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 We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research

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LPorter101
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PostSubject: We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research   We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research Icon_minitimeFri Jul 08, 2022 5:12 pm

Think about it: We have tons of documentation of numerous mass shootings. We have photographs, videos, and book-length manifestos written by the killers themselves. In some cases we even have actual footage of massacres in progress. We have close-up high-resolution photographs of people with their heads blown off and their brains and guts spewed all over the place.

Just imagine if smartphones and broadband Internet access had been around in 1999. Imagine being able to see the bullet enter Rachel Scott's head, or being able to hear Eric scream, "I HATE THE FUCKING WORLD!"

And you know what? If E&D and their victims had documented NBK in 1999 with the kind of technology that exists in 2022, I don't think anybody would still be thinking about their crimes in 2022. This forum would not exist.

The basement tapes have taken on a mythic stature precisely because so few people have seen them. Not even the high and mighty Dave Cullen, esteemed chronicler of 4/20, has seen then. But if they had been made available in 1999 most people would have watched them, said, "Wow, those kids were fucked in the head," and then moved on to something else. A few fangirls would have watched them and said, "OMG! Eric is so cute! And Dylan's nose is so ... big!" (Yes, I know Dylan has fangirls, too.) And maybe a few troubled kids would have watched them and said, "Hey, I can top that."

I believe that someone, somewhere, still has a copy of the basement tapes, and I would not be surprised if they're floating around somewhere online. I expect to see them at some point. And you know what? I think I'll watch them, say, "Wow, it's amazing to finally be able to see these tapes that I've been wanting to watch for so many years," marvel at the fact that I'm actually seeing Eric and Dylan talk about their crimes on video, and then move on to something else. I don't think the tapes will answer any old questions and I don't think they'll inspire any new questions.

Sit down and watch all of Elliot Rodger's videos, and then ask yourself, "Do I want to spend the next twenty years studying this guy and writing thousands of words speculating about why he did what he did?" The answer is ... not really. I think he was a closet case with a massive sense of entitlement whose head was wedged firmly up his ass. And I don't really care to expand on that description. Sorry, Elliot, but you're not that interesting.

Seung-Hui Cho is more of a mystery than Elliot Rodger but less of a mystery than Eric and Dylan - we only have brief portions of his video but the ones we do have seem to tell us everything we need to know. If the entire manifesto were released I would probably glance at it and say something like, "Yeah, dude was crazy," and then move on.

It's funny - it used to infuriate me that people would say, "Fuck Eric - he was just some crazy psycho kid. Screw Dylan - he was just some pussy-ass emo." But I write Elliot Rodger and Seung-Hui Cho off just as easily as some people write of Eric and Dylan. Cho killed a lot more people than E&D - in the cosmic sense, his crime was more "important" and more "significant" - but I really don't care about him. (That being said, I thought Richard McBeef was hilarious.)

The same is true of the 911 call. We have snippets of it and we have various transcripts of dubious authenticity. But some of us still have a morbid fascination with the idea of being able to listen to the whole thing.

But if we had surveillance footage of the library being shot up - if we could see Isaiah and Cassie and Daniel and the other kids dying right before our eyes - it wouldn't be a mystery. It would be interesting in a sick, macabre, gawking-at-a-train-wreck kind of way. But I doubt it would be the kind of thing that anyone would want to watch over and over again for years on end.

When the Christchurch massacre happened I was horrified but I was also fascinated by the fact that the whole thing was on video. For the first time I was able to see the people as they died. I saw the shooter walk up to a woman crawling on a sidewalk, moaning "Help me! Help me! Help me!" and I watched him blow her fucking brains out.

It is horrible for me to say this, but in a way it was grimly satisfying to finally *see* one of these things happen with my own eyes. I felt like a little kid watching an R-rated movie for the first time.

But afterward I had to admit that it was a little disappointing. I always imagined that if I watched a video feed from the Columbine library that it would be some kind of major, life-altering event that would shake the very foundations of my existence. But here was a case where people were dying on video in just as brutal a fashion as the kids at Columbine, and in the end watching it was only moderately intriguing. Just another crazy viral video. Two Girls One Cup = One Shooter Lots of Victims. If I want to see *real* gore I'll go play GTA.

The fangirls are a big part of the reason why E&D are still "popular" among people who study mass shootings. And they "benefitted" from being the first school shooters who really imprinted themselves on the culture. The Jonesboro massacre got a fair amount of media attention but it faded from the headlines after a few days. But Columbine was a major national event and in the days and weeks and months and years years following the massacre the myth of Eric and Dylan just kept growing and growing and growing. Then Dave Cullen came along and took a major dump in the punch bowl.

As I said recently, one of the main reasons why I am so interested in Columbine is that it happened at a key point in *my* adolescence, right before I started high school. I was going through a rough period and I felt I understood the rage and alienation that the boys undoubtedly felt. So I really identified with them, even though I was a few years younger than them. In a sick way I admired them. I didn't admire them for killing people; I admired them for taking a stand and *doing* something to end their misery.

As I've grown older I've come to see how selfish and childish Eric and Dylan were, and how pointless their "revolution" really was. 4/20 was just a total senseless waste of human potential. I haven't given up on the boys completely - I still mourn them - but I don't really identify with them anymore. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that I ever did. But I can't deny that, at one time, I genuinely did look up to them.

I would like to believe that, up until the moment they started firing, one or both of them could have said, "You know what? Fuck this - life is too precious to piss away like this" and walked away. Maybe I'm deluding myself but I'd really like to believe that the one or both of the boys could have been saved.

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LPorter101
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PostSubject: Re: We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research   We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research Icon_minitimeFri Jul 08, 2022 5:45 pm

Incidentally, just today I saw a picture I hadn't seen before. It shows a relatively close-up view of Eric's head after he shot himself. Dylan is in the picture but the angle is such that you can only see his chin.

The picture is not *that* clear but it shows more detail than anything else I've seen. It's hard to say exactly but it looks like Eric's face "separated" from the rest of his head. I think I can identify the remnants of his eyes and his nose.

Jesus, Eric. You shouldn't have done that.
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PostSubject: Re: We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research   We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research Icon_minitimeFri Jul 08, 2022 6:56 pm

LPorter101 wrote:
Sit down and watch all of Elliot Rodger's videos, and then ask yourself, "Do I want to spend the next twenty years studying this guy and writing thousands of words speculating about why he did what he did?" The answer is ... not really. I think he was a closet case with a massive sense of entitlement whose head was wedged firmly up his ass. And I don't really care to expand on that description. Sorry, Elliot, but you're not that interesting.

[...]

But if we had surveillance footage of the library being shot up - if we could see Isaiah and Cassie and Daniel and the other kids dying right before our eyes - it wouldn't be a mystery. It would be interesting in a sick, macabre, gawking-at-a-train-wreck kind of way. But I doubt it would be the kind of thing that anyone would want to watch over and over again for years on end.

When the Christchurch massacre happened I was horrified but I was also fascinated by the fact that the whole thing was on video. For the first time I was able to see the people as they died. I saw the shooter walk up to a woman crawling on a sidewalk, moaning "Help me! Help me! Help me!" and I watched him blow her fucking brains out.

It is horrible for me to say this, but in a way it was grimly satisfying to finally *see* one of these things happen with my own eyes. I felt like a little kid watching an R-rated movie for the first time.

But afterward I had to admit that it was a little disappointing. I always imagined that if I watched a video feed from the Columbine library that it would be some kind of major, life-altering event that would shake the very foundations of my existence. But here was a case where people were dying on video in just as brutal a fashion as the kids at Columbine, and in the end watching it was only moderately intriguing. Just another crazy viral video. Two Girls One Cup = One Shooter Lots of Victims. If I want to see *real* gore I'll go play GTA.

While I think your overall post is interesting I can't help but note that in singling out Elliot Roger and Brenton Tarrant that these two have had a number of people imitating their crimes and rhetoric all on their own (admittedly this is probably less to do with their personalities or manifestos and more to do with the fact that they appeal to a very specific niche). It'll sound cliche at this point but I think the fact that people venerate Eric and Dylan says a lot about the wider world that creates this type of crime with increasing regularity to begin with. I was born after Columbine but I've lived to see more rampage killings than I can count and some of them occurring literally on the same days. I've seen them happen on continents thousands of miles away not just from my home but from my country. There have been three different people on this forum who've in turn killed people. If there's an overall point to these musings I think it's that Eric and Dylan, and many of those who followed in their footsteps, could be thought of as canaries in the coal mine, dying all around us as modern society itself decays. Unfortunately nobody can even agree on what's caused this rot, much less how to fix it. It is a bad omen.

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LPorter101
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PostSubject: Re: We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research   We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research Icon_minitimeFri Jul 08, 2022 7:04 pm

Quote :
It is a bad omen.

Indeed.

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PostSubject: Re: We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research   We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research Icon_minitimeSun Sep 25, 2022 5:12 am

Indeed. Unfortunately, we are also living in the "golden age" of mass shootings.
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PostSubject: Re: We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research   We are living in the golden age of mass-shooting research Icon_minitime

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