I’m taking a time-out from my regular topics on the antiques industry. I have two children in college and one in middle school; when I heard of the senseless multiple killing at Virginia Tech, it gave me some concern about my children being in harms way. That might seem a bit of an overreaction. But how unique to America is this tragic event?
The great American cultural novelty of the multiple, indiscriminate murderer isn’t quite on the same page as a suicide bomber. The American psycho has no real cause except what is in his mind. The post office worker who goes berserk isn’t dying for a cause but is a casualty of some unique facet of American life that has warped the killer’s perception of how to live in our society. A girl friend, boy friend, money, despondency; any of these are classic benchmarks for creating the emotional energy to pursue this course.
What is it about our society that propagates this type of individual to act in such a violent way? It has become a phenomenon with our way of life in the last part of the 20th Century. I’m sure no one will be surprised when we hear of the next “record” killing of innocent lives.
I obviously don’t claim to be an expert on this, but I am of the opinion that American society creates the ground work for allowing this thought process to evolve in individuals by playing violent video games, seeing movies that take the macabre and make it real, and the press for exposing the perversions in our neighborhoods.
American culture now gives this type or any type of serial killer cult like status. Whether we talk about Jim Jones, Charles Manson, or Seung-Hui Cho, the American public has an insatiable need to know and recount the gory details. It’s a self fulfilling part of our society that teaches a potential mass murderer how to take it to the next level.