1. A proliferation of irresponsible and incendiary hate speech in mass media and, unprecedentedly, from mainstream elected representatives, intended to mislead impressionable minds to anger.
2. Almost unlimited access to guns, ammo and armor.
It’s not a difficult equation really. Dead people, even dead cops will follow. But conservatives and libertarians who condemn the killers like those in Las Vegas persist in not seeing the equation and keep pointing out the mental illness aspect. Yes, you have to be mentally ill to take No. 1 and No. 2 and add them up to killing, but the fact is (a) there are mentally ill people, (b) there will always be mentally ill people and (c) it’s fucking hard to know who will actually go on a rampage and who will not.
So shouldn’t we make it harder for them to get guns? Doesn’t society have an interest in making the gun part of the equation a lot less problematic?
The free speech part of it is what it is, but Jeebus if I had a radio station I sure as shit wouldn’t give Alex Jones air time on it. The right wing noise machine can say they’re entertainers whenever one of their listeners takes their rhetoric seriously and shoots up a mall or courthouse, but we know that’s nonsense, right? if these deluded wackos in Vegas were right and it really was the beginning of a revolution Alex Jones would name himself supreme leader for life within 5 minutes.
And conservative commentators whose meal ticket is the tea party can keep saying that mental illness is the problem but not seeing, or acknowledging, the equation brings their mental health into question.
P.S. My latest pet peeve is when the middle of the roader “both sides do it”-ites like Jon Avlon talk about rightwing crazies they are compelled to mention the leftwing crazies of the 60s and 70s. It was 40-50 years ago but they feel like balance forces them to mention the now elderly men and women of the Weather Underground and such. If there’s anything less relevant to a conversation about the current socio-political zeitgeist and the murderous rages it unleashes, it’s whatever unrelated shit happened 40 years ago. False equivalence to the ulti-max-bullshit power.