Oh, Fun: Research Says Mass Shootings Make Insecure Dopes Feel 'Empowered' By Guns


Have you ever looked at a person armed to the hilt with assault rifles, yelling about how the Second Amendment gives them the right to overthrow the government or posing sexily with a gun shoved down their pants and thought "Wow! What a fabulously secure individual!" Probably not. And according to a new study, your instincts there would be correct.

According to new research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, people who feel "disempowered" are likely to respond to a mass shooting by feeling more willing to shoot someone themselves and more likely to express violent ideas after hearing about one.

This seems like it might be a pretty dangerous phenomenon that could lead to some pretty bad stuff. It also explains why obviously insecure people always respond to mass shootings by saying "No, we actually need more guns."

Via PsyPost:

In four separate studies of 2,442 U.S. gun owners, the researchers found evidence that a sense of disempowerment was positively associated with willingness to shoot a home intruder and engage in vigilantism.

"This particular study, on mass shootings, pertains to the spreading of violent ideas. We tested whether specific individuals – namely, those who are searching for their own means of personal empowerment, were the most likely to express more violent ideas in response to mass shootings."

In four separate studies of 2,442 U.S. gun owners, the researchers found evidence that a sense of disempowerment was positively associated with willingness to shoot a home intruder and engage in vigilantism.

Disempowered participants agreed with statements such as "Not a lot is done for people like me in America" and "If I compare myself against other Americans, my group is worse off." In one study, the researchers experimentally manipulated a sense of disempowerment by giving some participants a cognitive test that was impossible to solve correctly.

This could also explain the surge of mass shootings in America over the past several years.

Pontus Leander, the author of the study, argues against the familiar refrain that things like mass shootings are "random or senseless," and that by working to understand the psychological underpinnings of why people commit such atrocities, we can do more to prevent them.

"If we want to end the spread of violence, we must develop theories that can explain the psychological appeal of such behavior. With regards to the influence of mass shootings, we are in unknown territory and we have more questions than we can answer with our current resources. More research is needed. A lot more,"

He's not wrong. These kinds of killings are not random or senseless. Those who commit them have reasons for why they commit them and more often than not, it is because they feel "disempowered" in some way. While this "disempowered" feeling may not be rational, it's certainly real enough to them to feel they need to go and murder people about it. We've got men who feel women are not giving them the romantic attention they feel they are owed, white men murdering minorities they feel are getting too powerful.

I hate to put it this way, but I truly believe that a big part of the reason why most of these shooters are straight white men is at least partly because everyone else learns early on that life isn't going to be fair for them, everyone else gets inured to feeling powerless, everyone else gets the "you're going to have to work twice as hard to be considered half as good" speech. White men are socialized, not just by society but by our culture at large, to believe that things are supposed to go a certain way for them. Some learn to deal with it when it doesn't, like adults, others go right off the deep end. It comes out somewhere. They vote for Trump, they join racist and misogynistic internet forums, and yes, sometimes they kill people.

I'm not suggesting we coddle anyone, but if we don't start acknowledging this and figuring out a way to address it, things are only going to get worse.


Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!


Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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