a lot of shoddy analysis going down in this thread, IMO, so mine will fit right in.
the belief that our godless society has enabled this is simultaneously misguided and insightful. being 'godless' as an informed or philosophical POV is actually something I encourage, but the problem is most 'godless' ppl today are godless simply because they don't care enough about those types of questions to actually ever attempt answering them. it's a de facto type of godlessness due to shallow ignorance, not any kind of enlightened study. I also think religious institutions are a net societal good, and that there are plenty of good reasons to believe in god and engage in community, not the least of which is a sense a belonging and developing meaningful relationships with other human beings. I imagine it a chore to be a mass murderer if you're constantly barraged with goodwill and messages of love. I hypothesize that basically just being concerned with existence and making honest attempts to understand it would raise the level of discourse and behavior in society. I don't care whether the fear of god or a deeper realization of your identity as a human being is what keeps you in line, just as long as it's effective. too many live for the next 15 minutes, and I'm among the worse.
in respect to the tiff about where and why violence takes place, I would remind those who somehow think "Bible Belt = violent anarchy" to consider the many different factors contributing to a violence rate. the American south is generally poorer and more ethnically diverse than the midwest, northeast, mountain west, or northwest part of the country. most of the violence is young, poor, black men committing crimes against other young, poor, black men. these tragedies are the lion's share of murders and robberies every year, and the evaluation as to why and how would probably not include religious turf wars. I think the stats show white, christian, southern suburbia to consistently be amongst the safest places in the country. another interesting thing to note is the prevalence of these mass shootings (Aurora, Wisconsin, Oregon, and now Connecticut) to be in affluent, white communities safely out of the Bible Belt. I don't really have a plausible theory as to why, but blaming this on Bubba doesn't stand up to much scrutiny.
it's a goddamn tragedy what happened today. I'm visibly agitated and was on the verge of tears while sitting in traffic on my commute home. I tuned into NPR and they were interviewing all these criminologists and psychologists who basically said there is no profile for this type if thing. perfectly sane people demonstrate the same personality quirks and behaviors as these killers. the next one could be anybody, and the frequency of these types of crimes is consistent across decades. these sadists aren't going anywhere, and I'd prefer to preserve the option to blow one away should the opportunity arise, for myself and for my community.