A disgruntled employee made a suicide run against his workplace today, killing two people and wounding more before shooting himself. The shooter's identity was known while he was presumably still alive in the building. The news media have noted his participation in a class-action lawsuit accusing the company pension fund of leeching off employees' savings with exorbitant fees and other charges. Whether this ongoing issue provoked today's rampage is unclear. Neighbors knew the shooter as a hunter but otherwise a quiet family man. It all makes one wonder. The people who argue against any regulation of gun ownership often claim that, given man's propensity for violence, that denying people guns will not prevent violence but would only force them to use other weapons to express their rage or malice. But how many mass shootings can be categorized as crimes of passion or sudden impulse? Many seem to be intensely premeditated. Many if not most are acts of revenge against society. Is it wrong to ask whether gun ownership encourages some people to believe that they have the right as well as the power to take law -- or war-- into their own hands, to act as judge and executioner against an enemy bigger than an individual? Individuals often have grudges against each other that result in simple violence: stabbings, bludgeonings, strangulation, etc. But the individual who sees some group (or "the group") as the enemy has recourse only to the gun or the bomb if he hopes to make a difference. So is there some correlation between gun ownership and a mental or moral capacity to kill or simply strike at many people at once? Like I said, all the news makes you wonder sometimes.
Update: A third victim of the shooter has died, and another question has occurred to me. Given the public's hysterical reaction when a would-be terrorist failed to kill anyone on Christmas, shouldn't we hear people clamoring for the President to take more decisive action to stop Americans from strolling into places and shooting their fellow citizens? Is today's amoklauf somehow more tolerable than a thwarted suicide-bombing on an airplane? Or is it only bad when foreigners kill Americans? It all makes you wonder.