Of course, any time something bad happens in the U.S., some evangelical nutjob will claim it's due to our degraded morality. We can dismiss this hypothesis out of hand because the Bible doesn't say anything about mass murder happening in Sodom and Gomorrah. God took them out himself, he didn't rely on mass murderers to punish those sinful sinners! But I'll add this to the long, long list of hypothesized causes for mass murder:
- Media violence
- Gun "culture"
- Lack of gun control laws
- Government conspiracies
- Mental illness
- Lack of mental health treatment
- It's just plain senseless
- Mass Murder in the United States: A History
- Mass Murder in the United States (different book) by authors named "Holmes." Spooky, no?
- Extreme Killing. I have read this book and it's just so-so. It basically just tells stories you could read on Wikipedia but it does give you some vocabulary of the way the experts talk about this, and a broad overview.
- Suicidal Mass Murderers: A Criminological Study of Why they Kill. (mainly about Virginia Tech, which would be the most comparable case to the Holmes case)
- ...and this article makes the case that mass murder is an attempt on the part of the murderer to soothe his psychological angst.
- The pseudo-commando Mass Murderer fits the description of Holmes, except that he committed his crime at night.
My pet peeve with society, at least in the treatment of the generation that's been responsible for school shootings, is that teachers were taught to give kids empty praise, just for "trying." And everyone is included and nobody gets disappointed. Besides being dishonest with children, it didn't give them enough opportunitities to learn important life lessons. Sometimes things don't go your way. Sometimes you're not as good as you think you are. During my brief college teaching career, I encountered a lot of terrified students who really didn't know whether they were any "good" at something. They knew they could get away with cheating (at that school) but even when they didn't cheat, some of them felt like frauds. I was a demanding teacher and the feedback I got from students was that I was very fair. The students who passed felt a sense of accomplishment and the ones that failed knew it was their own fault. They seemed genuinely grateful for a real challenge in which their self-perception and my feedback were totally in synch.