The editorial perspective evident in the language of the New York Daily News is typical of the journalist genre:
"The bloodthirsty madman terrified patients and medical workers alike when he shot five rounds just after 2 p.m. in the urology department of the Center for Advanced Medicine building of Renown Regional Medical Center. The investigation will be complicated: Cops have already interviewed 29 witnesses to the frightening shooting spree, but have not yet uncovered a motive or pieced together a clear time line of events."
The emphasis is added. Some (is it red-flag or is it yellow-journalism) terms of art are underlined. The bold-and-italic is the crux of this blog entry.
In the first place, let me make it clear that the ability to plan and carry out a detailed course of action is not a mark of madness in the criminal law sense. The decisions that the shooter brought into action were certainly not normal, but the actions themselves are no indication that the perpetrator was not in control of his wits and actions during the crime.
In the second place, the news always makes it sound like "motive" is a very narrow term of art from the more Agatha Christie form of police detective stories. In detective novels, the gumshoe looks for someone who stands to gain materially, or sought revenge to a harm inflicted by a particular individual. For example. But in real life, motive is pretty open and obscure. What is tonight's motive for eating Chinese instead of Mexican?
Let's stop looking for an Agatha Christie motive for these shooters.
You know the motive. He was pissed off. Angry. And weak.
Sarcasm is the protest of people who are weak. But what if nobody is listening to your snark? I didn't say it was a rational motive, just that it was a motive. I didn't promise that the act motivated by this motive would be proportional to the harm, just that it would be a motive.
These shooters are royally pissed off.
They seem as a rule to be fatherless weaklings whose fantasy world grows as a defense against the "real" world that punishes them for being defective girls. Until they decide to do something manly. Only it isn't, really, but they have no idea how a man should act. They know it has something to do with autonomy, though, something to do with being the master of you own destiny. So they move in a fatal direction. Masters not of their lives, but masters of death -- their own and a few others.
The whole scenario sucks so bad. And is so rare. Another failed child tried to prove he was grown up, all at once. And failed at that.
Maybe if these things were accompanied by less fanfare and limelight, we could go a longer time before the next failed man-child tries to do the same thing.