Why Mass Shootings

This is a very apocalyptic culture. When you are always in it, you don’t notice but it’s the most striking of its features. I still feel startled by this every day. We experienced some really major collapses back in the late 1980s and 1990s. Do you know what it’s like when everybody loses all of their savings, at once, overnight? This happened to us. And people did go nuts over it, understandably. But nobody went as nuts as Americans go every day over completely imaginary crises. I’ve lived in Canada, and there’s nothing remotely like this. It’s unique.

This isn’t a uniformly negative thing. A youthful freshness of perspective is not bad at all. Problems only begin when society becomes very atomized. The constant apocalyptic blaring creates an unbearable affect for some folks. That unbearable affect is easily contained if you are surrounded by people who anchor you in reality: a close family, a group of close friends, a real (not online) community of some sort.

When the idea that the world is ending implants in the mind of a very lonely person, that person starts expecting death. It’s impossible to live, constantly fearing that the end is coming at any, completely unpredictable time. It’s not shocking that at least a few such people will engineer a situation of controlling both death and a group of people.

This kind of apocalyptic mentality can only avoid creating all sorts of insanely sick scenarios if it exists in a society that is very good at building cohesion. Neurosis is defined as “living in the expectation of something bad that’s about to happen.” We need to stop being so in love with this neurosis.

Look at this morning’s post. We are freaking out the kids with our incessant screeching about existential crises and imminent collapses. It’s easy to blame some dumb buggers from a hundred years ago but they didn’t cause this. We are.

Different Kind of Dumb

David Hogg is pontificating about the reasons for mass shootings in the US:

I think it comes down to reckoning with our history, and our history of white supremacy in the United States, and the fact that we live in a post-genocidal society, oftentimes that was orchestrated by the United States government and that, if we want to talk about mass shootings, we have to recognize the massive number of indigenous mass shootings that were committed by the United States government.

Yes, young people have always been completely dumb. I was probably not much better at his age. OK, I exaggerate but I was dumb, too, in my own way. But in my youth we had no way of forcing everybody to hear the idiotic ideas our unformed brains were generating.

Once again, I feel extremely sorry for this young man who apparently has no adults in his life who care about him and who’d help him not to make an idiot out of himself so publicly.


I’m starting to feel bad for Klara’s soccer coach. To her second game, Klara brought a pink Hello Kitty toy, lipstick, and a bouquet of flowers. This resulted in the rest of the girl players losing all interest in the game. At this point, the girls are huddled in the corner of the field discussing make-up.

Teenage Depression

One in five teenage girls has experienced depression in the past year, which is twice the rate of 2011.

13% of white and Hispanic teenagers and 9.5% of black teenagers experienced a major depressive episode last year.

If we take it by age category, 19% of 16- to 17-year-olds experienced a major depressive episode last year.

These are massive increases over the 2011 numbers, and they persist into young adulthood. The rates of major depression for 18- to 25-year-olds stood firmly at 8% for 10 years. They started to climb in 2013 and are now at 14%.

The data is from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Unfortunately, the survey makes the common mistake of questioning teens and not their parents. I have no doubt that including the parents in the survey and asking them about their mental health would be very revealing.