The template for a glorious death

Here’s what I think about the Las Vegas mass shooting:

In Iraq and Afghanistan there is a sort of template for an unhappy man to find a ‘glorious’ death. He straps explosives to himself and kills a hundred people in a crowded market square.

In the US if you’re an unhappy man and feel like you have no way out, there is also a template: you choose your ‘glorious’ death by staging a mass shooting and then killing yourself.

In both cases, that template is now so well understood by the media, by society and by unhappy men that it’s an almost inevitable path for marginalised men who feel they have no way out of their situation.

If you want to kill yourself and have nobody remember you, shoot yourself in the head, in your car or your back porch. If you want to kill yourself and have everybody remember you, you commit a mass shooting.

I think tighter gun controls would reduce the frequency and the severity of these shootings but you have to also work on breaking up the cultural template somehow, so that marginalised men don’t choose this template as their way of making a statement. To go out, literally, in a blaze of glory. Like so many trapped Marines, bank robbers and cowboys have done in American popular media since the founding of the nation.

I don’t know how you do that. Maybe if semi-automatic weapons were banned it would reduce the number illegally converted to automatic weapons, which would reduce the number of fatalities in mass shootings.

But not the number of suicidal men choosing this template for self-expression.

I’m Alan Jones, an EiR for startup accelerators, GP at M8 Ventures. Previously investor, founder, and early Yahoo PM. Opinions mine (but should also be yours).

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