I thought I’d philosophize a bit on the psychology behind this man committing this public massacre, comparing him to other shooters like for example Wayne Lo, and the narcissism exhibited by them.
Yesterday, this muslim man Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez shot dead four marines over in Chattanooga, Tennessee – a heinous act. This has sparked quite a lot of online discussion, where people tend to see what they want to see. As always, whenever someone shoots up some place, left-wingers seize the opportunity to promote gun control, pretending that imposing more restrictions on the ownership of guns by law-abiding citizens will reduce homicides. They don’t care much about the majority of guns used in crime being illegal weapons that wouldn’t be impacted by such legislation though.
Some islam-hating right-wingers have wanted to explain the attack with islam, that this apparently isolated man was part of some terrorist cell, even though the evidence is very scant. More respectable right-wingers bring up the fact that military bases are gun-free zones thanks to former president Clinton, which makes it hard to prevent the acts from occurring. Even if I’m a right-winger myself, I don’t intend to talk about either islam or gun rights.
Instead what I want to reflect on is the psychology behind acts like these, and what factors most shooters have in common. Certainly it’s not good bring attention to acts like these and the people behind them, since you may encourage copycats. And I don’t intend to try to glamorize them or provide them a platform for their personal beliefs. I’m really just objectifying them here.
The main reason I believe America has suffered so many public massacres lately is because of the sense of entitlement people growing up in this society adopt. They’re showered with images of the rich and celebrities, and taught that that’s the only thing that matters in life. Which results in immense status competition – at a time when it appears that ever fewer people will reach their goals in life due to society and the economy disintegrating more and more. Which causes the bubble to burst for some people and they decide it’s better to go down in a blaze of glory than to endure an existence they don’t want.
In the news, Abdulazeez has been portrayed as nearly a model citizen, from a model family. The family are well-respected people, and he himself has a degree in a technical subject. Not only that, but he’s an athlete too, having competed in both wrestling and mixed martial arts. Yet here I notice where the shoe doesn’t quite fit for him. Apparently his family had wanted him to cease his MMA fighting due to religious objections. So the thing that appeared to have been his #1 hobby was denied him. I think this damaged his sense of identity, seemingly not getting the approval no matter what he does. It’s quite common that families that immigrate to America and know that they face possible antipathy want to make sure they have a perfect facade, and that their children serve as trophies for them. In such cases, the needs for the family to come across as respectable easily trumps the individual needs of the children.
This spring, it appears he started to self-destruct, getting a DUI and having a car that the officers arrested him thought reeked of weed. I’ve read reports that he appeared to have gone overseas to certain Arab countries too, probably in search of roots that he can relate to, which he didn’t appear to do to his family. He probably never fit into the life they had wanted to structure him into.
I’ve seen other cases like these before. Back in December 1992, a Chinese immigrant by the name of Wayne Lo shot up his school in Massachusetts in a similar public massacre, killing two people. Lo had a lot in common with Abdulazeez. They had both immigrated to America as children, with highly established and well-off families, enjoying a prosperous life and getting praise for their accomplishments. For Lo it was from being a musical prodigy, playing classical piano. But toward the end of his teens, Lo started to rebel against the life staked out for him. Whereas his peers appeared to enjoy nothing but freedom, his parents made sure he didn’t have much of that. So he started acting aggressive, calling for homosexuals to be put in concentration camps etc. Soon enough his rage had reached a boiling point and he got a rifle and shot as many people as he could. Thankfully only two people ended up dead that time though, and Lo ended up serving life without the possibility of parole.
I see lots of similarities in not only the family structure of these individuals, but also of their personalities. This guy Lo has repeatedly tried to portray Chinese as a persecuted minority in America, and Abdulazeez in his high school yearbook stated this:
“My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”
America has seen a lot of public massacres the last two decades, and the most contributing factor I believe is narcissism – that it’s so expected of people to prove themselves as individuals, and that the only thing that appears to matter is whether people know your name. For the narcissist, if that person can’t reach his fame in a respectable way, he will go for more despicable ways. I also see narcissism in the families of both parties, wanting to come across as nothing but perfect. Hence in my opinion, they both contributed to the heinous acts.
So what are the solutions society needs in order to prevent things like these from happening? Well, judging by the large number of Oriental and Arabian shooters America has seen lately, I’d say there’s a limit to how many people from a foreign culture or ethnic group a society can assimilate. If you keep on absorbing foreigners, the attempts of the communities will inevitably fail, and you will have these immigrant outcasts potentially shooting up places. So tightening up immigration policies would be beneficial.
Another important point to make is of course that gun-free zones have proven to attract gunmen. If one wants to avoid becoming a victim of such attacks, one should stay clear of these zones. But society clearly needs to do away with them.
A significant reason why there are so many shootings today is also that the traditional values that used to keep people from acting out in this way aren’t in place any more. If people don’t get what they want, they have meltdowns and express their dissatisfaction. Which easily leads to chain reactions that tear up the cohesion in society. If one would be able to return to these values, such acts could potentially be deflected.
The fourth suggestion would be something that Christians won’t like, but that would naturally save many innocent lives – namely euthanasia. If people that didn’t want their lives could be offered assisted suicide rather than potentially carrying out a public massacre, innocent people wouldn’t have to die.