Feb. 29, 2016 (Mimesis Law) — There’s been a curiously muted reaction to the mass shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Jason Dalton was arrested after a shooting spree that left six people dead and two wounded. The strange thing about this particular mass shooting is that there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason for it.
Details of the bizarre actions of a rampaging gunman are not likely to surface until the accused attacker is brought to trial, a law enforcement leader says.
And that is also likely to be when the question “Why?” is answered, said Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller.
But the answer is unlikely to be a satisfying, he said.
“He can come out and say, ‘It was this or it was that,'” Fuller said of why eight people were shot last Saturday night in Kalamazoo, “but nobody’s going to accept it and why should they believe him?”
“What motive would be good enough?” Fuller asked, referring to assaulting complete strangers without provocation. “And are we going to believe what he says? And then say, ‘Oh, now I get it.’”
That’s an odd question to ask. Does anyone disbelieve Robert Dear when he says he did it for the unborn children? Does anyone disbelieve Elliot Rodger when he said that did it because he wasn’t getting laid? Or for that matter, does anyone disbelieve al-Qaeda or ISIS when they claim to kill in the name of God? Obviously, no sane person considers these justification for committing mass murder. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason.
But (so far, anyway) there doesn’t seem to be a reason for the Kalamazoo shootings. At least, not one that law enforcement is releasing. The situation is surreal…the guy was an Uber driver, and was picking up fares between drive-bys. He doesn’t seem to have had a history of mental health issues. And he doesn’t fit the “profile.” He had been married for twenty years, had two kids, and had a decent job. The best man at Dalton’s wedding described him thusly:
“Jason would walk across the street to avoid trouble,” Jamieson said. “Literally. He was just not interested in confrontation at all.”
“I was the one getting in all the scuffles,” Jamieson said. “He was the one hiding behind the car. It just blows my mind.”
As far as his mental state immediately before the shootings, the best anyone has been able to come up with is that
Dalton’s wife recalled that he seemed to be down but nothing that could have predicted such a horrific crime, the attorney said.
Two days before the Saturday, Feb. 20 killings, Dalton was “acting off, or depressed enough that Carole asked him what’s wrong,” Vlachos said.
“He said, ‘I’m tired. I’ve been driving (for Uber) a lot.’ That was it,” the attorney said.
There is an inherent psychological need to make order out of chaos, to impose some sort of rhyme or reason in the face of utter confusion. After a tragedy of this sort, this often manifests itself in the need to do something to prevent the last tragedy from ever happening again. The scary thing about Kalamazoo is that there’s nothing we could have done.
Background checks? The guy didn’t have a criminal record or mental health history. Gun control? He bought the gun legally. (I suppose we could go past the Womble Line and actually confiscate every gun in America, but the resulting civil war would probably kill more people than getting rid of guns would save.) Ban the immigration of middle-aged white men with who have wives, families, and good jobs? Please.
As far as we know, we are dealing with a married father of two children, who apparently just snapped and shot eight people on some random Saturday evening. And if it happened in Kalamazoo, it can happen to you.
I previously chastised the late Justice Scalia for quoting himself, but I’m about to commit the same sin.
The urge to DO SOMETHING is perfectly natural after a terrible event. It’s a psychological defense mechanism to the realization that the world is a dangerous place. The truth is that at any moment, you could be murdered. You could die in a terrorist attack. Your children could be kidnapped. For that matter, nuclear war could break out and you could be turned into radioactive dust after Putin has one too many vodkas. And you can’t do anything about it.
We’ve just had another illustration of that principle. But it’s even worse when the only answer to why is “We don’t know.”