Posted by Javier Acosta

As of August 20, 2019, 274 shootings have occurred, leaving 296 dead and 1,353 wounded, that means more than 1 person has died each day of the year so far. As convenient as it would be, there is no one-size-fits-all profile of who carries out mass shootings in the United States. A lot of people say that one of the main causes of shootings is mental illnesses, when in fact people who suffer from mental illnesses like paranoid schizophrenia, which is characterized by delusional thinking and often so-called command hallucinations, are far more likely to be the victims of violence than perpetrators. A lot of people also believe that video games have a huge influence on how aggressive one might become, even though video games can be very violent and aggressive a huge proportion of people in the US have played or are playing video games; only a handful of them commit any crimes. And video games are even more popular in Asian countries, where mass killings are far rarer.

Although all of the shooters come from varying backgrounds, with different mental health diagnoses and criminal histories, the only thing almost all of them have in common is that they are men. There are some other factors all of them might have had in common, which are: anger, isolation, depressive moods, resentments, and jealousy but, the shooters are not the only ones suffering, most of us at some point have dealt or are dealing with some of these, that still does not mean we have ever even thought about picking up a gun. Toxic masculinity is not talked about too often but we must name it as a big factor in shootings, nearly all mass shooters have a history of domestic violence and misogyny, which goes to show that they have the need of feeling powerful and wanting control over others. 

Yac members recently had a discussion about the importance of talking about mass shootings among youth, younger generations are the ones everyone should be the most concerned about. Most shootings take place where a lot of teenagers/young adults spend a lot of their time at; schools, festivals, shopping centers, etc. Several interns said that shootings have almost become normalized, everyone goes out not knowing if they will make it back home, fearing that they might be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Because of this, kids grow up and they already have all these ideas in mind, which is why we have to talk about it with youth so younger generations don’t grow up to be perpetrators of acts like these and so there are less and less victims.