But people have changed more than guns. After all, guns have been widely circulated since the Revolution and yet mass murders were rare until recently. Nor have all the mass murders in the recent scourge been committed with assault rifles or other advanced weaponry.
Mass murderers damn near grow on trees these days. Not really, but you could be forgiven for thinking that way. The NRA says that gun crime is down, which is probably true but misses the point of the legitimate hysteria over mass gun violence. The point is that it is a new and unacceptable phenomena to not be surprised by mass murder in public spaces on a fairly regular basis.
Why is this happening?
First of all, it's happening because most of these mass murderers train for years on highly advanced mass murder simulators with names like Call of Duty and Doom and Halo 2. Sitting alone or alone together with other Zen-like practitioners, they learn to calm their nerves, shoot for the head, drop empty magazines and reload without missing a beat. Mass Murder Simulators, oops, First Person Shooter games, gained mass popularity in the early Nineties, some 20 years ago. Twenty years is a generation, a generation that now ranges in age from Junior High to High School to College to Young Adult, the cohorts from which are drawn today's mass murderers.
But it's not just First Person Shooter Games that are injecting mass psychosis into the body politic. It's also the Golden Age of TV that we're now experiencing. Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, True Detective: these and other dramatic series are rightly heralded as breakthroughs in Boob Tube entertainment. Devotees, numbering in the tens of millions, regularly invite their friends to share their addictions to favorite series.
The pitch from a fan to a newby generally includes a conspiratorial lowering of the voice, followed by a grave warning.
"It's dark, really dark."Now I stand in a glass house regarding dark entertainment, given my not infrequent macabre enjoyment of action and crime movies, especially action-crime movies. However, even the most heinous movie comes and goes in a couple of hours. The mass murder celebrations known as Cable Crime Dramas are ten, twenty, thirty and sometimes fifty hour injections of sociopathic ideas, imagery and intensity into the waiting synapses of their millions of adoring fans.
Some in that audience aren't going to process it all very well.
Is this to say that a given mass murderer can blame his crime against humanity on a TV show or a Mass Murder Simulator? Certainly no for the former, mostly no for the latter.
It does mean that people have changed due to mass stimuli that's hiding in plain sight. First, they consume a diet of sociopathic entertainment on TV that is vastly more vivid and increasingly more twisted than ever before in human evolutionary history. They also hone from a young age their ability to calmly conduct mass murder.
Guns are simple compared to people, making the change in guns less profound than the change in people over the two decade maturation of the Mass Murder Generation with whom we're now living.