To understand the “motive” for some of the killers in massacres or mass killings it may be necessary to read all the definitions for the word.
For most people, motive would be the reason something is done. What if there is no reason?
The Free Dictionary lists as its No. 1 definition for motive: “An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action.”
Mental illness is no doubt the reason for some shootings, especially the multiple ones at schools, malls and churches that inevitably will end with the shooter’s death.
But what about the decision of Daniel Sanchez, 32, to kill his ex-girlfriend, Beatriz Centora-Silva, her sister and her sister’s new husband, and then himself. Media in the Longmont area north of Denver say Sanchez was angry because Cintora-Silva had found a new boyfriend.
Thirty-one-year-old Hector Celayo shot and killed four of his relatives Dec. 9 on the Tule River Reservation in southcentral California, and then died in a shootout with the sheriff’s department. His mother was among the dead. No hint of a motive has been discovered. It was reported he had been a drug abuser.
The difficulty of identifying a motive makes it much more difficult to try to reduce such killings.
Bernie Reeves wrote in American Thinker: "Not the simplest crime scene opined the top cop investigating the Newtown, Ct. school massacre. But what happened is simple indeed: the dangerously mentally ill have struck again. Instead of being confined where they can be monitored and treated, advanced state paranoid schizophrenics roam freely, listening to voices that eventually order them to kill.”
Mental illness is a factor in some cases, but diagnosing it can be nearly impossible, especially on reduced health care budgets. The stigma attached to diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia has led to laws protecting the rights of patients.
“"Since this trend has become institutionalized, the frequency of mass killings has increased, directly correlated to empowering the seriously mentally ill and diminishing the ability of relatives or the public to do anything about it. Families lie sleepless unable to take action to commit a spouse, child or other close relative when they know violence is certain to explode. The patients have all the rights, and the power of the bureaucracy on their side,” wrote Reeves.
Mother Jones reports that of 62 mass shootings in public places during the past 30 years, 44 were done by white males. Many were young, at least under 35.
Given all the reasons known and confirmed that have led to mass killings, the fact that in many cases reasons are never known, preparing for the killings is virtually impossible.
The NRA wants to blame the media, entertainment industry and mental illness for the problem. All three play a role, without a doubt.
The only fact in this equation is that there are so many powerful weapons freely available. With so many potential killers, limiting the number of high capacity magazines and automatic and semi-automatic weapons likely would reduce the number of mass killings.
The argument so often posed that deranged killers will find a way without guns is not supported by the history of the incidents.