Everyone Has an Opinion: Tracking the Responses to this Latest Mass Shooting

Maybe I am a cynic but the rhetoric about mass shootings has become predictable. Common themes to explain these massacres include: lax gun laws, mental illness, misogyny, chronic anger and rage, prescription medications, illicit substance abuse, video games, poor parenting, divorce, bullying, trauma, a mental health system in shambles, isolation and a severe lack of social skills.

The truth is always more complex than any one of these factors. In the case of Elliot Rodger, they probably all played a role, some more than others.

There is also a predictable life cycle of these mass shootings.

First comes the trickle of facts, many of which are initially wrong. Keep that in mind if you are following unfolding breaking news events.

As we speak, reporters are undoubtedly searching for former acquaintances of the shooter to interview, hoping to scoop the latest story. We can’t fault them for doing their jobs.

Next comes the parade of TV experts. It is me or do they say the same thing every time?

Then there will be at least one quasi-celebrity who will make ridiculous statements about what or who is to blame for this mass shooting. Who will it be this time?

We will assuredly hear from the NRA who will pontificate about this latest “crazy killer,” the need for “more good guys with guns” and a revamping of the mental health system (the latter of which I wholeheartedly agree). They don’t typically comment about mass shooting stories until the dust clears a bit.

Also expect to hear from those of whom are convinced of the causal link between mental illness and violence and as a rebuttal those of whom are upset about the connection being made between the two. They are now a staple of every mass shooting news cycle.

Finally, our short attention span and desensitization to violence demands that this story fade from our consciousness by the end of the week or until the next massacre occurs.

Of particular interest are the reactions of others, mostly mental health professionals. Some have balanced opinions and others not so much. I will be highlighting the latter in the coming days.

The TV experts and their opinions are often cringe-worthy. Consider the psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig who said that it was her belief that Elliot Rodger’s rage was due to “homosexual impulses.”

“When I was first listening to him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him,'” Ludwig said. “Then I started to have a different idea: ‘Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses?'”

It is always surprising how many TV mental health professionals are quick to offer a diagnosis of these shooters. Dr. Ludwig said that Rodger’s behaviors may indicate “early schizophrenia.”

There are only a few TV experts who I respect.

What have you heard other “experts” say on TV?