Mass shooting. Mass…shooting. An event of such proportion that it has acquired its very own mass of barbarity and disbelief. Las Vegas nine days ago followed the familiar media narrative with twenty-four hours rolling ‘news’. Motive, motive, motive, what was Stephen Paddock’s reason for slaughter. The laws of rationality cannot allow the individual to execute 58 innocent people without presenting a clear motive. Rather it is our addiction to immediacy and information that makes us think a rational answer is idling away out there,
Pre-Paddock, a news worthy event would occur, news broadcasters would gather information from reliable sources, seek fact and hearsay, apply analysis, before broadcast to the world. Technology and competitive broadcasting has erased the diligence of factual verification and analysis that sits between killing and motive for killing. Live ‘news’ is not news as no time has been used for analysis and consideration. We are just watching what is happening, and by watching what is happening it can suddenly seem very normal. News anchors ad-hoc any fragments of information they obtain in the same way blind fine art dealer could assess a Monet. Blindly. Any reasoned judgment for such an atrocity is often entirely ill-informed. The demands of an immediate information based news agenda and the phenomenon that for every unreasonable act there must exist a reasonable answer. Which makes no rational sense. Unreasonableness offers no justification, it is…unreasonable.
Religious and racial motivation was quickly ruled out of Stephen Paddock’s agenda. Religion is the go to suspect when a mass killing takes place. Religion however cannot be the cause but a helpful handle with which to furnish an already violent agenda.
The cataclysmic shock from humanity was soon exhausted by news broadcasters and social media, the massacre moved down the news page and off it in a rapid 9 days, in the ‘most watched’ story section on the BBC news site the shooting has been replaced by, ‘I married my train crush.’ Which goes a small way to showing the extremities human curiosity indulges in. Sometimes we watch live feed a massacre taking place, other times we want to know about someone who married a person they met on a train. The latter is easy to explain, presumably these two locomotive individuals had no phone signal and were forced to look up from their screens for the briefest of moments. Making eye contact, exchanging a few words, then telephone numbers, it all went from there. They married because they met and fell in love with one another. A reason. Wonderful.
So why would someone open up on a music crowd in Las Vegas with such industrial proficiency? For no reason other than he could. Unless a well-hidden agenda or personal manifesto emerges then no reason can be given. This was the same for the Hungerford Massacre that took place in Britain in 1987: 16 dead, Luby’s massacre 1991: 23 dead, Dunblane massacre 1996: 17 dead, Port Arthur Massacre Australia 1996: 35 dead. The list goes on, and all without a clear motive.
Human nature is wired to be benevolent, it is also wired to kill. We are all capable of both. Our addiction to answers and binary reasoning is born from the immediate feed of the internet. Habit has wired a generation to technological enlightenment. But without Kant and Rousseau. Just with millions and millions of people who think they are Kant and Rousseau. The enlightenment did not provide rational answers to every rational question posed. Nor will the collective ‘knowledge’ of the internet. But the internet has had fundamental impact on human behaviour. As we seek out answers a lone gunman seeks out more targets. We are addicted to what is happening concurrent with why it happened. Consideration and contemplative thought has been erased. Lost in inexplicable killings our own narratives form, blame spreads faster than blood on the concert arena floor.
Unreasonable acts will never have a reasonable answer. The internet has convinced us that everything does have an answer. Human kind is the answer.