While homicide and other violent crime has continued to decrease the mass-killer shooting attack has seen at least some degree of an uptick in the past decade. The left would have you believe the problem is accessibility of guns. This narrative suites their agenda: the desire to disarm the citizenry. The right argues that a gamut of social ills contribute to this spate of appalling crimes: broken homes without fathers, violent video games, and mental health issues. The truth is, none of these accused trends are particularly new. Guns were even more legally accessible in decades past. We have always had crazy people. We have always had fatherless boys, although we now have more than in bygone days. While the violence of video games is relatively new, the entertainment value of violence goes back to the Roman Coliseum and before. So, what has changed? This:
We are living in the era of vanity. We inhabit the age of narcissism. We live among a society where notoriety among peers is the premier motivator among the masses and our modern technology fuels this drive beyond anything in previous human history. The high-school beauty queen fulfills this desire by posting self-aggrandizing photos on social media. The tech nerd fulfills this drive by developing videos and gaining a following on YouTube. The popular high school jock wins accolades on the football field and his thousands of Facebook friends congratulate him. All of these pursuits of vanity are now accelerated by modern media, the world sees all. Everyone has their fifteen minutes of fame. So, how does the alienated, deranged, unpopular, socially exiled, and mentally unstable basement dweller obtain notoriety? He tries to outdo the last monster.
Vanity, the devil’s favorite sin (at least according to Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate) has been amplified in our modern world of technology and with it has come the golden age of the mass murderer.