The Real Causes of the Las Vegas Massacre Few Are Willing to Accept

Like most people I’m still reeling from the horrible massacre of innocent people in Las Vegas. Once again, a man came prepared to kill and to die. And once again we argue with each other about why it happened and what we can do to prevent the next horrible event. We even argue about whether we should talk about what can be done or whether we should mourn the deaths and debate the causes later.

I mourn for the families and friends of those who have died, but I also think we need to talk about causes and solutions. I’m sure we’ll learn more about the killer and there will be many analyses about why he did it, but some things are clear now.

  • The killer was a man.
  • The man was heavily armed with assault-type rifles.
  • The man came prepared to die as well as to kill.
  • The man had given up on life and lost the ability to care about others or care about himself.

The headlines are all too familiar:

  • October 1, 2017– A gunman, identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, fires from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on a crowd of 30,000 gathered on the Las Vegas Strip for the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. At least 58 people were killed and more than 515 injured. Police believe the gunman killed himself.
  • June 12, 2016 –Omar Saddiqui Mateen, 29, opens fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub, in Orlando. At least 49 people are killed and more than 50 are injured. Police shoot and kill Mateen during an operation to free hostages officials say he was holding at the club.
  • April 16, 2007 –Student Seung-Hui Cho, 23, goes on a shooting spree, killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The shooter dies by suicide.
  • December 14, 2012 –Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and six adults, school staff and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before turning the gun on himself. Investigating police later find Nancy Lanza, Adam’s mother, dead from a gunshot wound.

What all these mass killings have in common is that the perpetrator was a man, and most of the men were white males. On rare occasions women are involved in mass killings, but this is mostly a male phenomenon. Certainly, we have to recognize that guns are being used to kill so many people and we have to get serious about decreasing the number of rapid-fire weapons available to men, but the larger and more important question we need to ask is this:

Why are men so angry and depressed that they want to kill others and kill themselves, and why are so many of them white males?

 If we want to uncover the real causes of mass murder, we have to focus our attention on men. We also need to go beyond our focus on the individual killer and whether he was mentally ill or not, and look at the larger pressures in society that impact men. These pressures impact women as well, but it is the men, with their love for guns and higher levels of aggression, where we need to put our attention.

I still remember an iconic scene from the movie Network, written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet. It was about a fictional news anchor who was depressed because he was about to lose his job. In the scene the newsman played by actor Peter Finch tells his audience, “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everyone knows things are bad. Everyone is out of work or scared of losing their job…The air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat…We know things are bad, worse than bad, they’re crazy…I want you to get mad…You’ve got to say, I’m a human being, God damn it…My life has value…I want all of you to get up now…I want you to go to the window, stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.’” You can watch a clip from the movie:

There are a lot of men out there who are out of work or afraid of losing their jobs, who are scared and don’t know what to do, who feel the world they know is slipping away, who think their lives don’t matter, and their environment is becoming toxic. In his anger and frustration, the fictional newsman asks people to go to their window and express their rage. Chills ran through me when I watched the clip of the movie and thought of Stephen Paddock at his window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

In order to understand the real causes of the Las Vegas killings and to prevent further tragedies we have to look at multiple time frames. In his recent book, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, the biologist Robert Sapolsky says that in order to understand why we act in horrific or heroic ways we have to look at the precise moment the event occurs, then look further back in time at earlier, and more deep-seated, causes:

  1. An instant before the deaths.

Why did the people die? We have to say, as a result of being shot by high powered rifles. Restricting the sale of these weapons would have saved lives. Those who say that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” aren’t wrong. They are just looking at a different time frame.

  1. Weeks or months before the deaths.

What led up to the shooting. There is usually some precipitating event or events. These killings were planned in advance. This was not a “crazy” person who just snapped. Something happened that triggered his decision to buy the guns and decide when and where to use them. We need to understand the events that may have triggered his decision to kill and to die.

  1. Months or years before the deaths.

In order to kill others, you have to have a lot of rage built up based on some perceived wrong done to you. Sometimes it’s a lost job, a lost love, or some experiences where you felt shamed and disrespected. In order to want to die you have to be depressed, in despair, and feeling hopeless. We have to understand more about Mr. Paddock’s mind-set and what caused him to become so enraged and despairing.

  1. Decades before the deaths.

After many years of research conducted by CDC on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), we now know that childhood trauma can cause lasting impacts on a person’s physical and emotional health decades after the trauma occurred. People who have multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences are more likely to become depressed and suicidal or aggressive and homicidal. According to the CDC, “Adverse Childhood Experiences have been linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential, and early death.”

To understand why Stephen Paddock killed those people, we have to look at his childhood. This isn’t to absolve someone from being punished for their crimes, it’s to help us understand deaths so we can prevent them in the future.

One of the Adverse Childhood Experiences that is often overlooked is what I call “the father wound,” which results from being raised by an absent or abusive father. We’re beginning to learn about Mr. Paddock’s father who was a notorious bank robber and was on the FBI’s “dangerous and most wanted” list. We’ll want to know how his father wound impacted Mr. Paddock’s life.

  1. Even farther back.

We have to ask about the despair that’s been growing in the hearts and minds of men as we continue live out of balance with the natural world. Most of us recognize that we are overpopulating our planet, destroying the soil it takes to grow food, and poisoning our air and water. Many have given up on fixing things and are becoming depressed and suicidal. But many more have hope for a better future. The psychologist, Sam Keen, offers us a choice. He says:

“The radical vision of the future rests on the belief that the logic that determines either our survival or our destruction is simple:

  1. The new human vocation is to heal the Earth.
  2. We can only heal what we love.
  3. We can only love what we know
  4. We can only know what we touch.”

Stephen Paddock was a man who had given up on life. There were hundreds of others in Las Vegas who fought to save lives. I’m with them. I’m doing what I can to heal, love, know, and touch the earth and all life on earth, human and non-human.

Your comments are appreciated.

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  1. Increasingly, the mass murderers don’t fit the model of what we’d expect. They don’t have an identifiable motive that is obvious. It doesn’t make sense. Unless we come to recognize that it isn’t just the extremely disturbed people who are going off the deep end, but the so-called normal folks, you and me, our friends and neighbors. That response is telling me, what we consider “normal” in our culture–global warming, destruction of the environment, extreme economic inequality, and “us against them” mentality, an unstable, wounded, easily angered President–is quite dysfunctional. And its impacting us all. We have some choices. We can withdraw into escape mode, do more drugs, drink more booze, watch more T.V., lose ourselves in more internet porn. We can become mad as hell and harm others and ourselves, or we can come together to get our lives, our communities, and our planet back to a place of stability where we become another sustainable species, not one that is becoming a cancer-like destructive presence.

    • Lindner22 says:

      Coming together means opening up to other ideas and views, I would bet my paycheck you would turn around and slander me if I disagreed with you on anything that you mentioned. In a world of disinformation everyone is wrong and everyone is going to argue. This guy went crazy I’m sorry I don’t think trying to understand crazy will help anything. We can’t prevent it, but I am willing to talk about laws and regulations that would prevent a crazy person from being so successful.
      But if you want to talk about humanity start with yourself understand the other sides opponion, if you can’t do that you shouldn’t talk about controversial subjects because if you’re not smart enough to see both sides your definitely not bright enough to express your opinions to others.

      • I’m very open to hearing other sides of the argument than my own. I do believe that having laws that would take more automatic weapons out of the hands of the population, but I’m open to hearing from those who have other solutions. I think if we’re going to solve many of our problems, we have to come together as a people and stop fighting each other. We’re all looking for solutions to our problems and we’ll find them together. I hope you don’t bet your paycheck that “I would turn around and slander you if you disagreed with you on anything you mentioned.” That may be true of some people, but if you’ve been reading my articles and responses, you’ll find I appreciate feedback of all kinds, not just feedback that agrees with me.

        • Lindner22 says:

          Over ten thousand deaths are caused by gun violence in America each year. All though tragic and thought evoking this event was, making laws to stop the act that accounts for the smallest percentage of those thousands of deaths; well it seems like carrying one boulder off a mountain to make it smaller. I’m all about universal background checks, even making automatic rifles, and mods that can turn a semi auto into a fully automatic illegal.
          But I’m weary of the mental restrictions on a gun license.
          – Who makes that call?
          – Would someone who needs help be less likely to get it? Eventually leading to more of these tragedies?
          And okay let’s get rid of the bump stock, I’m not arguing that, but I will point out that I can machine that item very easily. Do we have to have background checks for tools? Just discussing making something illegal, especially after an event like this, sends everyone out to get one flooding the market.
          So even though this event triggers the natural discussion I think it is only a conversation that hurts the common cause, leads to more harm, people reacting on emotions not reason. When we talk about what to do we should be talking about the 10,000+ deaths each year not the tragic sixty that has everyone emotionally upset.
          And I’m sorry for the possessive you and your in my last post.

          • Philip Abromats says:

            If you put bumpstocks under the NFA, then people who want them will have to be vetted like all legal machine gun owners, including me. And these simple and cheap devices will now carry a $200 tax stamp, which will (along with all the NFA red tape_discourage purchase). Unfortunately, the 3d printer changes everything. If you are a criminal anyway, the law is not going to deter you. There have already been at least partially successful attempts to 3d-print an AR-15 lower receiver (which is the only thing that carries a serial number and ATF considers a gun; everything else is just gun accessories.). It’s only a matter of time before this is perfected. Nobody contemplating a massacre cares one bit about their guns or gun parts being illegal, any more than a bank robber worries about getting a ticket for parking too close to the fire hydrant in front of the bank.

          • Lindner22 says:

            The fire hydrant metaphor is a good one, and I wasn’t even thinking 3D printers, just how easy I can make any part I need if I can’t find it. Those things make legislation complicated and help make the point that legislation to stop a massacre committed by a crazy person seem ridiculous. Especially when you are talking about less than 1% of all shooting deaths each year. Why is it so important to stop such a small percentage of deaths? What do we do to stop the other 99.5% of deaths caused by shootings? And why does it seem to me that nobody cares about those deaths? Can we take this conversation to its local progression or do we have to stop at passing proven to be ineffective laws, we can criticize America because we are Americans but look at other countries and the laws they’ve passed and the success they’ve had preventing tragedies. France for example.

          • Philip Abromats says:

            Who gets to make the call? If it’s atheistic “mental health professionals” with anti-conservative politics and an anti-white-male bias, we are sunk.

          • Philip Abromats says:

            10,000? That’s way high. Knock out the suicides, and the inner-city gang-bangers, and it’s much lower. In short, if you are not mentally ill, don’t live in the ghetto, and keep your nose clean, it’s far more dangerous crossing streets on any given day than being the victim of gun violence.

          • Lindner22 says:

            Why are you taking out divides and gang bangers? Sorry that you only care about I don’t even know what you care about if that’s your argument, we can’t even talk about Las Vegas cause that’s a suicide? Let’s just ignore what causes the most deaths and try to control crazy because that is definitely a smart idea.

          • Philip Abromats says:

            Lindler23: Because people who want to kill themselves can find plenty of ways to do that without guns. If you want to address it as a mental-health problem instead of a gun-control problem, I’m fine with that.

            As for the ‘hood, I really don’t care much about criminals killing other criminals. It reduces the population and cleans up the gene pool a bit.

          • Lindner22 says:

            good luck to you I wish nothing but good things for you but will not continue with a conversation based on a premise that means one death is more import than a thousand others

          • Lindner22 says:

            Why are you taking out sucide and gang bangers? Sorry that you only care about I don’t even know what you care about if that’s your argument, we can’t even talk about Las Vegas cause that’s a suicide? Let’s just ignore what causes the most deaths and try to control crazy because that is definitely a smart idea.

          • Lindner22 says:

            Sorry I was just so taken aback by your insight what would you like to prevent?

  2. Cynthia Raiser Jeavons says:

    What chemical prescription meds was this mass murderer on? Have there been any recent mass murders where the perpetraitor was not using one of big pharma’s dangerous prescription “patent” medicines that squash empathy and give rise to suicidal and violent ideation??? We need to bring this pervasive issue to the forefront of our discussions!!!!!

    • Cynthia, I don’t know about this guys medications, if any. If you’ve got information on his medications and how they may have influenced his rage and depression, I’d like to hear about it. My experience with medications tells me that some pharmaceuticals can be helpful for depression, some can be harmful. But ultimately, our problems of rage and despair won’t be solved with giving people drugs, but with solving the underlying problems that we face in the world.

  3. Lindner22 says:

    There has been 530 shooting deaths in Chicago this year. One man shot and killed 59 people in one of the largest mass shootings in American history October 1. He would have to do that same shooting nine days in a row to reach just one cities death toll this year. Think of every city in America that faces the same issues why are we talking about how to prevent this atrocity when it’s ten times worse in every city in America?
    Those are just the facts something needs to be done but it does not need to be done to prevent this atrocity it needs to be done across the country across the world every day shootings happen, more than that die each day across America. And of course we are going to talk about it because it was huge but if you want to talk about regulations let’s talk about the people who die every day let’s stop that from happening and I don’t have the answers I just want to propose the real question what people should really be talking about not why some crazy person accomplish something horrific because that’s not the norm

  4. RichieRichStudies says:

    We can can try to put a big finger a little finger on it and try to dissect and pick this, that and the other a part until domes day comes (is what people tend say) , but the reality of it all is we as white …(don’t shoot me down either just listen to the plain truth) think that the world Belongs to and is Ours! Just study our nature a lot of Us ( white people) we’re want everything that is created as if it was created, made, thought of came into being) by whites. Greedy, Merciless, non- compassionate, Pure Evil its bred inside of us! We Don’t Like Change, We Hate the Thought Of Losing Control, and others gaining what we have which is a Voice. No white male or female would be put through some of the things that we’ve put others through, especially killing them without a true, real reason. Once we Come to grips with ourselves and say that were the terrorist and STOP OURSELVES this will continue by our hands

    • Richie,
      I agree that this is a problem that impacts all of us. Living in a highly competitive, money-oriented, “me-first,” society lowers everyone’s empathy. We would all do well to recognize who we have trouble empathizing with and learn to love more deeply and understand the pains and pressure that impact us all. Empathy and love will improve the lives of everyone. Antipathy and hate will lead to our destruction.

    • Philip Abromats says:

      You are either brainwashed by the cultural Left, are self-hating, or mentally ill yourself to have written this.

      • Philip, That’s an interesting observation. What part of the article made you think I was “brainwashed by the cultural Left, am self-hating, or mentally ill? Really, I’m interested.

        • Philip Abromats says:

          Sorry, Jed, that comment was meant for RichieRichStudies, not you. This site does not nest replies very well. I disagree with some of your premises, but I don’t think you are any of those three things.

  5. Martina Leinz says:

    The United States does not have a monopoly on men who have lost the ability to care about themselves and others. They exist everywhere. Nor do we have a monopoly on mental illness. What we do have is a monopoly on insanely inadequate gun laws which make it very easy for men in despair to get their hands on very dangerous weapons. Until such time as we have sensible laws such as requiring background checks on all gun sales including private and internet sales, we must encourage legislatures across the country to adopt “Gun Violence Protective Orders” legislation so that families have the ability to temporarily remove guns from their loved ones who they believe are a danger to themselves or others.

  6. This article sounds like it was written by a freshman after taking their first 101 psy class. A precipitating event, they were depressed, some type of childhood trauma. Duh, Homer Simpson would know that.
    Who on this earth hasn’t had that occur to them. Yet the 99.99 of us don’t go and shoot someone, when these events occur.
    Don’t take the easy way out by only listing the events that happen to all of us. Find out why they take this action when life happens to them. Search for the answers even if we will never know.

  7. Even Jed Diamond is unwilling to acknowledge that cutting half the skin from a normal penis, mutilating and torturing a newborn infant, and psychologically damaging him for LIFE has nothing to do with his rage. I beg to differ. It has EVERYTHING to do with it. I have seen it in many men during the past 20 years. Doctors (!) commit an atrocity on another individual on a daily basis, and we have been reaping the consequences ever since. All that is required is to prevent doctors from doing this barbaric procedure.

    • George, Thanks for your comment. I agree that cutting off the foreskin of a normal penis is a childhood trauma that few people recognize. We think the child won’t remember, or it wasn’t that bad, or “I was circumcised and I turned out just fine.” The truth is that all childhood traumas add up. Each little assault to our well-being and sense of self accumulates. The ACE studies now show conclusively that Adverse Childhood Experiences impact our adult lives and cause us to suffer from physical, emotional, and relationship problems throughout our lives. We’ll never be able to predict a specific act of violence and prove conclusively that this childhood wound will lead to this adult instance of violence. The best we can do is eliminate as many wounds as we can and know that we will decrease the instances of adult violence and dysfunction that follow.

    • Philip Abromats says:

      So God is barbaric? He commanded it for Israel in the Law. Will you slander and judge God? Or do you just not believe He exists?

  8. Philip Abromats says:

    It’s a shame you have basically adopted the leftist narrative about this. White men are inherently dangerous, they are a clear and present danger to society, and we need to get them psychiatric help and take their guns away before they hurt any more people, all rights of autonomy, privacy, and the Second Amendment notwithstanding.

    I would have liked to have seen a different narrative, the one about the high joblessness of white males, especially the older they get, the more they have to grin and self-censor in the workplace (at penalty of loss of job) when all the message they get is they are hateful creators of hostile work environments, the source of all the world’s problems, archaic in their thinking, and an obstacle to diversity. (Note that the older the man and the more he is earning and his benefits costs, how coincidentally he is perceived this way in the executive suite; what a coincidence!) I would have liked to have seen a discussion of how PC culture either makes a white man feel guilty and worthless, or enraged beyond all measure. I would have liked to have read how hard it is for a white man over 40 or so to look an an America he no longer even recognizes (the more urban the setting, the worse this is), and how that makes him hopeless for his country’s future, his future, and his children’s future.

    • Philip, Thanks for your additional comments. The reason I write these articles is to share some of my own views and clearly and concisely as I can that will be helpful. I’m never trying to address all the relevant issues. That’s why I’m glad people add to the dialogue. I agree that joblessness is an important issue for men in a different way than it is for women. Men (and women) often attach a lot of male identity to working. When a man loses his job he often feels less of a man. When a woman loses her job, she may suffer financial and esteem issues, but she usually doesn’t feel like less of a woman.
      Keep the comments coming. These are important issues to discuss.

  9. Searching for root causes of what we consider abhorent behavior may ultimately lead us to a more sophisticated understanding of violence… Thank you Jed Diamond for being willing to encourage all of us to engage in this conversation now, rather than weeks and months from now, if at all. And, thanks to those who thoughtfully read your article and offer their comments…

    I believe that self-inquiry (personally and societally) is absolutely essential in any effort to understand.

    Evidence suggests that most people avoid contemplative introspection with a passion. It’s far easier to arrogantly “know it all” and have a neat and tidy ideology supported by political and religious sound bites. Opinions are plentiful, spoon fed to us everyday by the powerful elite from every imaginable vantage point .

    In addition to the question of gender, you raise the age old question of “Nature vs. Nurture”. Would you agree this is not an either or proposition? If there is a consistent thread in these events, it appears that the perpetrators were all alienated and isolated from so-called “normal” human relationships. It’s past time to ask how and why aberrant pathologies arise in individuals and societies? There may well be as many systemic causes of human violence as there are ants and mosquitos in the world.

    Isn’t it time to ask ourselves what are the cultural core values that our society “respects” and “honors”? … would you agree, it’s power and money? Think about how guns represent power, and how shooting them taps into something primordial within us. Add to this, the overwhelming amount of violence in all forms of “popular” media (de-sensitizing our collective acceptance of blood, guts, and gore) – not to mention the “Be All You Can Be” recruiting TV ads to join the Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines to be a “real” man and learn how to kill people. All nicely packaged in American Nationalism as patriotic duty, national security, and American Hegemony — willing to “kick-butt” wherever and whenever we damn well please.

    Just sayin’ we live in a violent society that has gained it’s dominant position, politically and economically through the use of force and war. That interpretation is a “fact of life” that goes unchallenged. How many times, in how many ways do our leaders remind us that we live in a “dangerous” world – thereby justifying manifest destiny and cavalier nation building to shape the world in our own image? This debate rages on and on an on…and can be traced all the way back to the Doctrine of Discovery…check it out and let me know what you think of that proclamation!

    I’m glad you include in your assessments that modern humans have drifted far away from the healing power of Nature. When it comes down to it. E.O. Wilson at Harvard and Stephen Kellert at Yale pretty well nailed it in their research on Biophilia – (the basic biological need for humans to have a direction connection with the natural LIVING world). In our attempt to be comfortable within our urban, artificial built environment, we have forgotten that we are land based mammals (Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon at that), dependent upon clean air, clean water, nutrient rich soil providing us with abundant food with all the vitamins and minerals to support and nourish our biochemistry. When was the last time any of us genuinely thanked all the sacred elements of the Earth that keep us alive? How do we give back our love and gratitude? Let’s face it we are all suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder, and we know it, deep in our bones. As a result, we have lost respect and reverance for life, we have lost the ability to experience empathy and compassion. End result: aberrant behavior.

    As our Nobel Laureate so aptly put it: “The answers my friend are blowin’ in the wind” – so, I for one, will be listening as attentively as I can to the breeze at dawn imagining possibilities and living into the emerging future with courage and curiosity.

    • Lindner22 says:

      You’ve taken a lot of personal liberties in your analysis of just about everyone you quoted so elegantly. For example, “…the “Be All You Can Be” recruiting TV ads to join the Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines to be a “real” man and learn how to kill people. All nicely packaged in American Nationalism as patriotic duty, national security, and American Hegemony — willing to “kick-butt” wherever and whenever we damn well please.” Would be considered a misrepresentation by the military, the companies they employ to make their advertisements and most viewers that would tell you that they are selling education, adventure and experience. I personally believe we do live in a dangerous world and think in spite of that America, the Netherlands and countless other nations have made incredible advancements in sustainability, that’s using human innovation with the power of nature to grow food with enormous yield using little land and impact on the environment. They’ve made advancements in renewable energy mankind is working to reconnect with nature buildings are being designed energy efficient with renewable resources the changes I’ve seen in 20 years are more than every construction company saw between 1900 and 1980. It’s an amazing time where most people and companies care about there impact on the environment because my generation said we care.
      I do not think it’s something that anyone should feel negative about or correlates to a mass shooting in any way, but I see the need for people to push us further in the right direction that’s how advancement happens so I appreciate you caring.

      • Philip Abromats says:

        That “be all you can be” campaign is decades-old, for starters, and I do not think the US military glorifies killing, although Hollywood and video games do. And I think the environmental angle on this issue is a red herring. It’s radical environmental policy over the last 45 years that have put countless numbers of white men out of work, in fact.

    • Bud, Thanks for your insightful comments and adding some important issues and references to the dialogue.

  10. Philip Abromats says:

    I know some will be taken aback by this, but what if the shooter was just demon-possessed? You will never find a secular explanation for behavior motivated by demons, and there are too few people who understand spiritual warfare to even begin to screen people on that basis, aside from all the constitutional problems that would entail, even if we could.

  11. Ernie Becker says:

    Lots of people have father wounds that are very deep. I for one. But I never think about suicide or killing others. Is it possible you’ve completely missed the mark by not admitting there is pure evil in the world and we cannot, cannot fix everything. And it’s just going to get worse. Men’s hearts will fail them and the good news is it has has all been foretold. While there are no words to describe the numerous killings from the past, and the ones yet to occur we must ask bigger questions and talk about topics much wider than father wounds and out society. There is much more going on in this world than can be seen with the naked eye. We have a creator and he has a plan. Let’s get hooked up with that.

    • Philip Abromats says:

      YES, and the love [empathy?] of many will grow cold. Look at abortion and post-born genocide. These are the birth pangs of the End Times. These were prophesied thousands of years ago, and are now staring to coming to pass. When the Church is raptured out of here, literally all hell will break lose. Are you ready when Jesus returns to be taken up, or will you have to suffer the Tribulation?

  12. Jack Weber says:

    Thanks, Jed. The background hysteria and pain of climate change and all the various love wounds seems ever-present through all recent tragedies.

    To Sam Keen’s list I would add to “We can only love what we know”: We can only love what we know with that part of our hearts that is free to love and not hindered by pain and trauma.”

    My best and stay warm up north! J*

    • Philip Abromats says:

      Jack Weber: This sounds like I’m on Oprah, not a men’s forum! Anyway, what if I don’t even believe in that whole AGW BS, which is nothing but a massive wealth redistribution scheme and way of forcing the first world peoples into technocratic totalitarianism?

  13. Bill Bright says:


    I believe we can have a conversation about violence but once controlling guns by the government is introduced you will loose 50% of the audience. The fact is that fewer and fewer people trust the government to effectively mange anything. So how do we have a conversation about violent behavior by an unrecognizable minority of the society and not alienate 60-100M people or perhaps 200M people? When the senior senator from California states “no law would have stopped Las Vegas” our starting point even eliminates the ownership of semi automatic rifles/guns from a root cause, which I happen to believe. If a person has decided to kill mass numbers they do not require firearms as we saw with the use of a box cutter on 9/11 or a truck as a weapon in France. Madness as a root cause might be a good place to start the conversation, how do we identify madness and preemptively eliminate the threat while paying attention to the rights of an individual to live their life. Do we consider Islamic extremism as a form of madness? Nazi ideology madness? Certainly those who crashed commercial airliners into buildings were mad, were they not? The cliche that the price of freedom is safety, how safe do we want to be? How free do we want to be? The freedom question is causing me to shake my head in disbelief, the college campus looks like it actually wants to limit the right of free speech. Hate speech is free speech, we don’t have to listen or agree but we do have to consider how free we will be if we choose to limit other’s speech when we don’t agree with them. Las Vegas is different then other mass shootings in the US because of the forethought and planning done by the perpetrator, a smart rich white guy, but 9-11 was an extremely complicated plan devised and carried out by a team of committed assailants. So what violent acts do we want to go after, if we make guns illegal then we will be killed by illegal guns, or IAD’s or truck bombs or what ever madness comes up with. At what point does a depressive treated or untreated cross the psychotic line? How do we know, psychiatry is extremely subjective based on what the patient chooses to tell his Dr. Is it possible that we may not be able to stop a determined mad man if mass death is their objective? I don’t know the answer to this question but I am willing to consider that our understanding of mental illness and how to treat it is or even how to identify it is surprisingly bad. One only has to have had the experience with a family member trying to get them help to understand just how unsophisticated the science is, and I am speaking of the out liars. Deeply depressed individuals who are frustrated by bad doctoring, insufficient understanding of psychotropic medicine and years of suffering. Look at the veteran suicide issue as a good example, untreated PTSD or even treated PTSD, at one point it was at 20 vets/wk. So do we have a mass killing issue or do we have a mental illness issue? There are no Emperor of All Malady’s for mental illness, there is no mass effort to understand and cure mental illness in the US. We can ring our hands with simplistic solutions about the magazine size in a semi-automatic weapon but lets face it there is no more dangerous weapon then a mentally ill, frustrated, hurt, angry person who has zero hope. Throw in a high IQ and we have all that is needed for a mass casualty event, no gun required. So I don’t believe we solve this issue until we see another herculean effort to cure mental illness in all of its forms, just like we are doing with cancer. Lets face it cancer kills hundreds of times more maybe 1000x’s more then madness. We’ll see how serious we are about this.

  14. Bill not so Bright:

    “how do we have a conversation about violent behavior by an unrecognizable minority of the society and not alienate 60-100M ”

    give me a break. It’s well documented that 5% or whatever actual slim percentage owns 90% of the total number of weapons out there. If your “madness” proposition has any credibility, its in the likely fact (i would bet a paycheck) that members of the 5% are higher proportion “madmen” than the 95%. It’s the members of the 5% we have to worry about (aka Stephen Paddock), the other 95% couldn’t give a hoot about owning an automatic weapon or a bump stock, as any “bump”-kin can see the only purposes for either of those devices are quasi-military: to kill more people, more quickly, and much more easily than with an airplane, a truck bomb or a box cutter. So tell me again why we shouldn’t eliminate these devices that have no other purpose?

    Philip Abromats: You, my friend have some stuff going on. I was raised Catholic but am grown up and educated enough now to see that we are no longer a people with horrible, tragic, cruel daily lives the way it was hundreds and thousands of years ago, people whose only real hope in the the middle of a terrible, pointless existence is a belief or hope that there is a better afterlife with a magic man in the sky controlling everything. Sorry dude, this is all we get; life is better now than in the 1200’s, so make the most of it. Suffice it to say on religion brainwashing, and probably politics, I don’t think we need to get to know each other personally. THAT SAID:

    “(the) high joblessness of white males, especially the older they get, the more they have to grin and self-censor in the workplace (at penalty of loss of job) when all the message they get is they are hateful creators of hostile work environments, the source of all the world’s problems, archaic in their thinking, and an obstacle to diversity. (Note that the older the man and the more he is earning and his benefits costs, how coincidentally he is perceived this way in the executive suite; what a coincidence!)

    I would have liked to have seen a discussion of how PC culture … makes a white man feel guilty and worthless … (the more urban the setting, the worse this is), and how that makes him hopeless for his country’s future, his future, and his children’s future.