As you see from the title, I’m once again veering out of my econolane, but only briefly, and only to see if others share this sentiment.
My morning paper blares the banner headline “Texas Shooter Was In Domestic Dispute.” I understand that after these horrific events people want to understand what could motivate the killer. But here’s the thing: these motivations never come anywhere close to explaining the outcome.
And what possible could? What reported motivation would ever make you say, “Oh, I get it?” That’s partly because what the killer did was unimaginable to most people, and because there are always lots of people going through the same thing the killer was going through who didn’t do what he did.
We’re particularly interested in terrorist motivations, but here again, the above logic applies, does it not (I’m really asking)? I just can’t get myself to see any difference between the person who yells something “religious” in Arabic as he commits a mass crime or the person who has a background of domestic violence, a loner, or whatever. Certainly the result is the same. As humans, we strive for explanations so that we can take comfort by putting what happened into some familiar box. But this doesn’t work for me, because what these people did is unexplained by any coherent motivation.
Is not the motivation in this and every such case involving mass murder in the US some combination of severe mental illness/distress and access to guns? Is not the only headline that makes sense: “Shooter was a deeply disturbed person with an automatic weapon,” full stop? But even that motivation may fall prey to my own critique, as the vast majority of those with varying degrees of psychological stress never would engage in such murderous acts.
Back to econ, but do others share anything like this view?