I told you that this problem of mass shootings was amenable to skeptical analysis, and that it would take a comparative analysis to work out exactly why America was so violent. But of course, someone has already done this; this is what sociology is all about. So here’s one interesting explanation that I didn’t think of.
Mass shooters in any nation tend to be loners with not much social support who strike out at their communities, schools and families, says Peter Squires of the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom, who has studied mass shootings in his own country, the United States and Europe.
Many other countries where gun ownership is high, such as Norway, Finland, Switzerland and Israel, however, tend to have more tight-knit societies where a strong social bond supports people through crises, and mass killings are fewer, Squires said.
“What stops crime above all is informal social controls,” he says. “Close-knit societies where people are supported, where their mood swings are appreciated, where if someone starts to go off the rails it’s noted, where you tend to intervene, where there’s more support.”
What, a better social support network would reduce violent outbreaks? You know, that’s the very same solution that also breaks the dependency on religion. Atheists should be entirely behind building stronger government support for everyone: it weakens religion, it reduces violence, and it reduces economic disparities, giving everyone an equal opportunity to develop and grow. It’s the best and greatest solution ever!
Too bad it’s the antithesis of Republican (and conservative Democrat) policies.