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 Mad and Lonely Shooter Header

By John Horvat II


The most recent in an epidemic of mass shootings serves to highlight how violent and lonely are the times in which we live. Young, desperate shooters are breaking the precarious rhythms of our daily lives with tragedy. We know little about their personal lives. However, one thing they all have in common is loneliness.

 

The Loner as Ideal Revolutionary

In times past, subversives would seek strength in organization and numbers. They would conspire with others to carry out their nefarious deeds. Intelligence services could trace links and patterns to uncover vast conspiracies.

The loner finds his strength in loneliness. He does not need or seek others. There is no organization or headquarters. He slips quietly under the radar until he unleashes his silent and irrational wrath. As with suicide bombers, the loner is willing to die in his first and final act. Society has little defense against his unpredictable movements. Law enforcement cannot take preventative measures in the face of a past of non-engagement.

There is not even a set of established beliefs for loners. What is erroneously labeled “white supremacist ideology” is usually a self-made mish-mash of contradictory (and often liberal) ideas with little rhyme or reason to them. Analysts like to refer to a process as “online self-radicalization.” Shooters’ “ideology” is more likely the scrambled ramblings of broken individuals who rebel against life and society.

 

Mass Producing Loners

What makes this scenario more frightening is that the loner demographic is growing. Young people who normally become increasingly social as they mature are retreating into themselves. Society is mass-producing loners.

A recent YouGov poll of 1,254 adults 18 and up found that 30 percent of all millennials (age 23-38) feel lonely. It was the highest percentage of the generations surveyed.

The findings are alarming by the devastation they reveal. Some 22 percent of millennials polled claimed they had zero friends. Twenty-seven percent had “no close friends.” Those with “no best friends” registered 30 percent. By comparison, the numbers for those who said they have zero friends among Gen Xers and baby boomers were 16 percent and 9 percent respectively.

The picture gets worse when considering Generation Z born after 1996. While the YouGov poll did not include this generation, other surveys report high or even higher levels of loneliness among its members. Finally, since loneliness tends to increase with age, researches expect the vast baby boomer generation to descend into greater loneliness as they age.

 

Societal Breakdown

Thus, we have become a nation of loners. Obviously, not every loner will become a mass shooter. However, lonely people lack the support they need to cope with the frenetic intemperance of modern life.

People are lonely because the social units that facilitate interaction are coming apart. Families are disintegrating. Communities are fraying. People are retreating into themselves, and that spells disaster. The tragedy of the lone shooters is their isolation. They lack the family links of intense affection. Few people will make an effort to connect with the loners.

If we are to prevent violence, we must address the cause of the problem to be effective. It is not something a government program will resolve.

Everyone knows they need help — especially after the fact. Everyone generally reports on the bizarreness of the shooters’ behavior. Some are not surprised by the news of their evil acts. In the busyness of their daily lives, most people have no time to reach out or take action, even when evidence points to serious problems. The loner is out of sight and out of mind.

 

Red Flag Laws

Thus, people propose red flag laws that would allow police to intervene in cases where such individuals appear dangerous. However, these measures are of limited effectiveness. Of what use are red flag laws when there is no one to wave the flag? Of what use are background checks into the lives of loners with no background? How effective can we be in curbing the present cases when the nation is mass-producing loners on a grand scale?

These are all questions that must be asked if the violence is to be stopped.

However, this is beyond the scope of law enforcement to resolve. Police cannot put all loners under surveillance for crimes they have yet to commit. No police force has the resources to be on the watch for everyone who is possibly dangerous.

 

Higher Recourse

That is why any effort to stop this violence must address a society without a moral compass. We must make every effort to reach out to the loners around us with a moral message. By fostering strong family and community ties, we help prevent the appearance of more loners.

However, in the absence of family and community ties, the options are limited. We should have no illusions. The only real solution for the violent loner must be to a higher power. We, as a nation, must have recourse to God in the face of a moral crisis that affects all.

Thus, we can teach our nation of loners to pray so that they might convert. There are countless examples of such loners who have left the dark path through the power of prayer. However, we must, above all, pray for all who suffer from violent loneliness, asking for God’s aid. Only He can break the vicious cycle of violent loneliness. Only He can always be there when needed. He can solve problems that for us are impossible.

 


 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for February 26, 2021

All true children of God have God for their father and Mary...

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February 26

 

All true children of God
have God for their father
and Mary for their mother.
Anyone who does not have Mary for their mother
does not have God for his father.

St. Louis de Montfort

  
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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Alexander of Alexandria

Arius started a heretical faith called Arianism, which denie...

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St. Alexander of Alexandria

Alexander was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and in 313, the gentle mannered man was made Patriarch of Alexandria because of his kindness, fervent religiousness and great love of God.

When heresy arose in the form of Arius, a wicked priest who was jealous of Alexander’s selfless and charitable ways as well as his title, Alexander became known for his zealous defense of the Catholic faith. Arius started a heretical faith called Arianism, which denied the divinity of Christ. At first, Alexander was kind to Arius, and tried to convince him to return to the church. But when the heretic refused, and instead began to gather a larger following, Alexander began to take steps to have him excommunicated.

Then, in 325, Alexander was part of an assembly of the ecumenical council, which was held in Nicaea. The council officially excommunicated Arius, condemned his heresy, and sent him and a few of his followers into exile. Victorious in his battle for the faith, Alexander returned home to Alexandria, where he died in 328 after naming St. Athanasius his successor.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all hi...

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Our Lady Rewards the Public Use of the Rosary

Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he would hang a large rosary on his belt and always wear it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged everyone to say the Rosary very devoutly.

One day he fell seriously ill and was given up for dead. He found himself, in a vision, before the judgment seat of Our Lord with many devils accusing him of his sins and Our Sovereign Judge about to condemn him to hell. But Our Lady appeared to intercede for him. She called for a pair of scales and had his sins placed in one of the balances and the rosary he had always worn on the other, together with all the Rosaries that had been said because of his example. It was found that the Rosaries weighed more than his sins.

Looking at him with great kindness Our Lady said, "As a reward for this little honor you paid me in wearing my Rosary, I have obtained a great grace for you from my Son. Your life will be spared for a few more years. See that you spend them wisely and do penance."

When the King regained consciousness he cried out, "Blessed be the Rosary of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, by which I have been delivered from eternal damnation!"

Having recovered his health, he spent the rest of his life spreading devotion to the Holy Rosary and said it faithfully every day.

People who love the Blessed Virgin should follow the example of King Alphonsus so they too may win other souls to say the Rosary. They will receive great graces on earth and eternal life. "They that explain me shall have life everlasting." [1] Ecclus. 24:31

Adapted from Saint Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary (Hanover, Pa: America Needs Fatima, 2008), 12.

 

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Alphonsus, King of Leon and Galicia, very much wanted all his servants to honor the Blessed Virgin by saying the Rosary. So he would hang a large rosary on his belt and always wear it, but unfortunately never said it himself. Nevertheless, his wearing it encouraged everyone to say the Rosary very devoutly.

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