Gun Violence and 6th Mass Extinction

Humans should not be given dangerous toys. They start using them.
That's why it's better to keep kids away from matches, teenagers
away from cigarettes, and Americans away from firearms.

The quantity of mass shootings increases in the US. Recently, 19 students (10-11 year old) and 2 teachers were shot and killed by a 19 year old guy in Uvalde, Texas just 10 days after the incident in Buffalo (NY) where 10 people died.

The US ranks outstandingly among other countries regarding the number of guns in the hands of population and, accordingly, gun homicides. In 2019, the U.S. gun homicide rate was 18 times the average rate in other developed countries. It seems to me very appropriate to draw a parallel between the number of guns and the number of uses of those guns. In the United States, 100 residents own approximately 120 firearms. It is the highest rate among developed countries, and consequently the number of gun homicides is the highest - 4 per 100K people.

The exact number of victims of mass shooting is difficult to determine because there is no single definition of mass shooting. For example, FBI collects data on “active shooter incidents,” which it defines as “one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Thus, according to FBI 40 people (excluding the shooters) were killed in such incidents in 2020.

The Gun Violence Archive defines mass shootings as incidents in which four or more people (excluding the shooters) are shot (not killed) and from that source’s point of view 512 people have died in those incidents during the same 2020. As you can see the difference in numbers is huge.

Regardless of the definition, fatalities in mass shooting incidents in the US account for a small fraction of all gun murders that occur nationwide each year. Wikipedia states that it was around 0.2% of homicides in 2000-2016.

Every case of mass shooting causes great disturbance in America and the only question that always remains is: Why?

It's not clear why.

Among the possible factors urging people to mass shooting are higher accessibility and ownership of guns, mental illness and its treatment with psychiatric drugs, revenge for being bullied, chronic gap between people's expectations for themselves and their actual achievements, desire for fame and notoriety failure of government background checks, etc.

The first two are closest to the truth - the easy accessibility of firearms in the US and Serious Mental Illness (SMI). However, these are byproducts of the evolution/degradation of our civilization, not causes.

1. Easy accessibility of firearms.
73% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents see the gun violence as a major problem, while only 18% Republicans and GOP leaners do.

Republicans are right when they say that the firearm is just a tool and the problem is not guns, but the person who uses them. But the easy accessibility of firearms is also a problem, so Democrats are right, too. Why then is alcohol and tobacco advertising restricted on TV?

Adults differ from children mainly by the fact they have adult toys and the damage from adult activities can therefore be disproportionately greater than from children. That's why it's better to keep kids away from matches, teenagers away from cigarettes, and Americans away from firearms. The easy accessibility of guns in the US is wrong. Humans should not be given dangerous toys because they start using them.

Anyway as of April 2021 opinions in America are almost equally divided: a narrow majority of US adults (53%) said that gun laws should be stricter than they are today, about a third (32%) said that gun laws are currently about right, and 14% said they should be less strict than they are today. It turns out that Americans themselves are not very much willing to limit their freedom to shoot other Americans. That is why the US Congress will not yet pass any restrictive laws and the shooting will continue despite recent massacres in Buffalo, Uvalde, etc.

2. Serious mental illnesses (SMI).
A survey published in Psychological Medicine journal in February 2021 states that only 11 percent of mass murderers and only 8 percent of mass shooters had an SMI out of 1,315 personal-cause mass murders made between 1900 and 2019.

There are a few apparent causes of why people kill (and will kill) each other and why mass shootings and other terrorist acts take place all over the world.

1. There are too many people now everywhere and we are actively disturbing each other's lives. Humanity have been increased quantitatively from 1 billion in 1800 to almost 8 billion now. Dense living (in Los Angeles 8,304 people live at a square mile) and the accelerated pace of life creates mental discomfort and a desire to get rid of the rest. The personal environment becomes smaller, people get nervous and angry with each other. For example, think of what you say when you're moving in a traffic jam, or imagine a family of relatives coming to stay at your house for a month.

2. There are so many of us already, and we definitely interfere with the lives of all other inhabitants of the Earth (animals and plants) with our activities and appetite. We are killing and eating them enormously, cutting them down and driving them out of their territories, rolling up everything with asphalt and organizing our "civilized" life there.

3. Perhaps we are already interfere much with life of the planet itself. Climate change is the work of a man. The Earth is the elder hierarch in relation to humanity; we (and other animals and plants) are the cells of its body. It is literally our mother which gives life to humanity and other species. The Earth functions according to its own program and the 6th Mass Extinction is now scheduled.

A mass extinction isa short period of geological time in which a high percentage of biodiversity, or distinct species—bacteria, fungi, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates—dies out. The planet has experienced five previous mass extinction events, the last one occurring 65.5 million years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs from existence. Experts now believe we’re in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.

“Living Planet Report" 2020 states that we are having now a 68% average decline of birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and reptiles on Earth since 1970. Homo sapiens belongs to the mammalian species and is also a part of our planet's ecosystem. Therefore, the 6th Mass Extinction will surely affect us as well. Actually, it already affects us - COVID-19 and other diseases, increased natural disasters, wars and terroristic attacks... Well, and mass shootings also. This is probably how the planet is purified. In the same way humans try to get rid of parasites, coronavirus, tuberculosis, cancer, etc.

Active shooter incidents have become more common in the US in recent years.

It seems to me that mass shooters differ from all other terrorists by the lack of any demands, extreme individualism, and complete indifference to their lives. They don't care what happens to them after, let alone to those they are going to kill. Their goal is simply to kill as many people as possible. These mass shooters think nothing of themselves when they decide to commit such a savagery, in the sense that they are very likely to be killed by the police when apprehended, or in the best (or worst?) case they will be imprisoned for life.

In 2014 the FBI conducted a survey of 160 active shooter cases that found that “112 incidents (70%) took place in a business, commercial, or educational environment, 96 incidents (60%) ended before police arrived, in 64 incidents (40%) the shooter committed suicide… while… in only 2 incidents (1%) was there more than one perpetrator.”

Terrorists usually attack in a group, explain the idea of the attack, make some demands, and start everything usually in the expectation that they will somehow survive. Mass shooters are not going to survive, which makes them especially dangerous. On the other hand, everything is more clear with them - if they are not killed timely, they will kill.

Mass shooters should be perceived for what they are. Most likely, humanity will never understand why they do that. They don't seem to know that themselves. Their disease (if it is a disease) is in their subconscious, which has nothing to do with the mind, so it is useless to treat them for SMI, they are mentally healthy. It is impossible to recognize them in advance - they don’t differ much from "normal" people.

But it is possible to limit the accessibility of guns for Americans if the majority of them will want that. Or to hand out machine guns to the school teachers.


P.S. Dear Reader! I am very much interested in your opinion on the subject of this article. Please, write a comment or ask a question if you want to clarify something.
Igor Chykalov
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