There’s this idea that gets floated out every time there’s a mass shooting in this country, and it’s become as much of the ritual of mass death as
In the past, it seemed weird because it seems like rarely do people commit these mass shootings for a book deal. Have some of them had God complexes before? Sure, but they also went into their acts of violence planning to die, depriving them of enjoying any of the “celebrity” they’d achieve. Klebold and Harris probably didn’t see themselves being the objects of passion from a niche of Tumblr users when they did what they did.
But my thinking on the subject has evolved, right along with the evolution of mass shootings in American society. I still think that the idea of trying to minimize discussion of shooters is noble but weird, but for a completely different reason: we don’t have monsters in America the way that we used to because mass shootings are so normal now.
If you were above the age of ten when the Columbine shootings happened, you pretty much have the names Klebold and Harris seared into your brain. Now, tell me this: who committed the Pulse shooting? Who opened fire on the concert goers in Vegas? Did Dylann Roof shoot up a church or a screening of The Dark Knight Rises? How hard do you have to think before you remember who Adam Lanza is?
No, we don’t make killers celebrities the way that we used to because major acts of violence used to be unusual. Today Jeffrey Dahmer wouldn’t even last a full week in our 24-hour, always-on-Twitter news cycle. Mass shootings are so frequent you can easily miss them because President Trump said something wild or because Pusha T dropped a hot verse dissing Drake. Mass shooters aren’t abnormal, they’re part of the fabric of our popular culture.
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