Skip to main content

A recent study from Columbia University debunked the myth that mass shootings in the United States are always a matter of a mentally ill person acting out. 

Reading between the lines of the study suggests that at least some shooters are acting out of a sense of disempowerment, and that gels with what other studies have found. 

If each person is politically equal, growth past a certain range limits the capacity for self-determination. 

If each person is politically equal, growth past a certain range limits the capacity for self-determination. 

Is there anything to support that idea that people really are disempowered in the United States? It's almost a silly question to ask. There are mountains of evidence to show that the average citizen has little or no impact on the rules under which they are forced - through systems of violence - to live. In a nation that promotes a culture of self-determination and democracy, that disconnect should be jarring. 

Which-path-Democracies-1 (1)

And that evidence is consistent with arguments that mass violence is an attempt by some to self-empower, relative to the myth they are told. Add to this the fact that the United States preserves a fundamental right to bear arms as a means of self-determination, and you will begin to get the picture. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You


Why are people disempowered? Our family policies are designed to create people for shopping malls, not town halls. Google the term "baby bust," or "fertility rates" and you will see that our family policies are intended to create people as economic inputs, not political ones. We literally disempower each other, in quantity, quality, levels of equity and our relationship to our ecologies. 

Do people who engage in violence think the system offers them sufficient process to redress their grievances? Apparently not. Their guns seem like substitutes for having an effective voice in democracy, as poor family policies crowded people out of town halls and into shopping malls to benefit a few. 

What the solution? 

Obviously it would involve changing the way we plan families in order to empower people, which would incidentally have the benefit of addressing cases of violence that due hinge on mental illness, and the role poor family settings play in creating it. It would empower children, up towards the democratic efficiency - rather than economic efficiency - that Henry David Thoreau understood, and which is not present in the political positioning of those in kill in droves. 

And there is only really one way to do that: Parental readiness policies that avoid parents torturing their children to death, birth equity redistribution of wealth to ensure equality of opportunity, and a universal ethic and default of smaller families.