An American Tragedy in Uvalde
What is wrong with our culture?
Yesterday’s massacre at an elementary school shooting in Texas is the 212th mass shooting this year — 27 of them at schools. It is also the deadliest mass shooting in the US so far in 2022 — 19 children and two adults slaughtered. This only 10 days after 10 people were gunned down in a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket.
We grieve, as we did after Shady Hook Elementary School slaughter in Newtown, CT in 2012, which took the lives of 20 children and six adults. Our hearts break, as they did on Valentine’s Day, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, FL, where 14 students and and three adult staffers were murdered while a security guard stood outside. We who remember still mourn Columbine HS in Littleton, CO in 1999, when three boys killed 12 students and one teacher before killing themselves.
There is much to say about the proliferation of guns and a shocking crime rate that finds pedestrians or drivers in our major cities gunned down in the middle of the day, going to the market, riding a subway car, going to church or just showing up for work. Writer Bari Weiss summed it up best in a column this morning, I thought, suggesting
“There is a deep sickness in this country. It goes beyond our addiction to guns. It’s an anti-social, anti-human disease that has gripped our society and our politics.”
To me, that anti-social, anti-human instinct is buried in a forest of Social Media anger. And I wonder, as I try to imagine the pain of those parents who lost their little children in Uvalde, why our tech giants can’t ferret out these haters before they strike. Google has algorithms to control our search engine inquiries. FB and Amazon target us as consumers, sending us unsolicited marketing emails to buy yet more stuff. And of course Twitter monitors political speech for views not to its Woke liking.
The shooter in Uvalde, Salvador Ramos, posted on his Instagram account photos of two AR-15 style rifles he had purchased, legally, on his 18th birthday. On his Tik-Tok bio he wrote, “Kids be scared, IRL (in real life).” Some say he was bullied as a child. Update: Texas Gov. Abbott said Wednesday the shooter had announced his intention to attack the school on FB 15 minutes before he mowed down those innocents.
It seems these mass murderers always leave hints, but we only notice them later. Payton Gendron, who gunned down ten innocent black lives in Buffalo, had boasted of his white racist plans for months on such Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord. Then he live streamed his heartless brutality on Twitch. Darryl Brooks, a black man who rammed his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisc. last November, killing six whites, on his FB account urged death to “the old white ppl … knock dem TF out.”
I don’t know why our Social Media tech giants don’t take this on. I also wonder about violent video games — might they not be a gateway to warped minds? Dave Grossman, a former West Point psychology professor, thinks so. His latest book, Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing, seeks to make that link. Drawing on crime stats, and scientific studies of the teenage brain, Grossman argues that video games depicting anti-social, misanthropic and casually savage behavior can warp the mind - with potentially deadly results. Columnist Alex Berenson suggests the problem is meds, writing, “We have turned far, far too many teenagers and young adults into lonely over-medicated sleepless social media addicts.”
Even if we stop these maniacs before they kill again, it won’t solve a larger problem: what Mark Alexander, publisher of the Patriot Post, calls “the social entropy and cultural devolution” that now defines us. He writes:
“Typical of mass assailants, he (Ramos) was a deeply troubled youth from a badly broken home, with no father to affirm and protect him, no faith context to support him, and caught up in the gender confusion cult.”
The loss of religion in our secular society is no doubt making it more difficult to steer children toward productive lives. But to my mind, the harm that feminists — and government poverty programs — have done to our culture by insisting that men are ancillary to the parenting process is incalcuable. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s landmark study on black poverty in 1965 that the rise of single-mother black families was keeping the community in poverty has proven true. The fathers — in black families and white — need to come home. Turns out their skills at nurturing, at setting examples of responsible manhood, are more needed than ever.