion of murderous personalities, but you don't kill lots of people with only a knife in your hand, or even with single-fire weapons. The stats on massacres around the world confirm this. Hell, the stats on murder rates confirm this. You may even fail to intimidate someone if poorly armed, especially if outnumbered.
Who knows what one would do, though we ought to be humble enough to expect we'd do no better than most people have, but knowing a small amount about how poorly people wield edged weapons from martial arts training, I can imagine taking on someone with one (though I don't presume to be certain). Much less sure of myself, I can imagine trying to get the jump on someone who might get just one shot off before I reach him with something heavy, as most people fire poorly. But if he can get a magazine off... I don't think I could be that brave, and it doesn't matter as he'd get at least one bullet into to me. As for the NRA argument about other civilian gun owners having fire-power to take him out? One: it has never happened! Two: civilians panic-firing is supposed to reduce the bloodbath?
Canada, sadly and unlike in my youth, now has nearly the same social and political culture as in the US. Yet, it has a murder rate a fraction that of the US. It's pretty damned hard to kill many people with the weapons that are legal there. The day we get American gun culture is the day I stay the hell out of N.America entirely. I already have stayed out of the US for a decade. Media, politics and 'foreign policy': it is a culture of death.
As for my "culture of death" comment, yes, it's provocative. Not to ask you to agree, but when I say it what I have in my mind is: the fact that TV and movies are not rated for adults when showing murder and torture (death), but are when showing physical love (life); that romantic or physical love between consenting adults must fit narrow sexual and racial norms (50% of Louisiana believes inter-racial marriages, as is mine, should be illegal - you can imagine what they think about same-sex unions...); that America's government, courts and military have thrown out everything decent in the Common Law tradition; and that exporting death abroad is the norm, as is sending your children to help do it. Let's not even start on the enslavement that is America's income-disparity.
I guess I am a radical: I do not believe an American life is worth more than an Afghani one, I do not believe a hetero one is worth more than a queer one, I do not believe a financial speculator is worth more than a blue collar member (quite the opposite), and I do not believe that 'ignorance is bliss'. I also don't see anywhere in the New Testament that gives 'Christians' a right to kill. Maybe Canada is just as perverse as America, but I take some comfort that it doesn't have the power to make others' lives hell (except that we collaborate with America...).
I have met more fine Americans than poor ones. I have stood up for Americans in my social groups in Tokyo getting $#!+ on by other nationalities thus: "Give him a break. The ones you hate don't exactly travel or learn another language." But I am sorry, I am not impressed by the mere words in America's constitution when I look at the realities of its history, recent and older. If America is ever going to live by the sentiments of the 'Founding Fathers' there are two things it will have to get rid of: empire and plutocracy. I am not hopeful: Rome managed neither; Britain managed one.Andrew O'Hehir put it:
Moving backwards from the evidence here, I would suggest that these atrocities tend to occur in a culture with numerous fundamental problems: one that is economically divided and socially stratified, with a dark undercurrent of male anxiety and anger, one where high-powered firearms with no legitimate uses are far too easy to find, where the social safety net has been shredded and decent mental-health care is not available to all, and where our experience of the world is increasingly as a shared media spectacle. Does that sound familiar?