Politicians don't care to fix the real causes of mass shootings

Young American men using powerful guns with startling precision continue to shoot and kill innocent people going about their daily lives. There are several reasons this is happening with increasing frequency. Law enforcement sees it, but the people with the biggest megaphones prefer to exploit rather than confront reality.

While victims were still being identified and next-of-kin contacted in El Paso and Dayton, politicians running for president began milking their self-promotion opportunity while mentally tabulating the donation dollars that could flow if the tragedy is hyped the right way: Guns (check), racism (check), divisive rhetoric (check) — they are broken records.

Their words do nothing and mean nothing. They are at the service of their own political ambitions. They don’t shop at Walmart, or go to nightclubs, or send their kids to public schools that have become killing fields. They don’t work in middle-class office buildings or go to blue-collar food festivals or outdoor country-western concerts. The people at risk of dying from violence are easy for politicians to look past; they don’t travel in the same circles.

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Not a single future life will be saved by electing these feckless politicians. If we give such morally vapid individuals an office, we are fools.

Strong words, but the incompetence and immobility of the governing class to take meaningful, realistic action is part of the frustration people feel across the country after the latest numbing weekend of terror.  

What can be done to stop all of this? That is the reverberating question. Here are the underlying causes that law enforcement would point to — and politicians will run from.

First, mass shootings are only part of the violent crime culture in this country. They just garner the most publicity because we can all picture ourselves out shopping, or in an office setting, or at school or enjoying a concert.  

Dozens are killed in major cities every weekend, mostly young, minority, urban males killing other young, minority, urban males. But they are geographically sequestered, they don’t typically vote, and most Americans who don’t live there don’t picture themselves ever going there.  Consequently, no politicians and no real publicity. But real people are dying in record numbers.

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Women and children continue to be victimized at a disgraceful pace. Domestic violence remains the top reported crime problem in America. Children are routinely abducted for sexual assault and then disposed of like trash.  

Young people are being trafficked in greater numbers to satisfy a growing and perverse sexual exploitation industry and market. 

Different horrors, but all caused by the same thing. And it’s not guns, or divisive rhetoric, or racism. Those are manifestations, not causes.  

I investigated white supremacist domestic terrorism for years, as well as terror groups driven by other ideologies. The FBI effectively crushed it as a significant threat by the mid-nineties. Then  9/11 occurred, diverting attention and limited resources, and now the weed has resumed its growth.  

But this I learned: evil actors were all the same across the terror spectrum. The ideologies that gave their sick minds purpose were different, but the actors were cut from the same cloth. Weak, inadequately formed personalities easily manipulated by sociopathic messages and messengers.  Almost entirely, they came from single-parent or abusive-parent environments.

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This type of malformed male is a constant in each of the crime problems listed above. Our society is producing more and more of them. Why? 

At a fundamental, causative level the idea of human dignity is being replaced by measurements of functional utility. There are five cultural streams — technology, pornography, family destruction, abortion and violence as entertainment — that have converged on a message that humans are merely objects that have value insofar as they are useful to me. Each of these has emerged as an accelerated phenomenon over the past half-century, unique in history. We are feeling the effects.

Technology has enabled the rapid spread of diseased thought. It also enables the replacement of human workers at an accelerated pace, with a goal towards replacing even human thought. The “dehumanizing” message is clear.

Pornography, thanks to technology, is a wildfire. Its unmistakable message is that people, mostly women, are objects of pleasure. Porn saturation and the rise in violence against women and children is a straight-line correlation. Our young male population is on a steady diet of this value system delivered directly to the device in their back pocket.

Forty percent of American babies are born out of wedlock. I never arrested anyone from a stable two-parent family. Kids born into single-parent, broken or dysfunctional, abusive families are the farm system for major league crime, gangs and terror later in life. Not all will succumb, but all are at risk.

Abortion is a legal right in this country but that doesn’t ameliorate its devastating message that some humans have fewer rights than others. Some humans can be legitimately viewed as “problems” to be gotten rid of. About two generations now have been raised on that legal rationale.  

And finally, the clown class of Hollywood, who like to lecture the rest of us from their bubbles on issues including racism and environment and gender, is staggering in its hypocrisy and cultural damage. Their industry, on which they happily enrich themselves, is built largely on violent, graphic depictions of destruction of human life. This they feed to us non-stop because it’s a cash cow. They won’t show cigarettes being smoked but will reshoot a scene until they get the blood spatter just right. The target audience: young males.

Why do we have larger numbers of mostly young males becoming malformed and committing horrible violent crimes? These are the dehumanizing reasons. The moral code that traditionally countered all of this has been shouted down and intimidated as hateful incursions on perceived liberties. Natural shame has been shamed itself. The loudest shouters, however, live safely; they have elite privilege, and crime doesn’t normally create for them the very real daily anxiety it does for so many others in America. 

These causes have become uncomfortable to talk about. That’s unfortunate, particularly if we continue to watch in cowed silence as violent crime grows, as mass shootings happen, as children disappear. And especially if we continue to endure opportunist politicians who make empty noises that solve nothing and serve no one but themselves.  

Kevin R. Brock, former assistant director of intelligence for the FBI, was an FBI special agent for 24 years and principal deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). He is a founder and principal of NewStreet Global Solutions, which consults with private companies and public-safety agencies on strategic mission technologies.