Another Shooting Incident: Man Trained to Commit Mass Murder Commits Mass Murder
November 9, 2018
David Swanson / DavidSwanson.org
Commentary: In US mass shootings, military vets are more than twice as likely to be mass shooters. Needless to say, this is a statistic about a large population, not information about any particular individual. While profiling and discrimination are counterproductive, here's what else might be counterproductive: Training people to commit mass murder, launching wars, and returning people traumatized by wars into a heavily armed society taught that mass-killing is the way to solve problems.
Another Amazing Coincidence:
Man Trained to Commit Mass Murder
Commits Mass Murder
David Swanson / DavidSwanson.org
(November 8, 2018) -- The suspect in today's mass shooting (well, the biggest one I've heard of thus far this morning; the day is young) is a veteran of the US Marine Corps.
Another mass shooter in Florida last week just happens to have been in the military.
The man who killed with a van in Toronto this year had been briefly in the Canadian military and promoted his crime on Facebook beforehand as a military operation.
The mass-killing in a Florida High School earlier this year was also promoted by the killer as a military operation, in the sense that he wore his JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) shirt and killed in the same school where the US Army had trained him to shoot and instructed him in war-supporting views of the world and its history.
Obviously having been a member of the US military can't have any causal connection to mass shootings, and that's why it makes the most amazing coincidence over and over again that so many individuals who've been trained to kill lots of people bizarrely end up killing lots of people.
Looking at a long list of mass shootings in the United States, almost all of the shooters are men, and almost all of them are between ages 18 and 59. Above age 59, the percentage of men in the general US population who are veterans leaps up dramatically.
Between 18 and 59 -- by averaging the percentages for each age year -- about 14.76 percent of US men are veterans, but at least 35% of these shooters were veterans. I determined that by quickly reading available news reports online about each shooting, so the percentage is likely to be significantly higher. I found no news reports that stated that any of the shooters had not been in the military.
In US mass shootings, military veterans are over twice as likely to be mass shooters, and probably more likely than that. Needless to say, this is a statistic about a large population, not information about any particular individual. Needless to say, profiling and discrimination are counterproductive.
But here's what else might be counterproductive: Training people in the arts of mass murder, launching wars, and dropping people trained for wars and having suffered through wars into a heavily armed society taught by schools and entertainment systems that mass-killing is the way to solve problems.
Mass killing in the United States gets you on the news, and if you happen to be a president bombing a distant land it gets you widely praised and labeled as "finally presidential."
Of course it's possible that people inclined toward mass shootings are also inclined to join the military, that the relationship is a correlation and not a cause. In fact, I would be shocked if there wasn't some truth to that.
But it's also possible that being trained and conditioned and given a familiarity with mass shootings -- and in some cases no doubt an experience of engaging in mass shooting and having it deemed acceptable -- makes one more likely to mass shoot. I cannot imagine there isn't truth in that.
The most killing Western societies do is done abroad by their militaries. In the United States, hundreds of deadly shootings every year are committed by police officers -- disproportionately military veterans. Suicides, as well, are disproportionately committed by veterans. And not because we are untactful in pointing to problems, but because we generally fail to admit to and deal with problems.
Veteran suicides are driven by guilt over having participated in killing. That guilt is the top factor in predicting suicide, according to the US Veterans Administration, and the very least likely piece of information in the entire world to be mentioned in a celebration of Veterans Day.
Consider this. If over 35% of US mass shooters were Muslim or foreign or black or gay or socialist or red-haired or any of millions of other things likely actually coincidental, it would be a Big Freaking Deal. But the fact that over 35% of them have been trained by the world's biggest mass-killing institution is simply not of any interest.
US Mass Shooters Are Disproportionately Veterans
David Swanson / DavidSwanson.org [Excerpt]
(November 14, 2017) -- . . . Looking at this list of mass shootings in the United States, one notices the following:
* ninety-eight percent of the shootings were done by male shooters;
* the vast majority had mental health problems;
* the racial breakdown looks roughly equivalent to that in the population as a whole;
* the creators of the list have not bothered to create a thorough record of which shooters had been in the military.
Beginning to sort out an answer, one quickly discovers that many mass-killings by veterans have been excluded from this list.
* World War II veteran Howard Barton Unruh killed 13 people in 1949 in New Jersey, but that was too early to make it onto this list.
* Persian Gulf veteran Timothy McVeigh killed 168 in Oklahoma City in 1995 but didn't use guns.
* Persian Gulf veteran Robert Flores shot his three nursing professors in Tucson, Arizona, in 2002, but only killings of four or more have been included.
* The same restriction keeps out US Marine Corps veteran Radcliffe Haughton's killing of three women in Wisconsin in 2012.
* Even the DC sniper, Persian Gulf veteran John Allen Muhammad, who killed 17 in the Washington, DC, area in 2002, with a partner, and using guns, is not included -- perhaps because he didn't kill all of his victims at once.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the US Peace Memorial Foundation.