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The national news today, both in the newspapers and on the Internet, is about the mass killing of four people here in the city of Orange, California, where I live. It happened yesterday afternoon about 5:30 PM. The site of the crime is 3 or 4 miles from where I am sitting right now at my computer.
It’s one thing to read about such things that happened in Georgia or Florida, and quite another when it happens in your own backyard. The incidence of mass killings declined last year during the pandemic, but now they are rising again. Why are these things more common here than in other advanced nations? Is it just the ready availability of guns?
That’s part of it, but some European countries like Switzerland, have comparable rates of gun ownership. What is it about out society that breeds these nutcases? The January 6th attack on the Capitol was an extreme example, but in different way. That was incited by Trump and the right wing media. The crazies that commit these individual murder sprees are marching to a different drummer…in their heads. There aren’t very many of them in our society, but it doesn’t take very many to create an atmosphere of fear and distrust…even hatred. Such a society is very difficult to govern.
That’s an ominous thought, with respect to the future viability of the nation.

Bert Bigelow is a trained engineer who pursued a career in software design. Now retired, he enjoys writing short essays on many subjects but mainly focuses on politics and religion and the intersection...

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