An old friend of mine posted a comment on FB about the recent school shooting, that got some interesting responses, including mine. I thought this blog would be a better forum for my thoughts.
First, let’s try another little thought experiment. Write down all the famous murderers from the last 20 years that you can think of. Then do the same for scientists. How many of each did you come up with?
Anyone can get a gun and walk into a school and instantly achieve a level of fame normally achieved only by entertainers (I include sports figures and politicians in that category). What difference does it make if they die in the process? We’re all going to die.
But that’s just a piece of the puzzle.
Human brains evolved over millions of years to optimize survival in a non-technological world. Increasingly, we have to deal with aspects of technological development that our brains are just not made for and the rate of change keeps accelerating. Our brains are designed to cope with small communities of people we know where, when we get angry, we can’t do much more than punch somebody, and, whatever we do, only a score of people will ever know.
Lethal weapons, mass communication and transportation speed are just a few of the things our brains are not wired for. Mass shootings are just one of the most showy results.