Gun Violence

Making the Inexplicable Explicable: The Uvalde Elementary School Mass Shooting

Everyone has been shocked, angered, and disgusted by the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas where nineteen children and two adults were killed by an 18 year old real live dead American gunman with Brown skin and a Hispanic name. There is a blog post in this shooting somewhere. There always is. The thing is that Ye Olde Blogge has posted A LOT about mass shootings and police shootings and the gun problem in America because it happens A LOT.

The question always boils down to what can we do about mass shootings and gun violence.

Past Posts

Check these posts out for more about any one of the issues listed here:

And if these don’t do ya, you can always search the blog.

The stumbling block seems to be can we do anything to curtail mass shootings. The Democratic-liberal side says a resounding yes, and the Repube-conservative side says no. The baffling thing is why wouldn’t anyone want to do anything about mass shootings? I get why Repube politicians don’t — corruption through the uncorrupting influence large unrestricted dark money donations that are protected “speech” — Thanks, John Roberts. But, what about the rank and vile MAGA base. Surely, they would want to stop school shootings. Right?

But they don’t. Let’s psysplore to see if there is any psyplanation as to why.

I searched through past posts because Ye Olde Blogge has been trying to make explicable the inexplicable when it comes to cray-cray right wing politics since 2016. Somewhere in those piles of bits, bytes, and pixels there has to be a cogent explanation for our macabre love affair with guns and death.

Here’s what emerged from the festering cease pit of MAGA subconscious: There’s the unholy trinity of abortion, guns, and racism that seems to be prominent issues among MAGA world and conservatives. There’s the #COVID19 shenanigans. There’s the dark tetrad of personality traits that seems to underpin conspiratorial thinking types and antisocial authoritarian types. And then, there’s the contributions of conservative media outlets and Repube politicians who provide the information and explanations that MAGA world spin their delusions from. It’s this last one, partisan coverage filtering and illusory explanation that we’ll focus on here.

Partisan Coverage Filtering and Illusory Explanation

Heidi Przybyla, erstwhile reporter for NBC, live tweeted some of Fox News “coverage” of the shooting which clearly illustrates both points. Consider these tweets:

Fox had Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow who died in the Parkland shooting. He became the darling of conservative media where school shootings are concerned because (1) he says the safety of children at school lies with the parents and (2) he espouses arming school personnel from police officers to teachers to administrators to the housekeeping staff, one presumes.

His beliefs fit nicely with both partisan coverage filtering and illusory explanation. Partisan coverage filtering is the bias that is induced when news “outlets selectively report information, leading viewers to learn a prejudiced set of facts.” There’s lots more of PCF to come, but by prominently featuring Pollack Fox gets its viewers focused on parental responsibility, something all white people like when considering the misbehavior of Black and Brown children. It pointedly does not direct attention at political inaction by politicians or the political actions by gun industry lobbyists.

It is also illusory explanation because it seems like it is giving a reasonable reaction to mass shootings, but it is really just a red herring. Illusory explanation is designed to offer a thin veneer of truthiness to whatever is being said and leave the listener satisfied with what was said, even though nothing has been explained, nothing is understood, and nothing has been solved.

Their “coverage” pushes on to more derpy schlock to mesmerize their stooges with. They show a clip of Biden’s address, but just the part about prayers and not his harsh words for the gun industry and their politicians that form the charms on their bracelet.

PCF occurs by making a convincing presentation that Biden is only concerned about sending prayers and not with trying to pass gun control legislation.

But, the shift to partisan politics, which is bad after shootings because grieving, even though the actual act of the mass shooting is political and attempts to stifle discussion of legislation is political. By smearing those who want to talk legislation as political, they limit the information that their viewers will absorb.

The next part of Fox’s “coverage” shifts to the illusion of explanation: focus on the generation of lost young men and saving the soul of this country and getting children to protect themselves. All of that is illusory. So much sugar dissolving in the empty heads of Fox viewers. What generation of lost young men? Are they all wandering lost in a national wilderness somewhere? The soul of the nation is great and all, and undoubtedly sick since we seem to revelle in the death of a few thousand school children every year as the price of the Second Amendment, but does it really help us solve the problem? Hell, no.

And, the kicker, putting police officers in every school. The only thing they seem to be good for is beating the crap out of Black and Brown kids. The armed guard at Tops in Buffalo was shot dead. The armed cop at Parkland hid outside. That’s no solution, but it sounds like it could be.

These are some of my personal favorites in the three card Monty routine that is Fox News coverage. It’s all our faults… take your children to church. It’s all our fault, except its the fault of all those parents (liberals) who don’t love Jeebus right. Love your neighbor… tired of evil. Love your neighbor unless they are supporting abortion, CRT, gun control, or any of a whole host of divisive social issues because evil.

Blaming it on evil is in itself illusory explanation because it doesn’t really explain anything, just like the will of god doesn’t explain anything, either. And, it doesn’t get us anywhere other than hating liberals who, as we all know, are evil personified.

The crowning achievement of illusory explanation in the “coverage” was, the unlocked door. Oooh, if only they hadn’t left that door unlocked he woulda only kilt his grandma and never figured a way into the school or gone to shot up anyone or anything else.

And, this is how you get MAGA nation to blaming anything and anyone other than the gun industry and their bought and paid for politicians.

Surely this post is worthy of being shared!

It does give a firm and definite explanation for why MAGA nation firmly believes that guns should be the leading killer of children in the US. Who else has explained it so succinctly or convincingly?

Surely, it earns a like and a five-star rating because of its clarity of making explicable the inexplicable, right?

Surely, you are moved to comment because who doesn’t have an opinion on the various and sundry mass shootings that afflict our land?

Surely, you don’t want to miss a single blog post from Ye Olde Blogge, so you’ll follow us or join the email list.

Image Attribution

my moldy coffee filter” by marc horowitz is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

16 replies »

  1. I keep coming back to a subset of the population is short-circuiting. I’ve been trying to find a way to write about Heinlein’s The Year of the Jackpot, a fifties short story about a subset of the population short-circuiting. The closest I can come relies a little bit on indigenous heebee jeebee hoodoo voodoo: on a sub-conscious level we, as a species, know that our world is ending, and these acting’s out are manifestation of that knowledge “leaking” out of the weaker-minded. Those with but a tenuous grasp on reality.

    And just who are we to define reality?

    I can’t expand on that outside of an audience of those who too have read the story.

    None of which, of course, is to deny your observations and analysis, just a little something completely outside of traditional psychos …

    Another way of looking at it, as sadly the thought crossed my mind this morning re. my own children: I often despair of humanity, seeing the mass as that of maggots: a few will evolve, will metamorphosize and escape as flies, the vast majority will consume the host and die. I wrote that years ago with emphasis on the few, but for this morning’s purposes emphasize the mass. Asimov was right in his psychohistory, the greater the population the more likely the anticipation of what they’ll do. Some of ’em just wear it on their sleeve …

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Ten Bears!

      I don’t know if the two ideas are so incompatible. If, even on a subconscious level, we know the world is coming to an end, it would produce an inordinate amount of stress. And, those with “weaker” minds would begin to act out more and more. My contention has been that through manipulating information and explanations, Fox News and allies have kept MAGA Nation so agitated and distressed for so long that mass psychosis has ensued. They’ll now believe anything. With one of those things being the Great Replacement Theory, the weaker minded among them are going to act out. Same-same, just a different source of stress. GRT states that their world is coming to an end, so it is even more similar.

      Asimov was right about that. Behavioral economics has made big strides in predicting the behavior of large groups when under similar conditions and given similar choices.

      I don’t know who defines reality, but it does have a way of biting you in the ass if you stray too far from the fold.


      Liked by 1 person

      • Afterthoughts … I often refer to indeed maintain the root of the problem is seven soon ten billion people on a boiling ball of mud that can barely sustain one. As an economy of scale I think statistically we’re not outside the realms of probability – that’s a lot of people, that a handful act out inexplicably is a mountain out of a molehill. Call ’em one percenters, if you know anything about the Hell’s Angels. Aqualung.

        Alternatively, out of the aboriginal, maybe the pool of souls is not so much of individual souls but one single pool parceling itself across the population. A finite source allotted in ever smaller portion. Five thousand years ago when there were but two hundred and fifty millions of us there was enough of a surplus that Moses could live nine hundred years, Enoch seven before ascending to heaven. Now, not unlike too little butter spread across too much bread there isn’t enough to make us all fully ‘human.’

        That a few would apply the Ambien, Prozac, Viagra and crotch-shots on television Kool-Aid in manipulation of bare-footed, barely literate rubes sprawled drunk and drooling Pavlovianly across a ‘couch’ the backseat out of a ninety sixty-nine Chevy Suburban to satisfy their private agenda is … well, that is the conversation, isn’t it? I think it started with “Is it Brave New World, or 1984?”

        Brave New World …


        • Howdy Ten Bears!

          Given the shear number of us, statistically, we’re bound to have people who act out and are difficult to control or reason with. On the other hand, studies of overcrowding from mice to men strongly suggest that when the density gets beyond a certain point, the dense start eating each other. We may be there. It may be that the tipping point has tipped and the whole darn thing is about to collapse around us.



    • Howdy Bob!

      Thanks for the link. Only 875 state legislators out of 7,000? That seems like an undercount to me, but my view is only impressionistic. Of course, there are those who go along to get along and as long as the pro-democracy side holds sway, that’s what they support, but as soon as the anti-democracy group is in ascendance, they’ll support that, too.

      I’ve been working on a post about the antisocial behavior of the far right. This fits right in with that. The idea of overturning the Constitution is unconscionable. Since childhood it’s been drummed into my head that the Constitution is sacrosanct. But for these folks, maybe that isn’t the case.


      Liked by 1 person

      • On the far right there has long been talk of a constitutional convention. I think it may go as far back as the John Birch Society (of which the father of the Koch brothers was a founder). The goal would be a full rewrite. It also is important to remember that part of the thinking about what to do about the “stolen” election was a declaration of a State of Emergency and martial law (a beloved standby of would-be autocrats world over). So, no, the Constitution is not sacred to these people, and it is not safe from them.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Indeed, it is. When the notion was being discussed several years ago signs of a split appeared immediately. Some proposed what would be in effect a narrowly focused amendment convention on one or two subjects. That agenda would be bad, for sure, but not a much as the “clean sheet of paper” crowd had in mind. That could lead, if the thing were ever convened, to a fight over, “What did we come here to do?”, and the possibility that some state reps who were only authorized to do the limited agenda packing up and going home, or at least having to go back to their state legislators for authorization to do more, which would be inconvenient if the authorization had come by way of a plebiscite. Plus, there is no constitutionally prescribed process or set of rules for how states would approve the thing or choose their representatives. Of course, the whole discussion also brought out those who claim that the Constitution is unconstitutional because the Continental Congress was only supposed to amend and improve the Articles Of Confederation, not throw them out and write a new document. When those involved in a multi sided marriage of convenience, such as uber-rich libertarians, Dominionist theocrats, and white nationalists, find themselves with the actual power to enact their agendas, agreement on what that is can be hard to find. It is so much easier to stick together as the party of opposition.

            Liked by 1 person

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