Mass shootings are about alienation, not ideology

The common thread between these murderers isn't politics or mental illness

(Image credit: Illustrated | AnkiHoglund/iStock, str33tcat/iStock, Aerial3/iStock)

Before you even clicked the headlines, you could have guessed a great deal about the background of the murderers in Ohio and Texas who killed at least 29 people and injured many more in the span of roughly as many hours.

You knew they would be white, of course, and young. They would probably be unmarried or estranged from their wives or girlfriends. They would have no children, perhaps have vexed relationships with their own fathers, and, indeed, few if any close male friends. They would likely be gamers and participants in bizarre online alternative communities to which they turn in the hope of finding the acceptance unavailable to them in the real world and shared norms — of opinion, of language, of tastes and interests and humor. There's a decent chance they would be users of cannabis, the psychosis-inducing properties of which our elites (with a handful of honorable exceptions) will be too blinkered to discuss until we are unable to do anything about it. This is because many or all of these things are true of virtually every other person who has shot four or more people in the spontaneous eruptions of spontaneous violence that have been occurring in this country in the last two decades.

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Matthew Walther

Matthew Walther is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has also appeared in First Things, The Spectator of London, The Catholic Herald, National Review, and other publications. He is currently writing a biography of the Rev. Montague Summers. He is also a Robert Novak Journalism Fellow.