Want to know the worst place to visit after two mass shootings? Twitter. You won’t find any actual mourning, just allegations that the perpetrator belonged to the enemy’s tribe. There is no time for bereavement when political points are up for grabs.  Scattered among the Twitter quarrels are the denunciations from every person within the periphery of the public eye explicitly condemning the violent act. This is something I find quite odd. It’s as if it isn’t obvious that everyone abhors mass murderers. But perhaps it isn’t so obvious anymore. Hence, we are yet again plagued by the once sporadic and now monotonous mutiny that is the American mass shooter.  

The coming days will be bereft of attention for the victims. Instead we will be inundated with the motives as cited by the manifesto(s). This will be a fruitless effort however, because the manifesto is a farce. You won’t find the real reason for the murders in there, and you certainly won’t find the solution either. That’s because mass shootings aren’t the crux of the problem, they are the symptom. A symptom to a much bigger problem besetting our country.

The value of human life is an endangered moral value in the United States. A culture of death has perverted the populace. Abortion and assisted suicide are peddled as acts of empowerment. Pornography can be accessed literally anytime, anywhere. Woman have been completely degraded and encouraged by the culture to partake in such debauchery. Promiscuity is liberation while chastity is slavery. The culture is purging any remnants of human dignity.

Life didn’t use to be like this. We used to cherish the child in the womb, we used to care for the sick and elderly. We didn’t kill them out of convenience. Young people used to seek virtue. They used to aspire to have a family. Now they seek vacuous consumerism of overpriced items, sexual partners, and social media likes.   

Suicide rates have now hit a 30 year highin the United States. Rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011. Psychologist and generational researcher, Jean M. Twenge, attributes this dramatic data change to the smart phone. Since the smart phone’s inception, teens are sleeping less, dating less, and spending more time alone. The data shows that teens are having less real-life human interaction than any previous generation. How can we teach the next generation to value other people if they spend no time with them?

The nuclear family is increasingly becoming atypical. Fathers, once essential, are now optional. Both parents now spend more time outside the home than with their offspring. Even those fortunate enough to have two parents are not spending quality time with them. Twenge’s research finds that families are actually spending more time in the home together but not engaging with each other, rather aimlessly gazing at their screens for hours.

This constant online engagement is proving to have a direct effect on user’s happiness levels. Data from the Monitoring the Future survey found that teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on non-screen activities are more likely to be happy.

Children are now raised on a steady diet of hedonism and screen time. They are deeply depressed and we are all completely desensitized to death. The fear and sympathy we feel in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy is on a brief autopilot and the emotions quickly dissipate thereafter. 

In a profound contradiction, the United States is experiencing a near-record-low murder rate while at the same time, half of America’s deadliest shootings have occurred since 2012. Even in countries in Central and South America, where gun homicide statistics rival the US figures, gun crime is overwhelmingly the result of gangs and illegal economies. It’s not often we hear of a Honduran boy shooting up his school in vengeance. The act of slaughtering strangers at random is a uniquely American problem and one that has only become common in the last 30 years. Guns have always been prevalent in the American household, regarded as a tool for survival, not nihilism. 

The guns or access to them haven’t changed. Our people have changed.

These shooters have grown up in a culture that teaches them human life is dispensable. If human life is invaluable before birth or when you are old or ill, why are the rest of us worth saving? These shooters are only applying the logic consistently, even deeming their own lives worthless. 

In addition to our dehumanizing culture, there is a deep lack of purpose in our society. Purpose used to be found in family, children, and religion, none of which are deemed important by today’s cultural standards. In fact, having a family is often cited as a pipedream for those riddled with mountains of debt or senseless for young adults who are stuck in a perpetual state of adolescence.

When the next shooting happens… and it will happen, don’t reach for the device that is slowly turning all of us mad so you can tell the world how upset you are. Don’t preach to the rest of us about gun control as if making good people helpless will suddenly make bad people harmless. You can’t save the world or the country, but you might be able to save yourself and your immediate family. Teach your children the value of human life, shield them from our degenerate culture, spend large quantities of quality time with them, reinvigorate your relationship with God, and for f*ck’s sake, get off the goddamn phone. Only when we all take the small steps to improve ourselves and our immediate family, then we might possibly see an improvement in society as a whole. Even then, you might not be able to prevent a child or loved one from being the victim of a mass shooting, but you could prevent them from becoming the executor.