The Mass Shooting Rorschach Test

The Mass Shooting Rorschach Test

Adrienne BoettingerTuesday,6 October 2015

In light of the most recent U.S. mass shooting, here’s a quiz to try to put the killings and America’s firearm obsession in perspective.

1. When you heard of the October 2nd mass shooting at a community college in Oregon, what was your first reaction?

a. Feelings of sympathy for the victims and their families

b. Contacted your elected official to tell them you support gun control measures like universal background checks and/or closing the gun show loophole

c. Frustration at the probability that nothing will change

d. Bought more guns and demanded laxer gun laws

2. After any mass shooting, what do you believe was the cause?

a. Lax gun laws and/or lax enforcement of existing gun laws

b. Mental illness

c. There weren’t enough armed people around to stop the shooter

d. These shootings are all hoaxes

3. Why do you think the U.S. has more gun deaths per capita than any other developed country in the world?

a. There are enough guns in the country for every man, woman and child and every attempt at gun control is shot down (rim shot) by the NRA and public indifference

b. Americans are inherently violent people who want to shoot each other

c. More Americans are mentally ill than in any other country

d. We’re #1!

4. What do you think when elected officials make public statements after mass shootings that in any way suggest enforcement and/or expansion of background checks?

a. All talk and no action

b. It’s about damn time

c. The NRA will work day and night to make sure those officials are never reelected

d. People shouldn’t ‘politicize’ these tragedies by doing anything to prevent future mass shootings

When the reactions of many to the Newtown massacre was to go buy more guns prompted by fears President Obama was going to take theirs, I really began to worry about mental health. Not because mass shootings are carried out by the mentally ill – that is largely untrue (research suggests 3-5% of violent acts are conducted by the mentally ill). I worried because how can seeing the heartache and crippling grief of those families make you think we need less gun laws, not more? I don’t get it.

And that’s why I think nothing will change. If the brutal slaying of 20 children and 6 adults wasn’t enough to break the NRA’s stranglehold on our elected officials to even allow for a meaningful discussion on gun violence, nothing will. Less than 7 months before Sandy Hook, The Onion facetiously reported that the NRA set the bar at 1,000 dead kids before they’d reconsider really anything. Maybe the reporter wasn’t that far off.

President Obama had some pretty strong words in the wake of the shooting but there was an undertone of defeat. Because people care passionately about the absolute freedom to own as many assault weapons as possible. I guess their rights are more important than the rights of other people not to get shot.

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Image Credit: Flickr



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