Virginia shooting

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Cradarc
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Virginia shooting

Postby Cradarc » Wed Aug 26, 2015 11:59 pm UTC

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/26/us/virginia-shooting-wdbj/
More tragic violence in the U.S.

1. I don't understand why people insist "guns don't kill people, people kill people". If this man had a knife, there would have been a much greater chance of survival for the two reporters, not to mention himself.
2. This goes to show that anger, however justified, leads to bad places. Even if the majority of angry people don't misbehave, they can drive unstable people into violence.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:18 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:I don't understand why people insist "guns don't kill people, people kill people".
Mainly because the gun didn't just go off by itself. There was a person behind that gun, aiming it and pulling the trigger. That's where the problem lies.

There are many ways to hurt and kill people. It is the desire to do so that leads to violence.

Being able to own a gun or a car or a battleaxe or a chemistry set is part of living in a free society. Living in a free society has costs. This is one of them. We should not merely accept those costs without consideration, but that consideration has to be put in the right place. Why are some people driven to violence in the first place? That's a hard question that doesn't have an easy answer (but does lend itself to grandstanding).

My heart goes out to the victims and to their families. It is always tragic when young lives are ended prematurely, even more so when it's through anger, hatred, and a polarized society that craves easy answers to hard questions. No amount of internet word-wrangling will ever bring them back.

Jose
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Horselover Frost » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:39 am UTC

ucim wrote:Why are some people driven to violence in the first place?

Either as part of a scheme to get more money (or things equivalent to money, such as valuable possessions or luxuries), or as a symptom of mental illness. Violent crimes (all violent crimes, not just murder) can be linked back to one of these two, very nearly all of the time.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:17 am UTC

Horselover Frost wrote:
ucim wrote:Why are some people driven to violence in the first place?
Either as part of a scheme to get more money (or things equivalent to money, such as valuable possessions or luxuries), or as a symptom of mental illness. Violent crimes (all violent crimes, not just murder) can be linked back to one of these two, very nearly all of the time.
1: Why is money so important (in the eyes of some) that it's worth killing people for, in the absence of mortal need?

2: "Mental illness" too easily serves as a catch-all for everything else. As such, it dodges the question, and even in accepting that as an answer, leads to "What is the cause of this "illness" of which you speak? How would you identify those who would kill, before they do, without lumping in those who would not have? Without an answer to that, it's post hoc...

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Vahir » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:41 am UTC

Horselover Frost wrote:
ucim wrote:Why are some people driven to violence in the first place?

Either as part of a scheme to get more money (or things equivalent to money, such as valuable possessions or luxuries), or as a symptom of mental illness. Violent crimes (all violent crimes, not just murder) can be linked back to one of these two, very nearly all of the time.


I'm afraid I have to disagree with this, given that you're ignoring crimes of passion. A man who finds his wife cheating on him, and shoots her and her lover, is not necessarily mentally ill, nor can he reasonably hope to get money from it.

ucim wrote:
Cradarc wrote:I don't understand why people insist "guns don't kill people, people kill people".
Mainly because the gun didn't just go off by itself. There was a person behind that gun, aiming it and pulling the trigger. That's where the problem lies.

There are many ways to hurt and kill people. It is the desire to do so that leads to violence.

Being able to own a gun or a car or a battleaxe or a chemistry set is part of living in a free society. Living in a free society has costs. This is one of them. We should not merely accept those costs without consideration, but that consideration has to be put in the right place. Why are some people driven to violence in the first place? That's a hard question that doesn't have an easy answer (but does lend itself to grandstanding).

My heart goes out to the victims and to their families. It is always tragic when young lives are ended prematurely, even more so when it's through anger, hatred, and a polarized society that craves easy answers to hard questions. No amount of internet word-wrangling will ever bring them back.

Jose


An absolutely free society would have anyone allowed to kill anyone, because freedom. Complete anarchy. We all trade some freedom for some safety; restrictions on firearms are just another facet of it.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby ucim » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:55 am UTC

Vahir wrote:An absolutely free society would have anyone allowed to kill anyone, because freedom. Complete anarchy. We all trade some freedom for some safety; restrictions on firearms are just another facet of it.
The same can be said of the freedom to fly, to take the train, to use the internet, to trade ideas, to walk in public topless, and to campaign for unpopular ideas, so you've said nothing. Restrictions on firearms need to be well thought out, it's not like uttering "guns kill" and leaving it at that, because if you do, you haven't really identified, let alone solved, any problems, but you've tightened the noose on society.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Cradarc » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:04 am UTC

ucim wrote:Mainly because the gun didn't just go off by itself. There was a person behind that gun, aiming it and pulling the trigger. That's where the problem lies.

Not untrue, but guns are certainly making the symptoms harder to contain. As you hinted at in your other comment, we don't really have a cure, so the next best thing is to treat the symptoms.
Buying a gun to "protect yourself from malicious humans" is a pretty weak argument. Why don't you buy a suit of kevlar armor instead? The real reason is you want the assailant dead.

Consider this particular incident if the guy didn't have a gun: He takes a dagger and runs at the two people. Worse case scenario, he still kills both of them, but now has blood all over his shirt. He then suicides with seppuku. It a takes a special type of psycho to do that sort of stuff. More likely than not, at least one of the people will survive.
IMO guns, like anger, distances the aggressor's conscience from the atrocity of the act. It makes it more easy for them to rationalize the murder. (Unless the person is completely devoid of empathy, there is always some rationalization involved with any crime.)

The 2nd amendment exists simply to allow citizens to rebel against a militarized, tyrannical government. I think we can agree that's a non-issue in today's society. Most civilians own guns simply because other members of their community do. It's a vicious cycle, and it's very difficult to unwind. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try though.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Horselover Frost » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:05 am UTC

Vahir wrote:I'm afraid I have to disagree with this, given that you're ignoring crimes of passion. A man who finds his wife cheating on him, and shoots her and her lover, is not necessarily mentally ill, nor can he reasonably hope to get money from it.

Crimes of passion, true political terrorism, etc, unlinked to either financial gain or mental illness are extremely rare. Far, far too rare to be worth worrying much about.

ucim wrote:1: Why is money so important (in the eyes of some) that it's worth killing people for, in the absence of mortal need?

A lot of time it is from need, though perhaps not quite mortal. Crimes of violence are most common among the poor (who both are more likely to desperately need money than the rich, and who are more likely to have untreated mental illnesses).

ucim wrote:2: "Mental illness" too easily serves as a catch-all for everything else. As such, it dodges the question, and even in accepting that as an answer, leads to "What is the cause of this "illness" of which you speak? How would you identify those who would kill, before they do, without lumping in those who would not have? Without an answer to that, it's post hoc...

We can track a lot of mental illnesses these days to actually distinct variations in brain structure. There was a study I remember reading a while back (specifically focused on male forcible rapists) that found specific brain abnormalities to be more common among offenders than among the general population. (Can't seem to track it down atm, it may have been behind a paywall. If I find it I'll link it.)

Edit: The Virginia shooter seems to follow the classic "workplace avenger" pattern, which is generally motivated by a mix of financial concerns (worries that recent trouble at work will mean less money) and paranoid delusions.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Jave D » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:24 am UTC

Guns don't kill people, people kill people, this is true. People kill people with guns. Guns are pretty good at killing people easily, quickly, conveniently, noisily. That is arguably what they are designed to do. I don't really know what to say about this shooting.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Vahir » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:26 am UTC

Wikipedia wrote:A United Nations statistical report compiled from government sources showed that more than 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape were recorded by police annually. The reported data covered 65 countries.


Unless you're arguing that all rapists are mentally ill, I wouldn't call 250 000 cases negligible.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Horselover Frost » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:38 am UTC

Vahir wrote:Unless you're arguing that all rapists are mentally ill, I wouldn't call 250 000 cases negligible.

I'd consider "rapists are mentally ill" almost a tautology, tbh. They're almost certainly sociopaths, or at least somewhere on the antisocial personality disorder spectrum.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Zamfir » Thu Aug 27, 2015 4:14 am UTC


There are is a gun control thread. Please keep the discussion here focussed on the case at hand

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby charliepanayi » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:35 am UTC

Most of the UK press have put the moment of the shooting on their front pages today, which is crass even by their own standards. I never thought I'd see the day when I gave the Express newspaper a gold star for decency.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Gopher of Pern » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:09 pm UTC

Horselover Frost wrote:
Vahir wrote:Unless you're arguing that all rapists are mentally ill, I wouldn't call 250 000 cases negligible.

I'd consider "rapists are mentally ill" almost a tautology, tbh. They're almost certainly sociopaths, or at least somewhere on the antisocial personality disorder spectrum.


Considering everyone is on the 'antisocial personality disorder spectrum' I'm not surprised to see rapists there.

Funny how people throw around the term 'mentally ill' as if it proves some point. Almost everyone is 'mentally ill' at some point in their lives.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:31 pm UTC

ucim wrote:1: Why is money so important (in the eyes of some) that it's worth killing people for, in the absence of mortal need?


Because:

1) It's resources, not money; money is a simple proxy for resources
2) In absences of "mortal need", there's "social needs". Everyone is trying to acquire as much social status as possible, and money is more or less required for that.
3) Sex. Without money, a man isn't going to find a high quality partner. A woman without money can, assuming she's relative young and healthy. Note that most crime occurs in the younger age brackets, the periods when women generally don't have as much trouble finding a partner.
4) General sociopathy; people tend to place their own desires above others', and a sociopath doesn't value others' desires at all.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Dauric » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:43 pm UTC

The interesting thing about this shooting, despite the attempted derailment in to gun control arguments, is that the shooter captured the moment of the crime on camera and posted it on social media.

It used to be that media outlets had certain taboos, like not showing the moment of death on film, that prevented the public at large from seeing certain things. With current trends in executions carried out by extremist terrorists, and other random psychopaths with cameras, these formerly taboo images are becoming more accessible.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:46 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:The interesting thing about this shooting, despite the attempted derailment in to gun control arguments, is that the shooter captured the moment of the crime on camera and posted it on social media.

It used to be that media outlets had certain taboos, like not showing the moment of death on film, that prevented the public at large from seeing certain things. With current trends in executions carried out by extremist terrorists, and other random psychopaths with cameras, these formerly taboo images are becoming more accessible.


Heck, I'm seeing the image used as "shock footage clicker-bait" on websites like Reuters. So the taboo is being lifted.

I still find it distasteful however. But that's my take on it. The other image going around was "downed camera" footage as the cameraman died and dropped the camera. This one makes more sense though because the shooter unwittingly steps into the camera, so Police released the footage to help with the manhunt. I'm seeing that picture being used as shock footage / clickerbait on this event as well.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby leady » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:49 pm UTC

This probably the first murder that is being pushed for gun control that would still have occurred and far more brutally be inflicted with a knife

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:31 pm UTC

ucim wrote:2: "Mental illness" too easily serves as a catch-all for everything else. As such, it dodges the question, and even in accepting that as an answer, leads to "What is the cause of this "illness" of which you speak? How would you identify those who would kill, before they do, without lumping in those who would not have? Without an answer to that, it's post hoc...


Plenty of mental illnesses that have rather defined symptoms, etc. Legitimate diagnosis and treatment shouldn't be anything like impossible, and should greatly improve outcomes. We do not assign a diagnosis only in retrospective now.... I'm not familiar enough with this case to say for certain that this is the primary issue here, but it definitely seems as if in this case, it was a long-standing pattern of issues with this fellow, not merely a "one day he snapped" narrative.

The fact that he was apparently vengeful two YEARS after being fired seems significant, the fellow was, at a minimum, seriously carrying a grudge. I do not think it is odd to credit his apparent long-standing anger issues with at least a good chunk of the blame.

Currently popularly proposed firearm legislation attempts seem unlikely to have affected this fellow. Background checks didn't stop him, and wouldn't have if they were widened. Waiting periods are likewise irrelevant, because he had the gun for a good while. Magazine capacity is unimportant as well, given the nature of the attack. He didn't use a great deal of ammo. It also appears to be a pre-planned attack...it's frankly very hard to stop something like that when you don't know it's coming. He evidently wasn't very concerned about getting away with it, given the video...

Really, this isn't about mental illness in general, it's about untreated mental illness. Huge difference there. It's not that everyone with mental illness is a danger, it's that folks like THIS who don't get help are a danger to themselves and those around them. So, really, the question is about how to make sure folks get treatment before this happens.

Also....agree with finding the movie itself tasteless as clickbait.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Chen » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:58 pm UTC

There was a BBC article that said the Station had required him to go to some sort of mental health professional or be fired. And then he was fired, which tends to imply he didn't actually get the help. I mean at that point I'm not sure what else you could do to ensure that someone who is mentally ill gets treatment.

edit: forgot the link
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34070393

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:36 pm UTC

Chen wrote:There was a BBC article that said the Station had required him to go to some sort of mental health professional or be fired. And then he was fired, which tends to imply he didn't actually get the help. I mean at that point I'm not sure what else you could do to ensure that someone who is mentally ill gets treatment.

edit: forgot the link
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34070393


That certainly seems like it's all the company can probably do. However, involuntary treatment is an option in some cases. Granted, we're looking at this with the benefit of hindsight, but still...seems like maybe something to be at least considered when someone has to be fired for refusing to seek help and is behaving in a threatening manner.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby cphite » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:51 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:
ucim wrote:Mainly because the gun didn't just go off by itself. There was a person behind that gun, aiming it and pulling the trigger. That's where the problem lies.

Not untrue, but guns are certainly making the symptoms harder to contain. As you hinted at in your other comment, we don't really have a cure, so the next best thing is to treat the symptoms.
Buying a gun to "protect yourself from malicious humans" is a pretty weak argument. Why don't you buy a suit of kevlar armor instead? The real reason is you want the assailant dead.


Because kevlar armor is expensive, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and not very effective as a singular means of defense. Getting shot while wearing kevlar really fucking hurts to the point where it's probably going to incapacitate you anyway; at which point your assailant, if he's intent on killing you, is probably going to do so.

The point of kevlar, in the case of police officers, soldiers, and the like, is that it allows you protection in addition to the fact that you are armed.

Consider this particular incident if the guy didn't have a gun: He takes a dagger and runs at the two people. Worse case scenario, he still kills both of them, but now has blood all over his shirt. He then suicides with seppuku. It a takes a special type of psycho to do that sort of stuff. More likely than not, at least one of the people will survive.


So... somehow it would be better if the same number of people had died, only by a different method? In your view, being stabbed is better than being shot... because why, exactly?

Second, it's a pretty big assumption you're making that someone has to be somehow "more psycho" to stab people than shoot people. There is reason to suspect that guns make impulse violence more likely; but when you're talking about premeditated, planned out attacks like this one in Virginia, that seems less of a factor.

And finally... the odds of survival from a knife attack are fairly close to the same as the odds of survival of gun attack. The only real difference is range; that is, you might have a better chance of not being wounded in the first place. But given your scenario, where two people are stabbed, their odds aren't necessarily better.

IMO guns, like anger, distances the aggressor's conscience from the atrocity of the act. It makes it more easy for them to rationalize the murder. (Unless the person is completely devoid of empathy, there is always some rationalization involved with any crime.)


Again, this is probably true for impulse attacks. Someone cuts you off in traffic, you're much more likely to shoot them than stab them. But when someone is planning an attack on multiple people, their choice of weapon tends to be determined by their plan.

The 2nd amendment exists simply to allow citizens to rebel against a militarized, tyrannical government. I think we can agree that's a non-issue in today's society.


I think a lot of people might argue that they're as important, in that regard, as they've ever been.

Most civilians own guns simply because other members of their community do. It's a vicious cycle, and it's very difficult to unwind. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try though.


A lot of people enjoy hunting, or sport shooting. A lot of people have a legitimate need to protect themselves, either because if where they live or what they do for a living. And, a lot of people believe that having an armed populace is a good thing.

So no, most of us don't own them simply because others do. We own them because, for a variety of reasons, we want to own them. And, at least for now, we have the right to own them.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:56 am UTC

Horselover Frost wrote:
Vahir wrote:Unless you're arguing that all rapists are mentally ill, I wouldn't call 250 000 cases negligible.

I'd consider "rapists are mentally ill" almost a tautology, tbh.

Well you'd be wrong. Criminal behavior including rape is not a diagnostic criteria for any mental illness. Please don't unfairly stigmatize the mentally ill by implying criminals are mentally ill. You'll find that the mentally ill are in fact more likely to be a victim of a crime than a perpetrator, and are less likely to commit violent crimes than the general population.

And lets be honest here, mental illness is the go to strawman every time there is a mass shooting. It's the fucking guns. The second amendment is stupid. There is a American culture of willful ignorance around mass murder, and the apparently they like it that way. I'm honestly getting so jaded to these biweekly shootings I'm starting to cheer for the gunmen. It's a farce at this point.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:34 am UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:And lets be honest here, mental illness is the go to strawman every time there is a mass shooting.


The specific case was a murder-suicide. You are honestly going to claim that suicide is something performed by rational people?

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:50 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:The specific case was a murder-suicide. You are honestly going to claim that suicide is something performed by rational people?

Yes of course, especially when facing imminent capture. Thich Quang Duc is another excellent example. There is absolutely no good reason to assume this is related to mental illness at all.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:07 am UTC

Yeah there are rational reasons to commit suicide. Like, you are suffering from an incurable and debilitating disease. But do you want to make the argument that in this case, a murder-suicide, that the murderer was rational?

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Aug 28, 2015 3:34 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Yeah there are rational reasons to commit suicide. Like, you are suffering from an incurable and debilitating disease. But do you want to make the argument that in this case, a murder-suicide, that the murderer was rational?


Well the dude doesn't seem schizophrenic or delusional, which are what people typically mean as "mentally ill".

If anything, he just had exceptional anger-management issues. His "manifesto" is written in complete sentences and tells the story of a mistreated gay African American.

He is significantly more rational than Seung-Hui Cho (Virginia Tech shooter) and James Holmes (Colorado Movie Theater).
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Cradarc » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:16 am UTC

I'm going to be that guy that everyone hates again...
Is race relevant to this incident? I believe the killer mentioned Dylan Roof as part of his motivation. Is the fact that he killed two white people significant? Would the general social reaction be different if the journalists were black and the killer was white?

I think the most irrational people would still have some amounts of rationality. It would just be twisted from what we perceive to be normal (hence the gun worse than knife position). Obviously all 1st degree murderers have something wrong in the head, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are totally bonkers. You can lose all your empathy for someone without losing your sanity.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby EdgarJPublius » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:36 am UTC

Obligatory repost of that Charlie Brooker segment
Roosevelt wrote:
I wrote:Does Space Teddy Roosevelt wrestle Space Bears and fight the Space Spanish-American War with his band of Space-volunteers the Space Rough Riders?

Yes.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:38 am UTC

Cradarc wrote:I'm going to be that guy that everyone hates again...
Is race relevant to this incident? I believe the killer mentioned Dylan Roof as part of his motivation. Is the fact that he killed two white people significant? Would the general social reaction be different if the journalists were black and the killer was white?


Unfortunately, yes. The killer was pretty clear that he did this attack in "retaliation" to the South Carolina shooting case, and that he felt discriminated against at the workplace. (Which is obviously bullshit. They fired him 2 years ago for anger management issues, and as far as I can tell they have been proven correct in firing him)

I have half a mind to publish a troll comment in regards to the whole incident. Unfortunately, I can't figure out a proper response to it so I'll just publish it anyway even though I feel like its wrong:

So are we going to raise the Confederate flag in "retaliation" to this guy? The Confederate flag was lowered more or less because of the other mass shooting, and now the violence has swung to the "other side"... with an anti-white African American shooting up his white coworkers explicitly referencing the Charleston shooting (He allegedly bought the gun days after the Chareston Shooting)

It just doesn't seem right to tie one deranged mass shooter to a whole community of people... while we turn a blind eye to another.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:13 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:he felt discriminated against at the workplace. (Which is obviously bullshit. They fired him 2 years ago for anger management issues, and as far as I can tell they have been proven correct in firing him)

While he obviously had anger management issues (see: shooting at people), we cannot say he wasn't discriminated against at the workplace. Just because he was a terrible terrible person doesn't make everything he says a lie. It's not like discrimination against blacks is something uncommon...

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:39 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:
Horselover Frost wrote:
Vahir wrote:Unless you're arguing that all rapists are mentally ill, I wouldn't call 250 000 cases negligible.

I'd consider "rapists are mentally ill" almost a tautology, tbh.

Well you'd be wrong. Criminal behavior including rape is not a diagnostic criteria for any mental illness. Please don't unfairly stigmatize the mentally ill by implying criminals are mentally ill. You'll find that the mentally ill are in fact more likely to be a victim of a crime than a perpetrator, and are less likely to commit violent crimes than the general population.


I believe that the focus is that *something* has to be wrong with you for you to engage in multiple murders, etc.

It's like looking at people who commit suicide and concluding that something has gone wrong before that point, and trying to figure out how to address it pre-emptively. There's nothing wrong with that. Why should we NOT view murders in a similarly problematic light? Or murder/suicides?

Nobody is saying that all mentally ill people are bad or murderers. Obviously. Just that people who embark on obviously sucidal courses of action need help.

And lets be honest here, mental illness is the go to strawman every time there is a mass shooting. It's the fucking guns. The second amendment is stupid. There is a American culture of willful ignorance around mass murder, and the apparently they like it that way. I'm honestly getting so jaded to these biweekly shootings I'm starting to cheer for the gunmen. It's a farce at this point.


They actually are not that common. Violence is on the decline on the whole. This isn't *really* a mass shooting as such, more of a revenge shooting, I think...but even so. It's not willful ignorance. People are more than willing to discuss the issue. A great deal of media time is devoted to such topics, especially given the decreasing incidence.

If you're cheering for the gunmen, then something may be wrong with your viewpoint.

Cradarc wrote:I'm going to be that guy that everyone hates again...
Is race relevant to this incident? I believe the killer mentioned Dylan Roof as part of his motivation. Is the fact that he killed two white people significant? Would the general social reaction be different if the journalists were black and the killer was white?


*shrug* It's a fair question. The dude wanted to bring up race a lot. But it doesn't seem as if race is primarily the issue, it seems more like revenge. He picked targets primarily significant to him, not significant due to race relations. Therefore, I do not give his stated motives a great deal of credence.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Aug 28, 2015 1:46 pm UTC

Cradarc wrote:I'm going to be that guy that everyone hates again...
Is race relevant to this incident? I believe the killer mentioned Dylan Roof as part of his motivation. Is the fact that he killed two white people significant? Would the general social reaction be different if the journalists were black and the killer was white?

I think the most irrational people would still have some amounts of rationality. It would just be twisted from what we perceive to be normal (hence the gun worse than knife position). Obviously all 1st degree murderers have something wrong in the head, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are totally bonkers. You can lose all your empathy for someone without losing your sanity.

I think you're asking a fine question, but I think you're missing the direction of racial issues here - 'society in general' is enraged by this, but they're using racial pejoratives that even Fox News won't air, they're prescribing his actions to the behavior of ALL black people, and the comments on all of these news stories are similar questions that you're asking, to the tune of 'How telling you don't see white people rioting over this!'

I.e., yes, there's still racist shittiness, but the media doesn't care when it's white people being assholes to/about black people.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:29 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Yeah there are rational reasons to commit suicide. Like, you are suffering from an incurable and debilitating disease. But do you want to make the argument that in this case, a murder-suicide, that the murderer was rational?

Firstly, humans, even healthy normal humans are irrational. It's not the standard used to determine mental illness. The entire marketing industry exists because we're irrational. If his decisions seem irrational that may simply be human.

We know he wrote some rambling diatribe, and was angry. That's not a lot of information. One of the first and most important part of a good mental health diagnosis is excluding external factors like addiction, head trauma, poisoning or neurological problems. This means taking blood and doing and MRI, or in this case an autopsy. Even then, there are currently no physiological test for mental illnesses. Diagnosis is made either by self-reported symptoms or direct observation in a controlled environment. It is not trivial, and would require information that just isn't available after the fact.

Note that here, despite the fact you reached an irrational conclusion given the evidence that this in no way implies you have a mental illness. Equally, despite my mental illness I am capable of making rational decisions. They're not related.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:01 pm UTC

Cleverbeans wrote:We know he wrote some rambling diatribe, and was angry. That's not a lot of information. One of the first and most important part of a good mental health diagnosis is excluding external factors like addiction, head trauma, poisoning or neurological problems.


We know a little more than this. For instance, we have indication of a history of anger, rather than a mere momentary flash of rage. Anger issues on the job, signs of planning out the killing, these all point to a long term condition. Which condition specifically, I don't think I'm qualified to say, but yes, surely a great deal of misplaced rage was involved.

This means taking blood and doing and MRI, or in this case an autopsy. Even then, there are currently no physiological test for mental illnesses. Diagnosis is made either by self-reported symptoms or direct observation in a controlled environment. It is not trivial, and would require information that just isn't available after the fact.


Mental diagnosis, as with physical diagnosis, is sometimes made after the fact or from a distance, based upon the data available. Yes, caution must be exercised in this, because less information increases the chance of misdiagnosis...but it's not impossible.

Strictly speaking, we are making assumptions based on the odds. It is possible that he was entirely rational. It is possible that his diatribe is somehow factual, I suppose. Neither of these things seem very probable, however, and such an interpretation is not supported by what we do know. In addition, murder-suicide is generally not an activity undertaken by healthy, well adjusted individuals.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:10 pm UTC

I think Cleverbeans brings up a good point.

I've known some pretty bad mentally ill people in my life, but none of them have ever gone on a violent rampage (gun violence, knife violence or whatever). And honestly, even the severe schizophrenic delusional people can actually function pretty well in society. See John Nash.

So in many respects, just calling him "crazy" is a cop out answer. Even if we go with a specific illeness (Psychopathy / Antisocial Disorder might be the closest official illness we can pin on this guy)... it doesn't really seem to match up with how he went about things. For better or for worse, its probably more insightful to assume that Bryce Williams is a normal person.

Strictly speaking, we are making assumptions based on the odds. It is possible that he was entirely rational. It is possible that his diatribe is somehow factual, I suppose. Neither of these things seem very probable, however, and such an interpretation is not supported by what we do know. In addition, murder-suicide is generally not an activity undertaken by healthy, well adjusted individuals.


Murder-suicide is not an activity undertaken by your typical severely mentally ill patients either. Furthermore, there are pockets of highly rational people who go on murder-suicide sprees regularly. See Al Qaeda and ISIS. I think I agree with Cleverbean's point overall.

Actually, the ISIS / Al Qaeda approach might be more insightful. The law-enforcement perspective is that normal people become extremists as they are introduced to violent concepts. Whether we like it or not, normal people join Gangs and Terrorists. They are somehow indoctrinated to the concepts that violence is the solution to their problems, and then they use violence to further their goals. As noted elsewhere in this thread, Bryce Williams is not an isolated case. Plenty of people become disillusioned to society and react violently to vent their anger. From Anti-Abortion Bombs, to ISIS / Al Qaeda suicide bombers, to even simple gang violence, the trend is pretty clear. And based on the level of cooperation and organization needed to join a gang or violent extremist group, we can more or less assume that the members of said organizations are for the most part... normal, rational people.

EDIT: I remembered the word the FBI has been using to describe this behavior. Its Radicalization

The FBI studies Radicalization a lot (mainly because its their job to catch terrorists). They've come to the conclusion that Radicalized individuals are not correlated to Poverty, nor is it connected to Mental Illnesses. At least, no more so than any other group of people.

And its a separate thread from what you typically see from a mentally ill patient. I mean, you would think that the most common Paranoid Schizophrenic patients would become violent ("The voices tell me to kill you" or whatever), but that really isn't the case. Most paranoid schizophrenic people are not violent. I guess it makes for good movie drama, but the real killers of this world are normal people like me and you.

I think its best to see Bryce Williams as a Radicalized individual (similar to a Lone Wolf terrorist like Timothy McVeigh). Bryce Williams got angry, and that anger grew over many years into the fateful actions this past week. Exactly what process made him go down that route still needs to be studied, but I bet you it will be a pathway that the FBI has already discussed in their Radicalization literature. At which point, the three steps of radicalization are as follows:

https://leb.fbi.gov/2011/september/pers ... tern-world
1. Grievance
2. Ideology/Narrative
3. Mobilization

Bryce Williams initially was isolated from his social circles in some way. (Probably related to being a Gay Black Man, and became sensitive about discrimination issues). He then found an ideology to follow (discrimination / Race war), and then mobilized to be a "fighter" of that ideology.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:33 pm UTC

I wouldn't really describe a highly radicalized religious zealot suicide bomber as mentally healthy, either.

Yes, they may have been a normal, well adjusted person before radicalization, but I view the process of preparing someone for suicide as actively harmful to their mental well being. How could it be described otherwise?

Plenty of people become disillusioned with society, and yet do not turn to killing themselves. And mentally ill people ARE known to have a higher risk of suicide, particularly when untreated. When we find an individual that is clearly unstable and a danger to themselves and others, what do we do? And how do we find them before it hits the point of no return? These are the critical questions. You can argue that murder-suicides are the product of a normal mind, if you wish, but that fixes nothing.

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Vahir » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:41 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I wouldn't really describe a highly radicalized religious zealot suicide bomber as mentally healthy, either.


Why not?

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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby KnightExemplar » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:44 pm UTC

Yes, they may have been a normal, well adjusted person before radicalization, but I view the process of preparing someone for suicide as actively harmful to their mental well being. How could it be described otherwise?


Martyrdom. Advancement for a cause above and beyond what your own physical body is capable of. Willing to commit your entire self to the cause to the point of death.

Tyndmyr wrote:You can argue that murder-suicides are the product of a normal mind, if you wish, but that fixes nothing.


It at least fixes the discrimination against Paranoid Schizophrenic patients or other mentally ill people. People in today's society are embarrassed to get mental health help, in part because we don't understand mental illness.

The fact that radicalization and mental illness are two separate things will help, especially for the tons of Paranoid Schizophrenic people who are... mentally ill... but not violent. Again, mentally ill people can survive and even contribute to society for their whole life. Its a bit of a mess to struggle with a major mental illness, but again, people like John Nash managed to make do. In any case, keeping "radicalized violence" separate from "mentally ill" definitely provides a deeper understanding of both sets of people.

Besides, its not like we can just give radical terrorists (or other radicalized individuals) medical treatment to "fix" them. While mental illness implies that a "cure" may exist (or at least treatments that help in the long run). Calling people violent radicals means we can ignore "treatment" as a possible solution. We have to see the truth for what it is.
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Re: Virginia shooting

Postby Mutex » Sat Aug 29, 2015 3:59 pm UTC

Vahir wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I wouldn't really describe a highly radicalized religious zealot suicide bomber as mentally healthy, either.


Why not?


Because "highly radicalized religious zealot suicide bomber" and "extremely deluded and dangerous murderer with a very tenuous grasp on reality" are basically synonyms?


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