February 21, 2018

Mass murder and anti-social norms in rootless places

A striking fact about the deadliest mass shootings is their geographic distribution, lying mostly in areas that are heavily colonized by transplants, rather than in places with deep historical roots and communities.

This tends to be a fractal phenomenon -- at the regional level, they're most likely in the Sun Belt, but even within such states, they're from newly founded suburban enclaves (ironically intended to be "safe" unlike the dangerous old towns and cities nearby), and often the killer's family and perhaps the killer himself are transplants (including immigrants or sons of immigrants).

They are unlikely to happen in deeply rooted places like upstate New York (unless it's an immigrant like the Binghamton shooter), or Ohio. If there's a spree shooter from northeastern Ohio or western Pennsylvania, he'll end up killing people in a transplant area like the San Ysidro McDonald's shooter. For that matter, cult leader and mass murderer Jim Jones was from Indiana but picked up the most followers once he moved out to San Francisco, and then really lost it when he moved them all down to Guyana.

Rootless places attract people guided by a laissez-faire approach to behavior, who don't mind throwing away the constraints of living in a place where traditions are strong, family ties are extensive, and even strangers know each other. Perhaps that's the exact reason they're fleeing a rooted place -- so they can just live their own lives without being bound to others.

As a place comes to be colonized more and more by such people, normlessness becomes the norm. Do whatever, say whatever, think whatever. Fuck the haters. If it feels good, do it. If you got it, flaunt it.

The residents may think this low-lying level of anti-sociality is no big deal. They're being true to their individual selves, and at worst it produces bratty and entitled children. Nothing devastating, certainly not worth going back to the rooted environment with all of its constraints on individual behavior.

But it's precisely this code of "do whatever" that allows the small handful of truly warped individuals to carry out their warped fantasies. Typically these are revenge fantasies (rape or murder), as the social reject killer has no other ties to sustain him, and seeks to lash out at those who have rejected him. He has no extended family, no neighbors, no other communal links that would keep him calmed down despite being a loner at school.

Once he stews in those revenge fantasies long enough, what constraints are there to hold him back from carrying them out? He lives in a world of his own, with no palpable policing presence.

Although such cases may be rare, their impact is catastrophic when they do hit -- there could be dozens of innocent people brutally murdered for no reason in a public spectacle. In addition to the immediate loss of life, there's the permanent scar left on the area. It is exactly these rare-yet-catastrophic cases that social norms are supposed to protect against. They may feel annoying sometimes when you want to do your own thing, but they're there for the greater good of preserving the community, like a form of insurance.

These kinds of spree murders have become more common as more people have dislocated themselves and their families in pursuit of higher career prospects. It's generally not dirt-poor people reluctantly moving to the nearest city after the good jobs vanished in rural areas. It's middle class people moving from Nowheresville to an up-and-coming "it" place. This is what makes the shootings so counter-intuitive to most observers -- they happen in middle-class enclaves with good schools and promising children.

The status-striving trend began with the Me Generation of the 1970s, and has only gotten worse since then. So has the concomitant moral code of laissez-faire, which most middle-class people probably assume is written into the Constitution or the Bible at this point.

Only when we reverse this trend by staying put where our roots are, and accepting the duties and constraints that this places on our behavior, will these kinds of warped revenge fantasies no longer be thought of, let alone acted upon. The moral code will change from "do whatever" to "rein it in for the greater good".

That will mean denying yourself the attempt to climb the status ladder by moving around all over the place -- but by now that's mostly a fool's game anyway, all of the good spots having been taken and held onto for awhile. If a handful of people do this, it may not wreck society, but if enough people uproot themselves, then the entire society gets destabilized -- behaviorally and morally.

To put it bluntly, we do not have the right to "do whatever" as long as it doesn't immediately harm others. Acting as though we did have that right leads to patterns of behavior that, after a sufficient percolating delay, cause far more destruction to ourselves and others than we imagined was possible.

There's a contradiction in the liberal approach to these problems, where they hold the role of the government to be regulating the society to be safe for libertinism -- to allow law-abiding individuals to indulge in as much atomized laissez-faire behavior as they feel like. Allowing AR-15s to be sold to teenagers conflicts with the safety of the do-whatever enclave, who may become targets and have to watch their back rather than go about their do-whatever-ism. So they want that practice regulated out of existence.

But you can't push for tough regulations on other people's behavior without accepting more regulations on your own personal behavior. Pointing to potential "harm" done by the other person is no good, since your own laissez-faire behavior is corroding and destroying others, just not in as concentrated of a way. It's long-term and diffuse, but no less offensive to social norms.

And of course the ultimate form of regulation comes from feeling social pressure, whether from extended family, neighbors, peers you've known your whole lives, and so on. Accepting tougher regulations on your own behavior means accepting the plan to stay put where your roots are, rather than wander toward anonymous crowd-places like some Gypsy thief.


  1. This is also why the US has far more of these than other similar countries -- we're not as deeply rooted in this land as Europeans are in theirs, and we move around far more than Europeans do.

    It'd be interesting to look into the family trees of the mass shooters and see if anyone there is from founding stock. My casual read of their bios turned up mostly Ellis Islanders, children of recent immigrants, or immigrants themselves.

  2. We hear these explanations all the time in the context of Muslims becoming radicalized and committing mass murder. They were culturally alien, didn't fit in with their host society, etc.

    But it's not qualitatively different from what lots of young Americans are going through today, after their parents separated the children from their historical roots in search of a higher material standard of living.

    These dislocated people tend to blame their parents for uprooting them, but they're not the ones who culturally or socially contrast with the dislocated person. They're not socially rejected or a social misfit within their family, but within the broader community, who then becomes the target of lashing out by the reject or misfit.

    Not only should we end immigration to prevent this endless alienation among immigrants, but we should restrict movement internally among Americans.

    It should be harder to pick up and move at the drop of a hat -- especially if you're a parent and the move would disrupt the social integration of your children. Only if moving would put you back in touch with your family's roots, of course.

  3. An Oregon city mayor put up a bill board near the city entrance that said something like, "Enjoy the visit, but don't stay", in the 50's. Oregon, for fuck's sake.

    It's funny how so many things that the Boomer bristled at, that they saw as being indicative of stuffiness, closed-mindedness, etc. were really things that were intended to preserve stability and peace of mind.

    Admittedly, some of the ills of cocooning deserved to be criticized, but that doesn't excuse throwing the low striving baby out with the cocooning bathwater.

  4. The Anglo diaspora countries and Latin America also produce a lot of serial killers. Some of this could be put down to these countries having low density development and the resulting frequent access to personal automobiles, which hardly do anything to patch up the already questionable social fabric. Notably, the relatively densely populated far West Coast (which rapidly becomes highly remote as you go east) seems to be a serial killer's paradise, with high concentrations of victims in a handful of coastal metro areas that can be transported on roads abutting canyons, mountains, deserts, and rivers in which the victim can be dumped, where there's often little development and what development there is is almost entirely done with no regard for pre-WW2 development principles.

    Interestingly, Ted Bundy has never been credibly linked with a murder east of the Rocky Mountains, aside from his obvious rampage in the Florida swamp (a state that has seen dozens of serial killings). And Bundy once traveled to Philadelphia to research his family (Bundy himself came of age Out West).

    Notorious child killer Dean Corrl grew up in Texas and nearly all of his victims were kids from several Houston neighborhoods. You would think the sheer number of people disappearing, and the characteristics of the missing. would've made cops do the math. But nope, Corll murdered several dozen people from about 1968-1972. And he got "caught" when an accomplice shot him to death!

    Child exploitation researchers (including honest Law enforcement, see The Franklin Cover-up book) believed that middle aged pedophiles were operating sizable rings in the 70's and early 80's in the US, with activities concentrating a lot in Houston, New Orleans, and Atlanta. There's a good documentary/interview series from the early 80's featuring professor Tom Philpot, but last I looked Youtube had pulled the documentary. Philpot says that he combed through media and Law E. files/reports, and found that several cities seemed to have an inordinate number of mutilated young boys turn up on the streets. He did more digging and found evidence that corrupt law enforcement/elites often ignored pedophiles or gave them slight slaps on the wrist in these areas. He also said that authorities would inexplicably not treat some of the dead boys as homicide cases, even when mutilation and sexual assault wounds were clearly visible.

    Philpot personally went into porn shops and asked for underage porn, and he said that some places (e.g., gay ones) would openly display underage porn for sale as late as 1979. Philpot saw these place get colder feet in the 80's, but even then, in Houston he found several places that would provide illegal porn on request.

    In case anyone wondered why the sex abuse panic of the 80's happened.....

  5. WRT shootings in general, Sailer says that they really became noticeable/remarked upon in the late 70's, after the San Ysidro shooting. That's also when Stephen King wrote "Rage" (about a teen nut taking his class hostage), which he later withdrew from the market during the lame attempts at censoring media that the Boomers oversaw in the 90's (while doing very little to repair the growing tears to the social fabric).

    Sailer notes that media attention/copycats are an important factor, which I do agree with. However, what social climate contributes to attention whoring? A high striving one, which also produces anxiety about not measuring up. Which causes alienation, especially in rootless places and people who are more shallow and more drawn to shallow places.

    The violence/unrest associated with spikes of collective agitation is distinct from the constant background noise of anxiety and desperation associated with an extended period of striving. Indeed, the former is not based on the individual, while the latter is totally ego-centric. The campus uprisings/shootings and urban riots of the 60's-early 70's were alarming and destructive, but were relatively short-lived and not predicated on ugly one-upmanship contests. Not coincidentally the late 70's is also when a lot people seemed to start acting like hot-headed assholes, and I'm not just talking about Boomers. I'm also pointing the finger at maturing Silents and Gen X kids. While the worst effect of rage (child abuse) peaked around 1980, other alarming trends (like road rage, mass shootings, and public meltdowns) have only gotten worse. Some of these things might abate a little with the passing of Boomers along with X-ers and Millennials being somewhat less hot-heated (indeed, the majority of motorists who ever shouted at me were Boomers, including one time where I was on my bike waiting at a grocery store parking lot stop sign, getting ready to turn onto the road, and a bitch driver behind me started hurling abuse at me for getting in the way.

  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bike_rage

    The article brings up lots of incidents from the 2000's, which suggest not so much a class war (as an NYtimes article claims) as a generational war between foaming at the mouth Boomer motorists and cash strapped X-ers/Millennials using bikes, mostly in contemp. urban setting full of stressors (yuppie rush hour traffic, inadequate infrastructure, and strange looking/sounding people).

    Basic road rage was in the zeitgeist by the mid-90's, and probably was worst in the 90's and 2000's due to toxic striving and also due to Boomers being in their 30's-50's during those decades. Not that Boomers are in there 50's-70's, time is running out on their ability to have meltdowns.

  7. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2018/02/when-malls-saved-cities-from-capitalism/553610/

    The author is a Gen X-er (or very early Millennial) nostaligic for the mall days of the 80's/early 90's. He mentions Victor Gruen (A German) creating malls in the 1950's as way of introducing some semblance of communal living to bland (if populist) mid-century suburbs in America. While utilitarian/no-nonsense use of malls for shopping was initially popular in the 50's and 60's economic booms, Gruen would have to wait until the late 70's-early 90's to see malls reach their full social potential, when at least some corners of America began to feel as exciting and fun as CBDs and town squares were in the 20's/early 30's. Of course, being that the 20's was the dawn of lower striving and the 80's were the beginning of higher striving, there are still certain differences between the two eras. Regardless, people still sure had a lot of fun, whatever kind of ills there may have been involving drugs, crime, corruption, "street people", and so forth.

  8. Hell the recent Florida shooter was basically being fostered and appeared to be a Jewish kid with a Hispanic surname .

    Now as for rooting people, how do you think it could be done Agnostic?

    Are you planning to implement an internal passport system or something. Both sides Left and Right would shoot dead anyone who seriously tried and the military would back them.

    You an't stop people from moving and you can't convince them not too as no one trust institutions

    In my mind there is no real way to do this.

    Problem is that rootlessness means no political capital to speak of. I'm thus far slightly surprised that dismantling the union entirely isn't a more widespread idea . I'd guess its a few years off as of yet before its mainstreamed

    In nay case a dramatic rebuild would require heavy controls on imports and exports, old school marriage with default male custody , a near ban on immigration, mass repatriation, and controls on technology

    You'd have to keep this up for many decades, enough for say three generations of people to live and work in one place.

    Good luck doing that . The US can barely manage roads and the things we built that still work well were built decades ago and are basically running on autopilot

    There are areas that are rooted granted but they need economic help and a reduction in drugs.

    Unfortunately its in a huge number of people in power who isn't locals interest that people be junkies there. Those areas are a threat and there is much profit to be made,

    In the end, things will have to muddle along till they can't, people will trapped where they are, stay there and form a community I guess.

    As to malls, my local mall is pleasant enough. Its diverse like the area I live in (maybe 1/3 White) but its safe. It not really a community hub, we don't have much community here and to be honest, a lot of people that would have hit the mall, just buy from Amazon or someone on line,

    Its still profitable from excellent management mainly and also cheap rent but most malls days are numbered.

    People don't especially like diversity and its nigh impossible to compete with lower prices and unlimited selection. The only thing the mall offers is immediacy

  9. AB-

    Malls thrived in the 80's, even in places that were rapidly becoming more diverse (like California and Texas).

    By the 80's, a decent number of Americans lived in places with little in the way of traditional development (e.g., no classic CBD or Town Square), or the old CBD had become neglected and seedy due to 40 years of suburban expansion. What places were left for kids to socialize at? Too young for clubs or bars, malls became important in a time where a lot of people wanted to hang out somewhere. Back in the 1920's, this demographic would've been spending a lot time in and around then-typical traditional CBDs.

    Victor Gruen recognzed how many places outside the Northeast lacked a decent, classic CBD. CBD's/Town Squares were gathering places and focal points for communities. Gruen saw how many post-WW2 American communities were designed entirely for fast driving and parking, and as such, caused suburban rings of development that often were far away from the old CBD/original small town, and this development style also tended to impoverish the original town core which frightened away middle class parents and their kids. If Americans evidently were turning their backs on the idea of a trad. community, then he figured that the next best thing that could be done was creating an indoor facsimile of a stimulating gathering place. If Americans couldn't be bothered to get out of their damn cars or sacrifice parking, wide roads, and spacious building set backs for the sake of a more ped friendly culture, then have 'em drive to the mall, exit their cars, and then enter a place where there would be no cars or car infrastructure to disrupt mingling and shopping.

    Amazon, or even stand alone brick and mortar stores like Walmart, don't give people the same opportunities for socializing. Since the late 90's people haven't cared to socialize, and that's why we get this Autist-speak regarding "convenience" of online shopping (when you have to wait for the item and hope it's correct and not broken) and "value" (even when Amazon and Walmart have to treat people like shit to keep prices low). Cocooners just focus on superficial logistical characteristics and almost totally ignore the pleasures/rewards of social and tactile experiences, in addition to being willfully ignorant about terrible business practices (whereas in the 70's and 80's, we held companies to higher standards and felt less comfortable with being enslaved to mega companies) . In addition, cocooners come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid being around strangers, or even to some extent their friends.

  10. We've been buried under mountains of Asian made garbage since the mid 90's, when everyone sold out and started going to Blockbuster and Wal-mart. Nowadays, large chains still dominate brick and mortar, while their online equivalents make a killing. Being that modern autistic shoppers have been trained to eliminate all considerations except price and superficial convenience, the overall workmanship of many items blows ass now, and to make matters worse, purchasing this crap often subsidizes the abuse of labor. Back when Blockbuster was still around, I heard from a lot of people that employees were put under tons of nagging rules/training practices, and they hated working there. Whereas the legions of Mom and Pop video shops from the 80's/early 90's weren't so nauseatingly corporate. It's a fuckin' video store, not bootcamp for Normandy.
    I feel sorry for anyone born after about 1987, who have little to no experience with shopping at quirky and unpretentious Mom and Pop stores. The main video store I went to in the late 80's and early 90's was absolutely packed with all kind of titles and posters, and had cool neon inside the place. It also looked like they'd cut out some memorable images from movie posters (like a guy in a gimp mask!, and a zombie) and had put them high on the walls. The lighting was often borderline dark. Compare that to B-Buster, where every store had the same bland lay out, cruddy selection, and very bright lighting. No possibly provocative imagery allowed (not even posters) and no creativity. Gotta protect the brand.

  11. Feryl, in the broad sense California and Texas were getting more diverse but in real terms most people weren't inundated with it

    Houston for example in 1980 was 4x1 as White vs Hispanics as vs 1x2 White vs Hispanic

    This will have outsized effects on behavior

    In the 80's California was like 75% White as vs 40% now.

    This tends to encourage cocooning and discourages a robust public culture.

    Now I don't use Amazon unless all other options are exhausted but I'm middle age, young people aren't going to make the same choices

    That said, ordering online at least where I live is better by a mile than shopping for anything other than clothes

    No need to pay for fuel, deal with parking lower prices, no crowds, quick delivery and generally as good product quality

    Now as to creating a faux town square, even if you call its the mall Town Center (and I've seen a ton of those) its still fake. It makes sense that making shopping the center of society is a bad idea

    In some areas, unruly teens who couldn't be disciplined because "racism" made malls untenable and in some economics, cocooning and other things but in the end, multiculturalism/immigration/Leftism + the Internet kills society full stop

    As to your aesthetic complaints, so true. I kind of miss video stores and the funny thing though I have essentially unlimited media now, I consume less of it.

  12. "Feryl, in the broad sense California and Texas were getting more diverse but in real terms most people weren't inundated with it"

    UR missing my point about cocooning.

    Every 60 years people reach a point where they want to do a lot of socializing. Everything else becomes incidental to that. In the 1920's, major swathes of "Americans" weren't even born in America, but that didn't stop people from hanging out.

    In California, in the 80's, those born from 1925-1945 were overwhelmingly white, while those born from 1946-1967 were mostly white with some blacks and Mexicans also. 1968 was the first full year of America accepting new immigrants. And they mostly went to NYC, Texas, and California from 1968-1990.

    The 1920's and 1980's were decades with a lot of problems (way too much diversity, for one thing), but that didn't stop people from wanting to hang out and have fun.

    The primary mall going demographic back in the 80's were teenagers. When mall going peaked in the later 80's, California's teenagers were far more diverse than older generations, yet they still went to the mall to have fun.

    "In the 80's California was like 75% White as vs 40% now. "

    Do ya really believe that? Anecdotally people in major Cali cities report that by the mid-80's, Mexicans, Guatemalans, and Salvadorans were piling into the state, which created pressure to draft "out of the shadows" legislation. Many of these people entered America illegally, or were Visa over-stayers that state and Fed government lost track of. The Me Generation was too busy trying to make money to bother keeping track of who was within our borders by this point. The 1970's were the last decade where most of the accents you heard in California were regional variations of American.


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